Diablo 4's Codex of Power builds on one of Diablo 3's best ideas

Diablo 4
(Image credit: Blizzard)

Today, Blizzard finally lifted the lid on Diablo 4's new Codex of Power feature, and it's a bit like a spiritual successor to Kanai's Cube from Diablo 3 and the Horadric Cube from Diablo 2.

Diablo 4 game director Joe Shely and associate game director Joseph Piepiora gave a breakdown of the Codex of Power during a recent stream. Although there are key distinctions between the Codex and the Cubes before it, its core purpose seems to be similar in principle: to make Legendary powers more accessible for builds. The new crafting feature rewards you with a unique form of a Legendary power - called an Aspect - for every dungeon you complete the first time.

The Legendary powers can be from any class and you'll be able to see where to find them in your Codex, so if there's a power you've had your eye on, you'll be able to go to its dungeon and grab it. From there, you'll take the Aspect back to the new Occultist crafter in town and imbue any Rare or Legendary item with its particular Legendary power, overriding any existing powers. Once you've added an Aspect to your Codex, it'll be available to all of your characters, making it a lot easier to build out and experiment with new characters.

That essentially removes RNG from the equation when you're kitting out your build early on, but later on item drops will prove valuable yet again. Because Aspects from the Codex of Power will always roll to the lowest possible level - meaning, for example, a power that increases an Earth Skill's Critical Strike damage by 20% - 40% will always increase it by just 20% in Aspect form - you'll have to resort to traditional loot if you want to min-max your gear. That's different from Diablo 3's Kanai's Cube, which always maximizes Legendary powers.

The Cube also doesn't let you target specific Legendary powers by completing dungeons; it just lets you extract them from items and add them to your character without having to wear an additional item. Similarly, with the Codex of Power, you'll also be able to extract Legendary powers from items and turn them into Aspect Crystals, which you can then add to a different item. However, it seems the Codex won't let you affix Legendary powers directly to your character, so you'll still have to be wearing an item to benefit from them.

I mentioned earlier that Aspects will always be the lowest power version of a Legendary, but there's another significant limitation to the Codex that ensures RNG will always be king: Not all Legendary powers are included in the Codex. It's unclear how many are exclusive to item drops, but Diablo 4 game director Joe Shely said there are "many, many more" that you can only find in the good ol' fashioned grind.

In theory, the Codex will afford you the ability to deliberately build out a competent character to your exact liking earlier in the game, while avoiding making random item drops obsolete. We'll see when Diablo 4 launches in June - or earlier if you get into the beta - if it accomplishes that rather lofty tax.

Here's how to snag your Diablo 4 collector's box pre-order (just keep in mind the game is sold separately).

Jordan Gerblick

After scoring a degree in English from ASU, I worked as a copy editor while freelancing for places like SFX Magazine, Screen Rant, Game Revolution, and MMORPG on the side. Now, as GamesRadar's west coast Staff Writer, I'm responsible for managing the site's western regional executive branch, AKA my apartment, and writing about whatever horror game I'm too afraid to finish.