Diablo III isn’t the game it used to be. In fact, it had one of the worst launches of the past decade. Its always-online requirement—intended to keep hackers from ruining the game—was a bitter pill to swallow, exacerbated by the now-infamous “Error 37.” Once players got past the server boss, it didn’t fair much better. A real-money auction house diluted the game’s core mechanics and its end-game simply meant replaying the full campaign over and over again without much purpose.
The game has changed a lot since then. Blizzard did the unthinkable: they admitted exactly where Diablo III went wrong and worked very hard to fix it. After a series of both public and internal debates, they removed the auction house and created all-new systems to provide players with a rewarding and challenging end-game. The expansion, Reaper of Souls, introduced Rifts, which randomly generated levels for players to clear, as well as bounties, both providing ample amounts of content. Obtaining new gear has never felt more organic—or fun.
Of course, adding an expansion and restyling the game isn’t a complex fix. Some may argue a sequel would do that, and Blizzard may be just doing that. With the possibility of a sequel, here’s a detailed list of some of the things Blizzard should do with Diablo 4, and what we would like to see from it.
Better Clans, More Social Features
The Diablo series has always enjoyed a huge community. In its heyday on Battle.net, players could find company to play with in chatrooms, seek out advice and discuss strategy. Despite the relatively recent addition of clans and communities, the system has remained simple, offering only rudimentary social features. There’s no benefit to joining a clan apart from finding additional existing games-in-progress. Furthermore, certain limitations, such as the hidden 100-participant limit in chatrooms make larger communities a hassle to navigate.
Diablo 4 would greatly benefit from having more advanced social features like clan perks and clan halls for larger organizations. There should be incentives to joining a guild and playing with them besides having a chatroom. It could stand to borrow a lot from other guild systems, which usually see one’s personal progress contributing to an overall guild level, unlocking new perks and achievements along the way. In World of Warcraft, high-level guilds offer unique outfits and rare pets.
None of these additions would make the game that much more complicated, but they would certainly provide an incentive to participate in social groups—and Diablo is nothing if not a social, cooperative experience.
Player Hub Customization
Diablo III saw the inclusion of a personalized player hub, in which players can level up vendors, teach them plans, recipes, and designs. Blizzard could take the entire system a step further by drawing from Warlords of Draenor, which saw the addition of the Garrison.
The Garrison is a fully upgradable player instance with craftsmen, vendors, and an assortment of characters that the player encounters on their journey. Each building provides the player with additional benefits, such as better gear or resource gain—but with only limited space, the player has to choose which buildings to build.
Diablo 4 doesn’t need to tie the player hub to character development by offering additional perks and gameplay-affecting modifications, but it could offer customization so every player hub could feel a little different, even if they’re functionally identical. Weather effects, banners, lights, color schemes and all manner of décor would make the player feel right at home.
Intelligent Stash Management
The stash in Diablo III is an unpleasant holdover from the first game in the series. It’s has limited space, a hassle to manage, and discourages players from hoarding too many items. It’s been derided as “inventory Tetris” for a reason.
Tabs and multiple containers partially solve the problem, but it’s still impossible to automatically sort the inventory or find specific items. The addition of filters and a search function would be a godsend.
Weapons Worth Keeping
Weapons and armor in Diablo III are disposable. Players replace their gear at a constant pace—finding new loot and equipping it is what defines the game’s itemization treadmill. But what if there was an incentive to keep your weapons and have them level up with you? This would only come into play in the end-game when you have the most powerful weapons.
The system could be similar to the Urshi-type Greater Rift system recently introduced in an update to Reaper of Souls. Instead of gems, you could also upgrade weapons. Items have always been a core component to the Diablo experience and Diablo 4 should bring that back.
Whatever the case, the system would have to complement existing leveling and progression systems and not introduce any degree of complexity to the casual experience, and it’s doubtful that Blizzard has any intentions of turning Diablo into Path of Exile.
The Gift of Giving
For many, trading was an unpleasant aspect of Diablo II that forced the most hard-core players to spend time bartering for the best equipment instead of playing the game. The marketplace became the endgame, and players would have to spend countless hours farming—not for the “best in slot” items they wanted, but for the currency they needed to acquire these items from players who already had them. Diablo III took trading in a different direction, encouraging players to spend real money on upgrades. Just as before, the marketplace felt more important than the game itself.
Though many players like trading and enjoyed participating in Diablo II’s player-run economy, its implementation (at least back then) was inconvenient and unsupported by the developers.
Diablo 4 doesn’t need a full-fledged trading system, but being able to gift items to friends who aren’t in your game within a small window of time would be a good compromise. It wouldn’t detract from the gameplay, and it would even encourage friends to play with all the gear you send them.