Diablo II Item Mechanics, and the Cure (no not the band).
For anyone that has played extensive amounts of Diablo II, you would agree that there some major flaws in the item/equipment system - I'm not just talking about the debates of overused or imbalanced items such as Enigma or bugged items like the 'Occy Ring' (long since deprecated), I am talking about the overall mechanics of items, and how they obtain value. I myself have been playing since Diablo II beta when rounding up chipped gems was a currency engine. In this brief article, I hope I can give some ideas and insight onto how some simple improvements to the item mechanics could make finding, using, and crafting (runewords/recipes/etc) items in Diablo II much more enjoyable, exciting, and practical.
The main problem has nothing to do with the number of items, the classes, or the combinations that can be spawned from them through the various divisions such as rares, uniques, etc - and of course their modifiers; such as x1-x2% damage. In respect to Blizzard, I think no game has really come close to capturing the excitement and replay value of Diablo II largely due to the item/equipment mechanics (here I am 9 years after the beta chip hunt, and still playing, perfect HotO in hand.). However, the game is still lacking: the equipment process in Diablo II could be so much more.
Let me get right to it with some examples: Many of the item classes and their divisions have completely no end-game or build-game (the processing of reaching endgame) value. For example, it's a quantifiable fact that if you were to discover a rare Hellforge plate, you could determine the maximum modifiers it could obtain, and their perfect high-end possibilities. Of the innumerable combinations; of the best rolled, you could still never achieve a result that would be worth using (at least not without cheating). For example, said Rare Hellforge plate might achieve a perfect 200% Enhanced defense, a perfect +100 life, a perfect etc, etc, etc, - with all it's possible perfect roles, it still doesn't come close to comparing with any uniques or runewords in the other divisions of its class. This means there's actually no real value to having a rare Hellforgeplate -why you ask? Well; because, as its requirements are too high for any sort of build-game (including mid or low-level PvP not mentioned before), and it certainly doesn't come close to end-game items - it has no purpose. The truth is, there are so many item divisions, classes and modifiers that work this way.
So how does it get fixed? Imagine this: a brand new modifier called a 'Balance Modifier' that works entirely per the division, it's requirements (strength,dex level etc) and the class of any item. To relate it to our Rare Hellforge plate for example, let's say since its strength requirement was so high, it had a chance to roll a x1-x2% life% bonus amoung some other stats since it was so high on strength and therefore likely to benefit melee/tank-like characters. Or another example, let's say the Colossus crossbow could achieve an Aura such ad Might due to it's tremendous strength requirements of a range class that otherwise would never use it. Or, how about a magical runic talons that add some chance to magic find because of their relative high strength and dex requirements, and better yet - just to make things interesting. Be creative, and you'll see how these otherwise useless items now have some value with a modifier that counter-acts their requirement.
Now we're really cooking with fire: Better yet, imagine a recipe that was tailored specifically to an item division, class, and type. For example, let's pretend there was a cube recipe for rare maces, and it came in 5 stages. Stage one cost an Io rune and added 5% crushing blow, stage two cost a Pul rune and added 5% more crushing blow on top of that. Stage three added a 10% deadly strike and 15 all resists on to our existing 10% crushing blow, but cost an um rune. Stage four cost and cham rune and added 150% enhanced damage and freezes target, and stage 5 cost a zod and added indestructibility, -25% target defense, and a life steal % bonus to complete the pact. Obviously this is just an example; and i'm sure you could create your own, but what does it mean for item mechanics? It means that there's a better chance the item you have that otherwise had no potential for growth or end-game use can now be carried much longer, and act as a very unique and interesting division to the repetitiveness of existing items that all end up in the same place: perf HotO paladin with enigma, up'd HoZ, perf Waterwalks, 2 sojs, etc, etc, etc.
Of course, I realize the possibility of this being implemented in 1.13 is slim next to nil. I just hope it might spark a thought in someones head who has had some connection to this item mechanics disconnect before.