This is the skill system I would like to see in D4. Characters have two kinds of skills: (actual) Skills and Masteries.
- Skills: These are D2 equivalent of adding one point to a skill in order to progress on the skill tree, unlock it for further upgrade or getting the skill as a one point wonder. In D3 equivalent of active and passive skills, as well as runes.
- Each character have around 35-40 skills. Skills are distributed in a big skill tree. Each skill only have one point and you have a total of 15-16 points to distribute. You start with some skill points and get more as you complete objectives in the world, kill act bosses and so on.
- Every skill can be used in two ways: It can be added to your active skill bar or added as a passive skill. Yeah I think the sorceress enchant system should just be feature of the skill system. For balance sake the game would limit how many passive you can equip.
- You can freely swap skills between active and passive slots, allowing plenty of experimentation. Changing which skills you know, however, requires a respec.
- The number 15/16 points is not a coincidence. In D2 a typical exercise when making a build is dividing your skill points in two categories: 95 points required to max 5 skills (19*5), and 15 points used to progress in the tree and get one-point-wonders. In D3 you sort of have 16 points (6 actives + 6 runes + 4 passives).
- Masteries: These are D2 equivalent of the 95 skill points you distribute among the skills you want to max. There is no equivalent of this in D3.
- Every character have 6 masteries. They should get enough points to max one mastery and get halfway through another. You get masteries points with levels. For example sorceress could get Fire, Cold and Lightning as it's main damage masteries; as well Insight (max mana and mana regen), Warcast (casting speed, health and spells that govern close quarters) and Conjuring (duration of lingering spells and debuffs).
- Most skills are governed by multiple masteries simultaneously. Using D2 as example, Hydra would be Fire/Conjuring. Frost Nova Cold/Warcast. Not all skills scale the same. Like Dark Souls, you could have grades to communicate the scaling. For example, Frozen Orb would be Cold Mastery C, while Blizzard would be Cold Mastery A.
- Mastery is a transparent and intuitive substitute of synergies. Unlike synergy, you may want to get some points in some masteries even if you have very few skills on it for the sake of the stat bonus they provide.
- Masteries should be integrated in itemization (ex: +X Cold Mastery amulet). This would be D4 equivalent of +skill tree affixes. Certain unique items could also have legendary affix that scales with masteries.
I think this is nice middle ground between D2 and D3 skill system. It certainly is closer to D2 though and I would think of it as a modern version of that system.
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