Elements I Would Like To See in Diablo IV

Diablo IV is ripe with potential for new systems, lore, returning features from previous games, and new content. I have many expectations. Some which I know, and others yet to be explored in the deepest corners of my mind.

 

DIABLO LORE

In terms of Lore, I would like to see quests, and special events based on things we have read before in the Diablo novels and comic books. For example, now that we get to explore Scosglen — how about finding characters like Barbarian Renit, Necromancer Cairo, the Zakarum Paladin Hale and Bay, the spirit of Druid Azgar the werebear and the ghost of Naz. One of the loot items could be the Hand of Naz — after following a series of quests.

Tales of Sanctuary

One thing I liked in particular of Destiny 2 is how some specific weapons start from an item you loot that starts a quest, and then you continue a storyline and at the end you can either loot or craft the weapon. Same could be done in Diablo IV.

Finding locations mentioned in lore and finding NPCs or quests derived from the novels and comics would be awesome too. For example, from Dark Horse: Tales of Sanctuary — Castle of Kanemith, the Tomb of Naz. Maybe get to learn more about those characters through scrolls, and what they have been doing since then; and of course, help them with their current problems. Maybe a quest starts from reading one of the scrolls or journals found in a place that leads us to find the NPC — which is active only when the quest is accepted.

You can find a list of all the Diablo Novels and Comics released to date.

Now older Characters from the Legacy of Blood novel, by Richard A. Knaak. Some might be ghosts now, or risen skeletons named after them. Maybe Horazon could return in this moment of need when things are getting more chaotic to guide us.

I would like to interact with Zayl the Necromancer or play as him, maybe?

What about the characters from Diablo: The Order — which in turn hail from previous novels and comics. Wouldn’t it be nice if one or more of them become the playable character in Diablo IV? Or to find them as NPCs quest givers, and/or have them tag along in our adventures?

Everything is possible in an ever growing content pool like Diablo IV, because the game won’t follow the ACT I-IV format, which means Diablo IV could add new zones, new dungeons, new events, and new quests via DLC, major or minor content patches, and expansions. I’m very hopeful to find many nods to printed media storylines, characters, items, and locations.

 

CAVERNS OF TIME IN DIABLO IV

Timetraveling isn’t alien to the Diablo series. At least it has been hinted, or implied. We have a soft precedent with the Sorceress follower who was sorta in suspended animation for 1500 years. It is hinted that an angel took the identity of The Prophet who taught Eirena (the sorceress follower) and prepared her for the final battle of the End Days. That angel most likely timetraveled to the past and taught his disciples the Prophecy. We also hear about prophecies that might not have been learned via divination or through visions of the future — but could have been knowledge passed forward by someone who timetraveled from our times to the past.

It would be nice to meet an angel or character from the present of Diablo IV, and then, we witness as that person or angel vanishes whether on purporse or accidentally — going back in time, and never to be seen. Maybe we find an ancient letter from that person just moments after he is gone, to tell us of his adventures in the past, how he tried to change things and failed, and it is now our turn to help him. Maybe he guides us to a buried location where we can find an item he left to us from centuries ago to help us combat Lilith or other enemies like the Prime Evils.

There have been several prophecies that have no explanation other than divination or someone from the future coming to the past to spread knowledge of the future — which in turn become into prophecy — examples (some of these prophecies were taught for generations by Druids, Amazons, and the Zann Esu mage clan long before the Diablo I events).

Heck, it would be nice to have some sort of Caverns of Time experience as well. Heading back to the Sin War, or the Mage Clan Wars, and such — of course, some in future Diablo IV expansions.

 

DIABLO IMMORTAL HOOK CONSISTENCY

Something that has been itching at me for some time is that we never saw Deckard Cain manifest any nephalem type of powers per se. Hard to explain how the last of the old-school Horadrim wouldn’t have his powers awakened other than Identifying items, his Horadric Cube knowledge, or reforging Tyrael’s Sword. Why can’t Deckard Cain trascend into becoming an ageless Angel, and join the Angiris Council, for example?

Another thing that has been itching at me is continuity between past Diablo games, and Diablo IV. I mean, if Diablo Immortal happens between Diablo II and Diablo III — how comes we have never heard of these Worldstone pieces that Diablo Immortal players will be gathering in Diablo III?

Will we hear about those worldstone pieces in Diablo IV? That would be interesting. How about in Diablo IV end-game, one of the Diablo Immortal survivors who are still around, now much older, had knowledge where the stash of Worldstone items was hidden.

If the stash of worldstone pieces had been merged into a larger chunk, it could in theory be used to create a tesseract room to cloak its presence and location — like its former larger worldstone was used by Inarius to cloak Sanctuary from the Burning Hells and the High Heavens.

In that line of thought, what if we gained access to that tesseract with an amulet given by this elder survivor from the Diablo Immortal era, and now we can teleport in and out of there whenever we want. Maybe we can gather Charms to empower that large Worldstone chunk to craft Ancient Legendary and Mythic items; and to empower runes and maybe our talent tree, and such? Consistency between past games is important, and that means if we are collecting Worldstone shards in Diablo Immortal — many years later, in Diablo IV — we can use that. Let those past elements from previous games carry over into Diablo IV.

Charms in specific used to take a lot of slots in the Diablo II inventory. Charms could be stored instead in a new UI accessible at the Worldstone chunk tesseract. Any powers or items stored there then are tethered to the player anywhere you are in the world. That way Charms don’t take inventory space.

 

DIABLO IV DLC PACKS

I don’t want to wait 4-6 years to play Diablo IV. We know from experience that after Diablo III was announced in 2008, we didn’t play the game until 2012. That was four years on top of the years they had been developing it internally in secrecy. When the developers said that Diablo IV wouldn’t be playable not even Blizzard “Soon™” — that tells me that is at least 4 years or more.

It is almost 2020 folks. Why do we have to wait for Diablo IV so many years? I propose the TellTale Games The Walking Dead route. I believe Blizzard Entertainment should polish Scosglen as its best possible quality, and build all the core systems to be scalable to accept addons and grow. I mean, it is not the first time that Blizzard Entertainment has launched games in installments.

StarCraft II was first introduced as a three-part story starting with Wings of Liberty (2010), then Heart of the Swarm (2013), and Legacy of the Void (2015) — released each every 2-3 years.

Not only that. Later we got the StarCraft II: Nova Covert Ops mission packs in episodes as well.

Pack 1 – March 29, 2016
Pack 2 – August 2, 2016
Pack 3 – November 22, 2016

So what I am proposing the Diablo IV developers is to restructure their plans, and to start working on a plan to do the same for Diablo IV. We shouldn’t wait years to play this game. We have already waited long enough. Why do we have to wait until they finish all 5 zones?

Build the core features of Diablo IV. Make it scalable so you can expand via DLC packs. Release only the Scosglen campaign mode and PvP. You can be sure that players are going to play the heck of that with 25 dungeons, and PvP.

Zaven Haroutunian: “The plan is to have hundreds of dungeons in the game.”

Add major content patches every 3-4 months. We are going to be glad to wait 6-8 months for the DLC pack #2 adding Zone 2, and more systems and content via patches; then release DLC pack 3 with Zone 3; and so on until all 5 zones are released. Then the expansion packs. That’s how you should build a game in 2020. Scalable polished core game with short DLC packs. Play the game in 2021 cheap. Buy these awesome cosmetic stuff. That way you keep both the players and shareholders happy.

 

ITEMIZATION OVERHAUL

I am tired of the same cookie-cuttered item scheme across games. Let me explain what I mean: Why should I lose health in order to pick an item that has more strength? Why should I lose Resist to All stats to get a +Critical Damage upgrade? Why should I lose socket in order to get +Damage against Elites?

Just let me keep the same stats I want across the board. If I get loot 25 items, and 24 are red stats, I want any item that is an upgrade to be an upgrade to all of the stats — and I don’t want to ever see loot that has 2 upgrades (shown as green text) but lose 1 stat (shown as red text). As a player, I don’t want ever to lose stats. The reason to play is to obtain items that make me more powerful over time. What developers tag as “choice” is not (always) an actual choice if I lose stats.

I am supposed to become more powerful. I do not want to earn one or two benefitial stats at the expense of losing one or more stats.

In real life, if it is winter, you don’t swap your winter pants for cashmere shorts. That’s not an upgrade if you lose insulation. That’s not a choice. You will freeze to death.

Another thing about Diablo itemization I don’t understand is this: I only want the Trag’Oul’s Corrupted Fang weapon. I don’t want to switch it to another weapon unless it is a Trag’Oul’s Corrupted Weapon duplicate with upgraded stats.

It will be some time until I get an upgraded duplicate of that weapon, but on top of the time and random chance for a duplicate to drop… the worst thing that can ever happen is to have 2 red stats and only 1 upgrade. This should never happen. If I get an upgrade, I want 100% all stats to be an upgrade. Even if all the three stats are within is 0.09% – 8% better than my current copy of the Trag’Oul’s Corroded Fang — it is a bonafide upgrade without the punishment of losing a stat or two.

In short: Never give red stats in an upgrade. Only green stats across all stats.

In such an intelligent item system, I would like choice in terms of what new stats I would want in my next Trag’Oul’s Corroded Fang. For example, a very low droprate item could be introduced that allows me to add a stat to an item.

Let’s say my weapon doesn’t have “Life After Each Kill.” Suddenly, a rare item drops. I click that item, and click my current weapon. The “Life After Each Kill” stat is added into my weapon permanently.

Now… the itemization system should intelligently know that next time a Trag’Oul’s Corroded Fang drops — it will add green stats to my previous stats, plus an upgrade for the “Life After Each Kill” stat.

That is what customization should be all about. Don’t randomize things so much that I will have to choose to upgrade Intelligence and Vitality at the cost of losing Reduce cooldowns of all Skills %. If I get an upgrade, upgrade all the stats always even if it is a small percent. That’s how upgrades should work.

Instead of limiting items to be forever either 4%-10% — keep upgrading new Trag’Oul’s Corroded Fang weapons until you reach the max 10% threshold, then increase to the next rank from 11%-20%, and so on. Always make the character more powerful.

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BlizzCon 2019 Panel Transcripts

Tomas Hernandez is owner of Blizzplanet.com since 2003. I post news about World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, Diablo III, Hearthstone, Overwatch, Heroes of the Storm, Blizzard Careers, and the Warcraft film.

Blizzplanet is a leading fansite covering news about upcoming Blizzard Entertainment licensed products. I also post previews and reviews. I have interviewed book writers and Blizzard game developers.

I was previously an employee of the OGaming Network (2003), and IncGamers (2008-2010). I was a guest newsposter for GosuGamers (World of Warcraft) a few years ago and for Diablofans.com (formerly Diablo3.com)

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