Diablo 4 is making big changes to Legendary loot

It’s been over a year since we first saw Diablo 4 at BlizzCon 2019, and to end 2020, Blizzard has published a final blog post to whet player’s appetites. This blog post focuses on itemization — arguably the most important part of a Diablo game — and even teases a BlizzConline announcement.

Itemization has changed in Diablo 4 even since we demoed the game last year. Angelic and Demonic Power is gone — a system that required players to stack specific kinds of gear to unlock synergies — and weapons now operate differently based on type. For example, a magic wand and a staff can cast the same spell, but the wand will fire quickly and deal very little damage, while the staff fires slowly and hits hard. This is similar to how weapons worked in Diablo 3, but players should be more aware of if they’re using an axe, mace, spear, or sword.

Stat and skill scree in Diablo 4
As players upgrade their stats, they’ll hit important skill thresholds
Image: Blizzard via Polygon

Items can also increase a player’s stats. These stats tie into the player character in a few ways. Each time a Nephalem levels up, they can upgrade their chosen stat, increasing their weapon damage, health, or something equally useful. Using items and their skill points, players can reach certain stat thresholds, causing them to unlock bonus effects on their chosen skills.

While item types and stats should feel pretty different in Diablo 4, the rarity system is probably the biggest change here. In Diablo 3, players hunt for Legendaries and Set items, ignoring Rare and Magic items completely. Diablo 4 will work a bit differently. Even at max level, Magic and Rare items should have a place, with Magic items having more Affixes (stat or ability bonuses) than other items and Rare items having more powerful Affixes.

Legendaries also work quite a bit differently. Instead of the static Legendaries of Diablo 3 — which come with a unique perk — Legendary Affixes are now random. Each Legendary drop will contain four Affixes and one Legendary Affix. This is a big deal, because the random Affixes can drop in multiple different armor slots.

Six Diablo 4 Legendaries
The first two items have the same power but in completely different slots
Image: Blizzard via Polygon

The Image above shows a chest and leg piece that offer the same perk (with minor differences in the damage percentage): when you stand inside your own damaging ground effects, you increase your damage by 26/27%. Being able to drop in numerous slots gives players more customization.

Finally, there are Unique items, which take the place of Legendaries currently in Diablo 3. These items look unique and have static effects. Unlike Diablo 4 Legendaries, Unique items are always the same: same affixes, same socket, same look, same Unique power. These items are very powerful and most are specific to one Diablo 4 class.

Finally, the blog post teases that Blizzard will show off a new character class for Diablo 4 during BlizzConline, which runs Feb. 19-20, 2021. Currently, Blizzard has only announced the Barbarian, Druid, and Sorceress classes for Diablo 4.