Loot. Some live by it. Others die by it. It makes the world go round, or at least the worlds of dungeon crawlers like Diablo 2: Resurrected. So why won’t the remaster have a modern loot system? Short answer: it’s more complicated than it sounds.
While Activision Blizzard studio Vicarious Visions is updating a lot about the look and feel of the 2000 isometric RPG, adding a personalised loot system isn’t one of the changes. Where modern games like World of Warcraft and Destiny 2 give out separate loot to each player present when a treasure chest is opened or a raid boss falls, Diablo 2: Resurrection is sticking to the old system whereby people playing co-op have to share a single universal set of spoils. Vicarious Visions studio design director Rob Gallerani explained why in an interview with Axios up-and-comer Stephen Totilo.
“When you add a personal loot system to a game, there’s a lot of other features that people don’t really pay attention to that also have to get added for it to work,” he said. “So, take World of Warcraft. There’s a concept called Soulbound, meaning your character picked up an item, and, the moment you put it on that character, it can’t be given to anyone else. And that is a way to keep economies in check.”
Gallerani went on:
Diablo has none of that. You could literally have an heirloom item that you picked up 21 years ago and you passed it from generation to generation, from hero to hero after all these years. And that works with every single item in the game. If we were to change personal loot, we would also have to start changing those types of things.
Unlike a lot of other games with loot, Diablo 2 lets players trade it amongst themselves, so in addition to the technical shifts that would need to happen, personalised loot would also require re-designing the in-game economy so as not to break it altogether. And as Gallerani points out, Resurrected works with save data from the original version of the game, so that economy runs back decades.
Still, that doesn’t mean personalised loot couldn’t get added sometime in the future. “It’s not to say it’s out of the question, but it was off the target of us trying to create the most authentic experience,” Gallerani said.
Diablo 2: Resurrected came out today on PlayStation, Xbox, PC, and Switch, but in light of the recent California lawsuit alleging sexual harassment, discrimination, and other serious issues across Activision Blizzard, the game’s developers told Axios people should “do what they feel is right” when it comes to buying the game vs. boycotting the company that owns it.