Blizzard has already ascertained that some of the fundamental gameplay systems of Diablo 4 will be reworked ahead of release. Rather than simply carry forward the last installment, the developer has been actively collecting feedback from the community about what improvements must be considered for the sequel.
Posting on the official blog earlier this week, lead systems designer David Kim discussed a pretty massive change to Ancient items in Diablo 4. They were introduced in Diablo 3 as a sort of item modifier, an enhanced version of an existing legendary item with higher values to most of the affixes found on the original item. These Ancient items are now being completely removed from Diablo 4 and will be replaced with something new.
What Blizzard is currently proposing is to replace Ancient items with a new type of consumable item, which remains unnamed. This new item will only drop from high-level monsters in the late endgame and will have one random legendary affix that can be applied to any non-legendary item.
The idea is to introduce methods of play without adding more power to endgame items. The problem with Ancient items was that they quickly became a boring grind just to upgrade regular legendary items. The rewards were not unique and tasked players into an endless grind to keep adding power multipliers. Diablo 4 has been requested by players to not follow suit. The sequel needs a better incentive for players to invest time. Blizzard believes that the new consumable item is a good fit in that regard.
Our [Blizzard] 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.
Where affixes are concerned, Blizzard has confirmed some new ones for Diablo 4 as well. There’s Demonic Power that increases the duration of debuffs and damage over time. There’s Angelic Power that increases the duration of buffs and healing. There’s also Ancestral Power that increases the proc chance for on-hit effects. Blizzard is also considering to turn all three aforementioned stats into prerequisites for other affixes in Diablo 4.
Previously, Blizzard revealed that that the endgame progression of Diablo 4 is currently undecided between a finite and infinite leveling system. There are pros and cons to each but generally, an infinite leveling system becomes worse with time as it eventually overshadows all the power granted by other sources.
The developer is considering to integrate two different leveling systems in Diablo 4. One of them will be tied to the character through a level cap, giving a “sense of completion” to the player. Those who want to go further will have a second experience system to watch that will basically be tied to the endgame content. Having two different leveling systems will allow the developer to cater to both player-bases and introduce additional depth by providing choice based on preferred play-styles.
Diablo 4 remains in development for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC, and without a release date.