Diablo 3 initially released back in 2012, but Blizzard has kept updating and changing the game since its release seven years ago. With Diablo 4 possibly being revealed at Blizzcon 2019, it's time to reflect on Blizzard's big hit and see what features should carry over, and what features should be updated, when the next installment of the Diablo franchise releases. From major quality of life changes to managing intense power creep, here are several things that Blizzard needs to implement in the next Diablo game.
Diablo is all about the gear. From the set items that players build around to the legendary gear that fine-tunes a build, the search for perfect gear is the true endgame of Diablo. If Diablo 4 wants to improve on the framework Diablo 3 laid out, then power legendary gear is a must. Different legendary items allow for different build diversity - which lets players find the right playstyle for them. Whether building a tanky Crusader or a nimble Demon Hunter, finding the right items to synergize with a build is the heart of Diablo.
A big improvement Diablo 4 can make that will set itself apart from its predecessors is making sure every legendary item feels important and meaningful. While Blizzard has been updating legendary items recently and adding perks to ones that previously were missing unique abilities, there are still a ton of legendary items that are completely useless outside of carrying average stats. Having every legendary item do something, no matter how big or small, will go a long way in making the gear feel more dynamic and interesting. Blizzard should take a page out of the Borderlands playbook and make sure that all their legendary gear packs a punch, even if it means nerfing legendary gear hard later on.
More Classes and Class Sets
Arguably the most important choice every Diablo player makes is which class to main. Diablo features several staple classes: Crusader, Barbarian, Monk, Demon Hunter, Wizard, Witch Doctor, and Necromancer. Each plays drastically different than the next thanks to unique skills, abilities, and playstyles. With Diablo 4, hopefully Blizzard will have all of the fan-favorite classes in the game from the start, and perhaps even a new class or two. Veteran Diablo players gravitate toward specific classes that they have played the most, so having some new options would add a lot of variety to the game that would be a breath of fresh air.
Along with new classes, the existing classes should get new class sets that promote the use of specific builds. The upcoming Season 19 in Diablo 3 is introducing two new class sets - one for Monk and one for Barbarian, that will give long-time players some new options. While the sets are underperforming in the PTR at the moment, the prospect of creating new original builds with the new sets is giving the community a lot to be excited for. Blizzard has also confirmed that new sets for the other classes are on the way in future seasons as well.
Seasonal Characters and Thematic Seasons
Seasons are a staple of Diablo at this point, and in recent Seasons, Blizzard has made an effort to make the Seasons more unique by making them thematic. Previously, Seasons would have some sort of unique modifier that ultimately didn't change much. However, recent seasons have had more impactful modifiers - like Season 17's Season of Nightmares buff. Season 17 allowed all players to gain the benefit of the Legacy of Nightmares buff without having to equip the set items, meaning players could make crazy new builds for that season. Other seasonal themes included a passive Ring of Royal Grandeur buff that let players get set bonuses earlier, and even an effect that added powerful buffs on the map that players could stand in. If Diablo 4 wants to have players keep coming back, more meaningful and thematic seasons are a must.
Balancing Power Creep
The biggest problem Diablo 3 is facing currently is that there are some builds that are massively overpowered compared to some others. When Season 16 rolled around Blizzard had to buff nearly every class set (by up to 75,000% in some cases) to get the classes more on level with each other. However, buffing classes like that caused certain parts of the game to be too trivial. Recently, Blizzard introduced new, higher Torment levels to add more of a challenge, but this has made certain builds ineffective at high Torment again. Hopefully when Diablo 4 comes out, things will be more balanced so that certain classes and builds will remain viable in higher difficulty content.
Major Quality of Life Changes
Overall, with every new installment in a series, there is an expectation that the quality of life should improve. With Diablo 3, the quality of life improvements came over the course of the game's (still ongoing) lifespan. With every seasonal update, Blizzard tunes gear and mechanics to better suit the game. When comparing it to Diablo 2, which may be getting a remake announcement at Blizzcon 2019, the changes made make the series much more accessible and user-friendly. From the new bloodshard mechanic to the ability to save builds, Diablo 3 made a lot of great changes to the series.
With all of the recent Diabo 4 leaks as of late, perhaps Blizzard is finally ready to lift the curtain on the highly anticipated next installment of the Diablo franchise. Diablo 3 had a lot of trouble post-launch with its playerbase, so hopefully Diablo 4 will learn from the mistakes of Diablo 3 and will take the franchise to new heights.
Diablo 4 is rumored to be in development for unspecified consoles.