Many Diablo 3 players already know that there's a new relic called Kanai's Cube coming to the game in Patch 2.3. However, they're probably unaware that the Cube is meant as a tribute to a deceased Blizzard employee.
Kanai's Cube is named after Kevin Kanai Griffith, a long-time artist for the company. He started out on the World of Warcraft team in 2005 and contributed to several expansion packs along with the trading card game. Griffith later worked on the Diablo 3 team and helped create many of the game's environments. Blizzard said on Battle.net that he did plenty of noteworthy things outside of work, too:
You might also remember him from footage of his Diableard being shaved live on stage at the 2011 launch of Diablo III, his Artist’s Stage Demo at BlizzCon 2013, or our second anniversary livestream. He was always an active member of the community both inside the company and out, whether it was by organizing weekly sketch groups, or encouraging his friends to team up and play games together. Kevin was an amazing mentor to everyone around him and a wonder to work with: you couldn’t help but get passionate and pumped about your job when he was in the room.
In February 2012, Griffith was diagnosed with Alveolar Soft Part Sarcoma, a rare form of cancer. He contributed to Diablo 3's Adventure Mode while undergoing treatment for the cancer. Unfortunately, he passed away on October 17th, 2014.
His spirit and legacy will always live on in the many games he’s touched with his stunning art, as well as the hearts of every individual who had the honor of knowing him.
Blizzard has a long history of creating in-game memorials to the deceased. For example, they recently added a tribute to Robin Williams in WoW. The MMO is also filled with quests and characters inspired by late friends, family members and coworkers of the development team.
What sets Kanai's Cube apart from many other tributes is how central the item will be to Diablo 3 when added. This relic allows you to extract powers from Legendary items and equip them directly on your character. Blizzard says the Cube has many other functions as well. You can use it to convert crafting materials into different types, change a set item to another part of that set, or remove the level requirement from an item. It seems like the Cube will cut down on the amount of loot that players will merely sell or trash.
Kanai's Cube isn't the only feature in Patch 2.3. The update will also include a brand-new zone called the Ruins of Sescheron, where players will find the relic in the first place. Four new difficulty settings will be added to give players a challenge beyond Torment 6. Blizzard is also using the patch to overhaul the crafting system and boost the rewards for Adventure Mode.