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Season 4 itemization changes are big. Here’s the details

Itemization changes

We ran a poll earlier this week asking the community what they wanted most from Season 4 and itemization changes came out on top. So what’s happening with itemization in Season 4?

When it comes to Diablo, items are the one thing that the development team has to iterate on a lot until players are happy with the result. Diablo 3’s loot 2.0 is a great example of that. It took quite some time and a change of personnel to bring that to fruition. While there may not be a change at the top this time, the team is determined to get it right. They want to prove to the naysayers that there’s a solid game here.

I think we can all agree that the game has turned into a bit of a loot pinata. Stand around a brazier long enough in Season 3 and you’ll know what I mean. That’s all about to change as the development team is now focusing squarely on quality over quantity in Season 4. So how are they attempting to achieve this? Let’s take a look at the changes.

Drops

First of all the loot drop rate is being reduced and what does drop will be quality loot, loot that is more applicable to a player’s character. Less useful affixes will also appear less often and affixes are set to become more potent. The upshot of this is less sifting through gar stat checking and more time out in the field killing stuff. I think we can agree this is a move in the right direction.

The Item Journey

Blizzard wants to take players on more of a journey with their items giving players improved options make that possible. Building on solid base stats is the idea and we’ll see base item updates in Season 4. The team is aware of the current issues and cited Diablo 2 as an example of building on those base stats.

To facilitate that change, Legendary items have the number of affixes dropped from 4 to 3 and Rares from 4 to 2. This bumps Legandaries up the item hierarchy where they should be. It also reduces the need to sift through Rares in case they are better than Legendary.

As far as the affixes themselves are concerned, there’s going to be a smaller pool but they will be more potent. An example of this change is a Core Skill affix which will now only roll with Rank +1 but there will be a rare drop of Rank +2 to ALL core skills.

To make things a little more understandable, and logical, World Tier 3 will only drop Sacred items and World Tier 4 will only drop Ancestral items. It’s also worth noting that Legendary items that drop from level 95+ mobs will always have an item power of 925.  This change means there’s more focus on the affixes and less on the item power.

Uniques

Fractured GlassThe are changes to uniques and drop rates. Some uniques will now start dropping earlier in the game. Uniques from World Tier 3 will now start showing up in World Tiers 1 and 2 but will not be classed as Sacred. Expect stats to reflect that. Likewise, all uniques that were only available in World Tier 4 will start dropping as Sacred uniques from unique monsters in World Tier 3.

To keep players excited at the prospect of possibly getting an Uber Unique, there’s a very small chance an iPower 925 unique (including Uber Uniques) could drop from level 55+ Elite mobs in World Tier 3. What are the chances though, right?

For players starting out with new characters, I can see the benefit of moving some of the uniques to lower World Tiers. It gives players a chance to at least get a taste of the cooler items earlier on.

In Season 4, there will be double the amount of uniques added compared to previous Seasons. Look out for the one and only Tyrael’s Might which makes a return. This unique will works like an Artillery Shrine shooting out projectiles.

Fractured Winterglass for the Sorcerer is another new unique that will create Conjurations which in turn will fire Frozen Orbs.

Codex of Power

Codex UI
Codex UI

This has been given a huge overhaul. All Legendary Aspects now go into the Codex Power when salvaged. When an Aspect is salvaged, you can now see how good the Aspect is with a rank in UI between 1 and 16 which is the highest. Each time you find a higher roll on an Aspect, that Aspect replaces the lower Aspect. Max rolls on aspects will not appear in World Tier 1 and 2.

The UI also has filtering options which means it’s easy to find specific Aspects. There’s also a keyword search to find specific Aspects.

All these changes appear on the Eternal and Seasonal realms and launch with Season 4.

Tempering

Tempering
Tempering at the Blacksmith

An all-new system is being added to the game called Tempering and it’s happening at the Blacksmith with the new Tempering interface.

Tempering enables players to add affixes to their Legendary items but players will be required to find Tempering Manuals which will drop from most content in the game so there’s no need to target farm for these. These Manuals will vary in quality depending on which World Tier you are playing in when you find them. You then click on them to learn them.

Affixes contained within these Manuals are categorised in a similar way as Aspects in the Codex of Power such as Weapons, Mobility, Offensive, Defensive, Resource, and Utility.

Tempering an item will attach affixes to the gear you place inside the Blacksmith’s Tempering slot. For example, inserting an Ancestral Legendary item into the new Blacksmith Tempering UI will allow the player to choose two additional mutually exclusive Affixes from randomly selected stats in the Tempering Manuals. While you can select which Manual you want to use, you can’t pick which stats are going to be added from that Manual.

This brings us to Durability, or retries if you prefer. You have five chances to get that affix you want and the first attempt is free.

 

Greater Affixes
Greater Affixes

Greater Affixes

With more focus now placed on the affixes, the team is adding what they call Greater Affixes. These are more powerful versions of the normal affixes and will appear in the endgame World Tier 4. These will only show up on Ancestral and Unique gear.

Every item affix has the chance to be a Greater Affix with a 1.5x Multiplier on the max roll of the item Affixes. Spotting these should be easy enough as Roman numerals with a range of I to IV will be indicated on the drop and the tooltip to show how many affixes have been given a boost. To make it blatantly obvious when one of these drops, there will be a new audio queue to highlight you may just have found something a little special.

It’s important to note that these Greater Affixes cannot be re-rolled into a different Greater Affix at the Occultist.

Masterworking

Last by no means least is Masterworking, an endgame level 100 crafting system to upgrade items and improves item affixes.

Players will be able to rank up item Affixes up to 12x, which slightly increases the value of all Affixes, including Tempered Affixes. The upgrade process is incremental at each rank but a single affix is randomly and massively buffed every 4th, 8th, and 12th ranks. Effectively, this means that have three chances to really improve an affix on an item.In the image below, you can see that Rank 4 gives a significant boost to Max Life.

Greater Affixes 003

The ranks at 4, 8, and 12 will show on the item tooltip as the following different colours to show how it has been improved.

  • 4 = Blue
  • 8 = Yellow
  • 12 = Orange

These Masterworked affixes can also be rerolled at the Occultist for a different affix that will inherit the same increased rank. Resetting Masterworked upgrades will however come at a significant cost.

How do you get the materials to do this? They will come from the new endgame content called The Pit.

Masterworking also applies to Uniques which is great because not having any control over them previously was frustrating.

Upgrading Gone

With the introduction of Tempering and Masterworking, the old upgrade system is going from the game. This is good news as it always felt underdeveloped.

Old Items

Items you currently have will become old items and can’t have the new systems applied to them. They are now legacy items.

Trading

Trading is now going to be more of a thing moving forward with the introduction of trading on Legendary and Unique items that have not been modified (This does not apply to Uber Unique items).

Will these itemization changes work for you?

We still don’t know how some of this will look once Season 4 goes live but based on the above it feels like the team are moving the itemisation in the tight direction, Having a bit more control on affixes will be a big help and endgame players now have more item goals thanks to Masterworking.

It looks good on paper but how the community responds will be the real test. What do you think of the changes?


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