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 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 still not an official release date, and Blizzard said the new title needs plenty of development time before hitting the market.
Although it might not land on our hard drives for several years, 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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As of BlizzCon 2021, the only official statement on when Diablo 4 will hit the market is that it will not be this year. That leaves the earliest we can expect the game as sometime in 2022, probably later in the year so they can make a big announcement at the next BlizzCon event.
Currently, we know that we can expect a PC, PS4, and Xbox One release for Diablo 4. Now that news has been shared that the game is pushed to 2022 at the earliest, it is a fairly safe bet to assume that it will also be released with a PS5 and Xbox Series X version as well. 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.
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, four of which have already been announced — Barbarian, Sorceress, Rogue, and Druid. Blizzard has shared extensive gameplay footage of all four, 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 quarterly update, Blizzard also gave details on how character customization will work in Diablo 4. According to the post, players will be able to customize their skin tone, hair, tattoos, and more. 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.
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.
With the game still so far off, it would be strange to hear any details on post-launch content. That being said, it is almost a guarantee that Diablo 4 will enjoy similar expansions as its predecessor. Now campaign quests, biomes, classes, and bosses are all likely to show up in the game’s future, but at least for now, we’ll have to wait until the game is closer to being completed to hear about the plans for the game.
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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