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Diablo 4’s skill tree is no longer that sickly old hellish tree

devil 4The skill tree, through which players allocate skill points to learn new talents and abilities, was once a totally sick, evil-looking, gnarled, blackened tree with, like, hellfire running through it, and veins. and blood coming out of the bottom. It seemed rude. Playing the beta version of the game this weekend, I was deeply conflicted to discover that the game’s skill tree isn’t that sick literal tree anymore.

Instead, Devil 4 gamers can expect a more traditional video game menu interface when the action RPG launches next year. The skill tree is now a figurative tree, with nodes, straight connecting lines, and branches brimming with abilities and modifiers. Now it looks like a diagram carved in stone. Players will navigate the large skill board with a mouse or analog stick, spending skill points earned by leveling up.

Here’s a glimpse of what it currently looks like devil 4Barbarian class skill tree:

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Barb Skilltree Tooltip RS 02

Image: Blizzard Entertainment

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The change from an ancient hell tree to lines and icons is totally fine. The previous incarnation of the skill tree, introduced during a quarterly update in September 2020, looked extremely sick, but it didn’t seem all that practical. The tree that was shown two years ago was clearly described as “pre-alpha”, “in development content”, and “NOT FINAL”.

It was also at least the second version of the skill tree designed for devil 4; Blizzard showed off an earlier incarnation back in 2019, when the game was revealed at BlizzCon.

d4 old skill tree

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An early version of the Diablo 4 skill tree for the Sorceress
Image: Blizzard Entertainment

Despite the cosmetic change, an easier to read skill tree is what a game looks like. devil 4 needs. There are a large number of skills and abilities that players can acquire over the course of the first 50 levels, all of which players can try out, either by acquiring the ability itself and respecting it, or by acquiring a piece of gear that has an ability on it. . attached to.

Blizzard’s approach to specifying your character in devil 4 is a mixture of the study approach to devil 2 Y Devil 3. As executive producer and Diablo franchise director Rod Fergusson said, “devil 2 I felt that you were closing yourself in; you had the ability to respect once per difficulty. But with D3 you changed your complexion as if you were changing clothes. It was all team-based rather than skill-based.”

Fergusson added: “I think the fact that we have skills in the team [in Diablo 4] it’s really nice for experimentation, like a sorceress [might] get blizzard [on a pair of boots] three levels sooner than I should and I can try Blizzard to see if I really want it.”

Game director Joe Shely told Polygon in a roundtable interview that “making your character feel like a compilation of choices you’ve made leads to really interesting decisions, at least interesting opportunities.”

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Sorcerer classes unleash a trail of fire and call a flaming fireball displaying fire-based abilities in Diablo 4

Image: Blizzard Entertainment

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Shely said the Diablo team is aware that players, especially early on, won’t have a full understanding of each class’s skill set. Players will want to experiment.

“When you look at our respect systems,” Shely said, “which apply to both the skill tree and Paragon for later levels, which is our endgame progression system, we’ve really tried to approach it in a way that has the sense that making a decision is important and that your character is not the same as others, but that you have a lot of flexibility to try things.

“You have the ability to respect point by point. […] You can just click to stop spending a point and spend it on something else, but as you progress through the levels, the cost increases to make those decisions. [feel] a little more considerate. Of course, you can also respect your entire tree at once if you want to rebuild it from scratch.”

Fergusson noted that as players get deeper and deeper into their character, “the cost of in-game currency to respect gets higher and higher; eventually you’ll get to the point where you have a level 90 Barbarian and instead of completely changing my build is better to just cast a new Barbarian and start over.”

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