I Feel A Change In The Wind, Says I
Over the past few hours a good amount has changed around the Diablo III Community Site, some of these additions are more potent than other. Lets work our way through these updates, shall we?
The Official Item Page Is Up
It seems the page is still under mild construction, with some item icons repeating themselves, and others simply nonexistent. All and all though you can clearly see how the page will pan out, categorizing items by body slot, with class specifics gear being conveniently identified by class.
Through this one page, we have many significant topics to touch on.
Follower Specific Items
On top of being able to equip your Follower with standard gear, there will also be follower specific items which are only usable by the item's specified follower. These items don't have stats to them yet, so it's still unknown exactly what buffs they'll grant your follower.
For the Templar, we find items like Tomes and Vials of Tears.
Amulets & Rings Have Sockets
Confirmed by multiple examples for either item, it's evident both amulets and rings can have sockets. Now to what extent this goes is unknown, can you add sockets to them? If so, can you add sockets to legendaries that don't already have them? Multiple sockets? These are questions without answers at the moments.
Potions seem to have gotten a nice upgrade graphically, alongside a confirmed "Other" category of potion which grants a buff for a certain length of time.
If there was any doubt that Scrolls will play a large role in Diablo III, the fact that they have their own page should alleviate any lingering doubts. There are currently three different types of scrolls. The Scroll of Companion, which summons a temporary critter who picks up gold for you, the Scroll of Identity, that identifies rare and legendary items (magic items no longer need to be identified), and the Scroll or Reforging, which re-rolls your item at the cost of negative 10% max durability (there are three ranks of these scrolls, each used for either magic, rare, or legendary items).
Throughout the world you will find Pages of Training, these alone do nothing. After collecting five Pages of Training, you may combine them to form a Tome of Training which is used to level up the Artisan of your choice. It takes multiple Tomes of Training to level your chosen Artisan.
As it stands, each difficulty will have four different crafting materials, one salvaged from each corresponding item class (Common, Magic, Rare, and Legendary). Gems will be broken down into Gem Dust which may have many uses, one surely being to craft higher tier gems.
Along your journey you will find Crafting Recipes, which may be given to the corresponding Artisan to teach him or her how to craft a new item.
Not everything about Diablo 3 is about how your gear functions. Making an item your own is very important, it helps you to feel connected with your character. Thankfully armor dyes have been granted their own page in homage of this. There is even a Vanishing Dye, in case you don't want a certain item to show at all.
Gems Get Overhauled
Gems have gone through a few public revisions over their development, most have been just graphical. Now it seems there will only be four gem types, instead of the six we've seen previously. Diamond and Sapphire didn't make the cut for one reason or another, leaving only the Amethyst, Emerald, Ruby, and Topaz.
This decision may have been made a while back, as looking back on the last showing of gems there were only four types on screen.
Unattuned Rune System
A while back our own Kickin_It reported on how the Rune System could very well change from its form we've seen in the past, and indeed it has. In short, the new system adds another type of Rune drop, one that will drop blank. This Unattuned Rune would only attain a type when you place it into a skill. Furthermore, even after you've taken the Rune out of your skill, it will forever remain attributed to that skill, and may only be used in that skill, even when traded to others. There was talk that the Mystic might be able to clear a Rune, essentially returning it to an unattuned Rune, but this remains unknown. With the new system the Unattuned Runes will also roll random attributes upon attaining a type, further extending the range in which a single rune can vary. For the whole story I highly suggest you read Kickin_It's article on the matter, since it has indeed come to reality.
Demon Hunter Resource Changes
As reported on by our own Magistrate in his recent article on the topic, it seems the Demon Hunter's resource has undergone a large revision.
There has been a consistent trend in the responses of current Beta testers regarding the Demon Hunter's Hatred resource. The complaint was that it simply runs out too quickly, leaving the class unable to use its offensive abilities. Blizzard has heard these claims, and changed the system according.
Where as the Demon Hunter's skills used to be categorized under Hatred, Discipline, and Utility, now there are both Hatred Generators, and Hatred Spenders, alongside a Discipline category. With this change the class will now be able to strategically choose both hatred generators, and spenders to keep the pain rolling at a consistent rate.
Complete Skill Damage Overhaul
While this topic doesn't have it's own page, or even a single mention on the entire site, one could say this is the most drastic change of them all.
Skills across all five classes generally were based off two types of damage, % weapon damage, or scaling damage which only changes with the rank of the skill; this posed a big problem. When a player found a decent weapon, all of the skills based off of scaling damage instantly became obsolete. In Force's recent Let's Play series he came across this issue many times, where he wouldn't use certain skills simply because the ones based off weapon damage outclassed the ones based of scaling damage.
What Blizzard has done is base almost every single offensive skill off % weapon damage. This will make nearly every skill viable, where as before it was almost always the better choice to stick with the % weapon damage based skills. This trend can be seen across all five classes. In concept, this change greatly broadens the number of viable skills, though only time will tell how it will turn out.