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Diablo 4 dev blog discusses depth through skills and talents

Blizzard has offered its quarterly update on the progress of Diablo 4 and is taking some time to discuss the game's skill and talent system and some of the changes the team is already experimenting with.

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It's been almost a year since Diablo 4 was first announced, but the game is no closer to getting a release date. However, the team at Blizzard is still hard at work on the game and continues to offer periodic updates on what players can expect. On Tuesday, the publisher delivered some new information about how the game's skill and talent systems should operate.

While skills and talents are going to be a huge part of Diablo 4, Blizzard is already eyeing some major changes for how they'll work in the final version of the game. For one thing, the plan is to base a character's power level more on the character's build, citing that Diablo had become too much about upping a character's power through items. The team is currently looking to strike a healthy balance between using a player's build choices to power a character and making item choices meaningful.

This segues into the discussion of a whole new skill system. Diablo 4 Lead Systems Designer David Kim noted that skill progression felt too simplified, so the team will work to overhaul the talent system to give it greater depth and give players more incentive to use their skill points. Players will have a place to spend their skill points, which will be separate from a character's passive abilities. The screenshots below not only illustrate what the skill system will look like, it also offers a look at how extensive Diablo 4's skill tree will get.

Kim also discussed the game's Sorceress class, particularly the class-specific Enchantment system. Sorceress skills can be placed into active skill slots and Enchantment slots. The latter will grant the Sorceress a secondary bonus power, rather than an active skill. This will allow players to create builds based around their Enchantments, their skills, or both.

"The main goal for us here is to have very unique class-specific mechanics in Diablo IV," Kim explains in the Diablo dev blog. "We have this goal because Diablo the kind of game where many players try out different builds or classes, especially during seasonal play. We believe that unique class mechanics with very different strengths and playstyles compared to other classes will make exploring the different classes—and playing the game—much more fun."

As Blizzard works on the current incarnation of the various classes' skill and talent systems, Kim acknowledges that this focus means the team will need more time to work on Diablo 4's endgame progression system. The goal for this will be to create a deeper system that provides more replayability than what Paragon is currently offering in Diablo 3.

You can learn more about how Diablo 4 is coming along by checking on our previous dev blog recap, as well as the Diablo 4 website. You can also revisit our preview from BlizzCon 2019. Diablo 4 is coming soon to PC.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

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