Diablo III's been attempting to battle its way out of development hell for ages, but a release is finally just around the corner, right? Maybe. Maybe not. Blizzard is, as always, non-committal, but at least this time the notoriously meticulous developer has a reason: It's in the process of playing development Operation with its game, removing and replacing key bits without touching the sides. To be sure, it's touch and go, but as game director Jay Wilson puts it “No one will remember if the game is late, only if it's great.”
“We’re changing some of the systems we’ve gotten the most feedback on both internally and from the beta test, including crafting, items, core attributes, and inventory,” he explained in a post on Diablo III's official site. “In addition we’re working on major changes to the skill and rune systems that we’re not ready to talk about, but I promise you we can’t possibly ship without a finished skill and rune system.”
“We're changing core character attributes to Strength, Dexterity, Intellect, and Vitality... We're dropping Defense, Attack, and Precision as attributes, Armor is taking over for what Defense used to provide, +Physical Resist will take over for Armor, and +Chance to Crit will fill in for Precision. Obviously these stat changes are one of the bigger systems changes we're currently working on as they have far reaching requirements to re-itemize and balance the game.”
In addition – blasphemous though it may sound – Scrolls of Identification are officially gone for good. Instead, a spell will handle the honors from now on, cutting down on clutter and convolution. The Mystic artisan's also in the unemployment line, with Wilson noting that “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 then, it's fairly safe to say that the game's not coming out in a few weeks. Oh well, they say waiting builds character, and Diablo III even lets those who are waiting build characters. Really, what's not to like? Oh, right: The fact that we have aged a decade since the last Diablo release. That's a bit of a thing.