Perhaps the most hotly debated question regarding Diablo 4 is whether or not the items should have horizontal or vertical power progression, Diablo 2 die hards vs Diablo 3 hardly dies.
I’m not adressing this question here, instead I’ll simply write down my layman thoughts on how a crafting system at the core of Diablo 4 might solve loads of problems and bring D2 and D3’s players, (as well as new players), to somewhat common ground. I’ll do this by fist presenting the general rules that the system adheres to, numbered, then write a short explanation on why I think they work.
I’m describing this crafting system as if all the affixes, (bar legendary affixes), are derived from the same pool, as this seems to be what the devs have shown us will be used in D4, at least upon the time of writing this article.
In the recent quarterly update the devs stated that it is a specific goal of theirs to eliminate the need for a player in D4 to stop and check every item drop. This is commendable of course, since keeping the action flowing is an important part of an arpg like Diablo.
Then again stopping solely for the next tier of item quality is no fun either, and that’s where some of the crux in creating an enjoyable yet accessible item system lies.
As there weren’t any visible item levels on items in the recent quarterly update, I’m thinking it might be the case that the number of affixes on items within a tier is linked to something other than item level. But I propose that with a few slight modifications to the crafting system described in this article, a system like it could be at least part of a solution to the delicate problem of the item system anyhow.
Bonus: The sections “Looting Rares” and “Legendary Etching”.
[To fit the current iteration of D4 some small rule changes need to be made:
- “Angelic-/demonic power” etc referenced in rule 1 no longer applies and can be switched out for “item type specific affix” (or “inherent physical characteristic”).
- The “Higher item level = More affixes” of rule 2 seem to also be obsolete and can be switched out for “Higher item tier = More affixes”.
- The exact number of affixes per item tier can be made unimportant for the crafting process, but rule 2 still stands.]
- Item type
A rare can only be crafted using items of the same type.
Base (whites). 0-1 affix.
Be it cracked, superior or etherial, whites are used as the crafting base. (The crafted item is this base item + added magic affixes).
Whites can only roll +demonic/ancestral/angelic -power as its potential affix.
Magic (blues) 1-2 affixes.
Provides the affixes that are to be crafted onto the base item.
Rare (yellows) 3-4 affixes.
Crafted items are categorized as rares.
(Legendary items are not covered in my post other than in synergy with rares through crafting).
More affixes = Less power per affix. (The more affixes an item has the lower the potential max roll of those affixes become).
Higher item level = More affixes.
- Drop rate
The drop rate of magics and rares would have to be more akin to D2 than D3, for this system to work psychologically.
And so we begin:
0 • If the player wants to craft a spear the player will need to find (or buy) a spear crafting base and at least a couple of spear magics, to craft a rare staff, one handed sword, armour or what have you, the player will need to find a base and magics of the same item type for that crafting recipe to work.
By focusing the players search to specific item types in this way, you eliminate the need to stop and check every item drop, yet it still leaves the player that want to hunt for the best white and blue items a good reason to do so.
I imagine this item type-sensitive crafting system is also “self balancing” since the crafted item draws its affixes only from the affix pool of its own item type.
1 • Rares are crafted by combining 1 base item with 2 to 4 blues, depending on if the base item have an affix or not. [As of the recent quarterly update the number of affixes does not seem to matter in this context and the number of blues used in a crafting recipe could be limited to a set number].
[This paragraph is no longer valid]. A lower level white with zero affixes would have higher potential max roll on its affixes after being crafted than a higher level white with one affix, provided the player crafts a rare using the minimum ammount of blues.
The newly crafted rare then take on the affixes of the base and magic items. A higher rolled affix on the magic item give a higher roll on the crafted rare, though following the rule that more affixes on an item equal lower potential max rolls of those affixes.
[This paragraph is no longer valid. But the last statement still stands.] The reason for crafting a rare with a minimum of two blues is that you don’t want to dilute the power of the lower rarity items by allowing a rare to exist with only two affixes (*2). The same reasoning but in reverse is applied to whites when only allowing them to keep +demonic/ancestral/angelic -power as their potential affix. You don’t want neither base items nor rares to compete on the same playing field as the magic items.
If a rare is crafted with magics that have a combined number of affixes higher than the number a rare can carry, one of the affixes are dropped, which one is either by chance (as I would prefer), or by choice.
Rares that are looted have the potential of being better than the best crafted rare because of them rolling without the +demonic/ancestral/angelic affix, while still being high level items.
[This is an important part of the old crafting system because it makes the player want to loot rares rather than just craft them. A solution to this problem is proposed in “Looting Rares”].
Having crafted items being categorized as rares help limit the number of different item categories, which is good for the young hell spawn and casual players.
2 • By having more affixes on an item equal less potential max power per affix and vice versa, the experienced Diablo fanatic get access to powerful magic items and versatile crafted rares from the get go, allowing for early min-maxing and exciting low level PvP.
The new player on the other hand get to experience the game in another way, for the crafting system naturally leads him/her towards a more casually enjoyable experience. It does this by allowing the player to become more generalized with every rare and thus the player can take on any threat posed in the fallen world of Sanctuary, all while just focusing on getting the shinier loot.
The new player in question might one day realize that he/she has evolved with the game though, having cravings for a deeper more hard core experience, that player then chooses to use more magic items to further specialize his/her build and take on more difficult scenarios.
Speaking of late game, the crafting system works in tandem with the legendary affix consumable that the dev team already announced and at the same time give the dev team further reson to separate the rules governing the legendary affixes from the magic/rare category, making legedary affixes truly Legendary!
[“The legendary affix consumable” is no longer a thing. The updated legendarys are however adressed further down under “Legendary Etching”].
An easy way to distiguish a legedary affix from the rest of the affixes on a rare item is by having the legendary affix be unaffected by the “more affixes = less max roll”-rule that otherwise affect the item.
3 • This system depends on blues being used as a gate to create rares and thus they themself can’t be dropping ten a penny, nor dime a dozen.
After a little while though, you as a new player have been able to make yourself a few rares, which in extension means that items of higher rarity than blues need to be quite rare finds for it to really give you that kick when a yellow actually drops, (remember that dropped rares have higher potential and should, next to this system, be treated as such).
Not finding rares or even blues at every corner might sound to some like a drag, but the crafting system opens up the potential for the casual or starting player to have a smörgåsbord of useful base and magic items to equip, as well as a fast natural progression towards rares and a more general (less specialized, more casually oriented) player power.
Keeping the action going and not having the player stop and check all drops for an upgrade is such an important part of the D4 experience. Yet looting rares should be superior to crafting them for roughly the same reason.
The issue of making the player want to loot rares can perhaps be solved through having the max potential of crafted items be inferior to looted ones and through the crafting of legendarys using rares as part of the recipe.
By removing the legendary affix from one item type and etching that affix onto a rare of a different item type a demand for both rares and legendarys can be created, though this faces the same problem as with the crafted rares.
Making it so that the etched rare (crafted legendary) is degraded in the process of crafting it is the solution in this case as well, but this time it can be done in more exciting ways!
Imagine you want to transfer a legendary affix onto a rare with an item type you desire, but in doing so some (or all) stats of the rare are lessened. Another, more spectacular (and in my opinion exciting) way of degrading the item, that also potentially makes crafting legendarys viable in the late late game, could be to lessen the effect of the legendary affix, though in which way it should be done would have to be considered individually on every one of the legendary affixes.
Degrading the item could theoretically be done again and again with the newly crafted item being degraded every time, but the first degradation is the one that is most important for assuring the superiority of looted legendarys.
Epilogue and questions
Another thing that this system does is that it gives both casual and hard core players a reson to be excited for loot of any rarity that they find.
And last but certainly not least, the crafting system creates personal attatchment to your most awesome crafted items and at best give the item an almost spiritual personal meaning. Imagine the possibilities!
•Would a system as this one help towards more interesting items and builds?
•How would you work Angelic/Demonic/Ancestral power into the system?
•How early should a system like this be implemented and what does the introduction to it look like?
•Should all items (beside legendarys) draw from the same pool of affixes, or should each item rarity use its own unique pool?
In my opinion this crafting system also opens up the opportunity for Uniques to make a comeback as a different, super late game tier of item that profoundly change the class you’re playing. Imagine a Sorceress turning into a wear bear or using heavy armor for example. In this dream of mine, the character could only wear one unique at a time of course.
If you enjoy what I’ve written please show your respect to me and to the cause, by leaving constructive criticism.