Diablo 4 artwork showing off the enemies

[Update #2]: Diablo 4's March 2022 preview offers a detailed look at the environment and dungeon design.

[Update]: Microsoft has acquired Activision Blizzard for nearly 69 billion dollars.

While Diablo 4 has been delayed recently despite not even having a release date, the good news is that at least the quarterly developer updates are continuing as planned! So if you're interested in a peek behind the curtains of game development, this time around the focus is on the itemization, character progression, as well as the visual effects.

When it comes to the itemization, there are two important things to note. First of all, +Skill effects from Diablo 2 are coming back, and they will allow you to either gain a new skill or boost the power of one you already have. And to make Legendary items feel even more character-defining, you will be able to extract their power and slot them into other Rare or Legendary items, thus getting to keep the Legendary effect while still being able to replace outdated gear.

Once you reach level 50, the new Paragon Board will kick in and give you access to even more character customization. The board will contain a massive amount of tiles you can select, each of which will provide some sort of benefit, as well as sockets that allow you to enhance nearby tiles. A bit of a complicated system, especially if you're trying to min-max your character, but I suppose that's fine for something that will only become relevant in the endgame when the players are already fairly experienced.

Diablo 4 Paragon Board experimental image

A work-in-progress rendition of the Paragon Board

The final thing worth mentioning are the improvements to the visual effects. Area-of-effect skills will no longer apply damage instantly, but will rather expand outwards with their animations, and the same goes for your weapon swings. While this is a relatively small change on paper, it should make your attacks feel a fair bit meatier since the damage will happen when the attack actually connects with the enemy.

Similarly, Diablo 4 is adding directional physics into the mix to really sell each blow. So if you hit a monster in the knee, as long as the blow is powerful enough they should go flying as if you kicked the legs out from under them.

You can read more about this, as well as the rest of the additions, over at the Blizzard website. Enjoy, and if you haven't already, I'd highly recommend checking out some of the previous developer updates as well!