Diablo 4 Is Getting A New Endgame Progression System In The Paragon Board

In a new quarterly update, Blizzard dives deep on itemization, the new Paragon Board progression system, and more.

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Diablo IV will feature a brand-new endgame progression system called the Paragon Board, which is just one aspect of the upcoming action-RPG that will increase character power outside of simply acquiring more powerful items. Details on the Paragon Board system, along with information on itemization and visual effects, come via a new Diablo IV quarterly update.

As detailed in the blog, Blizzard writes that the upcoming next entry in the legendary ARPG franchise will place more of an emphasis on character power earned from player decisions while leveling up, rather than a character's strength largely only coming from whatever gear they have equipped.

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Now Playing: Diablo 4 Brand New Gameplay, Combat Improvements, Lighting, Buff Effects and More (Quarterly Update)

Introducing The Paragon Board

That's where the new Paragon Board system comes in. Once reaching level 50 on a character, players will earn Paragon points as they continue to play and earn experience. Players can then begin unlocking various tiles on the Paragon Board with those points, with each tile granting various passive bonuses. Some tiles found on the board, like Normal and Magic tiles, will grant small stat bonuses. Other tiles, like Rare tiles, can grant bonuses to specific skills and increase in potency once certain requirements are met. Last but not least, each Paragon Board after the first contains a Legendary tile at its center that, once unlocked, grants a powerful new legendary ability. There are also tiles that can be equipped with Glyphs, which are items discovered through play that allow for further customization.

Once players have progressed through a board and reached one of the gate tiles on the board's perimeter, they'll have the opportunity to select a new board to progress through. Each board has its own unique layout and tile selection. The Paragon Board system will just be one of the ways Blizzard is looking to give players more control and customization over how a character performs and plays, though the developer didn't elaborate on additional ways it looks to bring its goal of more character power outside of itemization to fruition.

A pre-Alpha version of the Paragon Board in Diablo IV
A pre-Alpha version of the Paragon Board in Diablo IV

Itemization Updates

Speaking of itemization, the quarterly update dives into that as well. In a move that will have fans of Diablo II excited, Diablo IV will see the return of the +Skill Rank affixes, allowing players to improve their key skills directly by equipping certain pieces of gear.

"As players invest points in skills, they grow in potency, and finding items with +Skill Rank can speed that along," writes Diablo IV lead systems designer Joe Piepiora. "As a bonus, when the player equips an item with +Skill Rank for a skill they haven't learned, they will have access to that new ability. It's a great way to try out new skills before you're able to invest in them. Getting a lucky drop that nets you a skill you'd like for your build ten levels before you would otherwise have access to it is a huge boost!"

Legendary items are receiving a change in Diablo IV, with legendary powers now able to appear on multiple item slots. A new NPC, the Occultist, can take a legendary power from one item and apply it to another. When it comes to looking for specific types of new items, Piepiora writes that certain enemy types in the game will have a higher chance to drop particular types of items. Bandits, for example, will drop more maces, crossbows, and boots compared to other enemy types.

"Gameplay First" Visual Effects

In addition to the Paragon Board and itemization updates, the blog also looks at Diablo IV's visual effects, including details on how the team is approaching implementing effects with a "gameplay first" mentality, according to Daniel Briggs, Diablo IV's lead visual effects artist.

"Moment-to-moment gameplay is the focal point within the composition of Diablo IV: it should draw your attention," Briggs writes. "To achieve this, we must consider things like player skills, monster telegraphs, traps, damage areas, and character states. The visual effects for each of these components must be readable in all areas and lighting conditions, so you can quickly understand what is happening and use that information to make informed decisions."

Briggs goes on to dive deep into Diablo IV's new lighting system, improvements to the game's combat-focused visual effects, and the ability to dynamically tweak player skills in size and intensity.

In a returning feature from Diablo III that should make Diablo IV feel as gruesome as ever, enemies killed by different types of skills will be obliterated in a variety of different ways. Charring enemies with fire skills, for example, will cause enemies to be reduced to a charred skeleton, while heavy-hitting melee skills may cleave enemies in two or decapitate them. Each class will have a number of ways in which it can viscerally decimate their foes, which should add some gory variety as players carve a path through the blood-soaked world of Sanctuary.

Diablo IV, which has never had an official release window, is now expected to arrive even later than originally planned, according to a recent Activision Blizzard earnings call. The game's delay came amidst ongoing fallout from multiple sexual discrimination and harassment lawsuits and investigations at Activision Blizzard. The game recently received a new director in Joe Shely.

Diablo II: Resurrected, a remaster of the original Diablo II with modern-day visuals and small gameplay tweaks, released in September 2021. It was recently announced Diablo II: Resurrected will be receiving much bigger changes in the months to come, including the first class balance adjustments for Diablo II in more than 11 years.

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