Patch 2.4 Class Balance Changes in Diablo II
Diablo II Resurrected - 2024-02-17 14:45:37
Tags: Diablo II Resurrected
Explaining the class changes in Diablo II patch 2.4
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Diablo 2: Resurrected released its first major patch to slightly shake up the metagame in April 2022. In this article, without listing every minute detail of Patch 2.4, we’re going to go through the more impactful and interesting class changes, and what they potentially bring to the game.

D2, however beloved it is, has always had egregiously bad class balance. Outliers have not only had several times the damage of the rest of the pack, but in many cases, they were also much more durable, and almost completely unhindered by immune monsters.
Blizzard’s aim in this patch was not to completely rearrange the pecking order, but instead to bring the worst performers closer to the rest, and at the same time bring some quality of life improvements to most builds, as well as to loosen restrictions.

An overarching change they’ve made to a lot of classes was decreasing the number of skill synergies, but at the same time increasing the magnitude of the bonus they provide. This results in slightly more freedom in character building, as players can achieve the same increase with fewer “mandatory” skill points allocated. However, there are builds for whom nothing really changed. 
For instance, removing Lightning Sentry’s synergy from Death Sentry doesn’t change the fact that DS is still the best way for clearing large packs and dealing with lightning immune monsters, so most Trapsins without Infinity will still max it out either way.
Shapeshifter Druids have received a change in how attack speed is calculated in Werewolf and Werebear forms. Previously, their weapon’s attack speed was factored into this calculation several times, making WIAS much more important than anything else when choosing a weapon. After the patch, Druids can expect slower weapons to be much more viable, whereas the fastest ones are taken down a notch. Overall, this can still be considered a buff, as previously too slow weapons, such as Reaper’s Toll, can now be used comfortably, and the damage they dish out is truly amazing.
Several skills have their casting delays or cooldowns removed or reduced, which now opens them up for experimentation in the endgame. Armageddon, Immolation Arrow and Hydra are the most notable ones, whereas Fist of Heavens (and Holy Bolts it spawns) has also received a change that makes it able to damage demons as well as the undead. As a result of this, FoH Paladin has emerged as a top-tier alternative to Hammerdin for PvE, especially Chaos Sanctuary runs.
For ranged attack enthusiasts, Strafe, Multishot and Guided Arrow have all received damage increases, making Physical Bowazon a very strong pick, as opposed to the somewhat lackluster performance it previously had, even with top-notch equipment. 
Throw Barbarians are the biggest winners, however, as Throwing Mastery has received some massive quality of life changes. Not only does it now give the Barbarian a chance to not consume ammo, but it even replenishes its quantity on critical strikes. 
This makes ammo management a complete non-issue, and makes the use of ethereal throwing weapons much more convenient as well. Gone are the days of waiting 4 seconds for a single charge of The Lacerator to replenish!

There have been several buffs to make the Martial Arts Assassin more viable too. 
Firstly, finishing moves now ignore the target’s defense, if used with active charges. 
A (perhaps unintended) victim to this change is Dragon Talon, which previously had the same quality on every hit regardless of charges, although this wasn’t listed in the skill description. This made Kicksins great at killing bosses, but unfortunately from now on, they too will have to stack Attack Rating to avoid missing.
Additionally, starting from 2.4, finishers do not consume all charges either, rather just one. This makes the Assassin able to simply alternate between a single use of a charge-up skill and a finisher, to be able to constantly proc fully charged effects.

For Paladins, another notable change is that offensive auras, such as Holy Fire, now deal more damage the closer the Paladin is to the monster. On top of this, their damage bonus from synergies has been increased as well, making them overall stronger.
The distance-based damage change alone is fairly significant, as it now makes these auras do double damage at melee range. These changes have made the already solid Tesladin even stronger and helped out other, more niche Paladin builds as well.

A fair amount of skills from all character classes have received simple damage buffs as well, but these were either not accompanied by QoL improvements, or they weren’t enough to really make anything out of them. Sorceress skills, such as Blaze, or Inferno might have gotten stronger, but they still aren’t as strong or as easy to use as their more popular alternatives. 
Similar changes have been made to the Amazon’s Poison and Plague Javelin skills, the Assassin’s fire traps, and her blade skills as well.

In conclusion, we can definitely say that the developers have reached their goal of increasing build diversity with patch 2.4. While a lot of these newly buffed builds require a significant gear investment to really shine, players will nevertheless have more options to pick from than before.
Admittedly, this doesn’t necessarily apply to players who are only interested in playing the absolute best builds, as it’s hard to imagine Hammerdin and Lightning Sorceress being taken down from their throne – thankfully though, that was never the intent.

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