I love me some Diablo IV updates. The quarterly update blog posts come with a plethora of tantalizing tidbits to help us cope with the fact that the game is still pretty far away.
Some key highlights from todays blog bonanza include:
- A veeery early look at Paragon Levelling (max level progression)
- VFX tweaks and improvements on player abilities
- +SKILL is back! On items!
#DiabloIV Quarterly Update
👾 New content & systems
☑️ Updates to itemization
💀 Skill-driven death system
✚ Return of +Skills on items
— Diablo (@Diablo) December 20, 2021
The last dot point in particular has me positively buzzed – I had a great time with Diablo III, but Diablo II: Resurrected brought back a murky memory of how amazing it was to find items that grant you ranks to a skill. I had completely forgotten how you could make entirely bonkers builds with supercharged key skills – or just leverage an ability that hadn’t even skilled up in to change how you play. On my Necromancer I even ended up beating Diablo himself the first time by slathering some points into Iron Golem for a real tank, with some bonus goodies bulking him out.
I love the try-before-you-buy nature of skill increasing items, so this is a huge plus for Diablo IV.
There was even a look at the new and improved Paragon system, where you improve your player power beyond the level cap by filling out progression tiles across a board of slots. Lesser tiles will give a stat boost, however rarer ‘magic tiles’ can be worked towards to really start to amp up how you play.
The #DiabloIV endgame Paragon Board
🗝 Unlock at Level 50
✨ Earn Paragon Points
🏃♂️ Chase rare tiles
— Diablo (@Diablo) December 20, 2021
These special tiles can provide some seriously game changing stats – with a tiered system to easily show that the deeper you go into your progression, the more hurt you are going to unleash on the hordes of hell. 30% more damage while your barbarian has 50% or more fury? Terrifying.
The VFX portion of this update was both incredibly interesting, as well as stunning. Daniel Briggs, lead visual effects artist for Diablo IV explains how the team is approaching a game that aims for such high visual fidelity – especially when there is a lot of unique elements to come in to play.
Each of his points have a video element to demonstrate what they are aiming for, but the one that impressed me most was showcasing how they are tackling ‘Dynamic Player Skills’ – essentially adding proper visual feedback to communicate the power of an ability that can be improved and ranked up within the game. In simple terms? Your rank 30 magic missile is going to look a hell of a lot more dangerous than your rank 1 version.
My personal favourite demonstration was seeing the spell Incinerate change from a needle thin plume of flame to a massive gout of fire, truly living up to it’s name as a flamethrower-like ability. Honestly, if you only watch ONE video from this blog post – make it this one:
One final visual detail that was highlighted in the blog post included the demonstration of ‘Skill Driven Deaths’. Something we have grown accustomed to in our digital blood baths is the idea that when we slay an enemy, they die in the appropriate fashion. Slashing weapon? Dismembered. Ice based spell? Definitely shattering.
Well this is absolutely the case with Diablo IV, with unique player abilities causing baddies to perish in the correct manner. What is interesting is how some of these effects are being employed in a unique and intuitive way, further adding to the gorgeous digital fidelity of the game. One particularly noteworthy inclusion was seeing a Barbarian bring a huge Moon Clan Goat person to it’s knees, and then CRUSHING it’s spine under a massive hammer blow. It looked incredibly organic – and brutal, I suppose.
Diablo IV is pushing all the right buttons, development wise. These developer updates provide a refreshing transparency on what to expect – and may well be addressing a rightful distrust from some consumers. Taking the time to showcase what you are working on, particularly in such a high-level and trusting manner, creates a good relationship with the interested parties – especially in a landscape of disappointing releases and underwhelming experiences.
You can check out the blog for all the details: Diablo IV Q4 update.
Can’t wait to see what they present in 2022 – bring on the Necromancer!
Are you keen for Diablo IV? What class are you most interested in? Let us know in the comments or on social media.
Diablo IV does not yet have a release date (but is confirmed to not be a 2021 release).