Blizzard Shares Diablo IV Design Updates, Including Elective Mode Skill Selection

Those who were unable to use the feature in the BlizzCon demo feared it might be excluded in the upcoming new sequel.

By Chris Morse

As promised earlier this month, Blizzard has kicked off its Diablo IV system design series with an initial update on a few hot topics following the big reveal and initial gameplay demo at BlizzCon. The goal of these articles are to both acknowledge fan feedback and offer the community insight into the game’s ongoing development, which will feature plenty of iteration as time goes on.

One of the big takeaways from the demo was that it did not feature an Elective Mode for skills, which is a feature present in Diablo III allowing players to put skills of any category into any slot. It’s huge part of character customization that expands the number of builds possible with each class. Fortunately, this developer update revealed that this will indeed be a feature in Diablo IV. It was only missing from the demo because the UI is a work-in-progress, much like many other aspects of the game.


Regarding another major point of discussion, itemization, Blizzard says the goal is to add more depth, complexity, and variety to base items in order to give players a more interesting gearing experience. There will also be more freedom of customization, but the developers are waiting for a future update post to go into further details on that front. On a positive note, it looks like Ancient items are getting an overhaul that will be touched upon more down the road.

The next section of the post discusses the endgame progression system. As it stands in Diablo III, players amass Paragon levels that offer additional advancement beyond the standard level cap. In short, Blizzard hasn’t decided yet whether the new system will have an open-ended “infinite” element to it or if the system will have a finite stopping point. There are many pros and cons on the table for each approach, but the developers firmly believe such a system should exist to allow players to dive deeper into the game, achieve endgame goals, and have a progression experience with added depth and choice.

With respect to character power, Blizzard wants the game to have a good mix of power sources across level, items, skill ranks, and talents. Touching upon itemization again, the post reveals that an item’s Legendary effect is just one piece of the puzzle, as a few affixes should roughly equal the same power gain as that bonus. It looks like Diablo IV will feature a more balanced approach to where your strength in battle comes from, at least to start things off.

The final point touched upon on the developer update is the new Keyed Dungeons system and how it stands out from Greater Rifts in Diablo III. While Rifts are fully randomized in every way, affixes and all, Keyed Dungeons will give you more information upfront about what you are about to run, allowing players to strategize their approach before entering. There are many dungeons throughout the world, so we expect there will still be plenty of variety playing through the endgame.

With Diablo IV development ongoing, there are many more updates ahead and the developers are hoping fans will stay involved to offer continued feedback as design and iteration continues. Whenever the next update rolls out, we’ll be sure to fill you in on the key takeaways. Stay tuned!


About the Author

Chris Morse

Programmer by day, writer by night. Having grown up surrounded by plenty of horror movies and video games, it only made sense for Chris to combine all of these passions into one place: Dead Entertainment. Whether he's working on designs, tinkering with the platform, or just writing up the latest horror news, he's sure to be hard at work keeping the wheels turning on this website no matter what time of day it is. When not coding or gaming, you can find him donning a Cheesehead and heading to the Midwest to cheer on his favorite NFL team, the Green Bay Packers. #GoPackGo