Diablo 4's hellish respec system is ruining the endgame for me

Diablo 4 druid with his wolves fighting spiders
(Image credit: Blizzard)

Here's a mystery for ya. Right now, I'm a level 88 Necromancer in Torment world tier. I've got a vault packed with Ancestral Rares, Legendaries, and Uniques, plus Aspects I've been hoarding for potential builds I want to try—and there are a lot of builds I want to try. So, how is it that it's harder for me to change my build than it is for someone who's level 20 and has just started the game?

I'm not talking about skill respec costs, either; gold is easy to get in Diablo 4, especially at the higher world tiers where you're selling Rares and Ancestrals pretty often. If it wasn't, players wouldn't be able to regularly drop millions rerolling item affixes. No, this is because I have to respec 58 skill points and four Paragon Boards every time I want to try something fresh. Honestly, by the time I've contemplated the process, that fun little build experiment feels far more uncertain, especially when my current character is already strong.

Diablo 4's lack of a build loadout system might seem like a minor thing early on, but I've found it ultimately has a massive impact on the endgame. When the respec process is enough to put you off changing build, where's the loot incentive? Why would I hoard all of these Ancestral Rares for potential building when I'm probably never going to use any of them? It also impacts Unique items. I personally love Uniques—like my exploding skelly arms—but they do get a bad reception sometimes, and I think that's mainly because Blizzard has made it so hard to experiment with them. 

Respec-ing Paragon Boards is a real pain (Image credit: Blizzard)

As an avid Destiny 2 player who does a lot of dungeons, raids, and endgame content, the idea of not being able to change my build on a whim to suit activities is totally mind-boggling, especially in a game where builds are so important. It effectively locks Diablo 4's greatest asset behind an overly irritating process, and I can't for the life of me work out what Blizzard's motivation was.

The obvious answer is that they want us to play more; if it's harder to switch builds, you have to create multiple characters for each class in order to always use every build you want. But making tons of characters in the Eternal Realm is totally pointless when we know we have to create a new character each season anyway. For me, at least, this has turned Diablo 4's endgame into a weird sort of limbo.

I have the gear, the Uniques, the resources, and the Aspects, but the whole process of changing build is a massive investment, especially when I don't know if the result will be more powerful or fun than what I'm already using. By the same token, I don't have the time to fully level another Necromancer so they can use a second build, and why would I when there are four other classes I could try instead, and probably will when I have to make one for the new season.

Respec costs are hefty, but it's not as though gold is scarce (Image credit: Blizzard)

To be honest, playing other classes is probably a better idea until Blizzard adds build loadouts, but it is frustrating when I enjoy Necromancer and want to try everything it has to offer all at once. My endgame consists of occasionally finding an aspect that's 1% better or an Ancestral Rare with slightly more favourable affixes, and that's about it. The whole tedious respec process—the fact I can't save and switch between builds—totally kills the enthusiasm that should exist around creating new ways for your character to play, and thus the whole incentive that drives the endgame.

I think loadouts are the most important feature that Blizzard could add to the game and it's extremely confusing why they weren't there in the first place. Yes, it would interfere with the respec system, but at the same time, it's a dreadful system and only serves to obfuscate the best part of the game to no particular advantage. As someone who loves buildcrafting in games and is more than willing to play the game to grind what I need, the respec feature is more likely to turn me off than actually make me play more. It's 2023; you'd think build loadouts would be pretty standard by this point.

I have four different endgame Necro builds I would very much like to use, and actually being able to work towards those and puzzle them out would give me more of an endgame objective vs. the tiny improvements I'm able to make to my current build. But it's not like I'm the only one complaining, so fingers crossed Blizzard adds the feature before long.

Sean Martin
Guides Writer

Sean's first PC games were Full Throttle and Total Annihilation and his taste has stayed much the same since. When not scouring games for secrets or bashing his head against puzzles, you'll find him revisiting old Total War campaigns, agonizing over his Destiny 2 fit, or still trying to finish the Horus Heresy. Sean has also written for EDGE, Eurogamer, PCGamesN, Wireframe, EGMNOW, and Inverse.