We recently looked at some of the concepts that will be present in Diablo IV and we would recommend you check this article out if you haven't done so already.
As mentioned already in Part I of this article, Itemization is a huge core part of any Action role playing game (RPG). Before we do anything else we want to explain what Itemization is.
Itemization is the process of creating items, applying modifiers to them in an appropriate manner, getting their damage ranges balanced, and so forth.
Blizzard would be the first to agree that adding depth and customization to your character through itemization is vital to Diablo III. In fact it has been the hottest item of feedback since the concept of Diablo IV was announced and has been cited by Blizzard as one of its top priorities.
Another important philosophy from the Diablo IV team is the idea of "Easy to learn, difficult to master." This core philosophy steered Blizzard fans to become the hardcore gamers they are today, the design team are keen to embrace throughout the Diablo IV development process.
Another important take out from Zlizzard's request for comments is the idea that Diablo IV shouldn't just mimic the itemization in Diablo III. Their declared aim is to take the best parts of previous versions and improve on them wbut at the same improving them and making Diablo IV unique. Blizzard says it doesn't want to create a verbatim copy of Diablo II Diablo III. That said, Blizzard does acknowledge differing viewpoints in the feedback it received on itemization in Diablo
Affixes superceded prefixes and suffixes that were previously known as Bonuses and Modifiers. Blizzard a great deal of conflicting feedback on affixes from the community, and clain to have spent hours of discussion on them. Blizzard conluded that first, item affixes should be a meaningful part of character power. Second, affixes must offer engaging options when ot comes to deciding which items to equip. Blizzard earlier objective was was to make each affix tailored towards specific builds, so that the "perfect item" would vary depending on the build you were pursuing.
What the key differences in Diablo IV?
These new stats can appear as affixes, such as +15 Angelic Power. In addition to providing the above-stated benefit, Blizzard wants these new stats to also act as pre-requisites for empowering other established affixes. This will mean that eveb if you do not have enough of a specific power, you can still equip the item, but you may not benefit from an affix linked to that power.
Blizzard cites a couple of work-in-progress examples to explain how affixes might work in Diablo IV but are at pains to point out these could change:
Each of the three Powers will have a list of affixes that are attuned to it, so depending on which stats you care about, you might want to focus on Angelic, Demonic, or Ancestral Power. In the examples above, you would need 50 Demonic Power to get an additional rank in the Devastation skill, 55 Demonic Power for 25% Fire Resistance, or 60 Demonic power for an additional 2 ranks in the Char to Ash skill. If you wanted to build around Crushing Blow, you'd need to stack at least 55 Ancestral Power instead, while 40 Angelic Power would be required to gain 25% Cold Resistance.
Blizzard believes these changes will address those two main takeaways pretty well. Legendary powers should no longer completely dwarf the strength of your affixes, and the affixes themselves provide more interesting choices because their strength depends on how much of the relevant Powers you've accumulated on the rest of your gear. Blizzard feels that you might find an amulet with the perfect stats for your build, but some of its Affixes may require Demonic Power when you've previously focused on Ancestral. Maybe your current amulet is the primary source of your Ancestral Power, so equipping a new amulet would mean potentially making sacrifices elsewhere.
With this system, it will be easy to identify items with good stats, but it will take some thought and planning to decide whether the item is good for your build. The best items for your character will really depend on what you currently have and how you've built that character, making it more difficult to just look up the right answer online.
At the same time, Blizzard feels that this system keeps items approachable, even if you make suboptimal itemization decisions. You may be weaker, but doing so won't completely break your character. We can also introduce this mechanic gradually and naturally as you level, rather than making it a requirement to understand at the beginning.
Based on player feedback, Blizzard have changed Attack to only be found on weapons, Defense to being only on armor, and we've removed both Attack and Defense from jewelry entirely. The goal here is to better embrace the fantasy of each type of item.
Blizzard is hoping the Attack and Defense stats as a way to convey power progression on items. A core part of any ARPG is the quest for more power. Just as we have skill ranks, talent trees, character levels, and so forth, Attack and Defense allows players to reflect your power growth in items as well.
To be clear, Attack/Defense is not the end of the story of an item's power, but it does fulfill the "easy to learn, difficult to master” design philosophy by giving players a broad sense of whether the item is an upgrade. Players who are optimizing their character will still need to take the additional affixes on an item into account, as their benefit to your build can outweigh the raw Attack or Defense of an item. Solely picking your items based on Attack and Defense will almost never be the optimal way to play, but it does provide a good starting point for newer players.
It's important to reiterate here that items are just one part of a character's overall power. Our goal is to spread out power across different sources, including skill ranks, your character's level, talent trees, items, and the endgame character progression system (which, like everything else, is still in development).
In our last post, we mentioned that we were looking at some potential changes to Ancient items based on your feedback. We are going to remove Ancient Legendaries from the game in their current form entirely.
Our newest proposal hits a couple different feedback points: addressing the usefulness of Rare (Yellow) items as well as increasing the depth and complexity of player gear choices in the endgame.
We will be introducing a new type of consumable item (which we haven't yet named). This item would be earned by killing monsters, just like other items. It would have one random Legendary affix on it, drops only in the late endgame, and can be used to apply that affix to any non-Legendary item.
This means a few things:
Blizzard wants gain to remind fans that none of these previews and concepts are final and they haven't even tried most of these ideas in a working build yet! They's love to get constructive feedback on these approaches, as well as the general direction they're headed for itemization and affixes in Diablo IV. David Kims says that they've never shared this level of detail this early before, but they are looking forward to reading what we have to say.