Blizzard is redesigning the skill system to not make us have a run-of-the-mill character in Diablo IV.
The company has published its quarterly development update that talks about the game’s Skills and Talents systems that have gone through major changes, based on playtesting and feedback from the community. The progression under the current Skill system, according to Blizzard, „felt too simple, which created issues where a player would have no meaningful reason to spend their skill points,” so they started making a new one with separate skills and passives.
For example, the Sorceress skill tree (which itself is an actual tree) has skills and skill upgrades on nodes along the branches. Here you will spend skill points you gain for levelling up. You can also get passive points that can be used on „powerful passive effects,” seen at the tree’s roots. „The Skill Tree you see above consists of many specific nodes, a sample of which you can see in the screenshots above. If we imagine every single node on that massive Skill Tree affecting different skills in different ways, the path that you decide to take will determine big power increases and playstyle choices,” Blizzard says. The company added that we can’t unlock every node in the skill tree. Currently, only 30-40% of it will be available for endgame characters, „so that players can have very distinct, and different ways they build out their character.”
The Legendary items will also see an overhaul, as currently, our character’s power is too dependent on what items they have over the builds. „We’ve also had very mixed team feedback regarding core itemization. We’re currently looking at how to best differentiate our various item qualities. For example, should Magic quality items have higher affix stats than Rare items?”, Blizzard says. More information about this is likely coming in the next update in late December, or possibly January (they will probably not work after Christmas).
They also gave an insight into the Sorceress Enchantment System, which is similar to the Arsenal system of the Barbarian in Diablo III, allowing it to be as distinct as possible. „The main goal for us here is to have very unique class-specific mechanics in Diablo IV. We have this goal because Diablo is the kind of game where many players try out different builds or classes, especially during seasonal play. We believe that unique class mechanics with very different strengths and playstyles compared to other classes will make exploring the different classes—and playing the game—much more fun,” Blizzard says.
There’s a small insight into the endgame progression, but nothing more: „This system is intended to provide more depth and replayability than what Paragon currently offers in Diablo III. We, and many Blizzard gamers, have talked about the concept of ‘easy to learn, difficult to master.’ We believe that the end game progression system is where the difficult to master component will come in and should meet the expectations of the most hardcore Diablo players out there.”
Things might change, though, as Diablo IV is still actively in development. Blizzard welcomes constructive discussion on the forums, Reddit, and Twitter. The game has no release date and is in development for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. It might be showcased at BlizzConline in February.