Diablo 3 Season 29 is going all-in to celebrate the 12-year journey of the Blizzard RPG game. Pitched as Diablo 3’s final season, with the team moving its focus to Diablo 4 seasons following its launch, the Diablo 3 Season 29 patch notes go all-out on answering just about every community request for quality-of-life improvements and balance changes imaginable to craft what promises to be among the most exciting and competitive seasons yet.
Blizzard’s preliminary Diablo 3 Season 29 PTR patch notes are here, and they give us a look at all the upcoming changes that have been made. Diablo 3 season 28 was already one of the best the game had seen – its last couple of years really shining as the team left to care for it in its twilight era experiment with pushing the limits – and Season 29 looks to follow on from that in style.
While that season’s Altar of Rites made for one of the most ridiculous, high-octane seasons ever, Season 29 is instead looking to lean more into interesting competitive changes and community-led balance tweaks. Chief among these is the addition of an official ‘solo self-found’ mode, a complete rework of the game’s Paragon system, and some extremely welcome quality-of-life improvements.
The SSF (solo self-found) option has been long requested by players, essentially allowing you to mark yourself as someone who only plays alone with no player trading, meaning you’re entirely reliant on gear you find yourself. With how powerful both multiplayer generally and the ability to trade for high-tier drops is in Diablo 3, giving players who choose to go completely solo their own set of leaderboards is a great boon, and something we’d love to see Diablo 4 include as well.
The way Diablo 3 Paragon points work is also changing in Season 29. Previously, the system was almost devoid of any real decision-making, and instead offered basically infinite scaling that meant whoever played for the longest and reached the highest Paragon level would be the strongest player, due to the endless drip-feed of points to your character’s main stat.
In Diablo 3 Season 29, you’ll have just 800 Paragon points to spend. That might sound like a lot, but don’t worry – you’ll get there faster than most players can hit the Diablo 4 max level cap. You now have 200 points for each of the four categories, and have complete freedom to distribute them however you want within those, putting all 200 into any single stat bonus should you choose to.
Of course, there’s also a new seasonal theme – this almost pales in comparison to the magnitude of some of the changes to core systems, but it does pose some intriguing design questions. Diablo 3 Season 29’s theme is ‘Visions of Enmity’ – Diabolical Fissures that open up while in the open world and lead you into the aforementioned Visions of Enmity, where incredibly dangerous encounters promise rich rewards.
These Visions of Enmity can chain together, with fissures inside fissures, and will also feature enemies with all-new monster affixes that can reduce your movement speed and cooldown reduction, cut your healing, or even steal away your character’s main resource. Given that Diablo 3’s open world has traditionally been almost entirely forgotten in favor of Greater Rift farming nowadays, having a genuine reason to go back out there regularly is quite exciting.
Speaking of Greater Rifts, the mainstay of the Diablo 3 endgame also gets some love. Some of the least popular monster types have been pulled out in favor of more fun options to fight, while three of the most hated map types – Corvus, Ice Caves, and Spider Caves – have been removed from the Greater Rift rotation entirely, to the joy of us all. Some of the quieter zones have also seen a bump in monster density to make them more appealing.
There’s also a number of fun and smart class balance changes in Diablo 3 Season 29. The Crusader gets some love, introducing a Legendary bonus letting you call down Fist of the Heavens automatically as you ride around on your War Horse. Perhaps the all-time most famous build, the GoD Demon Hunter, gets a five-second buffer, meaning you’ll no longer have to risk a repetitive strain injury mashing keys to keep your Momentum buffs up.
To round us off, the Witch Doctor’s ridiculous Angry Chicken build even gets some love – promising the ability to fashion a full swarm of plucky cluckers that bound around, seeking out enemies and exploding for huge damage. It probably still won’t be topping those Greater Rift leaderboards, but it’s the kind of delightful change that makes me genuinely look forward to picking up a class I haven’t touched in a while.
Diablo 3 Season 29 start date
The Diablo 3 Season 29 PTR start date is Tuesday August 15, 2023, and it runs for two weeks, ending on August 29, 2023. That means we can expect the season proper to start in early September, so it’s likely that the Diablo 3 Season 29 start date will be September 5 or September 12, 2023.
There’s a lot going on in the ARPG space right now, with the announcement of Titan Quest 2, the reveal of Path of Exile 2, the run-up to the Last Epoch full release, and of course the ongoing first season of Diablo 4. However, if you’ve ever thought about revisiting Diablo 3, when better than to join in than for its last full rodeo before the game moves into repeating old seasons from Season 30 onwards.
Diablo community manager Adam ‘PezRadar’ also confirms that the Season 28 Altar of Rites, which won’t be present for this season, will return as a permanent addition to the core game and all future seasons after this. For all its lows and highs over the years, I can’t think of a better way to see off Diablo 3 than this.