System Changes

UPDATE: Bashiok has posted on the forums regarding the system changes, Posts added to bottom.

Diablo 3 System Changes
The anticipated System Changes have finally come in! Here's a quick summary of the changes:
  • Scrolls of Identification are gone - players can now identify rares/legendary items without them.
  • Button '5' is now dedicated to potions.
  • The Mystic artisan has now been removed from the game.
  • The Cauldron of Jordan and Nephalem Cube have been removed.
  • The Stone of Recall is now a button at the bottom and has been renamed "Town Portal".
  • The Blacksmith is now responsible for salvaging players' items.
  • Common (white colored) items are no longer salvageable.
  • Character Attributes have been changed. See below for details.
  • Character stats are now placed in the same place as the inventory panel and the old dedicated stats panel has been removed.

Official Blizzard Quote:

While working on Diablo III we've been called out for messing around with systems too much, that the game is good as-is and we should just release it. I think that's a fair argument to make, but I also think it's incorrect. Our job isn't just to put out a game, it's to release the next Diablo game. No one will remember if the game is late, only if it's great. We trust in our ability to put out a great game, but we're not quite there yet. In addition to finishing and polishing the content of the game we're continuing to iterate on some of the core game systems. So all that said, I'd like to provide everyone an update on some of the systems we're currently working on.

We’re changing some of the systems we’ve gotten the most feedback on both internally and from the beta test, including crafting, items, core attributes, and inventory. We’ll go over those changes and the reasons for them. In addition we’re working on major changes to the skill and rune systems that we’re not ready to talk about, but I promise you we can’t possibly ship without a finished skill and rune system. :)

Let’s start off small: Scrolls of Identification are no longer in the game. Unidentified items and the act of identifying them is still very much part of the game, but now when obtaining an unidentified item you'll simply right click it, a short cast timer will occur as your character examines the item, and it will become identified. We love the double-discovery of finding a present and then unwrapping it, but we don't think it requires a physical item you have to find and keep in your bags to get the same effect. From now on you'll just be able to inherently identify all your items, no need to carry scrolls. Your character in Diablo III is just that badass now.

We’re also moving the fifth quick slot button, which is becoming a dedicated potion button. A dedicated potion button is something we went back and forth on throughout development. Recently it became apparent that players need to be aware of their potions for emergency situations. Our combat model doesn’t promote or even allow chugging potions in rapid succession, but they’re certainly useful when you run into a string of bad luck with health globes, or if you just get in over your head. This is one of our newest changes, so the button and mechanics don’t actually function in beta Patch 10, but that’s our intent and you’ll be seeing it supported in future beta updates.

The design team is currently looking at systems and cleaning them up, removing any superfluous system objectives and those that are beyond fixing. Thus, we're removing the Mystic artisan. As we look at the big picture, the Mystic simply wasn’t adding anything to our customization system. Enhancement was really just the socket and gem system with a different name, and it would prolong the release of the game even further to go back to the drawing board and differentiate it, so we’ll revisit the Mystic and enhancements at a later time. Removing her from the game took some time, but it’s nowhere near the efforts that would be required to flesh out a better customization system. We hope she’ll be able to join your caravan in the future, but for now we’re going to focus on the extensive customization options the game already offers.

We're also looking at systems we’ve created and making sure that the rationale that brought us to these designs still makes sense. The Stone of Recall, for instance, has a short cast time and allows you to return to town. Early on we said we wouldn't have town portals, as they introduced too many combat exploits, but we were able to resolve them. Because we have the Stone of Recall, though, we began to evaluate systems that were originally implemented to deal with the exclusion of town portals.

So we've decided to remove the Cauldron of Jordan and Nephalem Cube. They were implemented to allow for salvaging and selling items when there was no quick and easy way to return to town. Now that the Stone of Recall exists, we found that keeping the Cauldron and Cube in the game detracted from the benefits of returning to town to sell items, salvage, craft, and interact with the townsfolk. It’s a good idea to break up combat so that players have a moment to evaluate their gear and crafting options before venturing back out. In addition, we've decided to just call it what it is and the Stone of Recall is now Town Portal, and is integrated directly onto the skill bar UI.

The Blacksmith artisan will now salvage items. With removal of the Cube we needed some mechanic in town that allowed you to salvage your items, and it just makes sense for the Blacksmith to offer it.

One other important change is that common (white) items will no longer be salvageable. We found that it caused a few itemization issues, but mostly this is due to a general philosophy shift on the importance of items. Previously, our thinking was that when an item dropped it should always be useful to you in some way, either the stats could be an improvement for you, or in the case of white items you could break it down and craft something better. Through a lot of play testing we have come full circle to the Diablo II methodology -- a lot of stuff that drops just isn’t worth picking up. Diablo II captured the loot piñata feel by dropping a lot of crap, mostly arrows and bolts, and we of course still very much want that feeling of item-explosions. To do that we need to be able to balance the value of items to how many we’re throwing at you.

This leads us to the last change I'll be detailing today:

We're changing core character attributes to Strength, Dexterity, Intellect, and Vitality, and the benefits each stat provides is being broken down as:
  • Strength
    • Increases Barbarian damage
    • Increases Armor
  • Dexterity
    • Increases Demon Hunter damage
    • Increases Monk damage
    • Increases Dodge
  • Intellect
    • Increases Wizard and Witch Doctor damage
    • Increases Health gained from Health Globes
  • Vitality
    • Increases Max Health
We're dropping Defense, Attack, and Precision as attributes, Armor is taking over for what Defense used to provide, +Physical Resist will take over for Armor, and +Chance to Crit will fill in for Precision. Obviously these stat changes are one of the bigger systems changes we're currently working on as they have far reaching requirements to re-itemize and balance the game.

This change makes the stats more intuitive and fixes some of the itemization issues we were running into. We want to make it clear that junk items aren’t worth picking up, and make it easy to identify other items as not for your character. We want to drop a ton of items, but to really pull off a sense of excitement when finding a great item, there needs to be non-optimal items, both for your class, and in general. By specifically targeting stats at classes, we can reduce the amount of item overlap, diversify our item pool, and create a cleaner, more exciting itemization system.

By and large these changes have little impact on which items you’re going to want. The item hunt has always been based on secondary stats and affixes, and we’re working hard to ensure build diversity is as large as possible by getting as many affixes into the game as possible (adding more item affixes is also something we’ve been working on). Simply including affixes that augment specific skills greatly expands the itemization pool and build possibilities.

Moving on, with the removal of the Cauldron of Jordan, Nephalem Cube, and by moving Town Portal to the skill panel, we're now displaying character stats directly on the inventory UI. Now you can see your stats go up and down as you try on different items. All the same info is available; we’re just streamlining the UI, making it more useful. It might seem insignificant but we're pleased with the results.

All of these are changes that will in one way or another be seen in the latest beta patch, and so we hope that those of you with access please try them out and let us know what you think in the Beta Feedback forum.

There’s a lot of work left to be done, though. We’re constantly tuning and making balance changes; it’s a massive task. Some of these changes can be seen in the beta, like changes to item rarity, the levels at which we introduce affixes, and how many affixes enemies can roll up. Some you can’t see in the beta, like balancing the difficulty of the entire game for four different difficulty levels, adding tons of new affixes, creating legendary items, filling out crafting recipes and itemization, working on achievements, and implementing features. We’re also working on a number of other large systems changes -- specifically with the skill and rune systems. We're not quite ready to share what those are just yet, but we look forward to being able to do so in the near future.

We want Diablo III to be the best game it can be when it launches. To get there, we're going to be iterating on designs we've had in place for a long time, making changes to systems you've spent a lot of time theorycrafting, and removing features you may have come to associate with the core of the experience. Our hope is that by embracing our iterative design process in which we question ourselves and our decisions, Diablo III won't just live up to our expectations, but will continue to do so a decade after it's released.

Jay Wilson is game director for Diablo III and the Inventor of Meat. He believes that Kate Beckinsale is the greatest actress that’s ever lived.

Blue Posts
Bashiok as responded to acouple of clearifying questions about these system changes.

Official Blizzard Quote:

Keep in mind everything detailed in the article today is already in the game, and most of it is complete. Once you get Patch 10 and see that, I think it may sink in that these aren't theoretical changes we're still working on, they're changes we've completed. Obviously the potion button still needs a little work to hook it up correctly, and the character attribute changes need to be balanced and tested for itemization throughout the game, but overall these are changes we've already made.

I do not intend to impress that we're close to release, or infer any such "we're <-- this --> done" kind of statement, but most of these are fairly straightforward changes that are already complete and implemented. We do have more changes, skills and runes, affixes to add, more items, features, testing, testing, and more testing etc. to do so we're obviously still not there yet, but none of the changes detailed today are theoretical or yet to be implemented. (Tracker / Forums)

It looks like these changes have been in the works for awhile now. Will the upcoming patch reflect these changes?
Yes, all of these changes are complete and will be present in beta Patch 10.

But white items still cost gold? Wont that make them worth something, making me to fill my inventory and later sell them in town
They'll sell for very little. It will quickly become apparent they're not worth the inventory space.

Why have items that are useless?
To make seeing a good item drop that much rarer/exciting.

Will the new Salvage method be included in the new patch?

What about "upgrading" gems? since u removed the mystic, its not implemented anymore?
That's the Jeweler. :)

Jay's article says strength affects barbarian damage and dexterity, DH's etc... That's just core, rite? Weapons still add most?
Well there's the basic weapon damage, then if it has +Strength on it you *probably* wouldn't want that item as a wizard.

What if per chance the weapon damage is vastly superior? wouldn't that make sense to take it for secondary attribute?
Very possible! It won't always be an absolute "It has X I don't want it." You'll still need to evaluate.

Town Portal: Instant or cast?
It's the same as the Stone of Recall, just in a different spot with a new (old?) name. It's a 2 second cast I believe.

what? was just getting excited about stone of recall! U guys had me convinced that scrolls suck, and stones rock (no pun intended)
It's the same thing, we just moved it and renamed it.


  • #41 Savages
    Here's an excellent post by one of the people on the original thread (not a blue post). Pretty much sums up my feelings:

    Quote from »
    All the support for Jay's post and for Blizzard seems like a case of Stockholm Syndrome to me. There's a huge difference between being committed to quality and being obsessive-compulsive, and with this latest information it certainly appears that Blizzard is beginning to exhibit symptoms of the latter.

    Its commendable that Blizzard has such a strong stance on quality - but lets look at the facts. According to wikipedia development on Diablo 3 begun back in 2001 when Blizzard North was still in operation. Over 10 years later and they're still not finished. The posts stating that it should not be compared to DNF - perhaps your right, but keep in mind DNF was in development for 15 years. D3 is quickly closing on that gap. While I expect the quality of D3 to greatly outdo DNF, I think even if DNF was the game we were all hoping it would be it would still carry the stigma of being vaporware.

    Lets look at some recent releases - namely Skyrim, since I feel its a good indication of a deep and compelling game. Again referring to Wikipedia - development on Skyrim begun in 2008 after the release of Fallout 3. In under 3 years Bethesda managed to create a game whose scope is more than likely larger than Diablo 3. Its growing increasingly likely that we will see the release of games like Guild wars 2 and Torchlight 2 before Diablo 3's release, and I have no qualms about saying that the quality of those two games will be comparable to the quality of D3. At this rate, I wouldn't be the least surprised if those games overshadowed the relase of D3.

    It would be naive to say that fans of Blizzard and the Diablo franchise aren't starting to get irritated, and this white-knighting for Blizzard and their delays is only doing more to hurt the fans then help. Its telling Blizzard that not only is it okay to give the impression that a game is nearing completion only to come back months later and say that numerous game systems were undergoing massive changes, thereby eliminating any estimate of a possible release date. It's telling them its okay to create incentives for their customers to throw money at, either via the Annual Pass, pre-orders, collector editions, etc...and then respond with this waterfall-behavior of game design.

    The fact of the matter is the systems that are now being revised should have been changed months ago, either before the beta or shortly after. Changing it this far into the release cycle jeopardizes the game - it discourages the fans and it gives the impression that Blizzard is no longer the competent game designer that we've all grown to love.

    At this point - it doesn't even matter to me. I opted for the annual pass - which I do, to some extent, regret doing. Seeing as there's no way for me to backout I have no choice but to wait it out. However, I don't expect that when D3 is released I'll feel the same joy and excitement when D2 came out - or D2:LoD, the feeling of finally being able to see and play SC2. Personally this is the death of the Diablo franchise for me, it'll be another game I install - play for some time, then quietly forget as I move onto better games.

    And for me - that is a terribly depressing realization.
  • #42 TheAdziK
    Holy S%#t! So much changes... now i see why they delay release so much... i hope it will work out ;)
  • #43 Aleatoriedad
    So, first they thought going back to town every 3 minutes to sell all your items was uncool, so they added the Cauldron of Jordan. I thought that was a great idea. I'm glad they took all this time to change that system and make it exactly the same as Diablo 2 after all these very important iterations. Now we get mountains of useless items and have to constantly go back to town if we want to sell them. So yeah, now tons of crap will be left on the floor. Mission accomplished? And now, instead of quickly identifying items for free with Cain, we have to spend two seconds staring at each item. What is the point of this? What a waste of time. Oh, but you can TP all you want... big difference from Diablo 2, right? Those TP scrolls were really expensive!

    At this point, it's pretty clear they don't know what they're doing. Everything that is not a tried-and-true formula is either iterated til it becomes one, or simply removed (see charms, see Mystic). They're just endlessly iterating and second-guessing themselves, and it's become a rather boring thing to watch. How can anyone even be excited about the game at this point?

    This game will not even be close to done when Q1 ends. Expect late 2012, if anything. That much is painfully obvious. Save yourself the grief, just don't even bother having expectations. These guys are determined to crush them.

    lol @ "No one will remember if the game is late". Stories about the time it's taking for Blizzard to make this game will be told to our grandchildren, Jay.
  • #44 Tenhi
    Quote from lorien1973

    So my barbarian picks up an unidentified wand, stares at it for 5 seconds and says "Butt scratcher, perhaps?" Finds a monk fist weapon and ponders, "Why do demons carry back scratchers?"
  • #45 afkalmighty
    while I normally support blizzard's stance in taking their time for perfection, at this point, it just seems that they're doing a lot of unnecessary nit-picking
  • #46 fromage2323
    the bashiok post where he says all those changes are already in the game should make you guys freak out a little less.
  • #47 Gheed2010
    I thought that TL2 and D3 would at least have different mechanics, making for a different-feeling gameplay experience at the cores.

    With today's news, I guess that isn't the case. What's next? A permanent pet in D3?
  • #48 Benegesserit
    No one will remember if the game is late, only if it's great.

    Horseshit. I remember every game, good or bad, that came out obnoxiously late. I won't ever forget their gross tardiness.
  • #49 lorien1973
    With today's news, I guess that isn't the case. What's next? A permanent pet in D3?

    Every class, save barbarian, has the option for one at some point. Wizard: familiar. Hunter: Ferret (runed at least), WD: everything.
  • #50 Deeoblow
    ~FACE-PALM~ :facepalm:
  • #51 McBain
    Dont get me wrong, I like these changes, but to be doing this much overhaul this late in development makes me think "WTF HAS BEEN GOING ON ALL THIS TIME"_
  • #52 Kblavkalash
    Quote from TheAdziK

    Holy S%#t! So much changes... now i see why they delay release so much... i hope it will work out ;)

    That's what everyone is thinking after reading that article :)

    But if you read updated Daeity's blog you see that he thinks that those are comparable very small changes which just were made to look big for everyone and hide the real reason for the delay. And I can agree with that. Removal of scroll, UI changes, Cube and Jordan - all all minor changes. The only bigger change is stats revamp, but this is just a math, it can't take that long to balance.

    I mean, do they really delay the game for 3+ months just to get those changes? That's sounds funny.

    Edit: and Daeity's post has just been delete from his blog.. strange.
  • #53 Arcia
    So, all the delay was becasue of this, not because of the Korea issue.
    Yeah, right.

    The WoW Annual Pass will expire and Diablo III won't have launched at this rate. They're talking like they're months aways from a possible release.
  • #54 crazydavea3
    I have a sneaking suspicion this is all an experiment hosted by a group of psychology phds studying how long they can tease people with a video game until people snap and a line is drawn... Step out you lab coats, I caught you.
  • #55 toothball12
    Quote from Gealic

    Dont get me wrong, I like these changes, but to be doing this much overhaul this late in development makes me think "WTF HAS BEEN GOING ON ALL THIS TIME"_

    Agreed. I was expecting:


    What i got was: Stuff that should have happened a year ago.
  • #56 Wired
    As a beta player I am really getting bored with the game. I have found and reported aprox. 12 different bugs/problems, but they have all been fixed/resolved. With TERA (May 1st), Firefall and a few others games on the horizon, I find myself getting less and less excited about the game. Today I just reduced my 2 collector's edition pre-orders down to 1 regular edition. This was before reading this post. This post, as something I agree with and some I do not, pretty much means the game isn't going to be out until Juneish.


    No i'm not giving anyone my beta account.

    Edit: Some spelling and grammer
  • #57 wishedhehadbeta
    overall the changes dont seem to insanely drastic as they made it sound. the real thing that is going to delay the game is the skill n runestone changes. soon as those are done it will ship.
  • #58 trocadero_fuerte
    Ugh. What a bunch of noodling.
    Pros: No ID scrolls. Good. Maybe they can get rid of the ID mechanic entirely. "Unwrapping your present" is when you finally have a spare moment to stop, open your bag, and read all of the stats on your new shiny. If the combat is as fast and constant as they promise, then you shouldn't have a lot of downtime to stare at your gear.

    Cons: Everything else. There's a very good reason they changed the stats and made them only do one thing at a time. Barbarians/monks/hunters become defensive/dodging stalwarts AND can dish out the pain w/o any trade-off. Wizards/Doctors secondary benefits aren't very helpful most of the time. This is a dumb change.

    Mystic wasn't broken beyond repair, you just can't use the same stupid stats for enchants as you did for gems. Besides, they still need a good rune sink (unless runes are removed from the game).

    Cube/Cauldron gone, blech. I don't want to go to town. They were right the first time, I WANT TO KILL STUFF, not chat w/ the damn blacksmith. Maybe some tweaks? (Cauldron gives you a fraction of the vendor sell price? You pay a penalty for convenience).

    I have a sinister, sinking sensation that skill points/levels are back again, and +skill gear is back. I really, really hope I'm wrong. If they bring back skill points, they're even more spineless than I figured, and we might actually get Diablo 2.5, which would suck.
  • #59 Keiser
    • Scrolls of Identification are gone - players can now identify rares/legendary items without them.
    • Weird... used to Cain identifying.

    • Button '5' is now dedicated to potions.
    • Don't care, was probably going to leave potions there anyways.

    • The Mystic artisan has now been removed from the game.
    • Good, I always believed she was a glorified jeweler.

    • The Cauldron of Jordan and Nephalem have been removed.
    • Not a big loss, I don't mind going to town as I'm used to it from D2. I like that it will make it so we don't WANT to pick up everything. We're treasure hunters, not carpet cleaners.

    • The Stone of Recall is now a button at the bottom and has been renamed "Town Portal".
    • Cool. Running out of TP scrolls wasn't exciting in D2, and the stone didn't make a lot of sense.

    • The Blacksmith is now responsible for salvaging players' items.
    • Common (white colored) items are no longer salvageable.
    • Cool.

    • Character Attributes have been changed. Stats are now broken down as follows:
    • YEAHHHHH! D2 attributes!

    • Character stats are now placed in the same place as the inventory panel and the old dedicated stats panel has been removed.
    • Much easier than D2.
  • #60 Hellmaister
    This is not securing a quality product. This is telling us they dont know how they want the game to appear on release.

    * I bet you all that in 2 months from now we will get a new update telling us about a new attributes system and the removal of the Jeweler.
    * I bet you all that in 1 month from now we will see a new and fantastic Beta wave. Woohoo!
    * Finally, I bet Activision is really happy with how the game progresses and the complete farce this whole situation has become.

    I wonder what EA would have done with Bioware if Bioware would have struggled like this when SWToR was in beta? Whoopish!!
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