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Blizzard's Newest Diablo IV Update Hasn't Stopped Concerns Over Shallow Skills & Tale

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Blizzard’s new quarterly update for Diablo IV did little to alleviate fears of shallow skills and talent systems. This isn’t the first time Blizzard has upset its loyal fanbase, with the failed release of Warcraft III: Reforged still fresh in many player's minds.

Diablo IV was announced in November of last year, during Blizzcon 2019. With the announcement came a brutal, compelling Diablo IV cinematic trailer that revealed one of the main villains of the highly anticipated ARPG. Alongside the cinematic, fans saw gameplay and some lucky attendees of Blizzcon even got to visit the booths to try the new Diablo game out. The announcement came off the heels of a rocky past few years with Blizzard, particularly for Diablo fans, as Blizzcon 2018 was marred by an underwhelming Diablo mobile game, Diablo Immortal. This compounded on a consistently criticized World of Warcraft expansion and the critical failure of the Warcraft III remaster has fans extremely worried about Blizzard’s future.

Blizzard’s new official quarterly update outlines various improvements said to be made to Diablo IV, however, many fans, as evidenced by the community's response on Reddit, are not convinced. While the UI changes and inclusion of PC controller support are undoubtedly good, some of the biggest issues posed by fans weren’t even addressed, particularly in the simplified itemization which was shown in the demo and the apparently hollow shell of talent and skill customization. With titles like Path of Exile featuring incredibly complex and varied skill combinations and elaborate itemization, Diablo IV’s demo looked more like a rough draft to many. It features only three major stats (attack, defense, and life) and only a basic set of skills to choose from.

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One Reddit user writes, “Don’t get your hopes up to high. Blizz is not the Blizz that made D2 anymore. POE completely dominates the field what D3 could have been. So i think Blizz will aim for a more ‘easy-going’ casual arpg with D4.” This brewing discontent with Blizzard’s recent direction can mostly be boiled down to longtime fans feeling betrayed or spurned by the mega-corporation as it drifts away from niche demographics and attempts to net in the largest possible user base. In the process, it might have lost a lot of its artistic direction and innovative game design. With that said, Diablo IV does feature a grittier art style more in line with the beloved Diablo II, which fans are happy about, and everything shown was a positive improvement over the demo, as the UI progress is clarified and has been changed based on previous criticisms.

However, the immediate refusal to acknowledge Diablo IV's biggest criticisms may be the first in a long line of dismissals from Blizzard. Many players can cite various new ARPGs which have more interesting systems at play. Path of Exile is currently the most popular one, with a free to play monetization model which never lapses into tediousness. The recently released Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem, while plagued with launch problems, is still receiving a relatively positive reaction for its beautiful graphics and iteration on Path of Exile’s systems. There are options for starved Diablo fans, and considering that Diablo IV may forgo the complexity many hardcore players love, these fans might need to look elsewhere.

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