Game Insight mobile site, Diablo 4 ‘open world’, each skill tree grows differently for each class

Blizzard introduces a darker atmosphere in Diablo 4.

Diablo 4 features the darkest atmosphere among the series with hate as the keyword. The story clearly shows the hopeless worldview by presenting the increasingly dark appearance of the sanctuary and the evil emotions of human beings.

Blizzard plans to operate Diablo 4 based on an open world and live service and add content for a three-month season. Story expansion packs are also released regularly to continue the dark worldview.

Blizzard game director Joe Shelley and general manager Rod Ferguson explained Diablo 4’s new system in an interview, emphasizing that ‘the release of the game is only the beginning of a story that will continue in the future’.

Q: Level scaling was applied to Diablo 4, but it feels focused on live service.

Joe Shelley: We put a lot of effort into the live service. Over the next few years, we intend to improve the level of completion based on this stance. Level scaling is part of the open world live service, and the opponent’s level changes according to the character’s level no matter where you go.
Rod Ferguson: The release of Diablo 4 just lays the foundation. Based on the game, we will build different elements including the season to support continuous play.

Q: The pressure of the campaign is quite large Is it possible to skip the story of other characters after the first level?

Joe Shelley: Absolutely. If you clear the campaign with the first character in your account, other characters can grow quickly by skipping the story.

Q: Current series often have multiple growth paths but ultimately in one direction Has Diablo 4 come up with a plan?

Joe Shelley: It was designed with the meaning of growth based on the open world. We’ve subdivided the job build so you can experience various paths naturally, and we’ll continue to balance it according to the live service. If necessary, we will also use patches during the season.

Q: In the test, you could see a unique skill tree for each job Was there planning intent?

Joe Shelley: The skill tree was designed around specific keywords, and was prepared so that users could easily look at the connection and discover the impact. We have prepared five classes according to the release, and you can enjoy a completely different play for each job depending on the skill tree. For example, barbarians include 4 themes according to movement speed, bleeding, weapon, and anger to give different pleasure.
Lord Ferguson: Even if you grow around the bleeding theme, you can freely use other builds depending on the investment in legendary equipment or conquering skills. The skill tree theme supports easy implementation, but it is not possible to use only one theme.

Q: The skill tree is quite complex Is there a reason?

Joe Shelley: The skill tree is very general compared to the different growth methods prepared in Diablo 4. At level 50, the Conqueror system opens, and more extensive and complex growth begins. The skill tree is just the beginning of understanding and enjoying the game.

Q: Is the conquest system the key to growth?

Joe Shelley: Users will reach the conquest system as they grow, and can take their stats to a high level. When composing the skill tree, the first goal was for users to select interesting parts and approach the Conqueror system. Along with growth, I wanted to learn about different buildings and see them innovate in a different direction.

Q: Starting skills uses gold, but seems pretty demanding at level 50.

Joe Shelley: The balance is under close scrutiny. Initiating skills is the process of developing your character and realizing your own construction. Gold consumption can be burdensome, but if you return only part of the skill tree, you won’t be limited by the cost.
Rod Ferguson: Personally, I evaluate the skill reset system very positively, because I can feel the change with little pressure from the initial stage. It’s really interesting to experiment with different builds as you grow and find out which ones work best for you and which ones are fun.
Some legendary items provide optional skills that are higher than the current level, so you can test the skills you learn after growing up and setting the direction. Although we refrained from fixing buildings early, we wanted to help them grow by quickly choosing a building they liked.

Q: There was an issue where I ran into other users while playing the game, but it doesn’t seem to be maintained all the time.

Joe Shelley: You can invite other users to your party, and you can create a clan to play in a party. However, the number of users to meet is adjusted according to the current activity. If you stay in a village with a World Boss, you will find many other users for a social experience. However, only a small number of users stand out because the quest progress does not require many users.

Q: Item trading is limited, won’t it reduce the social experience?

Joe Shelley: We are monitoring the system closely at the moment and it may change with release. Trading items with good performance is limited, but I thought it was the most fun and interesting way to get powerful items by overcoming obstacles. Trading can be quite a meaningful activity. Even rare items can have a synergistic effect with legendary items, so you can benefit a lot.

Q: The world map looks static Is there a way to revisit it with endgame content?

Joe Shelley: A dungeon is similar in concept to a concert. Concert halls located in specific areas will have different performances each time. Similarly, the dungeon itself can always enjoy different content by changing various features even if it is in a specific location.
Rod Ferguson: We have prepared a reputation system for constantly exploring the world. Reputation points are gained by clearing dungeons, and various benefits are gained by using potions or skills. The content at the end includes ‘Whispering Tree’ and ‘Eerie Blessing’, which is a way to aim for items in a specific dungeon.

Q: The map is quite wide When can I start using vehicles?

Joe Shelley: The mounts were made available at the end of the campaign, but the settings were changed to be used a little earlier. This is because he travels a long distance while playing the campaign. After clearing the campaign, you can use it from the beginning.
Rod Ferguson: The timing of vehicle use itself has been set as a balancing factor and we are examining it in detail. I want to avoid the appearance of users passing the design intent when using vehicles. You’ll get familiar with the game by clearing the map yourself and taking part in local dungeons and events.

Q: The view of the world is quite dark Is there a main point in the story?

Joe Shelley: Diablo 4 was heavily influenced by the tone and themes of Diablo 1 and 2, and tried to incorporate the dark and brutal look of both games. Sanctuary is the world created between Inarius and Lilith. The story is structured to meet the character that is the basis of the Diablo series and the true darkness of ‘human beings’ who protect the sanctuary.

Q: Is there a reason you referenced the early Diablo series?

Rod Ferguson: Over time, the way content is enjoyed across industries is changing. Even when Diablo 1 and 2 were released, the dark world was considered childish, but today it is being pulled into the mainstream. Famous content such as Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead are also very popular due to their dark atmosphere. Diablo 4 has added immersion around the dark and depressing worldview that underpins the series in line with the changing times.

Q: Various status abnormalities such as stun, knockback, and freeze have been added. Wouldn’t new users find it difficult?

Joe Shelley: When you create your character, you have two options, Adventurer and Veteran. The adventurer mode is a new easy-to-use level, and if you want more difficulty, choose the veteran mode.
You can acquire additional items and more experience points.

Q: Is there anything you would like to say to Korean users who are waiting for the release?

Joe Shelley: I am very happy to be able to introduce Diablo 4, which I have been working on for many years, to Korean fans. Other developers who did not participate in the interview are still completing the game. Sooner or later, we will bring the best experience to Korean fans.
Rod Ferguson: I am always grateful for Korea’s love for the Diablo franchise. Diablo 2 Resurrection and Immortal also received a lot of response in Korea. I hope you will pay a lot of attention to Diablo 4, which will be released next year.

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