As pointed out in Azzure’s forum thread and a detailed email from kamu, there are some big changes to the official site’s game info. This is interesting for the changes, and also since Blizzard’s site is updated as a database, like our DiabloNut, in that the info is pulled directly from the game files. Diablonut can only pull from the latest beta patch, but the official site has access to the latest version of the full game, and thus gives us a useful preview of things to come.
There are big changes to the crafting system, with the generic Page of Training removed and replaced by Pages of Blacksmithing, Pages of Jewelcrafting, Tome of Blacksmithing, and Tomes of Jewelcrafting. As you’d guess from the names, these are used to train the Blacksmith and the Jeweler, but they are also a required material in all of the higher level crafting recipes. Previously those pages and tomes were only needed to train up the Artisans and became useless after that. No more! Now you’ll be saving them up forever, especially once you get to Inferno, where you’ll need a new type found only on that level.
These are required in every Inferno level armor or weapon crafting recipe (which is more than half of them) and they’re required for higher level Artisan training, and even to upgrade the higher level gems. Let’s hope they drop pretty regularly, on Inferno.
Click through to read more details on numerous new game stuffs, including crafting item changes, big changes to the whole crafting item system, lots of new Legendary item info, gems changes, and more.
Another change can be seen on the Crafting Materials page, which has been simplified again. Long ago we had white, blue, yellow, and orange materials for all four difficulty levels. A few patches ago white materials were removed, and now legendary are gone as well, until Inferno when the Fiery Brimstone makes its appearance. (Interestingly, there are no legendary recipes listed, so not a single Blacksmith recipe requires that legendary material.) Normal, Nightmare, and Hell only have blue and yellow mats, which greatly simplifies the system, for better or worse.
You can see these material changes in the new recipes on the Blacksmith and Jeweler crafting pages. These seem to match the current beta state of the game, where there are only a fraction as many recipes as we saw in earlier beta patches. Previously there was a new, slightly improved plan for every item type every 6 or 8 levels, which made for a very simple upgrade system. You’d craft a blue item at level 5 or 6, and by level 10 or 12, when the first item was growing underpowered, another recipe for a big upgrade of the same type of item (sword, chest armor, one-handed xbow, helm, wand, etc) would become available. And then another one at level 18ish, then 24ish, and so on.
This must have seemed good in dev theory, but it was way too easy in practice. It gave players no reason to bother trying to find items, since you could always craft something better, and players often joked that monsters might as well just drop materials, to save us the time spent picking items up and salvaging them. This new system reduces the number of crafting recipes greatly, and again makes item hunting (from monsters and chests and NPC merchants) a factor in the early game.
Also note how heavily-focused on the end game the crafting recipes are. There are 201 listed for the Blacksmith, more than half of which have a level 60 minimum requirement, and every one of those requires at least one (usually five or more) Tomes of Secrets. Some of the highest level recipes have crazy costs; how about 67/19/19! To assemble those materials you’d have to salvage 19 rare items, plus 42 blue items (all items found on Inferno), and find 19 Tomes of Secrets. And that’s just one try; you’d probably want to craft it multiple times to get a really good roll on the random mods.
Legendary items are much changed as well. There are still only a few listed (and Bashiok confirmed that there are many more not yet displayed), and they still don’t list their properties. But the DPS listings are very different than base items of the same type, and you can kind of discern the sort of modifiers they’ll have from comparing those values.
Compare the Azurewrath to the other level 60 one-handed swords, or the Windforce to the other level 60 bows, for instance. The others just list the base item stats, and their potential number of modifiers. Windforce lists a vastly higher damage and faster attack rate; features derived from the item’s properties… which are not yet listed.
Also note that the damage type is shown by the splash graphic behind the item icon. On the crossbows page you have a big icy snowflake behind the infamous Burrito Cannon, poison behind Pus Spitter, flames behind Hellrack, etc. Nice indication there that the returning D2 uniques will have mods that honor their original forms.
Gems have changed as well. Now socketing bonuses are only listed for weapons and helmet; “other” is gone, so presumably are sockets in things like body armor, belts, pants, amulets, and other objects that previously had them. I guess shields are gone too, since grouping them in with weapons would seem weird.
If you guys have noted other new changes, or just interesting details, fire them into the comments where everyone can benefit and debate.