Before we get into the nitty gritty a little disclaimer: the items shown in this post are still under development, their stats are not final and may be subject to change.
I. Make Sacred Uniques GREAT AGAIN!
If you look at the Sacred Uniques of a particular item type right now you will notice that many of them lack a coherent theme or have many repeated stats. Many of these are leftovers from Median 2008 that became overshadowed by the new unique layers, leaving them with no purpose other than being "filler" items. To make these drops special and rewarding one Sacred Unique (SU) from each item base will be cut from the game. These are chosen solely on concept and flavour and NOT on power level / numbers.
For example among 1-handed axes, there will only be two SU War Axes (instead of three), two SU Hand Axes and so on. The two Sacred Unique tiers will also be better differentiated than before:
- SUs will mainly be build enabling items. They will drop more frequently and will enable characters to pick up interesting new skills with which to enhance their build or serve as the foundation for a brand new one.
- SSUs will mainly be build enhancing items. They will drop less frequently and allow their wielders to push their characters to new heights. Beware, however, for with great power often comes great sacrifice.
Our philosophy here is "less is more". To only leave the most distinct and interesting items in the SU pool and then balance the numbers accordingly to make these appealing to players, which in turn will lead to more build possibilities and more meaningful gear choices for your character.
II. Improve Unused and Outdated Uniques
We want Sacred Unique item drops to be exciting no matter the base item. Currently this is very often not the case as many of them are underpowered, because they have been around, unchanged, since the game's inception or because they failed at fulfilling their design purpose. In general weaker items are buffed in one of the following ways:
The most straight forward of buffs. Many items had appropriate affixes which worked well with the build they were meant to support, but received little use due to unsatisfactory numbers. Such items received numeric buffs while mostly keeping the same affixes. Some examples:
Additionally, casting speeds with 1-handed weapons are being reworked for the Sorceress, Necromancer and Druid. They have been buffed to only be 1 frame slower compared to using a staff for those characters. The goal here is to make Orbs and Wands more viable, and give Druids some more options as well.
Other Sacred Uniques slightly missed the mark in terms of the affixes included on them. These have had new thematic stats added (including some new skills) in order to enhance their purpose and also make them more viable:
Furthermore, over 50 skills which appear on Sacred Uniques either as procs or as oSkills have been completely reworked to be more powerful and/or more efficient mechanically. The goal is for all of them to be competitive in the endgame.
Items which are too bland, have stats which do not work together and which could not be made better by the above two methods have been completely replaced. Brand new Sacred Uniques have been added in their place, some examples:
III. Increase Diversity
In addition to the above, all remaining Sacred Unique items will undergo the following changes:
Changes to procs
The chance to trigger a skill (proc) will be reduced across the items. They will have less frequent procs, but more powerful occurrences. For example:
25% chance to cast level 10 Fireball 20% chance to cast level 12 Fireball
This will bring great performance gains while still keeping procs as powerful and interesting stats you can choose from. Furthermore, skills which are very visual effect heavy and not very effective will not be available as procs nearly as often, for even more improvements.
SU stat budget
The difference in stat budget between SU and SSU items will be smaller. Currently SU items, with a few exceptions, see very little use compared to SSU/SSSUs. We wish to address this so that the rarest items will not be strictly best for every build. Additionally, the most powerful uniques of the current metagame will be adjusted to not be massively better than anything else your character can equip in that slot. This has the effect of freeing up the design space and allowing us to create more fun and interesting items in the future without as much power creep.
Changes to affixes
While Sacred Uniques will still be the best items on average, they will now give significantly less player elemental resistances, increased flat life and increased percent life compared to before. The goal here is to introduce some downside to full Sacred Unique equipment setups and encourage more diversity in the desirable endgame equipment.
IV. Tiered Uniques Overhaul
The vast majority of these also suffer from being relics of the past. Especially when it comes to viability a handful of items are vastly superior and the rest - practically unusable. To address this we have gone through them all and:
- Buffed those which had good stats but poor numbers to make them into strong early game items
- Tweaked the stats of items which were head and shoulders above the rest (jitan, deadfall etc) to refresh the leveling metagame
- Added some affixes to items which would previously not spawn on Tiered Uniques
- Removed two layers of TUs (tier 4 is now max) and rescaled stats appropriately, less crystal grind and smoother progression
- Replaced many filler TUs with old Sacred Uniques with adjusted stats to provide players with fresh new choices for the start of their character journey
We hope that the above changes coupled with more, yet unannounced, Sigma features will make both the early and end game more fresh and fun for veterans and beginners alike.
Stay tuned for more balance related information in the coming weeks.