The developer blog for Diablo III has seen an update today that highlights a number of significant changes happening behind the scenes to the mechanics of the upcoming dungeon crawler. Some old names are coming back, some half-baked ideas are getting scrapped, and characters will have access to a few new tricks.
The biggest change announced is that Diablo III’s core stats are getting scrapped in favor of the classic Diablo attributes. That means you can say goodbye to Attack, Defense, and Precision while welcoming back old friends Strength, Dexterity, and Intellect. This helps to fix itemization issues as well as making attributes feel more thematic – having spells increased by the Attack stat was just weird on a caster, after all. Your preferred stat will now be based on your class, with most having some sort of secondary benefit as well.
The other major change is the removal of the Mystic artisan. While the Mystic was intended to provide players a way to customize their gear through enhancements, the dev team found that it was far too similar to the gems and sockets introduced in Diablo II. While they have shelved the concept for the time being, they did state that they will likely revisit the Mystic with a revamped concept, most likely in Diablo III’s inevitable expansion pack.
A few other minor changes were also made that increase the importance of returning to town. The Cauldron of Jordan and Nephalem Cube – items that would let you sell and convert items to crafting components in the field respectively – have been eliminated. Players will now do all of their selling and item deconstruction exclusively in town by returning with their Stones of Recall, which have been pleasingly replaced with the classic Town Portal spell.
A few other minor changes were also announced, such as giving a player the inherent ability to cast Identify spells on items, creating a dedicated potion button, and making some changes to the game’s UI.
Let’s all hope that these changes represent Blizzard putting the last bits of polish on the game as it nears some sort of release target. We should see some of these changes being rolled out onto the beta servers in the upcoming patches.