Diablo 3 may not be coming out till 2012 but the Diablo 3 open beta, expected by the end of September, is approaching fast and gameplay details keep pouring out from both official and unofficial sources. Video footage of Diablo 3 leaked last week from the current “family and friends” beta, presenting the game’s character selection screen and first town. Combined with the earlier “followers” Diablo 3 gameplay trailer which showed off the Enchantress, the Scoundrel and the Templar, and these have been the best glimpses at real gameplay we’ve seen yet.

This time via the Diablo 3 battle.net community blog, Blizzard has thrown out some detailed explanations of what players will be able to do with all the left over dungeon loot once all of Diablo’s minions have been slain. In Diablo 2, players would often leave items behind as to not fill their limited inventories with items that weren’t useful or worth carrying back to town. Blizzard has added several new features to Diablo 3 to ensure none of your loot will go to waste.

Early on in Diablo 3, players will have access to the Cauldron of Jordan, an important new artifact which replaces carrying items back to town to sell. It grants the ability to turn virtually any item in your inventory to gold. The gold created from this fantastic time saving item will apparently be more necessary than ever before because of increasing reliance on the nearby artisans who will charge for the new services they offer.

Loot will also find itself being recycled in other ways than just being melted down for gold. The Nephalem Cube artifact works similarly to the Cauldron of Jordan but it will de-construct items into crafting materials. These crafting materials can then be used by the Blacksmith, Jeweler or the Mystic to create new armor and weapons or to upgrade current gear with enhancements or addtional gem slots. The more rare the item broken down by the Nephalem Cube, the more rare the resulting crafting materials will be. The most useful and powerful enhancements and crafted items will require more rare crafting materials give that special high-level loot a purpose even if it’s something your character won’t use directly.

Artisans will gain access to more useful and powerful recipes as their skill improves at crafting. By spending money, crafting materials and Pages of Training that can be obtained by adventuring, artisans will gain the ability to craft more powerful and useful items. Blizzard posted screenshots of the crafting menus and inventory menus which give an idea of how the new game mechanics work. Take a look below:

The crafting mechanic will certainly remind players of  the World of Warcraft profession system of breaking down items of various rarities to create and upgrade currently used items. It has always worked well in WoW and Diablo 3’s system seems to be a more simplified version that will not require a committed profession choice. Thankfully these new uses for dropped gear won’t result in a race for loot between teammates because the new loot system in Diablo 3 only displays dropped items to a single player. Instead of using a system similar to World of Warcraft‘s loot rolling item ownership is randomized behind the scenes allowing players to focus on the battle instead of the treasure.

Of course, if you think the item will be useful to someone else or even one of your other characters then instead of destroying it with one of the above methods, you can toss it in your shared stash, trade it to one of your friends or throw it up in the new Auction House to earn some real cash.

What do you think of the new uses for all Diablo 3 loot? Will you miss sorting through your overflowing inventory?

Diablo 3 is expected to release on PC and Mac sometime in 2012 but the beta is slated for slated this quarter (end of September).

tags: Blizzard, Diablo 3, Mac, PC