After upsetting fans at BlizzCon 2018 with the announcement of Diablo Immortal, Blizzard came to BlizzCon 2019 prepared to show off Diablo 4. Since then, we’ve seen a few trailers, some concept art, and a couple of lengthy gameplay demos. BlizzCon 2021 and the Microsoft and Bethesda showcase in 2022 offered some more info, including a look at a new class, but we’re still left waiting on some key details regarding the game. There’s not an official release date yet, and Blizzard said the new title needs plenty of development time before hitting the market.
Although it might not land on our hard drives this year, we already know a lot about Diablo 4. We’ve rounded up all the confirmed facts so far — from playable classes and stat changes to skill trees and enemies — to help make the wait for Diablo 4 a bit less painful.
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The latest update we have on Diablo 4‘s release date was the recent showing at the Microsoft and Bethesda showcase where we simply got a 2023 release window, which falls in line with what we already knew based on previous statements about delays.
Blizzard’s official statement on Diablo 4 and Overwatch 2‘s delays stated, “These are two of the most eagerly anticipated titles in the industry, and our teams have made great strides towards completion in recent quarters, but we believe giving the teams some extra time to complete production and continue growing their creative resources to support the titles after launch will ensure that these releases delight and engage their communities for many years into the future.”
Currently, we know that we can expect a PC, PlayStation 4, PS5, Xbox Series X, and Xbox One release for Diablo 4. Diablo 3 did eventually make it onto the Nintendo Switch, but it is unclear if this new entry will be able to run on that hardware.
The first glimpse we got of Diablo 4 came with the official trailer back in 2019. Not much is known about the story just yet, however. It seems like Lilith will be making a return, although we’re not sure what exactly her role will be. There’s no doubt she’ll be one of the bosses, but whether or not she is heavily ingrained in the narrative remains to be seen. We also know that the game will take place many years after Diablo 3 and focus more on the world of Sanctuary and its people.
Sanctuary will have five regions to explore, at least that we know of so far, including Fractured Peaks, Dry Steppes, Hawezar, Scosglen, and Kehjistan. Each one is a different environment type — snow, desert, swamp, beach, and ruins, respectively.
The official gameplay trailer was revealed in 2022 at the Microsoft and Bethesda conference. This trailer, as you could guess, focused almost exclusively on the gameplay systems present in Diablo 4 without adding many new story elements.
Blizzard is adamant that Diablo 4 is not an MMORPG despite leaning heavily into an always-online format. You’ll find other players hunkered down in towns and trekking across the open world from quest to quest, but key sections — such as dungeons and instanced quests — will be populated by just you and your party. We don’t know any details on cross-play yet, but Blizzard has confirmed that online and local co-op are priorities for the game. When playing online, the enemy difficulty will scale based on the level of your team. The hope is that this will let you play with your friends regardless of their level.
Game Director Luis Barriga said, “We find that the game stops feeling like Diablo and the world feels less dangerous when you see other players too often or in too high numbers.” That being said, teaming up with other players will be crucial while tackling some of the open-world events that feature massive bosses and hordes of enemies — facing them alone is a foolish tactic.
Diablo 4 will have five playable classes — Barbarian, Sorceress, Rogue, Necromancer, and Druid. Blizzard has shared extensive gameplay footage of all five, showcasing a return to the dark, brooding graphics of Diablo 2. The action looks just as visceral as ever, regardless of your preferred class. You can check out all the gameplay trailers below:
Ancient items have been replaced in Diablo 4. Players will instead earn consumable items that let them upgrade non-Legendary weapons to Legendary status. The idea is to allow players to keep playing with a weapon they like without having to ditch it for a more powerful item that may offer a different playstyle or aesthetic.
Blizzard is also reworking the inventory system in the hopes that you won’t have to juggle items around and try to free up extra space.
In their latest trailer, Blizzard also gave details on how character customization will work in Diablo 4. According to the video, players will be able to customize their skin tone, hair, tattoos, and more to make their character exactly how they want. While that’s all nice, we all know that the majority of the time we won’t be able to notice these finer details from the high-angle camera, plus it will be covered up by armor most of the time. Thankfully, armor dyes are also going to be included, letting us rep our favorite colors. These options will be on full display during the game’s in-game cutscenes that highlight your created character.
The world will be fully open this time around, allowing for more player choice in how they progress through the world and tackle the over 150 dungeons scattered around the regions. There will also be new strongholds that players will be able to capture and transform into a town but also potentially a dungeon. World events, like in MMOs, will show up and ask you and any other players around to team up to tackle massive bosses. Thankfully, Diablo 4 will have full cross-play to keep the shared world populated and make it easier to team up with friends.
PvP will also be dedicated to zones, with players who do particularly well being marked and offered extra rewards for whoever manages to bring them down.
Finally, we learned some new information about how stats and skill trees will work. Blizzard showed off a massive new skill tree for players to navigate as they level up their characters. Included on the tree are nodes that will unlock new skills, skill enhancements, and Passive Points — which can be spent to acquire other passive skills and attributes. According to Blizzard, you’ll only be able to unlock around 40% of the tree with any given character, meaning you’ll need to carefully plan your build before assigning points at each level. This also means no two players will share the same stats, and there’s a wide degree of flexibility built into the system.
Sorceresses have a second system to deal with beyond the skill tree, called the Enchantment System. This feature allows them to turn an active ability into a passive skill — instead of slotting it into the action bar, you’ll place it in the Enchantment Slot. This will then grant you a new passive skill or attribute boost, although you’ll no longer be able to use the active spell during combat.
Three new stats have also been revealed by Blizzard:
- Angelic Power: Impacts length of beneficial effects on self.
- Ancestral Power: Impacts the chance of conferring a status effect.
- Demonic Power: Impacts length of negative effects on enemies.
In terms of enemies, Blizzard has described them as being part of “families.” What that means for gameplay is that certain families of enemies, of which they have named just three — cultists, drowned, and cannibals — will share combat styles. For example, the cannibal family will focus on a variety of melee types, but with no distance attackers.
If PvP is more your thing, you’ll want to head to specific areas called the Fields of Hatred. These zones are where no one is safe and anyone can fight and kill any other player. Why go here, aside from testing your character against others? The monsters here will drop items called Shards of Hatred. If you manage to bring these to an altar and cleanse them, you can trade them in for unique items only purchasable with them. But if you die before you can cash them in, you lose them all.
After the disaster that was the microtransaction-riddled mess of Diablo Immortal, many fans feared that was just a test bed for what to expect when Diablo 4 hit. Thankfully, Blizzard made its intentions with monetization very clear. First, it claims that microtransactions will be only for cosmetic items that have absolutely no impact on gameplay and that there will be no way for players to purchase power.
Additionally, they want players to only make purchases because they want to, not because they feel like they have to. To go along with that, you will be able to fully preview everything in the shop before purchasing it to know exactly how it will look on your character before committing to spending money on it. It is also claimed that the shop won’t have all the best cosmetics in the game, though that is a very subjective claim and could easily be false for some players.
Again, no release date is set for Diablo 4, so no pre-order information is available. Blizzard is very good about making sure to give players plenty of time to pre-order its titles, often with many editions offering special bonuses, so don’t worry about this game’s release slipping under the radar.
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