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Diablo 4 - Blizzard Overhauls the Itemisation, Giving it all a Classic Action-RPG Feel
Post by KostaAndreadis @ 04:16pm 16/12/20 | Comments
Blizzard is still hard at work on Diablo 4, and ahead of the next big showing at the all-digital BlizzCo 2021 we’ve got all the latest on itemisation.

A classic Diablo feel is the best way to describe the latest insight into the item-side of Diablo 4. We're talking about allocating points each time you level to Primary Stats - Strength, Intelligence, Dexterity, and Willpower. As part of the latest Diablo IV Quarterly Update all about Itemisation - which is your loot and legendary gear and builds and progression - Director Luis Barriga and Lead Game Designer Joe Shely go through all the big changes made to the game.

"Items are the lifeblood of Diablo," writes Luis Barriga. "They are the element of the game that captures your imagination and keeps you playing and wondering, “What if?” after you put the game down. Whether it’s anticipating the next piece of perfectly rolled godly gear or kicking around item combinations in your head like a mad scientist, items are undoubtedly a major part of what makes Diablo so compelling and so different from other games."

Iteration has been baked into Diablo IV’s design, especially when it comes to how things like items and builds and levelling works. After the game’s debut at Blizzcon 2019 the team at Blizzard have been looking at all the feedback it got and has gotten since. This means the version of the game right now, mechanically speaking, is very different.

So yeah, let’s go through it.

Primary Stats

As a direct response to feedback, where it seemed like too much of a character's power came from items, the “Angelic Power” and “Demonic Power” stats are now gone. In their place a more traditional setup with the introduction of Primary Stats.

Items are the lifeblood of Diablo. They are the element of the game that captures your imagination and keeps you playing and wondering, “What if?”

So, putting points in Strength, Intelligence, Dexterity, or Willpower will inform certain aspects of each class, the skill trees (as in requirements to unlock certain abilities), in addition to playing into the loot you find. And in terms of skill trees Blizzard notes that nodes can unlock additional effects or benefits if certain stats are met.
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.

Items will also augment these stats, with Blizzard looking to make more items, well, more relevant to more classes and builds -- meaning a Strength or Dex heavy item could be just as handy for a Barb as it is a Sorceress. Items can then be used to fill in some gaps, using the breakdown above -- leaving stuff like Fury generation to items as opposed to the spending of points.

Weapon Types

Here’s where things go beyond stats and numbers and effects, with there being as much effort put into how Diablo IV’s weapons and weapon types feel and behave and interact with the world. With that in mind the team noticed that there were some fundamental things missing, watching a sword be faster than a two-handed axe or a wand faster than a quarterstave has seen Weapon and Attack Speed become a key stat for these items.

In addition to this weapon types will have specific characteristics and stats to give them their own identity. A clear example of this Shields having a block stat as they did in Diablo III.

Also, Blizzard notes that the look of items in your inventory will be more prominent - and feature high-res renders of the actual in-game models. Meaning, how it looks in the image will be how it looks when you equip it.

Item Qualities - Magic, Rare, Legendary, and Unique

White for common, blue for Magic items, and yellow for Rares. Item colour to determine quality or rarity is Action-RPG 101 and something that has been a part of the Diablo franchise from day one. In terms of Diablo 4, the devil is in the details. The focus here is not to make Legendary and Unique items the be-all end-all, so the team is buffing both Magic and Rare items to make them a lot more viable.

Here’s where things go beyond stats and numbers and effects, with there being as much effort put into how Diablo IV’s weapons and weapon types feel and behave and interact with the world.

On that note a yellow Rare item will roll with 5 affixes, Magic Items can draw from the max stat-range, and Legendary Items will turn one of those 5 from a Rare into a Legendary affix -- something that could be beneficial to any number of classes. Blizzard is likening the approach to a mix of Diablo II and Diablo III, because the new Unique Items will have defined stats and legendary attributes and play into specific class abilities and skills to help bolster a specific style of play or build.

This does mean that the previously talked about high-end Mythic Items have been removed - for now. “We still like the idea of Mythic items, but we don't want to create an item quality that invalidates all others, so they're out for now,” notes Joe Shely. “One of the things we loved most about them was the promise of getting random legendary powers on an item, so we folded that into our baseline legendary design.”

Item sockets for gems and runes are also here -- pointing to a pretty in-depth system. And on that note Blizzard will continue to work on itemisation as development progresses, with the next big showing set for BlizzCon early next year.
Read more about Diablo 4 on the game page - we've got the latest news, screenshots, videos, and more!

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