Much has been said about the previously announced Diablo 4 skill system, and not much of it good. Luckily for us, the D4 team has been very consistent in their listening to the community and have taken steps to significantly improve the situation.

We now have a pretty big collective skill and talent (literal) tree, with the understanding that we'll only be able to gain access to 30-40% of the skills and upgrades available. This makes our skill choices matter, unlike the previous system where we'd just gather rank-ups for the skills. Here's a side-by-side comparison of the two, really accentuating the differences:

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While some of the new branches may seem like basically the same as linear ranks, the fact that we will have a limited amount of skillpoints makes all the difference here, as we can actually plan out a build instead of just collecting upgrades for each skill as we go until all of them are maxed out.

This is part of Blizzard's push to take away some player power from the itemization system and place it back into the character system, which is a very good direction to take. Whether the current skill and talent tree is good enough remains to be seen, but the biggest message from these developments is that the Diablo 4 team is really listening to the community and we should be as vocal as possible about anything we feel isn't right for the game. I'll start myself, saying I feel that the tree looks good, but there needs to be more diversity in the skill paths on the branches, even interconnecting ones for certain skills, as right now it is very linear for the majority of skills, even those that have 2 additional branches coming out of them.

The passive "root" portion seems to replace talents and definitely looks better, but has pretty much the same functionality as before. While it's now completely clear that the roots are actually a replacement of talents, it seems very likely as they serve much the same purpose. In any case, the specific layout of passives doesn't matter much, but it's always a plus when they look better.

And here are the full details from the update:

Blizzard LogoNew Skill and Talent System (source)

As Luis mentioned, we have made some major changes to Diablo IV’s Skills and Talent systems. We’ve been reading through a lot of the comments from the community and agree that the Talent system needs more depth. Similarly, Skill system progression felt too simple, which created issues where a player would have no meaningful reason to spend their skill points. With this valuable feedback in mind, we’ve have been iterating on a new Skill System.

As you can see from the screenshot below, we have separate sections for Skills and Passives in our freshly painted Skill Tree. Take a look:


The Sorcress skill tree. The branches contain skills and skill upgrades, while the roots contain powerful passive effects.

The upper Skills section is where you will spend the Skill Points that you earn by leveling up. Here, you unlock brand new skills, unlock additional functionality for these skills, and unlock Passive Points that you can then spend on the lower Passive section of the tree.

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You can spend skill points on square nodes to unlock new active skills for your character.

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Spend points on circular upgrade nodes to enhance active skills you've unlocked.

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As you explore the branches of the tree, you will find passive points.

You can spend passive points in the roots of the tree to unlock powerful effects.

The Skill Tree you see above consists of many specific nodes, a sample of which you can see in the screenshots above. If we imagine every single node on that massive Skill Tree affecting different skills in different ways, the path that you decide to take will determine big power increases and playstyle choices.

The Passive part of this system is where you will find more general upgrades to your character. These effects are not specific to particular skills. Therefore, the Skill Tree will have a good mix of all types of different choices for players to make.

One last thing we want to point out is that players will not be able to acquire every Skill Tree node. We’re currently aiming for 30~40% of the nodes filled in for end game, so that players can have very distinct, and different ways they build out their character.

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