Jump to content
FORUMS
Starym

Everything We Know About Diablo 4 So Far

Recommended Posts

Zad7SGt.jpg
 

Update: The article has new additions from more recent posts noted as (Updated) and the entries with the updates have been moved to the top of their categories.

With so many articles, panels, interviews and streams coming out of BlizzCon this year, a lot of people may have missed a lot of important details announced about Diablo 4, so we thought we'd gather it all up in one spot, before going into detail and analyzing each segment separately. We won't go into the smaller details and less useful info here, so we have a better overall overview, so if you really want to know every single detail, check out the list of articles at the bottom of the page.

 Table of contents

It's also very important to note that a lot of the things listed below are just the way things are now and the developers want as much feedback on them as possible so they can adjust them to better fit the community. But before we start, we can't waste an opportunity to re-post the impressive opening cinematic.


 Itemization

  • Affixes (full list from the demo, including legendary ones)
    • (Updated) There will be more affixes on each individual item, including magic items and rares (source)
    • (Updated) 3 new affixes (source?
      • Angelic Power, which increases the duration of all beneficial effects (like self-buffs or healing)
      • Demonic Power, which increases the duration of all negative effects (like debuffs or damage over time)
      • Ancestral Power, which increases the chance of on-hit effects (aka increased proc chance)
      • The three Affixes above are also prerequisites for certain affixes, ie you'll need x Angelic/Demonic/Ancestral power for a specific affix on an item to "turn on":
        CO8WLPEGYHLM1575335678970.jpg
      • Each affix is linked to a set of other affixes so you'll be able to choose which type you want to unlock by focusing on either Angelic/Demonic/Ancestral power
         
  • Only 2 base stats: Attack and Defense (instead of Str, Dex, Int Vit etc.)
    • (Updated) Attack will only be on weapons, Defense on armor and neither will be on jewelry (source)
    • + to skill and talent affixes will be very important
    • Many returning and new ones
    • Gold/item find and similar utility affixes won't compete with combat-affecting ones
    • We might be able to customize affixes, they're not really sure how yet, presumably through crafting
       
  • Legendaries
    • (Updated) Ancient items have been removed (source)
    • (Updated) There will be a special new item, similar to Ramaladni's Gift from D3 that will be able to imbue a rare quality item with a legendary power (source)
      • This will make rares much more important in the endgame, as any of them can be turned into a legendary
    • They are the focal point of gearing
    • More legendaries than ever before (hundreds)
    • Not going the huge 300-40,000% buff route
    • 5 types of legendaries so far- skill specific, skill category specific, +x to multiple skills or talents, talent specific, non-class specific,
    • You can stack several legendary powers that affect 1 skill
    • They won't drop as much as in D3
    • Drop rates will not be modified as you get farther into endgame (possibly one drop rate while leveling and another at max, but that's it)
       
  • Sets
    • Won't be as powerful as in D3
    • They will be more introductory items
      • They will be more easily acquirable than a full suite of legendaries (perhaps given through a series of quests?)
    • Heavily class themed, to get you a better feel for the class before you move on to specific builds through legendaries
    • Can be ancient, as in D3
       
  • Mythic items are the best in the game
    • You can only equip 1
    • They have 4 legendary affixes
    • Unclear whether they have existing legendary powers or unique mythic only ones

dEDMrdL.jpg

  • Runewords
      • Only 2 word combinations
      • Condition and effect runes
        • Conditions we saw: drinking a potion, stunning an enemy, critting, freezing an enemy, when a pet dies, if you stand still for 3 seconds, when you are stunned or frozen
        • Effects we saw: 50% extra crit damage for 7 seconds, 15% reduced cooldown to random skill, random shrine effect for 7 seconds, next thorns hit deals 30% more damage, gain a 500 damage barrier
      • Might have a progression system, probably similar to the one D3 had before release (you can see all the numbers in the rune UI are highlighted yellow, indicating they might change if the rune is leveled or upgraded or similar, just like it was in D3)
    • Gems
      • Only have utility stats (gold/item find and similar)
    • Trading
      • No Auction House
      • The primary source of items should be killing monsters
      • 3 types of items
        • Tradable all the time (consumables, crafting mats), tradable once and then bound, and non tradable.
      • The most powerful items will not be tradable
      • If an item drops for you only you will see it
        • If you drop an item only those in your party will see it
    • Crafting
      • Will mostly focus around item modification and enhancement
      • A lot of the endgame will be item modification
    • You can get more powerful versions of all items even when you're in the endgame (not quite sure what this means, possibly alluding to the ancient legendary system coming back - hopefully it isn't an item level type system)
    • Gambling for gold is back
      • You can get some of the most powerful items in the game through it
    • Shoulder slot item is gone for now
    • All the best items will be available to everyone, regardless if playing solo or group
    • Transmogrification will probably return

    Back to top

    gyhSCYM.jpg

     Skills

    • (Updated) We will get 1 OR MORE skill points per level
    • Cannot be respecced
    • Skill tomes will drop/"be acquired in the world"
    • Skills have 15 ranks
      • There are skill rank thresholds that will add new functionality or buff the skill in some way (adding unstoppable (immune to crowd control) to it, increasing shout radius etc.)
    • There are 25-26 individual skills for each character
    • Skills are split into 6 categories for each class
      • Generally they are: Generators, Spenders, Defensive, class specific (Wrath for druid, Conjuration for sorc, Brawling for Barb), Mastery (which is Companion for druid) and Ultimate
    • "Elective Mode" from D3 is on by default, aka you can bind any skill to any hotkey

    Back to top

    9QgiCFj.jpg

     Talents

    • A talent tree with either 2 or 3 branches
    • Can be respecced for free or a low cost
    • Each class has something special about it (sorc has 3 branches, druid can hop from one branch to another)
    • Relatively small % buffs per point
    • Can only pick one of two talents at the bottom of each tree
    • Buffs to talent points from items will add to your progress in a particular branch and can go beyond the maximum ranks listed

    OLSA844LMZO51572717239192.gif

    Back to top
     

     The Endgame

    • Key dungeons are the primary endgame activity
      • You will get random keys dropped in various activities
      • The keys will be to a specific dungeon in the world
      • Keys will upgrade the dungeon to a much harder endgame one, which will scale up even in the endgame
      • Keys also have specific affixes that change how the dungeon works
        • Affixes can affect the player, enemies or environment
          • A giant indestructible stone pillar spawns, shooting lightning all around it, following the player throughout the dungeon
          • All enemies are invisible unless they're in combat
          • Double bosses in the dungeon
      • They offer a better chance of setup than Greater Rifts, as you'll probably know what type of enemies are in the dungeon you got your key for, as well as the affixes on the key and how the dungeon will change
      • Many keys will drop, you can dismantle them as well for crafting mats

    Back to top

    N7AmhFV.jpg


     World and Campaign

    • Campaign
      • (Updated) The story of Diablo 4 is just like "the first chapter in a book, meaning there are very big plans for the larger narrative after the game's story ends (source)
      • (Updated) Rathma is in fact, the bald summoner of Lillith from the intro cinematic (source)
      • Non-linear
      • Each part of the world will become shared with other players after you finish a specific part of the campaign. So presumably when you finish act 1 which takes you beyond the Scosglen area, that's when Scosglen will become a shared world
    • Open shared world
      • The world is preset, will not be randomized
      • You'll only run into a few players here and there in the overworld
        • Most of the time you will be alone
      • Towns will be trading hubs, you'll see more players there
      • World boss areas will be where you'll see the most players
      • 5 contiguous connected zones
        • Scosglen (savage untamed foggy forests)
        • Dry Steppes (war ravaged terrain, grasslands, canyons, salt flats)
        • Fractured peaks (snowy mountainous region, dark ruins, ancient cathedrals, Victorian gothic horror themes)
        • Hawezar (poisonous swamplands, disease, despair, swamp witches who worship massive snakes)
        • Kehjistan (last bastion of Zakarum faith, a lot of buried history from the Sin War, Lilith's agents are among the people)
      • Over 100 settlements of various sizes
      • Mounts
        • There will be mount equipment that grants stats as well as cosmetics
        • Special dismount abilities for each class (Sorceress dismounts by turning into an ice ball and rolling off)

      Back to top

      UAraGPz.jpg


       Dungeons

      • Hundreds of unique dungeons
      • Always private for you and your party
      • Randomized interior and exterior environments
      • Seamless exploration - no loading screens between floors
      • Actions in one part of the dungeon can affect another part
      • Dungeon objectives
        • Progressing the objective increases difficulty and rewards
        • Enemy responds to your progress

      Back to top
       

       Classes (All 3 class skills and talents from the demo)

      • There will be 5 classes at launch
      • (Updated) Some credible leaks that had correctly predicted BlizzCon announcements also predict that the final 2 classes will be Amazon and Paladin, making it a full D2 cast (source)
      • There will be a lot of character customization
        • Gender, tattoos, hair color etc.
      • Barbarian
        • The Arsenal system allows them to wield 4 weapons
          • Two 1 handers and two separate 2 handers
          • You switch between them based on the skill you're using
      • Druid
        • Caster (human), werebear and werewolf forms
        • Shapeshifting is seamless - you can transform mid-abilitiy
          • Similar to barbarian arsenal system, you shapeshift when you use an ability from that form
        • Specific mechanics tied to the moment you transform (damage reduction when you change to werebear etc.)
        • Can pick talents from either of two branches as he moves down them
      • Sorceress
        • The main caster class
        • 3 branches in talent tree based on elements
      • All classes have a default dodge ability
        • At the moment it has no cooldown and is spammble

      Back to top
       

       Leveling

      • (Updated) The Paragon-like system might be infinite or finite, they haven't decided yet (source)
      • Maximum level is 40
      • There will be level scaling
        • They still want you to feel that you're getting more powerful as you level
        • In a party, the game will scale to the party leader's level
      • There will be something that fills the paragon level role, but they haven't decided on what exactly

      Back to top

      Combat_Caves_Multiplayer_Drowned_Seahag.


       PvP

      • Dedicated PvP zones, similar to the World Boss zones
        • You have to opt in to PvP in those zones
      • The game and classes were designed with PvP in mind from the ground up
      • There won't be separate PvP balance for items and skills
        • But they expect the builds to be very different from PvE
      • Specific PvP modes are being explored, as well as PvPvE modes

      Back to top
       

       Mechanics

      • No crowd control diminishing returns
        • Makes the "unstoppable" buff very important, as it ignores CC
      • Death penalty
        • You have to corpse run and you drop a pile of gold you have to reclaim
      • The stagger system for bosses
        • Crowd control effects don't affect bosses directly but deal damage to their stagger bar. When it's depleted the boss goes into a unique state for each of them - the world boss Ashava has one of her blade arms destroyed and is less dangerous after that, and can lose both.

      Back to top
       

       Social

      • Leaderboards
        • Will go more in the direction of activity-specific ones, similar to the current Diablo 3 seasonal conquest leaderboards
        • Will also focus more on leaderboards between friends and not more broad ones
      • Group play vs. solo play should be completely balanced in terms of rewards
        • If they can't quite achieve that balance, they will choose group play to be more rewarding
      • Couch co-op on consoles (2 players only)

      Back to top
       

       Monsters

      • New Enhancing affix
        • Improves a skill a specific monster type has (skeletal ballista now fires 3 shots instead of one, Fallen shaman resurrects multiple allies etc.)
      • Monster families have synergies
        • They work together to provide a bigger challenge
        • The Fallen
        • The Drowned - undead from the oceans, created by maritime curses and similar
        • Skeletons

      Back to top

      Scosglen_Goatmen.jpg.00200ad50c7096e4c72


       Monetization

      • (Updated) There will be microtransactions (source)
      • Base game + expansions
      • There was a mention of cosmetics only in an interview but was not mentioned again when the question was asked elsewhere
      • You will not be able to buy power

      Back to top
       

       Post-launch content

      • Seasons
        • Seasons might not require you to roll a new character
        • They will shake up the meta and perhaps focus some less used builds or items
        • New legendaries

      Back to top
       

       Platforms

      • (Updated) Cross-play between platforms is one of the big goals for the game (source)
      • PC, PS4, Xbox One and probably next gen consoles as well
      • They're looking into cross-play

      Back to top
       

       Progress updates

      • We will be getting quarterly progress updates starting in 2020

      Back to top
       

       Misc

      • There's an auto-walk toggle, so you just have to move your mouse and not click it for movement
      • Contextual interaction with the world (you can climb or drop by clicking on a prompt in the environment)
      • Animation-cancelling (you can instantly back out of a skill you're in the middle of)
      • Controller support for PC
      • The game is full 3d for the first time in the franchise (D3 had some 2.5d trees and other assets)
      • Hardcore mode will return
      • No offline mode
         

      Back to top

       Release date

      • Not even "Blizzard soon"
         

      Back to top

      That's about every significant piece of info we gathered from all sources we could find. The story details and constant mentions of "darkness", "gothic" and "gritty" we decided to skip and focused on the game part. If you've run across anything we missed, do let us know in the comments!

       

       

       

      CYpmW7F.jpg?1

      Related Diablo 4 Articles:

      • Like 1
      • Thanks 2

      Share this post


      Link to post
      Share on other sites

      I'm beyond excited for D4. I hope it doesn't flop at launch. Also, a shared world is going to be cool. I've heard it is similar to how Destiny works. You'll see players doing their own thing. Plus, the new or at least updated Engine looks amazing! Might re-install D3 just to get that feeling again.

      Highly Interested on how Towns (Social Hubs) will play out with random players, hopefully just like any other MMO. Trading, questing and help from randoms that may turn into long life Diablo friends.

      Edited by Knoxtane
      • Like 2

      Share this post


      Link to post
      Share on other sites
      2 hours ago, Knoxtane said:

      randoms that may turn into long life Diablo friends.

      I respect your possitivity and hope / wish in this term, but i mostly met extrem psychopath's in both WoW and D3 in the past. At this point i welcome their idea of "you dont need people for every action" aka. Soloplay also brings happiness.

      • Like 1
      • Thanks 1

      Share this post


      Link to post
      Share on other sites

      HYPE! Reading through all the infos, good vibes, really excited about D4. Hopefully Blizz gonna stay motivated enough so to deliver some next level action rpg... action ?.

      @Baharok Haha, "psychopaths", classic. I always found open privat community chats to be great for finding ppl that know how to have fun. Hopefully D4 will have a strong community backbone, making it easy to have fun. And an ignore option for the occasional "psychopath" ?.

      • Like 1

      Share this post


      Link to post
      Share on other sites
      • They won't drop as much as in D3
      • Drop rates will not be modified as you get farther into endgame (possibly one drop rate while leveling and another at max, but that's it)

      Having D3 release legendaries flashbacks. Back when they didn't drop at all and were still inferior to good proc Rare items.

      • Like 1

      Share this post


      Link to post
      Share on other sites

      I'm so sad that the runes and runewords won't be closer to the way they were in D2.

      It is to this day so satisfying to see that HR drop, save runes and eventually craft that sweet runeword in a piece of carefully selected gear.

      I'm also a bit scared that they won't really listen to the community through the development of D4, but only time will tell.

      Edited by Osmodium

      Share this post


      Link to post
      Share on other sites
      5 hours ago, Kuarinofu said:
      • They won't drop as much as in D3
      • Drop rates will not be modified as you get farther into endgame (possibly one drop rate while leveling and another at max, but that's it)

      Having D3 release legendaries flashbacks. Back when they didn't drop at all and were still inferior to good proc Rare items.

      While I 100% agree you have to admit the few legendaries you got back then (as shitty as they were) were a *filtered* EVENT. I can seriousl still remember at least 2 and exacty where and how I got them. I really REALLY miss this in games nowdays.

      Share this post


      Link to post
      Share on other sites
      5 hours ago, Osmodium said:

      I'm so sad that the runes and runewords won't be closer to the way they were in D2.

      It is to this day so satisfying to see that HR drop, save runes and eventually craft that sweet runeword in a piece of carefully selected gear.

      I'm also a bit scared that they won't really listen to the community through the development of D4, but only time will tell.

      While with any other company and Blizzard at any other time you'd be right, this time I'm 100% sure they'll listen. Why? Because they don't really know what they're doing. I don't mean this in  an incompetence way, but they do not have a vision for this game (unfortunately). D4 is a hail mary "we need to give something, anything to the community" and they're piecing it together from all the complaints and "wants" of the Diablo community.

      It's both sad and good, as the game will be fine, good even since Blizz know how to do good combat, but it won't have any new ideas or concepts - they will do EXACTLY what the community wants which is why they're practically begging for feedback.

      Share this post


      Link to post
      Share on other sites

      Ahhw awesome summary! Really excited about the new Diablo.
      Already in love with everything from art to gameplay. There is absolutely nothing what I actually don't like. Can't wait that 'not even Blizzard soon'! 

      • Like 1

      Share this post


      Link to post
      Share on other sites

      Thanx for all this, Icy!

      I miss the Old D2 Crafting - I don't remember exactly how it worked, but I remember getting a White Item like a Grandfather Sword and Crafting it into something really kickass.  Maybe I'm Hallucinatin'.

      Share this post


      Link to post
      Share on other sites

      Curious what you guys think about the Skills not being able to be respecced.

      Edited by albabe

      Share this post


      Link to post
      Share on other sites

      I just want to say I have a lot of friends that are gamers but have never dabbled in Diablo, and they are talking about this game's announcement. People never playing Diablo before are interested and saying maybe they should give it a try.

       

      And my friends who have moved on from Diablo years and years ago are super hyped about it.

       

      So thus far they have done a fantastic job on rebranding this old school franchise, and I hope they continue to build on this momentum and deliver!

      • Like 1

      Share this post


      Link to post
      Share on other sites
      9 hours ago, Baharok said:

      I respect your possitivity and hope / wish in this term, but i mostly met extrem psychopath's in both WoW and D3 in the past. At this point i welcome their idea of "you dont need people for every action" aka. Soloplay also brings happiness.

      I have found as I've gotten older that I enjoy the journey much more than the destination I'm getting to. The majority of people you group with seem to be in a fury to burn through and race as fast as possible, skipping things as much as possible, to get that shiny thing at the end. Dungeons in WoW for example give you zero chance to even stop and chat, let alone admire the interesting atmosphere or architecture of the area. I hope they keep solo play or at least a slower-paced style available for people.

      Share this post


      Link to post
      Share on other sites
      40 minutes ago, albabe said:

      Thanx for all this, Icy!

      I miss the Old D2 Crafting - I don't remember exactly how it worked, but I remember getting a White Item like a Grandfather Sword and Crafting it into something really kickass.  Maybe I'm Hallucinatin'.

      It was the runeword system, you'd need an item with 5-6 sockets and then a whole lot of extremely hard to get runes to crate a 5-6 world runeword that turned yout white item into basically a legendary.

      • Like 1

      Share this post


      Link to post
      Share on other sites
      13 minutes ago, albabe said:

      Curious what you guys think about the Skills not being able to be respecced.

      I'll be writing up a full article on skills and talents and that's a biggie I want to discuss

      8 minutes ago, TyZone said:

      I have found as I've gotten older that I enjoy the journey much more than the destination I'm getting to. The majority of people you group with seem to be in a fury to burn through and race as fast as possible, skipping things as much as possible, to get that shiny thing at the end. Dungeons in WoW for example give you zero chance to even stop and chat, let alone admire the interesting atmosphere or architecture of the area. I hope they keep solo play or at least a slower-paced style available for people.

      Can't agree more, I consistently either play solo, even in MMOs or with friends that I know won't just run around burning to get to "the endgame". I still get that pseudo-competitive urge when other friends are "already" max level or grinding the endgame content, but I manage to fight it off (mostly) and just enjoy. I still play a ridiculous amount of time but I really take my time to look around and enjoy the journey as much as possible, as you say.

      • Like 2

      Share this post


      Link to post
      Share on other sites

      As someone who wanted to play D3 on my Laptop when I deployed overseas, I know the lack of "offline mode" will continue to annoy veterans, and I don't blame them.

      With today's technology and crypto as it is, it shouldn't be hard to generate keys for each buyer that are impossible to duplicate.

      I.e. the game key would be generated server-side at time of purchase and then linked to that battle.net account permanently (and require online authentication for a one-time register to new devices if you were to switch from laptop to pc and vice versa) This way people couldn't add devices, go offline and play a LAN game with one Battle.net account

      Share this post


      Link to post
      Share on other sites

      Lack of respec might be annoying to most players. Freedom of choice is good, but as usual people will quickly figure out what is the best build. Anyway, not planning to be "competitive" or anything of that sort, so I will just pick whatever I like.

      • Like 1

      Share this post


      Link to post
      Share on other sites

      While I want to get excited, I'm apprehensive as well. I've lost a lot of faith in Blizzard's direction this last year and their content seems to be gearing more towards profit than play. The idea of keyed dungeons and pvp says to me they want to invest D4 into e-sports, which could mean more investment into that side of the spectrum rather than the single/co-op version. Always online, well, that's a given these days it seems. But an open world where you see other players? Sounds like they want to make it an MMO without it being an MMO. Right now, if it were available for pre-order I wouldn't touch it. Later down the line when we learn more and it becomes available, I'll have to wait and see.

      TBH, as much as I was looking forward to D4, I was more interested in a D2 remaster. But given that Starcraft 2 got one and Warcraft 3 is getting one, I think next year we'll see a D2 remaster announced. Hopefully.

      Share this post


      Link to post
      Share on other sites

      seems decent i really enjoyed d3 over d2 so not sure how illl like this . for me d3 is great i can hope on do 2 or 3 grifts real quick then get off fr a bit and come back d4 doesnt seems liek ill be able to play like that alot more time will be needed to invest . and shadowlands will prob be out way before this comes out 

       

      Edited by elmurufdd

      Share this post


      Link to post
      Share on other sites
      On 11/5/2019 at 8:43 PM, Starym said:

      It was the runeword system, you'd need an item with 5-6 sockets and then a whole lot of extremely hard to get runes to crate a 5-6 world runeword that turned yout white item into basically a legendary.

       

      On 11/5/2019 at 8:43 PM, Starym said:

      It was the runeword system, you'd need an item with 5-6 sockets and then a whole lot of extremely hard to get runes to crate a 5-6 world runeword that turned yout white item into basically a legendary.


      Well there was crafting and there was a runeword system, for crafting the item would have to have been normal/magical/scoketed, for runewords it would have to be grey (or made grey via crafting, so you technically the original post would still be refering to crafting and not runewords)
      And yes runewords were more often than not better than legendaries.
      https://diablo2.diablowiki.net/Crafting_Recipes
      https://diablo2.diablowiki.net/Runewords

      Edited by Koxsos

      Share this post


      Link to post
      Share on other sites
      On 11/5/2019 at 11:46 AM, Starym said:

      I'll be writing up a full article on skills and talents and that's a biggie I want to discuss

      Can't agree more, I consistently either play solo, even in MMOs or with friends that I know won't just run around burning to get to "the endgame". I still get that pseudo-competitive urge when other friends are "already" max level or grinding the endgame content, but I manage to fight it off (mostly) and just enjoy. I still play a ridiculous amount of time but I really take my time to look around and enjoy the journey as much as possible, as you say.

      Let us know when your article is up, sir.

      Share this post


      Link to post
      Share on other sites

      Join the conversation

      You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
      Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

      Guest
      Reply to this topic...

      ×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

        Only 75 emoji are allowed.

      ×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

      ×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

      ×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

      Loading...

      • Recently Browsing   0 members

        No registered users viewing this page.

      • Similar Content

        • By Staff
          The first Diablo 4 quarterly update of 2022 focuses on environmental art. Art Director Chris Ryder and the team showcase some of the new zones that are currently in development.
          (Source)
          Hello and welcome to the first Diablo IV Quarterly Update of 2022. We hope you enjoyed last quarter's update on systems, itemization, and visual effects. That blog and our previous updates are available if you missed out.
          I'm struck by how much the game has evolved since our first blogs. It's difficult for these updates to showcase all the work our engineers, designers, artists, QA team, and producers have done--how do you show a bug that doesn't happen anymore, or explain how the planning in a burn-down chart resulted in a feature making it into the game instead of getting cut? While you can't see those things, you can see how systems like itemization and skill trees have evolved, incorporating your feedback and internal testing along the way. You can also see how much closer we're getting to our artistic and thematic targets of dark, low-fantasy gothic horror. And keep in mind the images you'll see today still represent a work in progress!
          Many artists need to work together to deliver Diablo IV with the top-tier visual quality we can be proud of and the promise of an immersive world you can wander through and enjoy getting lost in. The seamless game you play is a composition of many layers of art and visualization, from lighting, to environments, to props and interactives. Today we have artists from many of these layers here to talk about their craft and everything that goes into building the world of Sanctuary.
          We hope you enjoy this update and look forward to your thoughts and reactions. We have exciting things to share this year, and we're grateful to have you with us on this journey.
          Thank you for playing the games we make, and without further ado, artists!
          -Joe Shely,
          Game Director, Diablo IV

          Chris Ryder,
          Art Director, Environments Diablo IV
          The team has been hard at work, and we're excited to take you behind the scenes on how we've developed the environments of Diablo IV. You will hear from our Associate Art Director, Environments, Brian Fletcher; Associate Lighting Director, Ben Hutchings; Lead Exterior Environment Artist, Matt McDaid; and Lead Props and Interactives Artist, Chaz Head. They will be sharing how they approach each of their distinct areas that ultimately come together to form the environment art of Diablo IV. While many of the locations we will be sharing are in various states of progress, this is an excellent opportunity to showcase the amazing work our teams are creating for the next installment of Diablo.
          The environments of Diablo IV cover a lot of territory and visual real estate of the game: five distinct regions and hundreds of dungeons that you will experience. It is where all the monster-slaying, loot gathering, and exploration happens. Of course, none of this would be possible without the collective efforts of our talented designers, worldbuilders, engineers, environment artists, lighting artists, and technical artists.

          We approach creating the environments of Diablo IV through a darker and more grounded interpretation than earlier installments. The aim is for believability, not realism. Believability comes through our use of materials and deliberate construction of architecture and artifacts you will come across as you play through dungeons and the open world. In addition, regional weather conditions, varied local biomes, and a sense of history set the foundation of how an object or place should look visually in a medieval world like Sanctuary. After all, Sanctuary is full of history, struggle, and conflict, giving us many opportunities to depict a diverse world full of compelling locations in a dark gothic-medieval setting. Even the wealthiest areas in Sanctuary are challenging to exist in. Leaning into these characteristics adds to the richness of the world. It gives us a springboard to elaborate on the space visually, giving it a sense of identity we can lock onto and build around. The atmosphere is almost tangible in places, with weather and lighting play a more prominent visual role in Diablo IV. When it rains, surfaces get wet, puddles form in ruts and hoof prints, the ground feels muddy, the atmosphere is heavy and damp. Contrast that by making your way into a hazy fire-lit tavern that instantly contrasts with the atmosphere outside, a rare place of refuge and warmth. We want to take you on a journey, hinting at a location's past or recent events. The satisfying part of our work is developing and jamming on a location's unique visual story, pushing and pulling the art until it becomes an iconic backdrop for combat, exploration finally screams Diablo.
          The hazy warmth of a tavern welcomes you.
          A town set in an arid location feels visibly parched, dust blowing, the color pallet plays into warm, oxidized hues to create an iconic region in the world of Sanctuary.
          Diablo IV's art is built with modern techniques and utilizes physically-based lighting. As we handcraft locations across the Eastern Continent, we are mindful of our approach to support combat, navigation, narrative intent, and stylistic direction. To accomplish this, we filter concepts, locations, and final implementation through the dual pillars of "old masters" and "a return to darkness." Using these pillars has been instrumental in keeping us consistent and aligned with the visual tone of Diablo IV. The "old masters" pillar gives us a lens to filter our art through, considering the techniques classical painters like Rembrandt used, with their controlled use of detail, tonal range, and expert use of color palettes. The "return to darkness" pillar is a through-line in everything from dungeons to lighting and embodies the idea that Sanctuary is a dangerous and dark medieval gothic world. Additionally, we play to the iconic Diablo game camera, choosing where to add or remove detail to help the readability of the gameplay space or accentuate visual interest as needed. It is a balancing act that results in a handcrafted look with a distinct visual style that expands on the lineage of Diablo.
          Deep in a ruin lost to time, its treasures and mysteries are awaiting discovery.
          It is exciting and inspiring to see the daily progress and hard work the environment art teams are creating. Let's jump into more specifics and hear from Brian, Ben, Matt, and Chaz on six locations we feel illustrate our approach and the concepts we keep top of mind when building the environments of Diablo IV.
          Back to Top
          The World of Sanctuary
          Matt McDaid: “I’m excited to talk about the Open World of Diablo IV! We have 5 captivating zones to explore. Each region is fraught with dangers of their own kind. Many routes, and hidden corners to uncover. How you chose to make your way through this vast world is up to you. The Art and Design teams have constructed a contiguous world where you can roam from coast to coast, or high up into the glacial ridges. For the Environment Art team, we want to ensure each handcrafted location is distinct and immersive. Looking through the Diablo IV lens that Chris alluded to earlier, the Environment Art, Interactives, and Lighting teams strive to hit the tone that supports the ’return to darkness’ pillar.
          Scosglen Coast
          Matt McDaid: For the Scosglen coast the Environment Art team set out to tell the story of untamed, wild shorelines and headlands.As you transition toward the shores from inland, the coastal biome is first evidenced by the longer, more directional grasses that react to the driving offshore winds. The beaches are bleak and littered with seaweed, kelp and rotting carcasses. Rugged clifftops ascend high whilst promontories are carved by the continual pounding of waves below. Through the process of creating our biomes, the Environment Art team has set out to communicate that this coastline is rife with peril.
          For the main settlements along the coast, it is important to us that they feel woven deep into the fabric of the coastline. Dwellings with deep-rooted foundations skirt the clifftops. In a futile attempt to withstand the harsh elements, these structures are comprised of whatever materials the locals could lay their hands on and are in various forms of disrepair. Stone walls, salvaged wood, and thatch for the roofs. A place of consolation for the brave fishermen that trawl these treacherous seas.
          Fishing plays a significant part in the day-to-day life of these weary locals, so we’ve latched on to that idea and placed emphasis on these villages being centered around fishing. By adding supporting elements like rudimentary docks and slipways, it really helps set the stage for the Interactives team to come in and layer on their culture kit throughout the area.
          Chaz Head: Many of the props here are dynamic. The ships swaying in the ocean waves, the fish mongers’ nets hanging to dry in the marketplace. Our main purpose here is to breathe life into the awesome architecture and terrain work. Our props and culture kits help provide that tangible real-world scale that the Diablo world represents.
          The Drowned culture kit here is all interactable or breakable. When we set up these props, we push ourselves in terms of destruction. We use a constraint system to hinge specific pieces together. This allows us to orchestrate distinct, realistic and variable types of destruction.
          We do our best to tell the story of what has happened here. The drowned dredging with them hoards from beneath the sea, littering their conquest with relics of long-lost cultures as they raid across the beaches of Sanctuary.
          Ben Hutchings: As you explore Diablo 4’s open world you’ll experience a lot of variation in the lighting and weather – here in the Scosglen coast you can see the foggy, frigid atmosphere taking cues from highlands and moors. Across the game we’re striving for a grounded and natural palette,allowing us to create visual space for gameplay that also achieves a gritty tone suiting the world of Sanctuary.
          Orbei Monastery
          Matt McDaid: The Orbei Monastery is an isolated and secretive feature in the rural Dry Steppes. While the Zakarum’s presence has diminished, the Orbei Monastery carries evidence that places of worship for the Zakarum can still quietly function. Since the location here is in the desiccated plains of the Dry Steppes, we aim to push the notion of dusty grasslands with sparse vegetation. We’ve made the conscious decision to add dark rocks that complement the pale blonde and rusty grasses. Poplar and Saxaul trees cling to the ground which really helps provide parallax movement on screen. This contributes to greater depth as elements in the foreground move quicker than those further back in the scene.
          To help provide extra visual interest in the region, the Environment Art team created a Salt flats biome. Being able to have blue alkaline lakes skirted with salt-encrusted tufas, and vivid geothermal pools really helps add pockets of vibrancy to the Dry Steppes and create compelling natural landmarks.
          Against the efforts of the Zakarum worshipers, and like many of the buildings in Sanctuary, the Orbei Monastery is in a state of dilapidation. It is a goal of ours to visually communicate that whilst this place is in the early stages of ruin, it was once a prominent base of learning for the Zakarum monks. Compared to the native architecture in the Dry Steppes, the Zakarum architecture is more distinct and refined. These structures are adorned with ornate details, and often accompanied by elaborate statuary. Chaz will elaborate more on the interesting relics that can be found on the Zakarum estates.
          Chaz Head: Many followers of Zakarum come to pilgrimage in Orbei Monastery. Caravans along the road reinforce this idea; making these wagons explode is always a fun time!
          As you can see it has fallen on hard times. Much of the storage and keep-sakes of the Zakarum have been laid to waste. You can pick through the ruins of the abandoned monastery, perhaps there are still treasures to find?
          As you venture outside the monastery into the geothermal region, many of its natural inhabitants to contend with. If you look closely, you will find their dwellings among the cliffs.
          Kyovashad
          Matt McDaid: Our goal with Kyovashad is to really drive home the idea that this medieval settlement feels oppressive, frigid, and harsh. However, we still need to convey that this is a place of refuge afforded to those who reside within its boundaries. This is a militaristic settlement, so it is important that we give it a heavily defended presence straight off the bat. We believe it appropriate to provide a gradual buildup of smaller defense structures upon approach to the settlement. Doing this hints to you that something greater lies ahead. Upon reaching the gates you are confronted with steep stone, perimeter walls and a deep cavernous moat that wards off any unwelcoming visitors.
          Upon entering the town, you see the architecture typical throughout Fractured Peaks. Making use of the wood from the many forests in the region, structures here are clad with natural pine boards and birch shingles. As with most dwellings in Sanctuary these buildings are very much function over form.
          In the video we can see a large portion of the southern end of Kyovashad, which contains the simplest of shelters. Some clinging to the town walls overlooking the glacial flow beneath. When you happen upon this area, we want you to draw similarities with slum-type encampments where densely packed living quarters are in abundance. The interactives team has done a fantastic job of really driving home that narrative with their culture pass.
          Chaz Head: Kyovashad has many districts, with each one set dressed in unique culture kits. Here we have the slums where the downtrodden seek shelter from the extreme elements: we support this idea by layering details of frayed cloth, broken shelters, and general unhappiness. Can you believe this is an example of high-end living in Sanctuary?
          Ben Hutchings: For this nighttime look at Kyovashad we can see the use of fog, soft shadows and bounce lighting to create a softness to the lighting. This softness is a core part of Diablo 4’s lighting aesthetic – providing a natural and grounded frame.
          We aim to give Kyovashad a thick and lived-in atmosphere with warm and earthy tones, giving it a sense of reprieve from Fractured Peaks cooler, frigid palette.
          Dungeons of Sanctuary
          Brian Fletcher: Dungeons are still that randomized content that you know and love from previous Diablo titles. However, we added new and exciting features that allow us to make even more dungeons across the world of Sanctuary than ever before. In order to support over 150+ dungeons, we’ve had to shift the way we make environment art so that it's flexible enough to be used in multiple locations and not just in a single dungeon. We break it all down into what we call tile-sets. We would like to share with you a handful of our tile-sets, and a few ways we can mix and match them with props, interactives, and lighting to create dungeons that are varied, handcrafted and yet procedurally created. It takes a lot of hard work from many teams to make a Dungeon, and we are proud to show you what we have been working on.
          Forgotten Places in the world
          Brian Fletcher: This tile-set is an example of how we have ‘returned to darkness.’ We want to take you deep underground to the darkest recesses of Sanctuary, where a mysterious (and gross) corruption has taken root. This ancient temple is a great place to push some primal horror vibes. The fixed camera is one of our best tools since it allows us to place assets in the foreground without blocking the playable space. Because we always know where you are looking, we can dial in and customize the layouts, vistas, and foreground elements to make sure there's a good composition. The spider legs are placed in specific locations for their unnerving silhouettes twitching in the background. Our dungeon design counterparts give us some great layouts to play with, which allow us to push the depth of each scene. We want you to have the impression that the dungeon goes on forever, and you’re only seeing a small part of a large underground labyrinth.
          Chaz Head: The props and interactives team seek to maintain the mystique and horror settings Brian described. Our hope for this culture kit is to make you feel uneasy whilst being rewarded for venturing forward. Nothing here should feel like it was crafted in Sanctuary by the people living on the surface. We were able to focus on different styles of shape language: monolithic and twisted. This is not a place you would want to explore alone!
          Ben Hutchings: Here we can really see our embrace of Diablo 4’s core pillar of a return to darkness’. Our aim is to subtly lead you through the dungeon whilst revealing fantastically grotesque forms. In dungeons like this we focus a lot on silhouetting the player space and giving the scene a sense of scale and depth; this helps navigation and visibility but also shows the vastness of the environment.
          Wretched Caves
          Brian Fletcher: The world of Diablo IV is incredibly large, utilizing numerous unique tile-sets to cover all the various zones, biomes, and cultures. In order to create so much high-quality content, we found clever ways to reuse our tile-sets and add enough variety to cover 150+ dungeons. All while providing fresh experiences each time. One way we can do that is by dressing up tile-sets with various themes. This next dungeon is a hidden druid resting site overrun with demons. As you travel through the dungeon, you'll see that it is covered with many druidic cultural items, such as talismans and charms. We place a lot of these items on a layer that can be turned on or off, depending on what the theme of the dungeon is. In one dungeon it's a druid burial site, in another, it's an uninhabited dark cave. Adding these sorts of details is a great way to add a lot of visual interest as well as visual storytelling. These assets were made by several teams, so this is a great example of many groups coming together to contribute to a final environment.
          Chaz Head: We were able to expand on the Druid culture kit in this dungeon. In many ways the druid is an exciting return to the Diablo franchise, no less for Props and Interactives, expanding on this unique class by providing a full kit for its reclusive people. It would be easy to make the druid props fantastic, but we’ve stretched ourselves to come up with fun ways to keep the culture kit grounded while not turning the druids into something they are not. I hope when you play Diablo IV, you get a sense of their magic while not betraying the dark and gritty world the druids reside in.
          Flooded Depths
          Brian Fletcher: New dungeon features such as seamless floor transitions or traversals are exciting, but my favorite new feature is what we call tile-set transition scenes. These are scenes that allow us to connect two different tile-sets together in the same dungeon. Imagine running through a crypt, only to find a hole in the wall that seamlessly leads you deeper into a vast underground cave network. All while keeping the randomized layouts that change with each dungeon run. In this final video we show two tile-sets joined together by a tile-set transition scene. The first floor of this ruined keep remains dry and fairly intact, but as you journey deeper into the dungeon, you'll discover that the lower levels have decayed from the endless floodwaters pouring in. This swampy ruin is perfect for the drowned to move in and fortify themselves deep below. You'll have to fight your way through their defenses and climb across the rope to transition deeper into the flooded ruined tile-set.
          Chaz Head: I love this dungeon; it was one our first where we dialed in the style for props and interactives in Diablo IV. On the surface we have that definitive gothic medieval style fans love. Pikes, suits of armor and iron chandeliers. I hope this set reminds you of what Diablo means to so many of us. Part of that vision is the sense of danger of exploration; as you dig deeper things get gritty. As you descend you will encounter obstacles seemingly out of place. The drowned have invaded this ancient manor and dragged their obscene valuables across the floors. This gives us the opportunity to mix kits, and I hope you agree the mold encrusted assets are gross. Things should feel familiar but tainted by the sodden hands of the drowned hordes.
          Ben Hutchings: It's exciting to be able to merge two distinct visual styles. Here we see the dark, foreboding hallways of the keep lead down into the putrid aqua tones of its depths.
          In both we can see the same approach to lighting these dungeons, with different executions. The keep has an oppressively dark, very selective lighting scheme - hinting at paths through the corridors subtly with soft lighting. ”By contrast, the flooded depths use putrid green and yellow tones to really give the dungeon a feeling of a damp, heavy atmosphere.
          That was a quick overview of how we approach the environment art of Diablo IV. We love creating the stage for all the action while still delivering subtle visual cues that make Diablo games so iconic. Lastly, it's not too often that we get to share and appreciate the incredible work of our teammates and the progress of Diablo IV. We're glad you stopped by for a look and hope you are excited by what you see.
          Thank you for joining us and keep an eye out for our upcoming blog update next quarter!
          -The Diablo IV Team
          Back to Top
        • By Staff
          Global Community Lead PezRadar confirmed on Twitter that a new Diablo 4 quarterly update blog is coming next week. The latest update dives into the environment art of the game.
          Placeholder for tweet 1506093708613066754
        • By Staff
          We have another massive quarterly update for Diablo 4 on our hands, this time with plenty of systems info! We get a lot of detail into itemization, with +skill affixes returning from D2, as well as legendary affixes being much more flexible since we'll be able to transfer them from one legendary to the other. There's also plenty of info on the new paragon point system, with slottable items called glyphs and a very Path of Exile-like layout. Finally there's a lot of info on the visuals of the game, from combat, lighting and more.
          Q4 2021 Update (Source)
          Table of Contents
          Introduction Itemization & Paragon Updates Visual Effects in Diablo IV Hello and welcome to the year-end Diablo IV Quarterly Update.
          We hope you enjoyed October's deep dive into sound design, the atmospheric ambient tracks, and peeking behind the scenes of how game sounds are made.
          Since our last blog, we've been hard at work adding new content and systems to the game. We’ve made big strides, with every build of the game containing a host of expanded content, new art, balance changes, and other iterations. In fact, the team is currently playtesting an internal release of the game that represents a significant milestone. We have much to share with you today as a result, so let's dive in.
          First, Lead Systems Designer Joe Piepiora will discuss updates to key elements of itemization. These include the return of +Skills on items, a new way to interact with legendary powers, and some early work on targeted drops. After that, grab a warm beverage and a comfortable chair as he walks us through Diablo IV's completely new end-game character growth system: the Paragon Board.
          Next, Lead Visual Effects Artist Daniel Briggs will describe the philosophy that allows our talented VFX team to create huge explosions and eye-popping skill effects while keeping the game clear and readable, even when there are many players and monsters on the screen at the same time. He'll also go into detail on how Diablo IV's new game engine has allowed us to make frame-by-frame combat more precise and nuanced, while leveling up our effects to take advantage of the new lighting system. Finally, feast your eyes upon a plethora of skills across all four announced classes that show off our skill-driven death system.
          We hope you enjoy this update and look forward to your thoughts and reactions. We'll be back in the new year and are ever grateful to have you with us on this journey.
          -Joe Shely,
          Game Director, Diablo IV
          Back to Top
          The Itemization of Diablo IV
          Greetings, Heroes of Sanctuary!
          We are thrilled to once again dole out a whole heap of info on the state of systems and endgame in Diablo IV. I’m Joe Piepiora, the Lead Systems Designer, and today I’m going to share some details on two major features of Diablo IV: itemization updates and our plans for Paragon.
          +Skill Rank Affixes
          In Diablo IV, the +Skill Rank affix returns. As players invest points in skills, they grow in potency, and finding items with +Skill Rank can speed that along. As a bonus, when the player equips an item with +Skill Rank for a skill they haven’t learned, they will have access to that new ability. It’s a great way to try out new skills before you’re able to invest in them. Getting a lucky drop that nets you a skill you’d like for your build ten levels before you would otherwise have access to it is a huge boost!

          Legendary and Unique Items
          As Joe Shely discussed back in our December 2020 update, Legendary and Unique Items remain a core part of the Diablo item chase experience. We’ve made a foundational change to Legendary items in Diablo 4 by allowing legendary powers to appear on multiple item slots. Now, if you’re searching for a legendary power, like Martial Arts—which enhances the Barbarian’s kick ability—you may find it on rings, chestplates, or helmets; there’s no need to hunt for a specific item type any longer.
          Now, the real question is what happens when you find a power on an axe when you really wanted it on a ring? Or you found a great legendary amulet, but can’t use the power? Well, that is when we get to introduce our new friend, the Occultist.

          The Occultist can extract a legendary power from a Legendary item, crystallizing it into Essence while destroying the item in the process. That Essence can then be implanted into another Legendary item, overriding the power that was present in the item at that time. Essence material can also be stored and used at a later time.
          Unique Items cannot be modified in this way, keeping their fantasies intact—and as their name implies—unique.


          Hunting for Items
          Sanctuary is a vast world, filled with forlorn trails through werewolf-infested forests, withered heaths crawling with cannibals, and fog-choked graveyards crawling with the restless dead. There are plenty of enemies and monsters for the hero to encounter. Each of these monsters seem to enjoy collecting certain types of items and will be somewhat more likely to drop those items than others. While bandits are fond of Maces, Crossbows, and Boots, if you’re hunting for a new pair of Pants, you'd do well to kill some of the Drowned instead.
          In past discussions, we’ve received feedback that it seems deflating for so much of a character’s power to be delivered through the gear that they have equipped. Customizing and planning a character feels less rewarding if it doesn’t play a big role in how the character performs in combat. We hear you loud and clear, and in Diablo IV, we have placed a stronger emphasis on character power that is earned by all the little decisions you make while leveling up and exploring the world of Sanctuary. While we aren’t talking about everything we have planned for character power today, I’m happy to talk about one feature in particular, the Paragon Board.
          The Paragon Board
          In Diablo IV, we have placed a heavy emphasis on build customization, ensuring that you can have plenty of control over how your hero grows. The Paragon Board unlocks for each class at level 50 and is a distillation of this focus. Your hero begins their journey through the Paragon system at the central starting tile of their class’s intro board, and from there, you make selections radiating outward. Once your hero reaches a gate tile, you’ll choose which new paragon board you would like to attach to at that location. The desired outcome is a personalized set of bonuses that will empower your hero and honor your dedication to their progression, that will remain fun to tweak and adjust over many playthroughs.
          There is a lot to take in with the image below, so I’ll walk through some aspects of what we’re looking at here.

          The Paragon Board is comprised of many fixed tiles. As the Barbarian earns experience, they will earn Paragon points, which are used to unlock a connected tile. There are a few varieties of tiles that I want to walk through.
          Normal Tiles
          These tiles are straightforward, providing a small but meaningful stat boost. Normal Tiles are connective tissues that can be found throughout the board and are quite common.
          Magic Tiles
          Magic Tiles are found in clusters throughout the board and provide a potent, more diverse set of benefits. As you might expect, they are less common than Normal Tiles, but are still plentiful.
          Rare Tiles
          Rare Tiles offer significant boosts in power. Upon entering the Paragon Board for the first time, these represent great goals for players to chase, particularly once you’ve narrowed builds down towards highly specific goals. Rare Tiles also have additional powers that unlock once the hero has raised an attribute to a sufficient level, requiring some choices to be made when plotting your path through the board.
          Legendary Tile
          After the first Paragon Board, each new board has a single Legendary Tile that can be found at its center. Legendary Tiles impart a new Legendary Power to the character that earns it.

          Glyphs and Sockets
          A Socket is a special tile that can contain a Glyph. Glyphs are items found throughout Sanctuary that, when embedded into a Paragon Board, confer various benefits based upon the number of active tiles within their radius.
          Glyphs can also be leveled up by delving into some particularly dangerous dungeons. Leveling up a Glyph extends the radius of their effect, allowing each one to draw power from or impart power to even more active tiles.

          Gate Tiles and Board Selection
          A single Gate Tile lies at each edge of the Paragon Board. As you progress through the Paragon Board, you will eventually reach a Gate Tile, which upon unlocking will allow you to select a new Paragon Board to attach to your existing Board. Each of these boards has unique Tile layouts, new Magic and Rare Tiles, and a new Legendary Tile at the center.
          The Paragon Board is extended from these Gate Tiles. Upon selecting from the Paragon Board list, you will be able to place the board down, connecting it to the newly unlocked Gate Tile. You may also optionally rotate that newly placed board.

          We’re hard at work on these and other features that we’ll be able to share more about in future updates. Though for now that’s all from the systems team. Thanks for reading and please share any feedback you have on social media, Reddit, or our forums! We’ll see you in Hell!
          Back to Top
          Visual Effects in Diablo IV
          Thanks for joining us! My name is Daniel Briggs, and I am the Lead Visual Effects Artist for Diablo IV. The VFX team gets to contribute to features across the entire game, but today we will focus on the work we do to support combat. VFX artists collaborate with designers and other art teams to create strong thematic identities for the hero classes and breathe life into monsters, in order to deliver the visceral, gruesome combat players have come to expect.
          VFX is an integral part of the combat experience for all Diablo games. With Diablo IV, we wanted to step up the fidelity of our effects using Physically Based Rendering (PBR), as well as better support the core pillars of gameplay: deep hero customization, itemization, and combat readability.
          Visual Effects - Philosophy
          Every effect plays a role in the final composition of our game. It is important to understand the context of an effect, and how it best serves your experience.
          One of our core values at Blizzard Entertainment is “Gameplay First,” and this drives a lot of the artistic decisions we make while developing visual effects for the game. Moment-to-moment gameplay is the focal point within the composition of Diablo IV: it should draw your attention. To achieve this, we must consider things like player skills, monster telegraphs, traps, damage areas, and character states. The visual effects for each of these components must be readable in all areas and lighting conditions, so you can quickly understand what is happening and use that information to make informed decisions.
          In the chaos of combat, you’ll need to be smart—seeing a Legendary item drop is exciting, but picking it up is not as important as reacting to a monster’s attack that can one-shot Hardcore characters! Our goal is to balance the primary, secondary, and tertiary reads to help you understand what is happening. To do this, we reserve visually loud FX for powerful skills, like ultimate abilities, while weaker skills meld into the background. Each class has abilities that range from low to high in costs, cooldowns, and power. In tandem, classes have a range of visual intensity that increases with skill power.
          Combat Improvements
          To enhance the feel of combat, we have made several improvements to the way damage is applied in our game. In previous iterations of Diablo, an area-of-effect (AOE) or melee skill would be a single area of damage that is applied on a single frame. Thanks to our gameplay engineers, we can now animate target areas (what we call payloads) over multiple frames, which allows us to line up the animated target areas with the animated VFX that play out.
          For example, Whirlwind in Diablo III is a cylinder shape surrounding your Barbarian, which applies damage every couple of frames at a rate based on your attack speed. In Diablo IV, Whirlwind is an animated pie shape that animates with your character. AOEs expand outward with time, and melee swings match the motion of your weapon. Animated target areas improve accuracy to the way we apply damage in Diablo IV; it makes combat feel more impactful, and monster ragdolls more visceral. Animated payloads also add a subtle timing aspect to a variety of skills.
          Additionally, we have revamped the way we apply hit effects to monsters, so impacts flow with the direction of a spell or melee attack. We use data defined in the animation and animated target area to find the most accurate place to hit a monster, and where to apply a directional physics force to the ragdoll. In so few words, if you hit a goat-man in the knee, the blood spray would come from his knee. The physics force applied to the goat-man’s knee would send it flying as if you kicked the legs out from under him.
          Visual Effects - Casting and Receiving Light
          In Diablo IV, we use a PBR (physically based rendering) lighting model, which means our materials look and react to light in a realistic way. This approach brings huge rendering improvements, but this can be counterintuitive to what a player might expect for class and monster abilities. As an example, think about what a campfire looks like in full daylight—pretty lackluster, right? Next, imagine what a dust cloud or smoke plume would look like in the dead of night—it'd be nearly impossible to see. To account for this, we’ve built an engine and shader library that lets us break PBR rulesets in artistic ways. This ensures important gameplay moments shine through as clearly as possible while keeping immersive elements full PBR so they can realistically react to lighting.
          Previous iterations of Diablo use primarily “unlit” particles, meaning they are not affected by the environment’s lighting. These particles give you amazing control over what the art will look like: what you paint is what you get. The downside to unlit particles is that art may look too bright in a dark dungeon, or VFX color schemes may not feel cohesive within every environment.
          In Diablo IV, we use lit VFX that meld into the environment’s lighting, creating a more immersive experience. Using Whirlwind as an example (seen in the video above)—in bright daylight, the blade reflects light from the sun. In a dark dungeon, it will reflect more subtle light sources, like torches. The dust kicked up by the skill is also lit by the environment, so it blends artfully into the world.
          If we rely solely on environment lighting and follow true PBR rules, then gameplay readability is muddied, particularly in dark environments where a weapon swing would naturally be hard to see. To counteract this, many VFX have emissivity to cast light onto the environment. Several ultimates in our game will even allow you to change the weather and lighting of the environment for a limited duration. We strive for a healthy balance of gameplay clarity and thematic immersion.
          Dynamic Player Skills
          At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what the art looks like if the gameplay isn’t fun. One of the goals for creating player skills is to ensure that the System Design team has a variety of modifiers they can utilize to create meaningful skill trees, class mechanics, Legendary items, and Paragon Boards.
          Choices should affect more than your character’s stats. Once we have a class skill we are happy with, the VFX team adds the ability for developers to dynamically change the size, intensity, and duration of a skill. The visual intensity of a skill will increase as you stack upgrades and items that increase the power of that ability.
          In addition to these skill modifiers, we create variants of abilities that completely change the functionality of a skill or the damage type that it deals. These skill variants can be changed by the scale, intensity, and duration modifiers as well. This allows variants of skills to be affected by a wider range of legendary modifier groupings. Your skill tree/paragon decisions, along with the items you have equipped, will make your character look and play differently from other characters of the same class.
          Each of these ranges is handcrafted by an artist to ensure the art holds up at all supported sizes and intensities. We do not uniformly scale every piece of an effect when changing size and intensity; we modify things like spawn rate, velocity, emissivity, and color ranges to make certain the art still fits in the world of Diablo.
          We want your character to look incredible as well! Our items are built in a way that allows us to easily apply weapon buffs to any weapon in the game. Not only will your legendary items do awesome things, but they will make your character look amazing as well. Here is an example where we apply the same fire and poison buff to several weapons in our game.
          Skill Driven Deaths
          Sanctuary is a dark, gothic world filled with horrific monsters that do horrendous things. To survive in this bleak landscape, you must be merciless toward your enemies. We are bringing back a popular feature from Diablo III: skill-driven deaths. This system allows you to decapitate, bisect, freeze, shatter, eviscerate, and burn your enemies, to give a few examples.
          With our new PBR pipeline, we can make blood, viscera, and gore even more realistic by having it react properly to the lighting of an environment. Every monster is built with a skeletal and muscular structure used for killing them in brutal ways. If your character is in the thick of combat, they will be covered in the blood spatter of nearby monsters. Over time, your character’s armor will transition back to being spotless.
          The Sorceress studies the art of elemental magic. They slow enemies with cold before freezing them solid and shattering them to pieces. They strike their enemies with stunning bursts of lightning, causing bodies to pop and sizzle. Enemies collapse to the floor and char to the bone as the Sorceress engulfs foes in fire.
          * { box-sizing: border-box; } .column { float: left; width: 50%; padding: 5px; }

          Some examples of death types that Sorceresses can trigger:
          Freeze/Shatter - Break frozen monsters into pieces Char - Singe the corpse of a monster with lightning Burn – Scorch the monster’s flesh, leaving the remains of a charred skeleton The Barbarian takes pride in their physical capabilities. Their arsenal of weaponry makes them deadly in close combat. With the power of their ancient bloodline, Barbarians crush foes into piles of gore or send them flying across the battlefield. Their brute strength is equally matched by their speed and ferocity as they unleash fury on the battlefield, dismembering limbs from all that stand in their way.
          * { box-sizing: border-box; } .column { float: left; width: 50%; padding: 5px; }

          Some examples of death types that Barbarians can trigger:
          Crush – Flatten a monster under the weight of a heavy object Decapitate - Remove a monster’s head from its body Cut In Half - Sweet ? Break Lower Limbs- The monster’s lower body is shattered, splitting several of their joints The Rogue is dexterous; their attacks are methodical. Monsters are often oblivious to their presence until it is far too late. A precise stab from one of their daggers, or a well-placed arrow, is enough to bring most monsters to the floor. The Rogue finds the most opportune time to take on a fight, and they imbue weapons to gain an advantage. Shadow magic can make a superb distraction, but their shadow clones are as deadly as their blades.
          * { box-sizing: border-box; } .column { float: left; width: 50%; padding: 5px; }

          Some examples of death types that Rogues can trigger:
          Eviscerate – Spill the insides of a monster Shadow – Shadow energy deteriorates the life from a monster's flesh. Freeze/Shatter - Break frozen monsters into pieces Poison – The monster’s skin melts off leaving a heap of muscle and bone Flay – Flay the skin from an enemy, leaving the muscle structure intact The Druid is one with nature magic. They conjure storms and call down lightning on their enemies. They control the battlefield with gusts of wind as their animal companions tear the flesh from monsters. Druids manipulate the earth with nature magic, molding it to their will and bludgeoning enemies from afar. As their enemies approach, they see the innate power of the Druid, shapeshifting fluidly between an agile werewolf and a hulking werebear.
          * { box-sizing: border-box; } .column { float: left; width: 50%; padding: 5px; }

          Some examples of death types that Druids can trigger:
          Roadkill – The monster is crushed by a moving object, leaving a smear of blood on the ground Devoured– The monster's flesh is eaten away by a swarm of ferocious bites Lightning Gib – Lightning causes the monster’s body to pop, exploding into pieces Maul – The monster’s skin is completely mangled, covering them in blood That is everything we have to share with you today. It has been a dream to work on this franchise, and I’ve really enjoyed the opportunity to share some of our development process with the community.
          Thank you for reading our last quarterly update blog for 2021. I hope you found it exciting and interesting. We are actively listening to your feedback, and we strive to make Diablo IV the dark, gothic game we all want to play. Please continue to share your thoughts and provide feedback on social media, Reddit, and our forums!
          Back to Top
        • By Staff
          Blizzard confirmed the Diablo 4 quarterly update will drop by the end of December, but not this week.
          The December 2021 update will focus on FX and system updates, specifically related to Paragon. Blizzard also teased something else coming this week, but we have no clue what that could be.
          (Source)
          It won't be dropping this week. But it will be dropping before the end of the month!
          This one is a bit beefy. Expect some system updates and a really great deep dive on FX with some amazing videos from the team. It's nice and enlightening!
          We have some other stuff this week as well!
          Some endgame content too? ?
          Not too much as there were some new system updates they wanted to highlight and get in front of people first. But some of that actually does dabble into endgame... specifically paragon.
        • By Staff
          After Luis Barriga left the company in August, Joe Shelly, a longtime Blizzard veteran who worked as a designer on multiple WoW expansions, before becoming Senior Game Designer on Diablo 3, has become Diablo 4's new Game Director.
          Joe Shelly introduced himself in Diablo 4's latest quarterly update.
          (Source)
          Hello, and welcome once again to a new Diablo IV Quarterly Update.
          I'm Joe Shely from the Diablo IV team. As a design lead who has been working on this dark, shared, open world action role-playing game from the beginning, I’m honored to continue the vision of Diablo IV as its new Game Director, and I’m humbled to represent the team pouring their hearts into this game.
          Like many of you, our team has been reflecting upon recent events. A lot has happened since our last blog and the hard work of practicing the values we aspire to must continue. In parallel with that important work, development of Diablo IV continues too.
          Over the past few years, we've assembled a strong team with incredible passion for Diablo IV. You, Diablo’s fans, are a critical part of this team. With the help of your valuable feedback, we've steadily refined and deepened the game experience. We have ways to go, and while much has changed, our commitment to the game is unwavering.
          Sanctuary should always be items glittering in dark dungeons. Tales of powerful heroes standing against the onslaught of hell. Lands where trials, treasure, and terrible monsters lie around every corner, equal parts familiar and boundless in its possibilities. Doing this world justice is a solemn responsibility. Today, we're taking a deep dive into the sound design of Diablo IV. Sound is a sometimes underappreciated yet integral element of the game's design, serving as a channel for communicating everything from incoming damage, to confirmation that a button press was registered by the game, to the intensity of a combat sequence. Try turning off the sound in a Diablo game sometime; you'll find your eyes have to work a lot harder to follow the action.
          Sound also conveys the subtext of the world through which you adventure. It supports the rising and falling action of the campaign and immerses you into the ambient life of a region, transporting you into the game world. While you're reading through the blog, I encourage you to listen to the ambient tracks and pay attention to their effect on your heartrate and emotions. Try closing your eyes while listening to get a better sense of how much is being communicated.
          Crafting Diablo's sound requires science, art... and the occasional ball of fire. Sound Supervisor Kris Giampa and his team have fascinating insights to share in this behind-the-scenes look at how it all works.
          We hope you enjoy this update and look forward to your thoughts and reactions. As promised, our next blog will cover endgame systems and visual effects. It's been a while since we looked at systems, and there's a lot we're excited to share. Let us know what topics you'd like to hear about in the future too!
          We are grateful to have you with us on this journey. Thank you for playing the stuff we make.
          -Joe Shely,
          Game Director, Diablo IV
          Source: PC Gamer
      ×
      ×
      • Create New...