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Blizzard has radically changed how Diablo IV's skill trees will work, and they've uprooted their original structure in favour of a tree. A literal tree.
"Right after we revealed the game at BlizzCon, we received a lot of feedback on the level of depth, progression, and customisation provided by our Skill and Talent systems," said game director Luis Barriga in the latest quarterly development update. "We've generally had the same observations and experiences ourselves as we've been playtesting the game in its early stages. As a result, we've been reworking skills and talents over the last few months and are now ready to share some of the progress we've made."
In order to let players customise and personalise their builds in Diablo IV, the skill and talent systems now boast "more depth" and offer a "meaningful reason to spend their skill points." These trees, with active and passive skills, were the answer to the troubles that Blizzard was facing from its feedback. Here's what it looks like, for now:
In this new structure, the developer aims to provide players with a way of specialising their character without relying on items to fulfil that endeavour. "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," explained lead system designer David Kim. "The Passive part of this system is where you will find more general upgrades to your character. These effects are not specific to particular skills. Therefore, the Skill Tree will have a good mix of all types of different choices for players to make."
However, Blizzard is not intending for players to climb every branch of the tree. The team is "currently aiming for 30~40% of the nodes filled in for end game," which sounds contradictory when accompanied by all this talk of power to the player. But, the developer elaborated that this restriction will encourage players to experiment and be creative with their character builds. Lots of games want you to collect and unlock everything, which may lead to a fun yet unsatisfying feeling of being overpowered for the world around you. This approach has me intrigued, and it will bring players together naturally based on their strengths and weaknesses.
Moving on, the gear mechanics have also been tweaked and adjusted, like the Ancestral/Demonic/Angelic Powers system. In addition, Legendary items and other sought-after items will be balanced so that they don't detract from the skills and talents the player has taken. More information on these projects will be shared in the next update, so hold your horses for now.
Diablo IV is in development for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. Its release window has not been officially announced at the moment, so there's a possibility that it may arrive on PS5 and the Xbox Series X and S after its current-gen counterparts.
Featured Image Credit: Blizzard, Activision
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