Jay Wilson has confirmed that Diablo III will have a complete fourth difficulty level called Inferno. Kotaku has more details, and here’s a quote:
Monsters will see an increase in health, damage, damage resistances and aggression in Inferno. They’ll also have access to a larger suite of powers in Inferno, making minions and boss monsters even tougher. Expect a tougher game across the board, with broader than ever challenges even for the most skilled demon hunters.
“The idea was that we wanted a difficulty mode where the entire game was viable,” Wilson says. “So you don’t have to pick and choose key areas [to replay].” Diablo III’s Inferno difficulty, he says, will be “very difficult, very challenging,” presenting a “flattened” difficulty experience that Blizzard hopes will provide a more balanced, but more challenging end game for Diablo diehards.
That “flattened” difficulty will mean, Blizzard hopes, that players revisit the entire world of Diablo III seeking bigger and bolder challenges, not just go on “Mephisto runs” or fight a specific breed of minion in search of experience points and sweet loot drops.
The developers have often said that D3’s end game is all about items, and they’re certainly taking that to heart with these plans for this Inferno. After all, characters will be at max level before they even begin this fourth difficulty level, with nothing to gain but better equipment (and achievements) by playing it. Some gear, including armor, weapons, and runestones, will only be found on Inferno, and all the best stuff will drop much more frequently there.
So what do you guys think? Is this a good end game PvE approach, opening up the entire game to replayability? Or would you have preferred special bonus content like D2’s Pandemonium Event? Do you think players will work through a wider variety of areas, or will we just wind up doing the D3 version of Pindleskin runs, once players find the easiest and most rewarding activities?