With Blizzcon just a few days away, the hype for the announcement of a new Diablo game is rising. With many speculation posts and potential leaks, it’s looking like this really is going to be a big weekend for the Diablo franchise and Blizzard games in general. So what could a Diablo IV look like? What kind of changes or features could it bring new or old? I wanted to go over a few changes that I personally would want to see in the next game.
DARK AND GOTHIC ART DIRECTION
Now I’ll be the first to admit, I never disliked the art style they went with for Diablo III. It’s visually appealing and made it easy to still see the art while in the thick of combat. But I would also be lying if I didn’t say that I much preferred the dark and gritty gothic style from Diablo I & II. The atmosphere was so much more creepy and brutal and it’s what really defined Sanctuary as a world that was being invaded by demons from the burning hells. Matt Ulemen’s soundtrack was also a masterpiece and played so well into the atmosphere and art style. I won’t go too far into this point but I think Diablo III’s music was a bit too epic or grand for a Diablo game. It wasn’t nearly as atmospheric and haunting.
I would really like to see Blizzard bring back that style and atmosphere for Diablo IV as I think it’s a series staple and as much as I liked the art in Diablo III, it just didn’t feel like Diablo to me. Diablo III’s take on Sanctuary just didn’t evoke the same feelings and emotions as the other games and I didn’t feel creeped out when venturing into any of it’s dungeons and never felt unsettled by it’s musical score.
REMOVAL OF CLASS SETS
I know some people may want my head on a spike for suggesting this but hear me out. Quite simply, class sets seriously restrict build diversity and creativity. Take Path of Exile for example, it has an insane amount of build diversity thanks to the extremely open itemization and absence of class sets. Players are free to be creative with builds and aren’t pigeon holed into using one of four class sets for end game progression.
I know that class sets are really cool for things like gameplay flavor, class fantasy, cosmetics etc. I also know that Diablo II kind of made class sets work by not making them too overpowered, but a lot of them weren’t that great for farming baal runs or ubers on hell difficulty. So instead of having really overpowered or irrelevant class sets, I would like to see itemization go in a direction without them. I just think that it would be better for the long term health of the game and for build creativity.
THE RETURN OF SKILL TREES AND SYNERGIES
This is kind of a funny subject for me because initially I liked Diablo III’s system better. Being able to swap skills on the fly and not have to worry about respec costs was a huge quality of life change. Over time though, I’ve changed my mind on the system because it lacks a fun feeling of progression while leveling up a character and you don’t feel nearly as much attachment to them. Progressing through a talent tree and tailoring a build that suits your play style just feels much more rewarding and satisfying to me.
Each new level feels really rewarding because you’re able to invest a new skill point into your preferred tree which eventually allows you to unlock brand new skills. World of Warcraft has also had this problem ever since the removal of skill trees. Leveling and progressing a new character is just boring and doesn’t feel rewarding because you can go fifteen levels without unlocking anything. Now you don’t have that exact same problem in DIII but, multiple playthroughs on the same class felt like the exact same experience due to having every single skill and passive available to you at all times. There were actually skill trees implemented into DIII very early into it’s development and were showcased in some playable demo’s at Blizzcon and PAX, but were scrapped later in development for what turned into the more open system we have now.
I think the way that skill trees are done in Borderlands 3 are an excellent middle ground between complexity and accessibility. They aren’t really big trees but every talent choice feels impactful. The further you progress down one of the trees, you also unlock skill augments for free for your abilities that you can freely switch between kind of like the skill runes in DIII. I think that they would translate perfectly into Diablo and if done correctly, they could allow for even more build diversity in tandem with the removal of class sets.
BETTER AND MORE IMPACTFUL FOLLOWERS
To put it simply, the followers in DIII are way too simplistic and don’t offer much gameplay. They are basically just walking passives that follow you around and act as a third ring slot for Unity. They do bring some extra resource generation which can be useful and they offer some extra healing, but that’s about it. I would like to see much more customization with them which includes less restrictive gear slots and their very own talent trees. Make followers a fun aspect of the game for people who play solo.
INCREASED PLAYER COUNT
For my last change on the list I would like to see an increased player count per lobby up from four players to anywhere from six to eight. I had around eight to ten friends that all played DIII at launch and through it’s lifespan and I was never able to play with all or even most of them at the same time. Clans helped with this a little bit but didn’t fix it in a way that only an increased player count could. I know that visual clutter and the chaos of combat could be a problem but I truly feel like they could make it work.
This also plays into some features that I am hoping to see in the next game as well. Like big boss fights or even dungeons that are designed to be done by a full group of players. Which I’ll delve more into in my next article where I’ll talk about five big features that I would like to see in Diablo IV.
What kind of changes would you like to see in Diablo IV? Let us know in the comments below!