D4 Crafting System and general/specialized play. Updated!

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.]
  1. Item type

A rare can only be crafted using items of the same type.

  1. Items

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).

  1. Affixes

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.

  1. 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.

Looting Rares
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.

Legendary Etching
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.


Hot damn…:hushed:

Still reading…

i dont like any items to be a “material” :confused:
whites are a kinda base in D2, which is cool
but blues should be there to wear imo.

Brilliant system. It keeps all categories of items relevant at all times. I’d like to see something like this hybridized with something others have suggested where each category of items has its pros and cons just to make them feel a bit more competitive with each other in a noncrafting context.

It’s also nice because if you want to use them for crafting you can, but if you’d rather just farm drops to wear you can do that too. It works both ways.

If legendaries are included in this system, I would like it more, than the legendary consumable system

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@ Lolli42

i dont like any items to be a “material” :confused:
whites are a kinda base in D2, which is cool
but blues should be there to wear imo.

In this system a blue would not just exist as a material, but also as loot to wear because of rule #2.

If legendaries are included in this system, I would like it more, than the legendary consumable system

I’m guessing you mean that instead of a consumable, you’d sacrifice a legendary to etch it’s legendary affix onto a rare?
Maybe that’s not what you meant, anyway, feel free to expand on your idea, I would love to read it.

The reason I left legendarys out of the post is that I see them as kind of isolated from, (almost uninportant to), the bulk of the item system… Another way to put it would be that to me the issue with legendarys lie more in balancing late game than trying to fit them into an item system. The latter is what I’m adressing in my original post.


Brilliant system. It keeps all categories of items relevant at all times. I’d like to see something like this hybridized with something others have suggested where each category of items has its pros and cons just to make them feel a bit more competitive with each other in a noncrafting context.

Thank you for the compliment! My system appreciates it ^^
I myself would love items in D4 to have pros and cons not just in what works in what situation, but also as negative affixes.
That way of doing it though, is not just way to hard to balance but also not very Now, if you know what I mean and I doubt Blizzard would work with an idea like that.
Please link the thread(s) to the proposed item systems that you’d like to see my system merge with. I’d love to check them out!

It’s also nice because if you want to use them for crafting you can, but if you’d rather just farm drops to wear you can do that too. It works both ways.

F*ck yeah it does!
Thanks again for your kind words and valuable input.

@ ShoRim
I believe, if I read you correctly, that you’re talking about a totally different system than the one I devised. Seems to me like you should start your own thread so that you can express your system a bit clearer and we would all benefit more from it.

So glad you are ^^

I’m not sure I understand what you mean… But I do agree that legendarys/uniques should feel as legendary/unique as their names suggest. A bear can only dream.

To avoid confusion please refrain from discussing another crafting system in this thread than the one proposed in the original post.

The legendary consumable system feels like a knee jerk response that wasn’t required, and makes legendary items less unique.

I actually liked how rares in Diablo 3’s base game were, with the increased affixes especially into later Tier’s 6 affixes but less stats - just the drop rate was bad, if they had fixed the crafting system, and a few other things (there’s actually a long list here) instead of going over the top…

A legendary item, should feel legendary, not like you’re going to extract from it and ruin it, it should have a unique effect that adds to game play (without stupidly high modifiers).

Or it should be like uniques
No legendary power but very unique stats and affixes

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Looks like I unintentionally hijacked your thread, Ill remove my posts and start a new thread.
Sorry for any confusion that has happened.

Very considerate. Thank you!
Feel free to discuss the original topic though, if it spurs your imagination.

I agree, uniques and legendarys need to feel especially important for them to really work in the fantasy [#Buzzword] and using them as ingredients in crafting seem counterintuitive to that goal.

Finding a consumable for etching a legendary affix onto a rare might on the surface seem to be diluting legendarys in the same way, but I think that the problem with the legendary consumable might be more of a framing issue.

Let’s reframe and imagine, for example, the consumable as a “legendary rune” that have a legendary affix atop the regular rune effect, (be it condition/effect or whatever it will be when the game is done), this I believe would fit much better in the world, and make it so that the “consumable” keeps it’s importance.

Since the legendary rune really is not a consumable, you could player lock the item and give it a very low drop rate instead.

The “legendary rune” would, (just like the current consumable), fit with the crafting system described in the original post, but I think it also could help with working in uniques into the game aswell by further separating uniques from legendarys.

I believe that by putting legendary affixes onto runes, you could afford to bring back uniques as a new class of item that is different enough from legendarys to not be confusing for any player. As food for thought, perhaps build altering, or cross class, [sorc with wear bear], affixes only should be found on uniques?

the way, i see it, there should either be legendary gear OR legendary consumables
but having both, makes both random and unspecial

Yeah, I’m not very keen on the consumable idea either.
If it is doomed to fail, I have no opinion on.

it just leaves the legendary gear to be garbage in endgame
eigher they or the rares are garbage, depending on, which have higher stats and affixes
i think, legendaries should have only few affixes, like magics and this way, they can be “equal” to rares but with other benefits
instead of making everything MORE, they should tune some things down, to balance their stuff

Yes each Group/Tier should have there very own set of Affixes, or if there is overlap then the lower Tier can have a higher value.
Say MF I don’t use it but The lower Tier had the highest range so when making MF setups you have to lose something to be able to Gain MF, I think that works well.
So the only way I see the legendary consumables working is if there have their own affixes or lesser versions of the built in legendary affixes.

But still then, it doesn’t give them and meaning
It might “help” with balance but it’s a terrible design xD

Quote from drmalawi https://www.diabloii.net/forums/goto/post?id=8876732
“affix system in Grim Dawn works differently than in Diablo games.
You have two kind of prefixes : magic tier and rare tier and similar for suffixes.
A magic item have two magic tier affixes (one pre- and one suffix)
A rare item have at least one rare tier affix.”

Thats kinda cool. You could implement that directly into the system I described as well by making it so that looted rares, but not crafted ones, have a chance of getting a affix from a pool separate from magics items, if that special pool also should be separate from the legendary affix pool I leave unsaid.

I know I’m a bit late to the party, but after reading the post I think I just wanted to bump this for the sake of making the discussion on this crafting system a bit more relevant. Honestly. Just cause I like it. I like the idea that every item is given a sort of relevancy other than, like it was in D3, immediate scrap material. And most of all I like the idea of an entirely personalized crafted item. It’d feel like every player’s build would be unique and their own. Hopefully also well earned.

Though I’d worry it could incentivize players who recently begin playing to hoard a bunch of items if it’s introduced to early. Since it’d maybe make players feel like the value of whites would be overestimated. Though on the other hand that might also lead to players creating deeper bonds with trash items they wouldn’t had given more than a quick glance otherwise.

Overall, It’s was an interesting read, and a neat system, though I wonder how it would psychologically condition players to view the value of items.

I for one think using actual items and their affixes as the crafting materials could be simpler to understand than using the intermediary step of regular crafting materials depending on how the process is precented to the player, as well as create more emotional tension and release as the player would want to craft using their favourite items but at the same time lament the risk of ending up with one undesired affix or a slight degredation of the items stats or legendary effect. Both the intuitive and involved system and the emotional tension brought by it are good things if the goal is to get new players to create relationships with the game.