Diablo 3 received some much needed variety with the addition of season themes back in 2018. While the impact of each season theme on the gameplay has varied greatly, they have all remained relatively inoffensive. That could all change with the new theme for Diablo 3 Season 21.
Dubbed the Trials of Tempests, players will receive a buff every ninety seconds that unleashes one of five different elemental powers. The elemental power can be either a wall of fire, a rolling snowball, a meteor shower, a cluster of cyclones, or a massive beam of lighting. Which of the elemental powers that is unleashed is totally random, and the damage scales with how many enemies the player has killed.
Bad for pushing leaderboards
Those who will feel the effects of this seasonal theme the most are players attempting to push the leaderboards, and they likely won’t feel it in a good way.
Climbing the Diablo 3 leaderboards involves hoping the randomly generated Greater Rifts will favor the player. With huge variety in enemy density, map layout, and pylon placement, the difference between the top players is often just a bit of luck. Players with their eyes on the leaderboards will jump from Greater Rift to Greater Rift, just fishing for a favorable setup before even attempting to complete one.
The Trials of Tempests adds yet another layer of randomness to all of this.
During the PTR it was painfully obvious that not all the powers were equal. Consistently getting weaker or stronger powers greatly affects clear times. While this can be fixed with a bit of number tweaking, some powers will still outshine others in different scenarios. Getting the right power at the right time will affect how quickly players are able to complete a Greater Rift, or if they are able to complete it at all.
For example, the snowball is great in tight corridors where it can quickly bounce back and forth over enemies. However, getting the snowball out in the open means it could potentially just roll uselessly away from the enemies. With no control over the season theme, players have even more RNG affecting their ranking on the ladder.
Underwhelming for casual players
Even players who don’t climb the ladder may find this buff underwhelming. Having an effect happen only every ninety seconds can feel like an eternity in the fast-paced environment of Diablo 3. Players who are speedrunning for crafting materials, gems, or loot are likely to never even see the power activate.
While the Season 21 theme may be a disappointment for Diablo 3 players, there are several things to look forward to. The Necromancer and Demon Hunter are receiving new class sets, and they both look like a lot of fun. The Diablo team has also buffed several items that were previously useless. For those into cosmetics, the new season offers a cool new pet and portrait frame to grind for.
The new season is set to release on July 3. Will you be joining in on the demon-slaying action, or do you plan to sit this one out? We won’t judge you either way.