Mystic Removed from Diablo III

That’s right, the Mystic Artisan is being removed from Diablo III. This was among several significant game changes that were announced this morning. These changes are part of what is ‘holding up’ the Diablo III release which was originally estimated for the end of 2011. Without a release date, we’re still at least 2 months out. Why did they remove the beloved Mystic, who was the sole source of item enhancements (not including gems)? Here is what Blizzard said this morning:

“The design team is currently looking at systems and cleaning them up, removing any superfluous system objectives and those that are beyond fixing. Thus, we’re removing the Mystic artisan. As we look at the big picture, the Mystic simply wasn’t adding anything to our customization system. Enhancement was really just the socket and gem system with a different name, and it would prolong the release of the game even further to go back to the drawing board and differentiate it, so we’ll revisit the Mystic and enhancements at a later time. Removing her from the game took some time, but it’s nowhere near the efforts that would be required to flesh out a better customization system. We hope she’ll be able to join your caravan in the future, but for now we’re going to focus on the extensive customization options the game already offers.”

This is vague, the best I can say is that they didn’t like the redundancy between gems and enhancements while at the same time they probably didn’t see the benefit of maintaining an artisan just so that you can add a 6th or 7th property to a piece of gear. This changes a lot of stuff, it removes rune dust from runestones. It removes the sink of magical essences salvaged from items and it removes an important dynamic of the Artisan montage of the entire game.

The Blacksmith and the Jeweler will be the only remaining Artisans in Diablo III? If you ask me, this seems awfully weak. The Jeweler is already a weak Artisan, costing much less in resources and effort to train to exalted and having a very small array of abilities (combine, socket and remove gems). This throws a big wrench in the unique’ness of the Blacksmith as it now becomes really 1 of 1 quality Artisans in Diablo III.

I think this is a strong blow against the idea of making gold and real money early in Diablo III with Artisans, with so few options most players are going to have a Blacksmith and craft their own gear.

Nephelum Cube Removed

The Nephelum Cube is also being removed along with the ability to salvage normal quality (white) items. This will create a small time sink when it comes to salvaging items, but salvaging will be less often since most of the items we find are normal quality anyways. You will have to visit your Blacksmith Artisan to salvage the magic, rare and legendary gear you find in the depths of Hell. This change is pretty trivial, except it will remove an entire tier of crafting materials from all 4 difficulties of the game.

What do you think about these game changing system updates?

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2 Comments.

  1. I think it is interesting that the development team has reached the decision to support the need to break up gameplay with trips back to town. Originally it was expressed that the purpose of the Nephalum Cube and Cauldron of Jordan was to allow characters to quickly handle their scavenging and selling needs without having to break up the action of the dungeon crawling. The decision to relegate those features back to town seems contrary to the original design intent of the flow of gameplay. Obviously if Blizzard thinks this fundamental change to the flow of the game is for the best then I’m forced to adhere to their expert opinions. But I am surprised none-the-less.

    I realize that now with white items are being designed with the intent that they should not be picked up, that a character’s inventory will likely not fill up as fast as it otherwise would, and therefore reduce the number of times needed to return to town. Except I know there are a lot of “hoarders” out there whom will pick up every white item regardless just to sell for the minor amounts of gold they’ll be worth. For those players I worry the new gameplay will simply be too fragmented with repeated trips to town.

    • I wonder how the value of the normal quality (white) drops will compare to the small amounts of gold that drop throughout game play. Obviously the gold can be automatically picked up and doesn’t take up any inventory, but there might be a small case to be made that filling your inventory up with some white quality gear is as profitable as looting gold. I wonder what this will do to the gold find set pieces. I think the magic find set pieces have potential though.

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