The inhabitants of hell are levelling up in Diablo 4, as Lilith’s best will now have armour to boost their damage mitigation in the RPG game, according to Blizzard. Big numbers are over; hello, simpler UI.
One of Diablo 3’s most frustrating features is the damage numbers. As you level up you start dishing out millions of damage, all of which is displayed on your screen. Unfortunately, monsters hit pretty hard too, cluttering the display even further and causing absolute chaos.
Enter monster armour. Yes, that’s right; coming into Diablo 4 Lilith’s armies will now have damage mitigation in the form of physical armour instead of a swollen HP bar that takes ages to grind down despite your character’s huge damage numbers.
Diablo 4 won’t have huge damage numbers, praise Lilith: A collection of ghostly skeletons with huge numbers above their heads
Discussing this during the February 28 Diablo 4 dev livestream, principal game designer Meng Song states “we have a problem that, whenever we want to increase the monster’s defensive power, the only way we can do it is through increasing the monster’s HP.
“If we want to increase a monster’s defensive power from level 31 to level 32 by 10%, that means the level 32 monster is going to have 10% more HP. If you do this from level one to level 100, it ends up with a super big number; billions, or even trillions.
“For players to be able to kill these monsters they have to be dealing billions of damage, and in Diablo 4 we show this number as floating damage text; we can’t hide it. So, because this number is so big, it covers a big chunk of the screen.”
Game director Joe Shely notes that these numbers are “hard to understand,” especially because “combat in Diablo is really fast and you want to be able to quickly understand how much damage you’re doing. We want to keep the numbers down.”
So instead of having huge numbers on your screen, the monster will absorb some of the damage using its ‘armour,’ and you’ll only see the damage you’re dealing directly. This keeps the numbers down, while making monsters easier to balance.
As someone who is bad with numbers, I am very glad to hear this. My main gripe with Diablo 3 was diving in as a Monk, popping my combos, but being unable to understand how much damage I was actually doing. I also found myself missing smaller enemies because they were obscured, meaning it was really easy to get overwhelmed or miss things. During my Diablo 4 gameplay preview, I did find the UI much less busy, which in turn made everything feel just that little more fluid.
So begone, large damage numbers! Out with the old, and in with the new. If this change has piqued your interest ahead of the Diablo 4 release date, be sure to check out which of the Diablo 4 classes you’ll be picking up to send Lilith demons straight back to hell.