Saw in an interview with one of the lead game devs of D4 (Joe Shelly, i think) that the same philosophy that underpins paragon levels continues to be important to them, but they are not sure of the exact implementation yet.
Please no more paragon or paragon-like feature in D4
Its a bit concerning that they still love the idea of a paragon feature and are leaning into adding some sort of version of it in D4. Concerning because it signals that they don’t have a strong enough vision for the endgame in terms of the meaningful activities a player can do after beating the game other than just accumulating paragon levels (among other things that have been tried already in D3).
Why is a paragon-like system even needed? So that people can have a badge of how many hours they’ve spent getting more xp after hitting max level? It doesn’t seem as a well thought out way of getting people to play more after beating the game.
Before it becomes too ingrained into whatever they’re building, i’d like to just point out (and i’m sure others have probably communicated it better elsewhere), that there are better alternatives that help put meaning into the endgame than infinite levelling after hitting the basic max level cap.
PoE’s map system for example is a great endgame, or how the loot in that game ties into the trading economy is also another example of how to encourage folks to farm more of the same, and actually help out those who don’t have time to grind it out but want to try to get the items they need to try out a build. It’s elegant really. Paragon is ham fisted when compared to those systems.
For D4, instead of paragon, why not just allow people to perform more granular improvements to their chosen skills/talents or their gear via ability to farm consumable items that can increase their effect by a small margin instead? For example, items that increase the duration of a skill/talent like the freeze effect by a small amount, or increase the value of a specific affix on an item? Let these items drop from specific elite monsters that spawn in certain areas to encourage usage of all zones/regions on the map. Allow these items to be tradable so that if a player doesn’t particularly need or like the affix or talent that the consumable item improves, then they can trade it for something else that they need.
That way, people could have a chosen focus in the endgame on improving a build that leverages on the effects of specific skills/talents that they like playing, and rewarding them for grinding out the search for items that allow these granular improvements to skill effects, items, runes etc, and support a trading based game as well.
IMO, paragon levels were bad for D3 as a whole because it was one of the less creative and mundane ways of continuing progression after hitting max level. It’s current form in D3 doesn’t tie into a trading economy either, which they plan to include in D4.
Hope this opens up more discussion for them to get some inspiration/ideas from, instead of just pursuing more of the same from Pagagon.