If there is one domain in which Diablo 4 is making the community react, it's on the equipment. Opinions are as varied as they are contrasting on this subject, between those who prefer the design of Diablo 2, those who prefer that of Path of Exile, those who like the approach taken by Diablo 4 and many others. It is really difficult to judge if the loot system and idesign is good before spending a lot of time on the entire game, which is of course impossible at the moment. We will therefore explain everything that has been said on the subject to help you get an idea of what awaits you, keeping in mind that all this is really likely to change by the time you leave.
The loot will work as in Diablo 3, everything you see falling to the ground is for you, even if you are in a group. You will have to pick up an item and drop it on the ground if you want to leave it to someone else. There will therefore be no need to click frantically on the ground as in Diablo 2.
Diablo 4: Simplified statistics
The biggest source of discord between players, regarding the equipment, is its simplification. The development team, led by David Kim, considers that having to do complex calculations to see if a piece of equipment is an improvement or not, is not fun. Having several layers of different statistics and numbers makes systems obscure, not very fun or intuitive for those who are not experts. They want players to be able to quickly determine if an item is an improvement for their current build, and to quickly return to killing demons. The challenges will come more from the gameplay than from the choice between 2 similar pieces of equipment. In practice, this means that many similar statistics, such as +% damage and +X damage, will simply be merged into the Attack feature. The same applies to defensive ones that are grouped together in the Defence.
The items will therefore gain in Attack and/or Defense statistics with their progress in quality. A little like the Destiny 2 light system for example, or the equipment in RPGs in general, you will regularly change equipment as you progress, simply because these 2 statistics will be higher. This was already true in previous Diablo movies, but the phenomenon will probably be even more pronounced this time.
However, they will not be the only statistics, there will be various and varied affixes such as resource saving, talent point bonuses, damage bonuses against melee enemies and others. So you will have many equipment choices to make anyway, but they will not be drowned in the middle of redundant statistics like intelligence, forging and agility, which functionally have the same or almost the same use, but for different classes. It must be said that their separation by class was only the legacy of the old Dungeons & Dragons system, rather than a real design choice.
A popular feature from Diablo II will return in Diablo IV — Runes. These can be embedded in equipment to trigger special effects. Their function is explained here, with a list of known runes.
Systems such as talent points, runic words, skill levels and others to come will also be used to bring a new form of complexity. Until we discover them, let's look at the rarities of items in the next page.