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Diablo IV Quarterly update (December 2020)

cormack12

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Mar 21, 2013
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Source: https://news.blizzard.com/en-us/diablo4/23583664/diablo-iv-quarterly-update-december-2020
Previous update: https://www.neogaf.com/threads/diablo-4-quarterly-update-large-pics.1528305/



Pasted a decent amount but there's plenty moer at the link

Hello, and welcome once again to the Diablo IV Quarterly Update—our last for 2020!

Progress on the game continues at a steady clip and we’re excited about several big updates and revisions that the team’s worked on for a long time that we are trying to complete before the holidays. Today’s topic centers on one such major revision, which also happens to be the most requested topic this year: Itemization.

Today we're going to look at some changes to items in Diablo IV and update you on a few things we've shared in our previous development blogs. In deciding what changes to make, we focused on three core ideals:

  • First, we want to strengthen class identity by providing intuitive fantasy hooks. Items and skills that lean into the fantasy of your class are best.
  • Second, we want to support deeper customization through our itemization. Items should support and enhance your class, not define it.
  • Finally, we’re landing on overall depth somewhere between Diablo II and Diablo III. We aim to provide years of things to discover and countless ways to build a class.

Skill Tree
Since releasing the last quarterly blog post on the skill tree, we've been reviewing all of your feedback. Our team has also had a lot of hands-on time with our skill trees in frequent internal playtests, including an extended progression playtest. Based on this, we're confident that it's a solid direction, so we're going to iterate on it and make further improvements. For example, we're increasing the clustering of related skill nodes, so players don't have to go across the tree to find skill upgrades for their builds.

The ability to re-specialize or 'respec' your skills is a tricky one to balance. Like many of you, we want choices to matter and characters to feel different from each other—not just one click away from being identical to all the others. We also want to encourage players to experiment with different skills when they start playing, and discover builds that are right for them. In Diablo IV, you will be able to respec your skills and passives. The number of times you can do this will be unlimited, but it won’t be free


Primary Stats
In our last blog, we agreed with your feedback that too much of a character's power came from the items they wore. And we liked the imagery conjured by the phrases “Angelic Power” and “Demonic Power,” but they didn't reinforce the fantasy of what being a Barbarian, a Sorcerer, or a Druid is all about. So we went back to our roots and looked at the classic RPG elements of early Diablo games. What are you really doing when you wade through a horde of monsters and emerge a level higher on the other side? You're training; you're practicing a skill; you're getting better at what you do. Becoming stronger, and smarter.





As a Barbarian, each point of Strength will increase the damage of your skills, while Willpower improves Fury generation, and Dexterity grants critical chance. Meanwhile, as a Sorceress, Intelligence increases skill damage, Willpower grants critical chance, and Dexterity hastens mana recovery. Each stat also confers a secondary defensive bonus.

You can supplement your character's stat build with items to give you a little more Willpower here, a little more Strength there, but the vast majority of your stats will come from how you choose to spend your points.

And here's where it gets really interesting. Many of the nodes in each class skill tree have additional effects if you meet specific primary stat thresholds. You'll get the baseline effect of these nodes when you spend the skill points to unlock them, but get enough of the corresponding primary stat and the bonus effect will activate.






Weapon Types
As we hinted at in our last blog, we're making substantial changes to core itemization.

We’ll start by looking at the many different weapons available to classes in Diablo IV. Our weapon types look visually distinct and have meaningful effects on gameplay through features like the Barbarian's Arsenal. We've also done a lot of work in the game engine to make weapons feel more real and physical, like the Barbarian carving a trough through the ground with their mace during Upheaval.




Wands should be faster than quarterstaves, and swords and maces should do different things. To see what that feels like in action, we've added weapon speeds and inherent characteristics to all weapons in our latest internal test environment.



In general, one-handed weapons excel at letting you attack and reposition quickly, while slower two-handed weapons deal more damage. You can really feel the differences between them.



Item Qualities
We’ve also made some exciting changes to the game’s item qualities. Philosophically, we like the clarity of analysis afforded by clearly understood item tiers. In other words, we think players of all skill levels benefit from not having to scrutinize every single item that drops to see if it might be an upgrade for them—blue Magic items are good, but yellow Rares are usually better.


That said, we don't want to end up in a place where the right decision is to ignore every item that doesn't have a glowing orange sky-beam.

So, we're making a lot of exciting changes here. We’re increasing the potential power of individual affixes on Magic items. We're increasing the maximum number of affixes on Rare and better items in the endgame. Legendary affixes now roll randomly (Yes, really!) on Legendary Items. And Unique items will replace Mythics.


Legendary Affixes
You can think of Legendary items as Rare items with one affix replaced with a legendary effect. These new legendary affixes work just like regular affixes, in that they can roll randomly on different items and in different slots. Many can be used by any class, while some are specific to a particular class.


Uniques
Unique items are making a comeback in a big way in Diablo IV. We're embracing the fantasy of these build-around items with completely fixed affixes, heavily thematic and usually class-specific powers, and distinctive looks.
 
Oct 26, 2018
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Got to say with all these 2077 threads (getting yawn), I saw this Diablo 4 thread and click it asap.

Thanks for the info cormack. That big dirt wave attack (lol) looks awesome.

Nice grittier colour palette too.

I hope the UI comes to console, but it might be a kb/m thing. The boxy kind of layout is better than the analog stick spiderweb thing consolers get (Mass Effect did it too).
 
Oct 26, 2018
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This is going to go on the trash heap of fan service games with no inspiration whatsoever. Like begging your girlfriend to get back together with you by reverting to the personality you had when you met her at 18.
The one thing I don't get (or maybe Im lazy and missed it), is D4 is supposed to be some kind of half and half SP and MMO game where I think you can play the game as normal, but then you get raid quests or some shit and suddenly random online gamers are seen trying to take down a boss.

I didn't read it in full though.

Maybe you can shut that off.
 
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jshackles

Gentlemen, we can rebuild it. We have the capability to make the world's first enhanced store. Steam will be that store. Better than it was before.
Jul 2, 2013
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blizzard is doing everything right

Seriously though, this looks like it's gonna be a great return to form for the series. Diablo III was cool and all but every playthrough was completely "same-y" because skills could be redone at any time and passives could be chosen at-will. Leveling up was essentially on auto-pilot. It's great for streamlining the gameplay, but terrible for making meaningful builds.
 

Calcium

Banned
May 15, 2013
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I think it'll be better than Diablo 3 out the gate, but still a far cry from the first two. The people currently working at Blizzard aren't capable of dethroning Diablo ll.
 
Oct 26, 2018
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I think it'll be better than Diablo 3 out the gate, but still a far cry from the first two. The people currently working at Blizzard aren't capable of dethroning Diablo ll.
D2 was awesome. And it seemed hard too. Way harder than D3. Ya I know you can amp up the torment levels to a level which makes your character cry, but I remember playing D2 and it just seemed harder and grittier.

D4 has the grittier look to it which is fine. And modern Diablo games make it more streamlined which is good (picking up gold and no more identify or town scrolls), but D3's combo of rainbow colours and maps just seemed kind of meh.

And way too many orange unique items. You get so many and so many sameish ones it's not special anymore. In D2, you fight a good yellow item and it was like Wow!
 
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NT80

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Aug 7, 2019
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Those points sound like there really addressing a lot of the issues I had with D3. You can even apply stat points yourself and they will make meaningful differences to the build. It's a very good update. The only other thing I'd like them sort out is the balancing of the difficulty. Make it challenging in a good way and from the early stages of the game not just on higher difficulties.
 
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wtftad

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Jun 6, 2014
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Interesting changes to the items affixes/rolls. Legendary affixes can exist across multiple items and the Unique items all drop the same way each time. I liked the fluid nature of D3 builds per class. Looking back on D2 its approach to locked in skill choices is restrictive imo which is why I still play D3 to this day and only D2 every once in a while.

Looking forward to giving it a go for sure!
 

Bombolone

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Please be good.
Art direction is definitely an improvement over 3. Hopefully the tone steers away from the 'disney' fantasy vibe.
 
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Golgo 13

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Jun 14, 2014
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I'm cautiously optimistic here. No fucking auction house at launch will help, but the question remains - How will Blizzard slime their way toward more money with this game? Loot boxes? Another version of the auction house? Because it will happen. Something will, there's always a catch with Blizzard nowadays.
 
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Nov 6, 2019
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Why not advance the reactive AI? Work to get the mobs to coordinate attacks. Why not have the mob leader look at and point to the underlings he wants to attack you before they start retreating. Just an example. That instead of the same old/same old.
 

Bolivar687

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Although a part of me wonders why they couldn't have done all this stuff years ago in a "Pro" option to D3 and make a free new campaign to go along with it?

These people get paid by the biggest gaming conglomerate in the world to do this, GGG does it for tips.
 

The_Mike

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I don't know what to expect. Hearing about a new Diablo makes my Diablo mind hyped.

Until I think about Diablo 3. Together with the latest wow expansion and war 3 reforged, I don't think Blizzard can pull this off. The magic is long gone.

Proove me wrong Blizzard.
 
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Silver Wattle

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Why not advance the reactive AI? Work to get the mobs to coordinate attacks. Why not have the mob leader look at and point to the underlings he wants to attack you before they start retreating. Just an example. That instead of the same old/same old.
This is the largest area that has been neglected in video games in recent years, developers are so used to just resorting to cheats to fake strategy.
 

Edgelord79

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Up the complexity of the skill tree. Not to PoE levels, but so at least there is legitamite choice within your class. Diablo's skill system revolves around gear bonuses so more armour and weapon variety that is useful would be appreciated.

Have a better system in place than running the same bounties over and over again. Better cosmetics would be nice. Don't lock characters behind DLC instead have paid cosmetics if you need to.

So far, I think the game is looking good. I like the darker theme much more and fits the game better than the previous Diablo. I'm excited to try it.
 
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Also, you can have a 'dismantle' strategy. Let's say a certain group of orcs attack with a front of soldiers who are trying to keep you busy while groups in the back are entrenching mortars or ballistae or whatever. The longer you can't get to those in the back, the stronger their weapon becomes against you. This is coming from the guy who gave the arsenal mechanic to Grim Dawn, that you fellas took. It's timelined in the discussions :p
 

tylrdiablos

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Jan 7, 2018
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Anyone who thinks Blizzard 2020 can make this game and do it correctly is in denial.
There's nothing wrong with having a little optimism... the important thing is not to pre-order and wait for reviews before parting with any cash.

This is going to go on the trash heap of fan service games with no inspiration whatsoever. Like begging your girlfriend to get back together with you by reverting to the personality you had when you met her at 18.
You okay, bro? You need a hug?
 
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drotahorror

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D2 was awesome. And it seemed hard too. Way harder than D3. Ya I know you can amp up the torment levels to a level which makes your character cry, but I remember playing D2 and it just seemed harder and grittier.

D4 has the grittier look to it which is fine. And modern Diablo games make it more streamlined which is good (picking up gold and no more identify or town scrolls), but D3's combo of rainbow colours and maps just seemed kind of meh.

And way too many orange unique items. You get so many and so many sameish ones it's not special anymore. In D2, you fight a good yellow item and it was like Wow!

Doesn't sound like you played vanilla D3. It was hard. And finding legendaries was rare. And yellow items were the good items.
 
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Codeblew

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Jun 24, 2010
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D3 sucked at launch but it was pretty good IMO a year or two after release. I hope this game lives up to where D3 left off.
 

Rentahamster

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And here's where it gets really interesting. Many of the nodes in each class skill tree have additional effects if you meet specific primary stat thresholds. You'll get the baseline effect of these nodes when you spend the skill points to unlock them, but get enough of the corresponding primary stat and the bonus effect will activate.

Interesting addition that can either be deep or just plain annoying if not tuned right.

That said, we don't want to end up in a place where the right decision is to ignore every item that doesn't have a glowing orange sky-beam.
Good design philosophy.

So, we're making a lot of exciting changes here. We’re increasing the potential power of individual affixes on Magic items. We're increasing the maximum number of affixes on Rare and better items in the endgame. Legendary affixes now roll randomly (Yes, really!) on Legendary Items.
Sounds good to me.
 
Aug 28, 2019
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I think it looks great; but I also enjoyed D3. I'm not a hardcore "play the same character for 2000 hours" guy though.
 

Saber

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I like that they're trying to go to the roots of leveling on Diablo. But I'm not really happy with the idea of every stats points matters and working differently for each char. Not sure about bonus attributes too.

Interesting to note that they're aiming for different effects on different weapons of same class(1hand for instance). I'm just not sure about bringing the same concept of two hand being slower as fuck but dealing more damage. It was that way before and it never interested me in any way. I hope they don't make this the only difference, maybe putting more passive bonus to 2h weapons like improving defense of auto parry? Almost no one trades an one hand + shield for a 2 hand.

Anyone who thinks Blizzard 2020 can make this game and do it correctly is in denial.

Yeah.
It look way ambitious for its own good, thats why it may sound like a recipe for disaster.
 
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Zefah

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I'm still really looking forward to it, but I'm not going to let myself get too excited until a reasonably firm release date is announced.

So they are going back to actually using weapons for more than stat buffs? Thank Diablo...that was such a dumb design choice for 3.

For real. Right out of the gate, that probably made me enjoy the game like 25% less.
 
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TexMex

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Aug 30, 2019
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Blizzard hasn't earned much good will in recent years but I'm optimistic about this. I like where it has headed visually (not that I hated 3 as much as most) and enjoyed what little we've seen. Also appreciate the pretty robust quarterly updates.
 
Nov 7, 2020
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I think it'll be better than Diablo 3 out the gate, but still a far cry from the first two. The people currently working at Blizzard aren't capable of dethroning Diablo ll.

I didn't hate Diablo 3 out the gate. The real-money auction house slapped, made around $500 the first few weeks just selling drops. Obviously it's so much better now but too many hacks/instant leveling.
 

peter42O

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Aug 9, 2014
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Will there be a PlayStation 5/Xbox Series X version of Diablo IV at launch or is it just for last gen consoles?
 

Rickyiez

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Even if it finally ended up great peoples will still find a way to complain . The gaming community is so much more toxic nowadays :messenger_winking:
 
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Bolivar687

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Interesting to note that they're aiming for different effects on different weapons of same class(1hand for instance). I'm just not sure about bringing the same concept of two hand being slower as fuck but dealing more damage. It was that way before and it never interested me in any way. I hope they don't make this the only difference, maybe putting more passive bonus to 2h weapons like improving defense of auto parry? Almost no one trades an one hand + shield for a 2 hand.

You need to be able to toggle in-game for when you need to switch up from playing more defensive to going ham.
 

VictorVectors

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Nov 24, 2020
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Everyone makes fun of IGN for always saying the game "makes you FEEL like you're Spiderman" or whomever the title character happens to be.

I want to play this and feel like I'm playing as the barbarian version of Constantine through something literally biblical. I want blood and Dante's Inferno and pits of hellfire and I want it to feel hopeless like Diablo 2. I mean that honestly and in the best way and I hope you get what I'm saying.

Brimstone. Ash. Hell. Satan. Fire. God's PISSED but you're all that stands between blithe minions of absolute chaos and a scorched earth.
 
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Nov 2, 2019
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Everything is sounding better than in D3. I'm liking the item quality changes. There was no point in whites and blues at all, and yellows were only a place holder for a few hours until you found a legendary for every slot.
 
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