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Diablo 4 Feedback (MMO-ish elements, Open World & non-linear story, Scaling, Gameplay fluidity, Classes, Class identity, Archetypes, Balance, Items & Itemization, PvP, Endgame and PvE, Clans, Crafting, Seasons, Respec, Customization, Monetization, Dark Theme, The Future of Diablo 4.)

Warning:
Some things you might want to know while reading this:
I’m a casual player. And by “casual” I don’t mean I’m a bad player. I mean that I play games for fun or out of passion. I don’t care to be as efficient as possible. My favourite types of games are RPGs, aRPGs and RTS games. In general the most important things in any video game for me are: Story, Class Identity where possible, Lore, Gameplay, Immersion. All that being said I will try to be as objective as I can.
As you can see this is literally my first post on the website. In fact I made my account just to post this. (Tho I have to admit I discovered that Reddit is a great place where you can find every kind of discussion.. and less serious stuff if you need a laugh. So I’ll definitely stay.^^) So please excuse me if it gets chaotic at any point and definitely give me your advice if you have any. English is also not my first language so excuse me for any mistakes I likely made.
One last important thing: This was originally a YouTube video that I still plan to make but I decided to wait until the next quarterly update on D4. And I also have very little time. The only thing I know is that I will make it at some point, it will probably contain more than this post and it will have visual examples.
Ok, let’s begin.
MMO-ish elements
Let’s start with the big one. Introducing MMO elements is good as long as they fit the overall theme of a Diablo game and make sense within its world. Great example – world bosses. This idea is great, it’s a cool activity and it just always feels awesome to fight a monster so powerful that you wouldn’t stand a chance against it if you were alone. Now I’m a 99.99% solo player so you might think I wouldn’t want Diablo 4 to have any content that cannot be completed solo. And while I absolutely think it’s very important to make the game solo viable, there can be small exceptions here and there especially if they make sense. Diablo Universe is extremely harsh especially during the times of D4. Add to it the fact that we are no longer playing as the all mighty Diablo Ball Z nephalem who can destroy the prime evil.. and Malthael.. and Malthael after he was empowered by all the.. ok you get the idea. Also – world boss encounters seem to work like some form of layering. So normally players will be phased out into different “layers” but the area around the boss seems to be shared between an X amount of layers. So when you approach the world boss you will notice other adventurers doing the same. After the fight you will all go your own way and once you all leave the world boss area you will go back to your separate layers. So that’s great! It’s even much more immersive in my opinion. Very important thing to say here is – any content that can’t be completed solo cannot have exclusive rewards unless they are only cosmetic – trophies, mounts, transmogs etc. Why? Well because it will upset the solo players. Devs will have to find a way to make playing with groups or clans more convenient, easier, more efficient but never required to obtain something that alters your stats or gameplay functionality. There has to be something that encourages grouping up and joining clans that does not take away anything from a solo player. Remember – it’s not an MMO. And more importantly – it’s a Diablo game. If it was an MMO than I would say having content that is impossible to do solo is an obvious decision. But D4 is simply not an MMO. I think adding content that is impossible to do solo is very against the Diablo spirit unless it’s done correctly like world bosses appear to be and as long as that content is not an exclusive way of obtaining anything that influences your stats or gameplay functionality. So what other MMO elements and RPG elements I think should be in the game? I’ll get back to it later in the post.
Let’s talk about the “shared world”. There is one issue I have with this idea. From my understanding at first your world is something like a private instance. After you complete the story quests in the zone you will begin to see others around you. Now the developers said that it is important to keep that hostile world vibe and that you will not see others very often (thanks to layering I assume).. From an objective standpoint it is pretty much a great idea. It makes sense that you are not the only one capable of fighting monsters out there. You are no longer the chosen one with the plot armor. So in a perfect world this would actually increase the immersion and it would fit perfectly in the Diablo Universe and especially D4.. except…. Well I don’t know if you have maybe.. played like.. uhh.. ANY ONLINE GAME EVER MADE?! Ok. I think it’s pretty obvious that there will be a ton of toxic people running around and ruining the experience of especially people like me who enjoy the story and lore, for whom immersion is extremely important and who simply like to play solo. So while the idea in principle fits well within the Diablo Universe – in reality it won’t. Not because of the feature itself but because of the players. So what should be done? Well blizzard is not going to change it and to be honest I don’t think they should. It’s going to be a great factor when it comes to making the world feel alive and it will definitely contribute to the game’s longevity. But I think it should be optional. I think there should be a switch that allows you to swap between playing privately and playing in a “shared world” any time you want.
Open World & non-linear story
As you probably know D4’s world will be open. It will of course have dungeons and whatnot. But the main game world will be open and the story will be non-linear. And honestly this is simply a 100% positive. It is much more immersive that way, it will feel more familiar to many MMO players that will surely be attracted to check the game out due to D4’s MMOish elements and because Blizzard will undoubtedly offer rewards in other games for playing or buying D4. But most importantly it provides A LOT of space for endgame activities like dungeons, repeatable quests, random events, world bosses and whatever you can think of – which is great for the game’s longevity – and obviously Activision Blizzard CEOs and shareholders want the game to live as long as possible and make money as long as possible. And it also works perfectly with the “shared” world idea which is great…. as long as this “shared world” thing will be optional.
I think it’s pretty obvious that I really like the idea of an open world Diablo game with non-linear story. But I don’t have much to say about it in this post. I could go on and on how it’s a great thing for the game in every measurable way, especially if it’s supposed to live for a long time but Blizzard clearly knows this.
Scaling
I think monsters should never.. absolutely NEVER scale down. It is important at the beginning and during the leveling process that the player knows they are in a very dark, harsh and messed up world. They need to know they cannot just go anywhere right away because they will be killed. The world should include areas with monsters or bosses that have significantly higher level than most of the monsters in that area and there needs to be some content that is way more difficult than most of the content in that area. The player should get stronger, better equipped and more experienced before they access content that thematically is clearly more dangerous. For example (imagine here with me) let’s say that a starting zone is full of wolves, there is a cave full of undead a bit further, there is some camp full of cannibals in the distance and in the middle of the zone there is one ruined fort occupied by demons. You are playing a level 1 character. The wolves and other usual monsters for this area should start at level 1 with maybe some being at level 2 so you can start fighting them right away. The cave full of undead should be a little more difficult but the regular undead are not very dangerous so they should probably start at level 1 but there should be a lot of them so you can go there now but you will die if you get overrun. The cannibals are clearly more organized and dangerous than everything else so they should start at let’s say level 7 – you’ll deal with them later. The fort occupied by demons should be much more difficult to do – it should be impossible at first. Demons are very obviously more powerful than other enemies of this area and they should start at let’s say level 20.
So in short – I think enemies should have their minimum level dictated by what they are and I think the devs should put few locations here and there that contain enemies with much higher level than most enemies in the zone. Why?
- It would further improve immersion.
- It makes sense.
- It adds a little more depth and decision making to the leveling process. (Because you could try to kill the high level monsters earlier and maybe through the use of strategy you will succeed – and surely doing so will feel awesome.)
And it’s a way of directly representing your progress through the gameplay itself.
As for scaling monsters up – I think it’s more immersive if the don’t scale up because if you get more powerful you should clearly feel it. But from a gameplay perspective, monsters will have to scale up because otherwise it might get boring very quickly.
Gameplay fluidity
During Blizzcon 2019 Luis Barriga basically stated they will be taking what’s best from each Diablo game out there. And while for many Diablo 3 was a disappointment – especially its release and art style – many forget that Diablo 3 actually did have the most fluid combat of any aRPG out there. D4’s gameplay and combat should be fluid. And from the things we’ve seen it appears that it is. The only thing I can really add to this is - the devs should avoid adding game mechanics or abilities that do not fit the fluid “feel” of the combat. Using a certain ability should never feel off or clunky compared to everything else.
Classes, class identity, archetypes
So far we know there will be 5 classes at the game’s release. 2 of them are still unannounced. The ones we know about are the Barbarian, the Sorceress and the Druid. We also know that there will be classes added later, most likely through expansions and hopefully never through class packs. Let’s start with Class Identity. In a Diablo game class identity is incredibly important. Each class has to capture its own fantasy, feel and theme. They all have to be unique in as many ways as possible, but of course there will be similarities – and that’s okay especially after more and more classes are added. And even if some classes functionally work in a similar way they can have a completely different theme. From what we’ve seen the revealed classes do have a strong class identity.. I mean let’s be honest – it’ Diablo we are talking about here. Diablo games always did and still hold the crown when it comes to class identity. But let’s quickly go over the things that will make classes unique: If possible – class-unique systems, an amazing example of this is the D4 Barbarian with the Arsenal System, being able to carry 2 2-heanded weapons and 2 one-handed weapons, swapping between them during the fight and having effects In the game that work well with it. I think each class should have their own “thing” – their own unique gameplay mechanics. Visuals – well that’s kinda obvious but still: Classes need to have their place in the world. A player has to know that a class belongs here just by looking at it. They should be stylized accordingly so that they look distinct, fit their fantasy and clearly have their place in the D4’s world while also providing a visual progression – devs will have to strike balance between the 2. Class-unique gear pieces that only this specific class can equip and that work well with that class. There could also be items that can only be equipped by some “type” of class – for example it would make sense if a staff could be equipped by the Sorceress and the Druid but not by the Barbarian. Class-unique properties. Class unique transmogs and other cosmetic stuff. And obviously every single ability should fit the class both from the gameplay perspective and the visual perspective. It’s basically very important for all the visuals of Diablo 4’s world and it’s classes to fit well together.
Now Archetypes. Rhykker made an amazing video about this and he truly nailed the explanation of why archetypes are important in a Diablo game while also providing some history and background of how the classes we’ve seen so far have evolved in each game. But in short: Every player always has their favourite “style” of gameplay. The most obvious archetypes are: A melee damage dealer (Like the Barbarian). A ranged, non-magical damage dealer (Like the Demon Hunter). A ranged magical damage dealer (Like the Sorceress). And in the case of MMOs a ranged healing class – but we don’t want that in D4 that stuff is for kids. But seriously – it just doesn’t have a place in a Diablo game and the devs confirmed they will not try to make a support class. But as any Diablo player knows, the community will find a way to make support builds even if the devs would actively try to stop it. And that’s really cool in my opinion. So those are the main 3 archetypes. Then, each archetype can branch into potentially infinite versions of which all have their unique fantasy and flavor or they are hybrids of other versions. As an example a Melee damage dealer can be a Paladin, Barbarian, Assassin and A magical ranged damage dealer can be the Sorceress – with the Druid and Necromancer both being a mix between 2 archetypes while adding their own theme and fantasy in the for of shapeshifting or summoning. What the developers need to do is to make sure that all of those 3 main archetypes are covered. Than they need to add classes that will cover as many fantasies of those archetypes as possible, starting with the most popular ones like summoning fantasy. And they should also add classes that we have never seen before in any previous title. For example it seems to me that D4 is a great opportunity to introduce a Witch class that would likely focus on blood magic, curses, poison and maybe even some kind of demonic powers or demon summoning. But more on that later.
Balance
…. Balance.
I mean balance is hard and everything from items and abilities to in-game activities should be as balanced as possible in order to avoid one of the worst things that can possibly happen to an aRPG – having a very narrow op meta of gear and behavior. This just renders everything - the itemization, class identity and choice – actually meaningless. But there isn’t much more to say about it. D4 devs have a great example of what to avoid based on the D3’s meta. And only they know best on what they can do to balance the game.
Items
Developers already said that legendary items should be as or more powerful than set items. Which is the most important thing. D4’s legendary items and item properties in general should avoid D3’s giant damage bonuses that in reality just reduce the number of choices you have. And while we are on that topic – I want as many different stats, effects, damage types as possible. If the game is supposed to live as long as possible and make as much money as possible it needs to have enough depth to not become boring as long as possible and it should introduce this depth gradually. This applies to literally every single part of this post. Everything I’ve talked about, everything I will be talking about and everything that will be in the game that we know nothing about – there should be as many of all those things and possible, they should be as unique as possible and should have as much depth as possible – but they should never be annoying or inconvenient.
I think there should be more 2 and 3 piece sets. And while I don’t like the full 6-piece sets as they were done in D3, here in D4 they are a great opportunity to introduce a certain specific class fantasies – as long as they won’t be more powerful than legendary items. You might think that a full set should be more powerful - it makes sense. And while yes in principle it does – in reality it limits your choice. And again – there needs to be as much choice and variety in itemization as possible. The full sets should capture a specific play style or fantasy and be more powerful than some random legendary items someone put together without any thought. But they should be clearly less powerful than legendary items that work together well. But that being said devs should avoid legendary items, sets and mythic items that buff the damage of one specific ability. There should be some of those as well but most legendary properties should change how the ability works or add a proc chance, add an effect to the ability or increase the damage you deal with a specific type damage. But increasing damage of a specific ability only leads to one thing – a very specific meta.
Now.. Mythic items. I really hope I’m misunderstanding this but I think they will have 4 legendary powers and they will all be random? David Kim said In Rhykker’s interview that a chance of finding a mythic item with the exact 4 powers you want is pretty low. So that implies they will be random. And I really, really don’t like this. At some point RNG becomes purely annoying and frustrating. Not only mythic items are the most unlikely items to drop in D4 but you will also have to find one that has exactly the 4 legendary properties you want. Good luck with that. Unless there are also Unique Mythic items that have let’s say 2 legendary properties always the same and 2 random. I was thinking about this one for a while and I think the ideal solution is to have both. To have Mythic items that will have 4 random legendary powers AND to have unique mythic items that will have 2 of their legendary properties set in stone OR even better: they will still be randomized but only from a pool of properties that fit the theme of the item. So for example a Unique Mythic staff of fire will have 4 random legendary properties chosen from the pool of legendary properties that have something to do with fire.
PvP
Diablo 4 should definitely have PvP activities. Personally I don’t understand why you would want to do PvP in a Diablo game but as long as it keeps some people playing – it makes the game more successful and that’s what we all want. There are many ways of doing this. There should be a duel option. Major towns could have arenas for both 1v1 and team v team matches and each arena should have leaderboards. There should be cosmetic rewards and titles for let’s say winning 1000 duels. I don’t think the servers could handle clan v clan battles with like 20-40 players on each side but hey – if Blizzard can do that - then they should. But one thing is crucial and absolutely required when it comes to PvP in a Diablo game – the devs shouldn’t try to balance it. The entire game and all its aspects should be balanced around PvE. PvP cannot be a priority. It should be something optional that’s just there in case you want have fun – and that’s it.
Endgame and PvE
Diablo 4 should have as many viable endgame activities as possible. There should be many dungeons all around the world and each one of them should have a solo version and a group version as well as at least 3 difficulty levels. The more players enter the more difficult the dungeon enemies are and obviously the higher difficulty level you choose.. the higher difficulty you get. You should have to unlock the difficulty levels through completing the previous difficulty in case it wasn’t obvious as well. With greater challenge should come greater rewards in a form of gold and magic find bonuses and cosmetic rewards for completing the highest difficulty. ESO for example gives you a head or a trophy of the boss you kill in a specific dungeon and you can hang it on the wall. Each dungeon should also have a leaderboard – that’s just for people who want to compete – I think it would be much more interesting for them (especially to the very best players) to be able to push the leaderboards for each dungeon separately because a) each dungeon is different so it’s more interesting and b) they would have a possibility of being the number one in multiple leaderboards which sounds tempting even to someone like me who doesn’t normally care about leaderboards. Important thing to say hear is – there should be no items that drop exclusively on some dungeon difficulty. All the players should be able to get every item that affects their stats regardless of the difficulty of the dungeon. That being said – the higher the difficulty the higher the drop chance should be. This way a solo player like myself can still obtain the best items in the game – it will simply probably take much longer. And I think some cosmetic items like trophies, titles or achievements should be only obtainable by completing the highest challenge – just as long as it’s cosmetic. I will talk about dungeons more in later segments.
Greater Rifts and Nephalem Rifts while maybe not under the same name and probably with a different theme should be in D4 and they should work pretty much the same. Randomized maps with randomized enemies and shrines, with some differences: GR levels from 1-100. You unlock new levels one by one. And instead of GR levels simply increasing the damage and health of your enemies I think something should also happen every X amount of GR levels. Like for example:
- from level 40-60: all elite packs have one bonus property.
- levels 61-80: all elites get 2 additional properties and you lose 2x more time per death.
- levels 81-95: all elites have 2 additional properties, you lose 4x more time per death.
- levels 95-99: elites have 2 additional properties and death means failure.
The max level should be impossible to reach imo unless the cap will go up with every expansion due to the likelihood of the level cap also being increased with each expansion. There should also be cosmetic rewards given to the player for reaching certain GR levels.
But.. I never pushed GRs very far in D3 so I’ll admit I might be wrong with this one. Not about the cosmetic rewards tho – those I’m definitely right about =D
Bounties Should also return but as a form of repeatable, daily and weekly quests. I think each major city should have a notice board (something like in Witcher 3) and there you could accept randomized bounty-like quests. Each notice board would spawn 5 random bounties that you could accept and complete separately. They should respawn on the notice board after some time, maybe like 20 minutes, to avoid situations in which people would just “abandon the quest” and effectively reroll until they get the “more optimal” bounty. There could also be daily and weekly bounties that have better rewards. Completing the bounties could also earn you a reputation in a given region and after reaching some level of reputation you could unlock a transmog themed after the region, some other form of cosmetic rewards like titles or if there will be a hideout/housing system – unlock a possibility of buying a house/hideout in that region.
Clans
I think clans should be expanded greatly in Diablo 4. I’m not sure about raids.. I don’t know if Blizzard could do it – if they could tho, it would be great. But I’m going to assume it won’t happen. Clans themselves should have a clan-wide system similar to Wolcen’s city management but limited to very small clan wide bonuses to gold find and magic find that a clan can purchase for gold and to the ability to spend a special type of currency that your clan earns only through completing the dungeons and possibly other activities on other special items. A clan master and those he gives his permission could spend the currency to buy those special items that would give temporary clan-wide bonuses or even ( for a high amount of currency ) special dungeon keys that really “upgrade” the dungeon by making it even more difficult and even more rewarding. Important thing to say here is – dungeon keys and the ability to modify them should also be available a solo player. Again – everything that influences your stats or enhances your experience should be obtainable solo. Clan leaders should have the tools available to create custom ranks with a system of permissions within the clan. And the maximum number of clan members should be as high as possible. Other than this – I think there should also be communities. Communities would have no real functionality other than: a) being able to see all it’s members and being able to invite them to group up more easily. B) they should also allow custom ranks If possible. C) They should have a very high member limit, or no limit if possible – this is a priority.
Crafting
Basically ESO crafting. Just show and talk about all the aspects of ESO crafting. Including writs and writ “treasure” maps etc.
It is important to say that I think crafting should not be required. I think the best gear shouldn’t be crafted in an aRPG – it should be looted. But the best potions, poisons, enchants, food and other stuff like that you can see in ESO or the Witcher 3 for example should be obtained through crafting. It would be a way of further improving your gear permanently or temporarily. You should be able to craft different potions, healing potions, mana potions, speed potions, resistance potions and so on. Or poisons and oils that you can apply to your weapons for a temporary effect like slow, damage, poison or apply some other form of debuff to your enemies when they get hit. Enchantments would simply a type of rune that you can apply to your gear to add new effects for example a fire rune would add a chance to ignite your enemies when added to a weapon, fire resistance when added to your armor or resistance to fire related debuffs when applied to jewelry. Or runes that increase your flat health when added to armors, add life per hit when added to weapons and increase your max health by x% when added to jewelry . You get the idea. The list of possible effects and ways they could work is endless.
Crafting in ESO is especially cool because you basically have a separate very small passive trees for each type of crafting and you can allocate your skill points there to be better at crafting. You advance your crafting level simply by crafting or dismantling items. The higher your crafting level the better materials you find in the world and the more crafting passives become available. And some of those bonuses are really cool. Let’s take blacksmithing for example: first passive allows you to use higher level materials, second one highlights the resource nodes in the world so they are easier to spot, next one basically sends you small amount of blacksmithing materials every day and the last one increases the chances to improve the quality of items. Let’s have a look at alchemy now: first one also lets you use higher level materials to make higher level potions and poisons, next one highlights materials, the third one increases the duration of potions you consume by 10% - which is really cool because it impacts the gameplay more directly. The next one makes you produce more potions and poisons each time you craft them, next allows you to make potions that have more effects, and the last one reduced the potentially negative effect of potions you consume.
And you can even get “certified” at all the types of crafting by completing a short tutorial quests that introduce you to each type of crafting in order to get access to special daily quests that tell you to create something from each type of crafting and deliver the crafted items for a bunch experience, a little gold and a chest that contains random rewards like crafting materials and rare items that let you improve the quality of an item. They can also contain special surveys that will point you to a random place in the world where you will find A TON of resource nodes. In Diablo 4 this could be done in a form of maps that point you to a dungeon and once you enter the dungeon that map will be destroyed to add a lot of resource nodes to that dungeon or simply add a lot of crafting resources as a reward for completing the dungeon. So doing a lot of crafting would still encourage other activities. And also, the higher your crafting level the better rewards you get and the higher the chance of obtaining very rare items that improve the quality of your gear.
Honestly I just love ESO crafting system. And I’m a solo player who usually only cares about the story and singleplayer RPGs. Initially I started playing ESO only because I like The Elder Scrolls games and I wanted to know the story but I hated the fact that it is an MMO. I still play solo but I do a lot of crafting and I genuinely enjoy it. Diablo 4 should have as many different activities as possible, just as long as they are optional and none of them is absolutely OP, and I think when it comes to crafting – ESO and many RPG games like The Witcher 3 are great places for the D4 devs to draw inspiration from.
Now I don’t think crafting materials should be obtained in the same way as they are in ESO. At least it shouldn’t be the only way because running around with a pickaxe and mining rocks is not exactly the kind of activity that most players would fall in love with. I personally wouldn’t mind that because crafting is optional anyway but still, most players would probably hate it. So I think crafting materials should be scattered around the world but they should also be obtainable through completing bounties for example. And ideally doing bounties and other activities that involve killing monsters would provide you with enough materials to craft your own gear, but if you want to really focus on crafting you would have to find materials in the world because that way would be faster but wouldn’t reward you with anything else other than crafting materials.
Seasons
Seasons should introduce new items, mechanics and things to do. That’s about it.
But here is my personal opinion on seasons: I absolutely hate them in their current form. UGH. They are so awful. I absolutely hate the reset. I’d rather have a slow meaningful progression and a ton of endgame activities to the point of seasons not even being really necessary. And on top of that still have seasons but without the reset. If seasons will add new stuff to do, whatever it will be in the end the best way of doing it will be at max level. That’s why I would personally prefer if there was no reset and no seasonal characters. I’d rather if the seasonal themes would simply add new endgame mechanics and the “theme” of a season would be applied to everyone – now the problem here would be – what if devs add a seasonal “theme” that people don’t like? And that’s something I have no answer for. In the end I know seasons will work like they usually work in aRPGs – there will be a reset and separate seasonal characters which will result in leveling being eventually boring and pretty fast and non-seasonal characters having no point at all. That’s how I personally feel.
But there is a world in which I would be fine with the reset. And in that world the seasonal mechanics and themes would affect the leveling enough to change it a bit and to keep it fresh and fun every time. And there either should be a good reason to still play non-seasonal characters as well or there needs to be some kind of account-wide progression that will reward non-seasonal characters for playing seasonal characters. I just wish this account wide progression won’t be anything like paragon levels – paragon levels should not exist unless they have a reasonable cap. Why? Because if this progression system is infinite or has a cap that if way too high will mean that in the end the primary thing that will affect competitive players will be the amount of free time they have to play the game and this should never be the case because competition should reveal the best, most skilled and most knowledgeable players.
Respec
The possibility of trying out new things, different abilities and play styles based on what cool items you find is very important, especially in a game where legendary items and their properties play such a giant role. Not being able to respect is not a difficulty – it’s an annoying inconvenience. Personally I think respec should be free or have a reasonable cost.
Customization
This is again a big one. Let’s start with the transmogs. I think transmogs shouldn’t mess with the visual representation of your character’s power. What do I mean by this? Well.. you shouldn’t be able to look like a level 40 character while being a level 4 character. I think D3’s way of unlocking the transmog options is fine – once you loot an item you unlock it as a transmog option. But I don’t want it to be account wide. I think whenever you unlock a new transmog it should be unlocked only on the character that looted the item and whenever an item is generated it should only be able to give it’s transmog only to the person that first picks it up. That idea aims to make your character look as realistically as possible and it would work well with the visual progression the devs surely have in mind. Transmogs should never mess with the visual representation of who and how powerful your character is at any given moment and I think there is even a good way of making it possible while still having the transmog options being unlocked account-wide in case most players would disagree with me. What if each transmog piece would have a level requirement on it? The same level requirement that the original piece starts to drop at. I think it’s a good solution because probably 99% of your playtime will be on a max level character anyway. My idea only impacts the leveling process and aims to make character progression as visible and immersive as possible.
All that being said I think there should be A TON of transmogs, as many as possible. I think devs should just be allowed to let their passion loose and add as many unique transmogs and items (or really any kind of content) as possible. To be fair to Blizzard as a company – adding new cosmetic options every now and then makes financial sense because making them (especially simply re-skinning and re-coloring the existing ones) is relatively cheap but it definitely keeps the game fresh. And some of those cosmetic items could be in-game shop exclusive. Customization is extremely important especially for D4’s success. So ideally there should be enough transmog options to make everyone happy. I’m not so sure about being able to change the colors of the items. It would be really cool especially if regular colors would drop rarely from regular enemies (like in Wolcen) and other more cool colors like gold for example could drop from a specific boss or dungeon. But.. – D4 is supposed to be dark. And as much as I love to have options I think it’s best to not include dyes in D4.
But there are many ways of customizing your character. Mounts, trophies, housing system, pets, titles and other things we see in D3 and MMORPGs. I welcome it all – as long as it has it’s place in the dark world of D4 and ideally as long as every cosmetic item has it’s place in some part of D4’s world.. or at least has some lore justification.
I also think there should be as many options as possible when it comes to character creation and I think there should be an option to change the appearance later by appearance change token. Yup. I mean pain appearance change token.
Monetization
I think it’s pretty obvious that there will be an in-game shop in D4. I don’t like it. Most of us don’t like it. But I’m fine with it because it’s not really something devs can influence. Remember – the devs do not make decisions. If they will be told to do something that will generate profit they just have to do it. And we all know they were told. So what do I think the monetization should be like in D4? It absolutely cannot be free to play or a subscription based. It should be a one-time purchase with paid BIG content expansions (Like The Witcher 3 expansions) that include at least a new class, story and expand the world of sanctuary to eventually let us explore it in its entirety. And since it will have an in-game shop it should be cosmetic ONLY. And NO there shouldn’t be an option to buy stash space. It directly impacts the gameplay. So in order to keep this shop cosmetic only I’m fine with having a lot of cool unique transmog sets, mounts, pets, enchant effects and all kinds of stuff also being added to the shop with each expansion but again – only as long as they stay true to the Diablo 4 style. So no cosmic wings. I am okay with character slots but only if the number of character slots you have for free is at least the same as the number of classes at any given time. So 5 or more free character slots at launch and whenever you buy an expansion that includes a new class or classes it should also include as many bonus character slots as there are new classes.
Dark Theme
No matter what aspect of the game we are talking about – Diablo 4 should stay true to its theme and to the Diablo spirit.
The Future of Diablo 4
I want Diablo 4 to release big expansions that adds new areas, story playable classes to eventually reach the point when we can explore the entire Sanctuary. I am sure Diablo 4 is being developed with longevity in mind and Activision Blizzard CEOs and shareholders want D4 to live as long as possible and thus they will want to add new content as long as possible so that D4 can make money for as long as possible. And that’s fine. It’s a good thing as long as the expansions will be an actual expansions and as long as the in-game shop will be cosmetic only.
I also hope they will introduce entirely new classes. (again – as long as they fit within the Diablo Universe). Some examples would be: previously mentioned Witch. I think since the Sorceress is now focused on elements unlike D3’s wizard, there could be a separate class called Wizard at some point in the future that focuses on dealing Arcane damage and has skills like Magic Missile, Arcane Orb, Spectral Blade, Arcane Torrent, Wave of Force, Slow Time, Magic Weapon, Familiar, Teleport, Mirror Image, Black Hole, Archon etc. People have been talking about a Death Knight type of class and I think it’s also a great idea I just don’t know if it should be a hybrid between the necromancer and paladin. In my opinion it could be some kind of a dark Paladin that broke the oath and is using more dark abilities to fight fire with fire. I also think Witch Doctor should be completely reworked and added at some point because in D3 WD is basically a necromancer that looks goofy. They could for example make Necromancer more focused on bones, disease, corpse mechanics, curses, give him/her more passive summons and make the witch doctor more focused on spirits and weird confusing voodoo magic and more active summons.
IMO the most important things out of everything I said:
You should not be forced to see other players.
Every piece of content (except world bosses and other content that makes sense to be too hard for a one person to complete) should be soloable and every single item that affects your stats or gameplay in any way should be obtainable solo.
The End
Remember - in the end it's just an opinion of an "old school" player.
Thanks,
and see You in Hell!
submitted by TheCurious42 to diablo4

8

I am a Forester, and I encountered something I can't explain in an Old Growth forest.

I am posting this because I am truly out of options. My employers refuse to take my reports, and have even threatened termination of my contract if I bring these events back to the table again. The local authorities are dismissive, or even worse accuse me of substance abuse and mental instability. I can’t even tell my own family, lest they draw the same conclusions. I wouldn’t want to drag them into this anyway. Hopefully some of you people can help me; at least help me understand what is going on.
I have worked as a forester in Appalachia for a logging company that will go unnamed for nearly a decade now. In that time I have come to love my job, the woods, and the freedom that accompanies both. But things have started to change with my most recent assignment. God, the woods used to feel so safe, so clean. Now I can’t stop my hands from shaking when I stand beneath the green canopy.
So we’re all on the same page, I’ll walk you through the field work of my profession. First, the company assigns me a tract of land they have recently acquired. I do some less exciting prep-work in the office: satellite imaging, GIS, property analysis, etc. and then I head out into the field. Generally the sites are pretty far from the offices, requiring multiple hour drives and overnight camping. I bring along some simple camping gear, tape measures, manual clinometer and altimeter, bright neon orange marking spray paint, and my GPS transmitter and marker; all in all a bunch of technical nonsense that lets me determine the value of trees, which should be logged, and which should be left behind to ensure no permanent damage is done to the forest. Simple enough.
It was early morning on September 21st, 2019 when my office desktop pinged that I had an incoming email. Seeing that it was an assignment from corporate I opened it up and nearly let out a cheer in my cubicle: the tract I had been assigned was a huge patch of old growth forest located near the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia. For those of you who don’t know, an ‘old growth forest’ is a wooded area that has not been disturbed for hundreds of years, allowed to grow and develop in its natural state without intervention by farming, construction, or logging. Many old growth forests haven’t been touched since the settlers arrived, and some even before then. In any case this was a cause for celebration: old growth is increasingly rare and amazingly beautiful, and I was the one assigned to explore it. Of course this was bittersweet, seeing as I would be the last to see it un-despoiled before I gave the loggers the go-ahead.
I spent the morning in the office packing my things and loading them into the tiny white Ford Ranger, lovingly nicknamed Piper, that the company had provided to me when I started working for them. She was a rugged little thing, having carried me through the mountains for almost a decade without protest. Of course she wasn’t without her quirks: crank-operated windows, a rattling tailgate, and an AC that hadn’t functioned since 2011. But I loved that tiny little truck. Piper and I set out around noon, making good time on the 4 hours drive through the rugged depths of West Virginia.
We arrived at the old trailhead that would deliver me to my tract late into the afternoon. As I strapped my heavy backpack on and locked Piper up for her stay at the edge of the woods I breathed deeply, taking in the heavy scent of forest earth and the sound of wind and birdsong through the treetops. Giving my truck a pat on the hood, I turned and made my way off the country road and onto the narrow dirt track that wound into the woods.
The hike to the old growth stand of trees took about an hour of brisk trekking, the path becoming more and more overgrown as I progressed; it was obvious this trail hadn’t been consistently used for years, probably decades. Nearly to my destination I happened across what should have been the first sign that something was not right.
An ancient sycamore tree stood in the dead center of the path. Had it been any other species I would have sidestepped it and kept plugging ahead but sycamores had always been my favorite trees, so I craned my neck upwards to admire the old beauty. About 12 feet off the ground, twisted and woven through a tangle of white-barked branches, was the decomposing skeleton of a deer, scraps of rotting fur and mummified tendons the only things holding the carcass together as it dangled from the tree. I gasped and stepped back from the initial shock, the staring skeletal visage of an old deer being the last thing I had expected to see.
My first thought was that a mountain lion or similar predator had hauled the animal up there to feast upon. Carnivores like that were pretty rare in the area, but I had guessed it wasn’t entirely out of the question. But my confusion spiked and the rumblings of dread gestated in my gut when I looked just a little bit closer. It was difficult to tell due to the distance from the forest floor and amount of time the deer had been up there, but as I squinted and stared I noticed something haunting: the decrepit animal remains were not simply jumbled in the tree branches, they were lashed into place by scraps of rope and cloth. Someone had hauled that deer 12 feet up this sycamore tree and tied its limbs and joints so it would stay suspended up there. Directly beneath the nearly-completely rotted animal, barely visible due to age, was carved a simple ‘O’, presumably slashed into the bark by whoever took the time to create this macabre installation.
I was understandably shocked and confused by this discovery, but the apparent age of the carving and carcass eased my worries a little. Whoever had done this had obviously done their work months ago. I resolved that until I happened across fresher work, I was unlikely to run into anyone else out here in the woods. Having reassured myself for the moment and excited to lay eyes on rare old growth, I carried on down the trail towards my destination.
I reached the edge of my assigned stand around 6:30 that night, the old ill-maintained trail terminating in a small clearing on the border of the forest I hiked through and the secluded acres of the old growth that waited beyond. I gazed awestruck at what waited for me: ancient gnarled tree trunks that soared stories high, capped with dense foliage that cast the groves beneath in placid twilight. One of the defining features of old growth is the lack of an understory, smaller plants choked of sunlight by the canopy above. This means that you can see much further than you could in a different forest, where brush and vines might block your view. In the old growth ahead of me I could see deep into the canopy-shaded woods, darkness enveloping trees that grew in twisted and gnarled shapes, ancient beings shaped by countless years into warped and beautiful lines. I was nearly overtaken by the sight, a view that so few people are able to look upon in this modern age.
Even though I was nearly shaking with excitement to explore the acres-large stand of forest ahead of me, I knew that daylight would not last much longer. I would have to push off starting my work until the next day, working quickly to pitch my tent and create a small stone ring to act as my fire pit before nightfall overtook my new campsite.
That first night on the edge of the old growth was so quiet. As I lay tightly wrapped in my sleeping bag, staring up through the vent net in the roof of my tent towards the stars above, I heard almost none of the sounds one might expect from camping deep in the woods. No night-birds called, no insects buzzed. The only sounds were the rushing of wind through the leaves and, once, the mournful sound of an owl hooting somewhere within the ancient grove beyond my camp. I sat there awake in the eerie silence nearly the entire night, partially perturbed by the quiet but mostly entranced by the beauty of the starlit sky and filled with excitement for the day to come. I eventually drifted off to sleep around 2 AM.
At 5:30 in the morning I was awoken by the electronic chirping of my watch alarm, signalling the start of my day. Groggily sitting up I immediately regretted not forcing myself to sleep earlier. Yanking the zipper of the tent flap and exposing myself to the chill morning air, I rose to a stoop and began to exit my tent. As my head left the tent I stopped dead, frozen and staring.
I was staring down the barrel of a pump-action shotgun, clutched in the hands of a middle-aged bearded man. He wore old flannel and denim, a stained old baseball cap over a mop of greying hair. His face was cracked and split by intricate wrinkles, the telltale aging endured by a man who had spent his life outdoors. His grey eyes squinted as he met my shocked gaze, lowering the gun.
“Well shit, I’m sorry, son. Didn’t expect anybody.”
“What the hell do you mean you didn’t expect anybody?” I asked, anger boiling to the surface as the shock of surprise ebbed away. “You walked into a campsite at 5 in the morning, why wouldn’t there be anybody here?”
His gnarled face didn’t change from its stony demeanor. “Look boy, I said I was sorry. No harm no foul, right? He shrugged nonchalantly, irritatingly dismissive of the fact that he had a loaded gun pointed between my eyes mere moments ago. He slung the weapon over his shoulder and extended a hand to help me up out of my tent. “Most tents you find up here are empty.”
It took a moment for what he had said to sink in. “What do you mean? Like people come up here dump their trashed old equipment?” Disappointment began to brew as the thought of the old growth filled with trash entered my mind.
“Nah son, nothin’ like that. Just exactly what I said. The tents you find up here are always empty. The name’s Randy. Randy Davidson. This plot belonged to my grandpa, and his grandpa before ‘im.” His West Virginia drawl was thick and slow as he gestured towards the old growth stand. “Before grandpa sold it to the National Forest folks, eminent domain and what-not.”
I furrowed my brow. Not only had I had the shock of my life less than a minute ago, now I was listening to the family history of some Appalachian backwater hick. My patience grew thin.
“So is that why you go poking around in other people’s shit, scaring them half-to-death when they wake up? For old time’s sake?”
Randy squinted again, unimpressed with my impatience. “Look boy. All I’m gon’ say is that you better watch yourself out in these woods. Grandpa used to tell stories. Was happy to have the Feds take the land off his hands. Jus’ pack up and leave is my advice.”
And with that he turned and started walking away in the direction he came from. I stood there in uneasy silence and just watched him go. What the hell? Was that a warning, or a threat? And what could he have possibly meant about empty tents? His message had surprised and confused me as much as his sudden appearance in my camp.
The early morning light grew brighter and the mist that clung to the ground burned away as I gathered my things and prepared for my first foray into the old growth stand. I nearly inhaled my breakfast, excited to start my work. Then, pack filled and secured, I stepped beyond the edge of the grove.
The old growth was breathtaking. Ancient gnarled trees surrounded me as I walked, dark twisting shapes disappearing into the shadowy canopy high above. No underbrush cluttered the ground, just stoic old boulders and thick sheets of soggy moss. The dense cover of leaves above cast the entire huge stand in the eerie pall of cool shade. The heavy earthy scent of loamy earth and wet wood filled my nose and lungs. Pristine silence filled the forest.
I set to work immediately, invigorated by my utterly gorgeous surroundings. The noise I made was the only sound to echo through the ancient woods around me, joining the quiet wind in the leaves above. I identified species, measured trunk diameters, calculated height and slope, judged quality timber from trees best left standing. God damn, I had thought to myself. Almost all of these trees were worth thousands of dollars in timber as individuals. This stand of old growth alone would likely net the company over a million dollars after harvest. How in Hell had this place not been logged yet?
With a metallic rattle and aerosol hiss I marked the trees that would be harvested with my flagging paint. With the forest floor so clear of undergrowth the bright orange ‘X’s I sprayed on the tree trunks could be seen in the distance in every direction, looming out of the darkness in their obviously unnatural neon hue. It felt strange to be painting this place, so long left beyond the reach of humanity.
It was after 4 PM and I was finishing up the last sections of the stand I had decided to work on today. There was a small, low valley near the center of the old growth, edged by mossy boulders and muddy slopes. I had nearly finished marking the chosen trees in the valley when I came across something hauntingly strange.
As I rounded the massive trunk of a beautiful old red oak I saw it. Sitting in the middle of a tiny clearing, shaded by the dark leaves above, was the rusted hulk of an old RV. The paint was chipped and peeled away almost to the point of nonexistence, though there was still enough left to make out the classic script of ‘Winnebago’. The tires were flat, flaccid sacks of rubber draped over rusted hubcaps. Moss grew over the windows of the abandoned vehicle, at least where the glass hadn’t shattered and dropped away. The side door hung limply open on failing hinges, revealing nothing but inky darkness inside.
I slowly approached the derelict, wet moss and leaves squelching under my boots. How did this thing get down here? There’s no way it could have been driven down the steep slopes of the valley, and there weren’t any signs that it had fallen or crashed down here; besides the ravages of time, the old RV seemed undamaged.
I stepped within a few feet of the Winnebago’s open door. I fumbled through my backpack and produced my flashlight, noticing that the vehicle was ringed by a thick layer of heavy grey mud. Spurred by curiosity, I clicked my flashlight on and stepped onboard the ruined RV through the broken door. As I did so the entire vehicle let out a wretched moan as rusted springs shifted for the first time in what had likely been decades. I threw a glance back over my shoulder into the forest, suddenly feeling watched. All I noticed through the forest gloom were the neon orange ‘X’s I had painted on the trees, pointed at haphazard angles and partially hidden by gnarled trunks.
The interior of the RV was dark as night, even with the gloomy daylight filtering through some small sections of broken windows. The stark white beam of my flashlight cut through the blackness, a circle of vision too small for comfort. Something felt off the moment I was inside.
The cabin of the vehicle was almost empty, driver and passenger seats devoured down to the metal frames by generations of vermin. Crusty lichen encased the steering column. The cupholders held 2 old metal thermoses, the words ‘#1 Dad’ and ‘#1 Mom’ just barely visible through the years of sylvan filth that had accumulated upon them.
I turned to face the main living space of the old wreck, silence thick on the air and only cut through by the agonized creaks of the mouldering floor beneath me. The built-in couch here had suffered the same fate as the cabin seats, devoured by rats and insects searching for a nest. Cupboards hung open near the low ceiling, cardboard boxes of food within reduced to pulp and slurry by years of exposure. I shone my needle of light across the room, noticing the narrow door at the rear. It hung barely ajar, a crack of darkness presumably leading to the RV’s bedroom. As I stepped closer the stench of mildew and wet dirt grew almost overpowering. With a groan of rusty hinges, I pushed the door open.
My blood ran cold as my flashlight beam settled on what waited beyond the doorway. Shocked, my breaths came quick and shallow as I took in the sight. The room held a bed, mattress and blankets untouched by foraging pests but stained a deep black-brown by mold and God knows what else. Upon the bed was a heap of clothing, gathered from the suitcases haphazardly left to rot on the floor around the bed. The clothes were stained the same foul shade as the mattress. I could make out at least 4 distinct sizes of clothing in the pile, 2 adults and 2 children. The stink of rotting vegetation was unimaginable. My hands shook, bobbing my light as they did so, as I gazed at the top of the pile.
Atop the wet heap of moldy old clothing was the dripping carcass of a deer, limbs broken and twisted at unnatural angles to allow the decaying thing to be propped in a pose like a man sitting cross-legged. Its head was bowed towards me, what was left of the meat blackened by rot and sloughing from its skull beneath lichen-coated antlers. Its eyes had long since liquified, dripping down its cheeks in curdled rivulets and leaving empty black sockets to stare into the dark. The cluster of mossy and scattered bones by the headboard revealed that this was merely the most recent animal left here, the next in a long line of slaughtered deer propped up in this macabre. Despite the dribbling animal wreckage before me there was no smell of rotting meat, just the singularly wretched and overpowering odor of composting vegetation and decomposing fungus. Acrid vomit filled my mouth and sinuses and I bolted for the door behind me.
As I stuck my head and shoulders outside and prepared to wretch, my eyes laid upon fresh horror. The bright orange of my marking paint, sprayed at haphazard and dissonant angles as I had wandered the valley, all faced towards me in uniform stares. Every ‘X’ I had painted down here looked towards me, neon color cutting through the forest gloom like electric eyes. The remainder of the food left my stomach, replaced by ice water as I lurched forward and vomited messily upon the mossy ground.
Leaning from inside the RV, body shaking with confusion and terror, I hung my head and wiped the bitter puke from my mouth and tears from my eyes. The smell of rotting wood still clogged my nostrils. I stared at the splatter of fresh vomit below me, attempting to comprehend what I was looking at. The steaming bile was collecting in a footprint in the sticky grey mud.
My shaky breath rattled in my lungs as I stared. It was unmistakable. Fresh tracks marred the mud that surrounded the derelict RV, a complete circle that stalked around the vehicle. They were deep, pressed into the muck by something big and heavy. The tracks took the shape of half of a human foot, the long toes and forefoot evident like the tracks of someone walking barefoot and tip-toeing. Jesus Christ, even the partial footprints were bigger than the tracks I had left. How had something so large moved so quietly around the RV? I hadn’t heard a thing from inside. I rose to trembling feet and took a cautious step outside.
The old growth was utterly silent beyond my nervous panting. The bright orange ‘X’s still stared in my direction, not a one where I had originally placed it. Shit, shit, shit, I thought to myself. I stood, scanning the empty forest floor and listening for any sounds to pierce the quiet. Seconds passed, feeling like an eternity, and then I bolted. Blood pounded in my ears as I sprinted through the forest, never once slowing as I made for camp. The feeling of a cold, calculating gaze from unseen eyes never left my back as I ran.
I skidded into my tiny camp on the edge of the stand as the sun began to dip in the darkening sky, nearly collapsing with exhaustion as the daylight that filtered through the trees above began to die. As I panted and gasped with exertion I surveyed my surroundings, my tent and fire ring appearing untouched since I left this morning. As dusk settled over the forest my surroundings began to darken; it wouldn’t be long until they were as black as the old growth at my back. There was no way I could leave tonight; even if I wasn’t petrified to be out in the dark there wasn’t a chance in Hell I could find my way back to Piper through black and unfamiliar woods.
My mind raced as daylight failed around me. Do I set a fire and hope light and flame keeps whatever was out here at bay? Or do I sit in the darkness, and pray that I stay hidden in a shadowy and silent camp? There were no good options. My bowels knotted inside me as I fought to keep panic from setting in. Eventually the primal instincts of my cave-dwelling ancestors kicked in: fire was the one tool that had always served our kind against the darkness and the things that lurked within it. I piled all of my firewood into the ring, I wouldn’t need it for another night, and as night fell the glowing light of my bonfire lit the forest around me, faltering at the edge of the old growth. My camp bathed in firelight, I climbed inside my tent and sealed the zipper shut.
I sat silently inside the thin nylon shell for hours, listening as the wind made the only sound beyond the crackling of my fire which glowed through the walls of the tent. My hands shook and my spine prickled with nerves. My teeth chattered despite the humid heat that clung to my body, sweat dripping from my brow. I moved slowly to check my watch. 3:30 AM. Less than 2 hours until the first break of daylight, less than 2 hours until I could flee this place.
I jolted as a sudden ‘SNAP’ shattered the silence, the sharp cracking noise emanating not 20 feet from my tent and followed by staccato rustling before deathly silence. My eyes were wide, breath caught in my throat. The quiet, nearly imperceptible rustling came again. Whatever was outside was still there.
I slowly grasped the zipper-pull with my left hand, while fumbling about with my right until it came to rest upon my pocket knife. It was a feeble little thing, barely helpful as a tool for whittling, but as a gift from my dad it always found its way into my pack. With my impotent little blade clutched tight I opened the door of my tent, agonizingly slowly to keep the zipper quiet.
I crept out into the night, the chill air shockingly cold as it connected with my overheated and clammy skin. The bonfire still burned, though it had run low as the night dragged on. Silently surveying the camp before me I searched for the source of the hushed sound. Slowly my gaze was drawn upwards into the boughs of the trees. 2 eyes reflected in the firelight, staring back at me.
Shock gripped my heart and it took all of my willpower not to exclaim with fear and surprise. The eyes cocked to the side, as if judging me. With more quiet rustles the owl shifted on its branch, close enough that the firelight revealed its identity. Relief flooded my body and I let out a quiet sigh. Then true terror overtook me as I noticed the huge shape in my peripheral vision. I slowly turned my head, tears welling up in my eyes.
It sat waiting on its haunches barely 6 feet away from me, dimly lit by the embers of the slowly dying fire. At first I thought it was a huge man, a giant living in the woods. But this thing was no human. Never could have been. It sat nearly curled in a fetal ball, long arms clasped to scrawny legs and shoulders hunched. Completely naked, its humanoid form was covered in greasy, pale skin stretched taut over knobby bones and joints. Black-grey veins pulsed beneath its thin flesh. The thing’s elongated arms and legs were triple-jointed, digitigrade like the hind legs of a repulsively malnourished and hairless goat. Its arms ended in hands bearing each bearing 6 long and twitching fingers tipped with ragged and blackened nails. Its legs terminated in feet that may have been human, if they were not twisted and deformed to allow the thing to walk on its mud and filth caked toes. It carried an unbearable stench of fungus and compost. But most horrible of all was its face.
Atop its spindly neck rested the things gaunt head, oily and pale skin reflecting the guttering flames in the firepit. Its nose and chin were hideously long and crooked, not unlike the jagged and pointed features stereotypical of ancient witches. Its mouth was wide and lipless, flesh pulled back to reveal black gums and long, blunted teeth that looked as if they had been taken from a human jaw and stretched cartoonishly to fit this horror’s skull. Though it had no eyes it stared intently at the owl in the tree.
No. Not eyeless. The twisted and hulking creature crouched beside me slowly turned its head to face me. Barely visible, white orbs rolled and twitched in sunken eye sockets, bulging underneath a pallid and thin membrane of flesh. The horror stared silently at me before raising a single finger to its lipless and drooling teeth. It let out a quiet, gurgling breath:
“Shh...”
Panic set my body ablaze. I scrambled to my feet, dropping my tiny pocket knife into the mud. The owl let out a shrieking protest as it took flight, spooked by my sudden movement. As I stumbled backwards, starting my sprint into the pitch black forest, the thing rose to its feet on tri-jointed legs. Good God the thing had to have been at least 7 feet tall, but its body moved without making a sound. As I turned and ran it let out a hideous gasping screech, a sound laden with ancient hate. I didn’t look back, dashing through the underbrush away from the old growth and leaving an empty tent to join the others Randy had found.
I don’t know if it followed me. It was so big, but it moved so silently. As I ran I didn’t see it, didn’t hear it. But the feeling of its gaze never left me. I ran blindly in the dark, whipping branches and bramble thorns slashing my face and hands seemingly to ribbons. Blood and sweat drenched me, pooling in my hiking boots. I don’t know how long I ran. At some point I must have collapsed with exhaustion, blacking out in the depths of the forest.
I woke up in the glaring shine of daylight, filtering down onto my face through the trees. My face and hands were caked with blood and dirt. At least 2 of my fingers were broken, or at least dislocated. Rising on shaking legs, I began my blind trek into the unfamiliar woods around me, hopelessly lost.
I walked for hours, likely wandering in circles. My face and hands ached with dull, pulsing pain. The skin of my chest itched and burned underneath my shirt. Finally I stumbled onto the forest trail, old and ill maintained. I couldn’t believe my luck. I had resigned myself to being lost, dying alone and hunted deep in unsettled Appalachia. Tears welled up as I hurriedly limped down the path, and I nearly shouted with elation when Piper came into view.
Fumbling with my keys I managed to unlock her and climb inside, slamming and locking the door behind me. As I fired the ignition and the truck started up the burning on my chest intensified, an awful itching sensation. Grimacing, I quickly set about undoing the buttons of my shirt to see what the cause of my discomfort was. As I did so a subtle stench of old vegetation began wafting into my truck. I felt cold eyes staring from the fringes of the woods. I pulled my shirt open, exposing my chest and the source of the itch: across the flesh of my chest, sprayed there with marker paint, was a bright orange ‘X’.
For those of you interested in following my further experiences in the old growth, check here for Part 2: https://www.reddit.com/nosleep/comments/flye5b/im_a_forester_and_i_encountered_something_i_cant/
submitted by amkinney99 to nosleep