If Diablo 4 copied Diablo 2 verbatim, it would be a pretty flawed game for this era. I think what Blizzard needs to do is copy the principles, not the game. Here are some core principles of gameplay which made Diablo 2 great, even 20 years later:
- Incentives to make other characters
So one thing I love about Diablo 2 is that different characters are great at different things. For example, Blizzard Sorc is great for early ladder MFing, but Pitzerker is the best for maxing MF and doing Pindle/Pit runs in the long run. Assassin is a great class for farming keys, but Smiter Paladin is the best for actually farming ubers. A really elite Javazon is great for farming XP. This is a very fun concept for people who really want to min/max their builds. A high end streamer like DBrunski has his holy grail character, his level to 99 char, his key farmer, his uber farmer, etc. However, arguably the biggest incentive to starting a new character is finding a GG item for a different class. For example, my Sorc found a near perfect Death's Web and because of that, I decided to make a Necro who is currently in the process of leveling.
- Every item type has its place
Regular white items can be used for imbue quest, or you can add sockets to them to create runewords, or add jewels/gems to them. Grey items are fantastic, as they can be made into runewords. Blue items can roll nice stats, but are very limited in how many affixes they can roll. Sometimes, they can outclass a rare/unique if you need a couple niche stats to complete a build. Rares can be often best in slot, especially rare circlets, rings, amulets, gloves and boots. Set items definitely have their problems, but there are a few very worthwhile sets in the game, and many sets can be good for early game twinking. Obviously, uniques go without saying. They tend to be BiS pretty often, and very exhilarating to find.
- Early game quests and items matter for the endgame
D2 isn't really a "Game starts at level 70" game, or "Game starts at the endgame" type of game. In your early levels, you can find very useful items. Stone of Jordan and Tal Rasha's Amulet can drop in Normal even. You can find great FCR rings early in the game that will be useful from beginning til endgame. Items aside, quests have very useful rewards that keep you doing them. For example, Akara gives you skill point, and you can get skill/stat resets from her as a reward if you finish a certain quest. You receive quest rewards that give you more resistance, life, and everyone's favorite Larzuk quest which lets you add sockets to an item. There are so many useful quests throughout D2 that end up being worthwhile to casuals and speedrunners. I hope the D4 team can make the early game matter, and not "Everything before level 40 doesn't matter once you get to level 40". Personally, I think good quest rewards would go GREAT with the open world concept. Instead of completing the same quests 3 times, you would have a variety of different quests in a huge open world.
I'd love to hear what you guys think are some principles/philosophies from D2 that you hope the D4 team are learning from. I think they're on the right track with "Easy to learn, difficult to master". That's how D2 feels to play, and hopefully they maintain that for D4.
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