When Diablo II: Resurrected launched, there were some significant issues. Blizzard’s latest issue of Inside Battle.net goes behind the scenes with the devs to discuss how they not only turned things around, but launched some new features, in particular, Terror Zones and Sundering Charms.
According to Senior Principal Game Designer Robert Gallerani, “Diablo II was peoples’ childhoods. Adding to the game is a delicate balance, and we have to do it respectfully. But, on the other hand, we can’t have too many sacred cows, or else we’ll never be able to bring anything fresh to the table.”
When it came to Season Two, a few elements played a part in the decision to add new features. One was the journey to 99, something that a relative few actually completed this time around. Less than 1,000 during Season One, in fact, with 787 in softcore mode and 136 in Hardcore. So there was some untapped potential, if you got past the grind. Also, they thought, Sanctuary is underused. There could be more. So they tested, and later added, Terror Zones, with Terrorized monsters and refreshed zones. More rewards. More reasons to be in and around more places and to continue progressing.
These two considerations led to development that could expand the ways to get to 99, other than just repetitive killing of Baal, Diablo, and Nihlathak. The way people play was also a consideration, particularly in noting which builds were played on the way to 99 and breaking down their efficiency in getting there. Those who do reach level 99 are generally doing so in the most efficient way that they can do so. The grind is real, and so Necromancer and Paladin were common.
Ultimately, the team both added more to Sanctuary and offered additional paths to 99. In doing that, they ran into the sometimes high efficacy of immunities. Enter Sundering Charms. “You have to consider who we made these for. We didn't make them for the hardcore audience who know how to get the right Rune Words to break through these immunities—we made them to help more people start playing and make more builds viable,” Gallerani says.
Both continue to be key features of Season Three, which is currently running.