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Visible Open World Players, Skill Cap at 15 and More from Venture Beat Diablo 4 Interview

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The interviews are still going strong from BlizzCon, and Venture Beat caught up with Lead Systems Designer David Kim and Lead Lighting Designer Sean Murphy. They talked about a lot, from the skill and talent system, the new engine, the lighting system and more.

We have a few highlights and new info from the interview, with the most interesting being the fact that we'll only see "a couple of people trickle by every once in a while", as David Kim put it, when out in the world, in order to keep that feeling of dread and atmosphere that they're going for. The towns will be a little more crowded and the world bosses will obviously see the most people in one place.


Another great piece info we got is that the skill cap will be set at 15 for each individual skill,  and skill points will be rather sparse during leveling. We already know that we'll get presumably 1 point per level and each class has 25/26 individual skills, so the max amount of skill points needed would be 375/390. With 40 levels that means the vast majority of skill points will come from the skill tomes that will be randomly dropping, and as they've already said players will eventually cap out all skills, that means we'll be seeing plenty of those tomes. But more importantly for a lot of players, there will be a great degree of choice while leveling, as we'll have 40 points to spend in 25/26 skills, without any possibility of respec, so we'll have to pick which skills we upgrade very carefully. This might mean we'll be rolling new characters of the same class after our first playthrough, so we can see how we like all the skills the first time around, and then we specialize in the ones we like with the second. Now, obviously the numbers are still in flux, but that's what the system is like now, and it will probably change a lot befire release.

We also got some more info about the talent system and the fact that you can only choose one of the two final talent points in a branch, and then spend the other skill points elsewhere - with some classes being able to jump between the trees (for example the Druid can actually get the penultimate and previous talents from the neighbouring tree once he gets to the bottom of his main one).


The other big topic was the brand new engine and the fact that for the first time in Diablo history, the entire world is in 3D, which is particularly emphasized in the in-engine cinematics, like the one you see when exiting the first dungeon in the demo.


Murphy: It was an undertaking. It’s actually the first time we’ve seen, in Diablo — usually we do matte paintings and whatnot. The fact that you actually see that vista shot, that’s the world. That’s the real place. It’s obviously seamless. The whole thing happens in real time.

The whole point that we’re trying to build in Sanctuary is we’re treating it like a character. It made sense to say, hey, we want to show this place that we’re building for folks to spend some time in. When you see it, you can go to it. Yes, it was definitely — I mean, there’s a new pipeline for it and whatnot, of course. But it was worth it.


When you look at Diablo III, there’s a lot of 2.5D stuff with the trees and whatnot. That all has to not happen anymore, because now we have this game where we’re building it completely in the round. We have terrain elevation. All of the assets are built like standard 3D game assets. It allows us to do things like that with the camera that we’ve never been able to do before. It’s almost empowering in a way, you know?


The rest of the interview mainly covers already known topics, but goes into plenty of detail on each topic so it's definitely very much worth a read.



Other Diablo 4 articles:

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I’m worried that I haven’t seen mention of D4 being available on Mac. Is there confirmation one way or another on this?

Having played D1 through D3 on Mac, I’d hate to have to forego D4.

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Honestly it doesnt SOUND like much, but a completely 3d world makes that game look entirely different than any other version.  Seeing them climb ledges and jump off cliffs was breathtaking.

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