key itemization change in D4?

I was rummaging through some old D4 interview content and came across a discussion point that made my jaw drop. In the Blizzcon 2019 interview Rhykker did with (former) Lead Systems Designer David Kim, he drops a change that I don't recall being talked about.

If you listen to the question and answer at 28:05 to 28:55, what Rhykker asks David is about drop rates. However, the answer is far more interesting and I don't think Rhykker even picked up on what David was saying as David is eluding to a system design akin to the mythic dungeon system in WoW and Rhykker doesn't play MMOs.

David's first quote, "So what we are doing in Diablo 4 is quite different from previous Diablo games. Because you can get more powerful versions of the same item as you play the game, even in the end game."

In Diablo 2, items only had one version and could roll a range of stats. Some items were locked by loot tabling to certain difficulties and monsters. In Diablo 3, ancient and primal versions of items were added, however the method of acquiring these items was exactly the same as the normal version. You could do a normal difficulty play through and get a primal ancient god tier weapon for example, your odds were simply better as MF% increased into higher tiers of difficulty. Diablo 3 also had lower versions base on your current level, but this stopped at the end game, meaning once you hit lvl 70 the items no longer scaled.

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So what David clearly says here is the distinction is this will now continue into end game. Meaning this will likely work exactly like WoW mythic system where as you push higher mythic tiered dungeons, the items themselves roll higher stat values (higher ilvls) encouraging players to push harder content if they want better gear. This is a massive game change to current D2 and D3 meta because what we are used to is the speed run meta and this system eliminates that entirely. In previous games, the most optimal way to acquire best gear was to farm very easy speed runs that you could do over and over again. Because doing harder content did not actually give you better gear past a certain point. You can argue the GR system in D3 gives you better leg gems as you push tiers, but that's a very small percentage of your chars overall power.

In D4 it sounds like the speed run meta is gone and you will need to now do more difficult content and optimize gear for that to acquire the best loot. Which is much more similar to modern MMO systems.

David ends with, "So we'll see… and I am very worried and curious how this kind of major change plays out in Diablo 4".

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No freaking kidding, David!

I personally love this direction. Even though we have no idea if this is still in the game or what has changed since back then. I hope they keep the idea of a system where you can progress by doing higher difficulty and we get away from mindless speed runs for D4.

Curious what others think about the implications of this kind of system.


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