Diablo 4 is a dangerous game … and I mean this in the best way possible.
My level 46 Barbarian hasn’t quite reached the endgame yet, but that hasn’t stopped him from running tens of dungeon crawls with friends worldwide, many of whom I haven’t spoken to since grade school. The problem isn’t finding time to play together; it’s getting us to stop long enough to do anything productive. That’s thanks to an excellent, seamless multiplayer system that makes Diablo 4 a new gold standard for online games.
Granted, not everyone is going to have an existing circle of friends to lean on, but that’s actually what makes Diablo’s new persistent multiplayer so great. It’s shockingly easy to make new friends here (though if you choose to only roll solo, you can do that too!), since you can often walk into any given town square and immediately find a group of willing teammates, regardless of World Tier or time of day.
But since there’s so much content, and you can pretty much run through the open world and be organically exposed to a large chunk of any given zone’s activities, Diablo’s signature — and largely mindless — dungeoneering and looting remain tantamount to the whole social experience. This loop is practically bulletproof in Diablo 4, putting the exceptionally dynamic level-scaling system to good use in practice, keeping everything on the same level.
Other players can jump in and collaborate in Diablo 4’s open world as well, even if you aren’t partied up. An emote wheel also helps with communication between players who are locked to console versions and don’t have easy access to keyboard chat. In practice, this all helps you make short work of its many quests and live events regardless of level, thereby pumping your inventory full of valuable loot basically whenever you jump on, even if you’re only playing for a few minutes. If that isn’t sweet enough, get this: You get an experience point bonus of 10% for being in a party, and this expedites the leveling progression in a way that makes social play feel meaningful, no matter who you play with or what you’re doing.
It’s all a bit more striking than I initially expected. Having played through the open beta and reviewed Diablo 4 last week, I truly thought Diablo 4’s multiplayer was hammed on or would even prove a potential threat to my experience in the long run.
And yet, it only took a few really strong play sessions over the game’s opening weekend to prove me wrong. I really wanted to hate this game’s multiplayer, and now I think this might be the only MMO or ARPG for me.
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