One of many persistent gripes that D2 veterans have about D3 is a lack of depth in the skill system. I see many, many, calls for the return of the skill trees that D2 more-or-less invented, and which games like Titan Quest and PoE later built on.
Much as I like a good skill tree system, though, I don't think that this is a feasible option for D3. Radically changing the skill system means changing too many other aspects of the game, including a lot of gear for which people have paid real $$$.
That leaves Blizzard only one option: to somehow add more depth and variety to the existing skill system. I propose two ways of doing this.
1. We know that Blizzard are planning at least one expansion pack for this game. If they follow past patterns, that probably means another Act of story, two more classes, and raising the level cap significantly. Rather than waiting for the xpac, they should give players half of the added levels of added class content (skills & runes) as soon as possible, for the existing classes. If they planned Level 99 for the xpac, then give us Level 80 right away. If I'm right. then this content will already be in development; they don't have to make anything that they wouldn't be otherwise, they just need to fast-track it.
2. More ambitiously, they can allow characters to use more of the existing content at the same time: adding extra runes to each Active skill, and extra Passive skill slots, and balancing that by making monsters tougher again.
One of the biggest complaints with the original Inferno was that the monsters' ability to dish out & take damage was literally doubled, at exactly the same time that characters' development flatlined. Monsters got sharply tougher but we didn't. What if we got an extra Active rune per skill in Nightmare, another in Hell, and another in Inferno, and and kept gaining a Passive skill slot every 10 levels, instead of stalling out at 3... but the monsters doubled in difficulty each time?
I'm suggesting that the complexity that this adds to the existing skill system might just be enough to inspire players to ditch their existing "cookie-cutter" builds (por ejemplo, the one I'm currently playing), and experiment again. By the time we exhaust the new possibilities, the xpac might well be ready to launch... adding more content to the existing classes, and a couple of new classes with just as many skills, runes, and passives to play with, and the cycle can start again.
As I said, this is ambitious. Balance, especially for PvP, will be an issue. But PvP is far from balanced anyway, or even finished, so this might make it possible to Blizzard to take another long, in-depth look at their existing skills, and solve the PvE and PvP balance issues at the same time, and add depth and complexity to an overly-simplisitic skill system by leveraging content that's already in the game.
Admittedly, there's a lot of if coming off this idea.... but what if?
What do you think?
(OK, I'm done... flame on...)