We’ve all been there: Ya sink a bunch of hours into a dense RPG only to find out your character build isn’t working out as well as you’d like. When that happens, it’s time to respec. No two games handle this the same way, and it sounds like Diablo IV will be choosing a middle path between the rigidity of Diablo II and the flexibility of Diablo III.
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Respeccing is the art of wiping clean your previous character build decisions and completely revamping your character without needing to restart the entire game. Different games have their own schools of thought on how that’s best done, with some games letting you essentially reroll a new character without starting from scratch, similar to how Diablo III was, and others being more strict, locking you into your choices and asking you to commit to certain playstyles based on your previous choices. Diablo II fell clearly in that latter category.
During a developer roundtable reported on by Polygon, Diablo IV’s lead class designer Adam Jackson described respeccing during the new game’s campaign as “cheap, to the point that it’s essentially free.”
It would seem that Blizzard’s perspective here is that early on, you’re more likely to see your character molded by what loot you happen to come across. Therefore, it makes sense to let the first half of your character’s leveling journey be a bit more forgiving. But once you get high enough in level, the game is going to want you to commit to a specific vision, and you’ll be intentionally looking for specific loot and making intentional decisions with an end-game leveling system based on Paragon points and legendary skills modifications.
As Jackson told Polygon, and expressed in the “Your Class Your Way” trailer, Diablo IV prioritizes intentional choices early on, with a commitment to fulfilling a specific fantasy, and that comes at the cost of hands-off, respec-how-and-when-you-want freedom.
Referring to Diablo III’s freeform respeccing options, Jackson said that when you can change your mind at any time “the attachment that you have to your character you’re building and your fantasy isn’t nearly as strong.” He concluded that Diablo IV’s respec rules will be “somewhere in the middle” of Diablo III’s laissez faire anything-goes respeccing and Diablo II’s more rigid “choose once, no takebacks” approach.
If that’s got ya concerned, Jackson also stated that respeccing and character building options could be revisited in the future based on player feedback.