Diablo 4 will feature keyed dungeons as part of the endgame content to effectively replace the nephalem rifts from the last installment. They both appear fairly similar on the surface, leading to a bit of confusion among players. Blizzard has now stepped forward to address those concerns.
Posting on the official blog earlier today, lead systems designer David Kim explained how keyed dungeons of Diablo 4 are different from the rifts of Diablo 3.
To begin with, keyed dungeons will rely on unique affixes to introduce greater challenges. For those familiar with Path of Exile, these dungeon keys will function similarly to the maps on the Atlas. Hence, each key will display specific dungeon affixes that players can plan and strategize around before heading forward. While not entirely confirmed, players might also be able to add more affixes to keys through crafting to achieve higher tier dungeons in Diablo 4.
Keyed Dungeons introduce greater challenges as their tiers increase through Dungeon Affixes. The majority of dungeons are real places in the world, and players will know some information about them including what types of monsters, events, and layouts to expect. With this information, as well as the specific Dungeon Affixes being displayed on the key, players will be able to strategize their approach before going into the dungeon.
Dungeon keys will be random drops looted from monsters and chests in Diablo 4. The affixes will also be random and can apply to enemies, players, environments, or all. If anything, keyed dungeons will open up a crafting aspect that was missing from the last installment. In Path of Exile, for example, there’s a whole process to create the most challenging maps for the best chance to gain legendary items.
Blizzard believes that keyed dungeons will prove to be the biggest change in Diablo 4 from the past rifts because players will need to prepare beforehand. For example, a particular dungeon affix might add a “lightning pulse” where players are chased by a ball of lightning, dying immediately when touched. In such a dungeon, players will need to think about increased mobility.
Blizzard will be doing a series of quarterly updates from early next year to keep the community in the loop about how Diablo 4 is being developed. Between now and then, the developer will engage open discussions to determine what to expect from the much-awaited sequel in the franchise.
Blizzard is looking to create the perfect entry into the franchise with Diablo 4 by amassing all the good from Diablo 2 and enhancing that experience by adding modern-day improvements. One of them is the potential support for cross-play, something that was hoped to be there for the last installment. Blizzard did mention certain technicalities that need to be ironed out first.
Diablo 4 remains in development for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC, and without a release date.