Among all the discussions concerning items in Diablo IV, I haven't seen this part brought up much but I figured it'd be worth mentioning
Uniques in Diablo II were primarily based around the idea of having unique combinations of affixes which otherwise would not be possible on magic and rares, but the items themselves had very little variance. There were a couple affixes that had a possible roll range which could affect how good of a version of said unique item it was, but they always had the same actual affixes. You wouldn't normally expect a unique to differ more than maybe +/- 10-15% in power depending on its rolls
On the other hand in Diablo III, legendary items were defined by having one completely unique special ability that changes the way you play the game somehow. Discounting the power creep issue of it all, the basic design philosophy behind this is definitely more interesting, and so it is unsurprising that they are proceeding with this idea for Diablo IV (but hopefully improve them it)
However, what seems to get overlooked a bit is the other side of things, namely the legendary's other affixes. In D3, most of a legendary item's primary affixes were usually still just as randomized as any other magic or rare item, and so the amount of variance between two legendaries of the same type could be massive. The difference between finding a legendary which rolls all the primary stats you want and one which doesn't is so big that anything other than the former automatically becomes trash due to the relative power difference between them. If an item doesn't have the right main stat, if there's no crit on it, no socket on it etc then you just don't use it. It could be a 500% relative power difference or something. As a result, only a small percentage of the drops of any specific legendary actually ends up becoming useful, which in turn leads to legendaries no longer becoming exciting to find since you know that it's almost guaranteed to be garbage even if it's technically a good legendary item, and the devs will likely feel encouraged to boost legendary drop rates to make up for the fact that only a small subset of them will actually be good, which will only make it even less exciting when they drop
As far as I can see, Diablo IV seems to so far be taking pretty much the same approach, and therefore will likely end up with a similar problem. So what I would suggest is to simply combine D2's and D3's design ideas. Make legendaries still have these cool and game-changing abilities, but keep their other affixes locked anyway just like in D2 in order to greatly decrease the amount of variance between different drops of the same item. Maybe even make it wonky unique affix combinations that you otherwise wouldn't get, just like in D2, although that by itself is not essential. By doing so they will remain very unique and interesting items, but you won't end up with the vast majority of the drops of that item effectively being useless due to the potential relative power differential. This would also justify drop rates for legendaries being kept significantly lower as they would be much more consistent in power and in turn hopefully make finding them actually feel exciting again as well since it would be a more rare occurence and you'll also know the item will at least be decent
- Item Feedback: Linear scaling is a huge mistake.
- Critical Hits in Diablo 4
- How Diablo 4 item rarity should work
More about DiabloPost: "Generic affixes on legendaries should not be randomized" specifically for the game Diablo. Other useful information about this game:
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