One of Blizzard's biggest upcoming games, Diablo IV, is the long-awaited next installment in the acclaimed action-RPG series. First revealed in 2019 at BlizzCon and already playable via a demo at that time, Diablo IV's development has continued since then, with the game now looking likely for a 2023 release alongside Blizzard's Overwatch 2. Diablo IV will be an online-connected game, with a new open-ended structure that will see players in a shared world rather than the more isolated formats in previous Diablo games. We also know information about the classes in the game, as well as the inspiration Blizzard took from one of the series' best titles. Here's everything we know about Diablo IV so far.
Release Date And Platforms
Diablo IV does not yet have a release date, but its launch was pushed back in late 2021. Given the language of the news in an investor presentation, it will be at least 2023 before the game actually arrives.
Thus far, the PC, Xbox One, and PS4 are officially announced platforms. However, given its likely release window, Diablo IV is almost certainly going to launch for PS5 and Xbox Series X|S, as well. Because of almost 100% backward compatibility between the new systems and the previous generations' game library, it should be playable on them regardless. We did also receive Diablo III on Nintendo Switch, though this is unconfirmed for the sequel.
The Story So Far
Diablo 4 is taking on a darker, more grounded approach to its story, and that tone seems to have been set from what we've seen. This will be a direct sequel taking place decades after the events of the Diablo 3 expansion Reaper of Souls, but Blizzard has said that it's focusing more on commoners and their struggles within the ravaged world of Sanctuary, as opposed to just supernatural demonic grandeur.
The reveal trailer was terrifying in its own way, showing a blood sacrifice to resurrect the demonic villain Lilith, who is partially responsible for the creation of Sanctuary, which is the mortal world of the Diablo franchise. BlizzCon 2019 also featured a and offered a ton of insight into the upcoming game's worldbuilding. In the BlizzConline reveal for the Rogue, we also saw the return of the Sisterhood of the Sightless Eye, which was a staple in the original two games. Players will be able to work with this organization, and after collecting ears from your slain enemies, you can turn them in for upgrades for your character.
Sanctuary is made up of five different regions: Fractured Peaks (snowy mountains), Dry Steppes (desert), Hawezar (swamps), Scosglen (coastal forests), and Kehjistan (ruins of a past civilization). We've been able to see them in-game and in artwork and they all represent distinct biomes, and you'll visit all of them in Diablo 4's campaign.
Diablo 4 is set up as a shared open-world online game with multiple dungeons and regions that players can choose to explore. Whereas other Diablo games followed a more linear story progression with Acts, Diablo 4 is said to offer more freedom with where you want to go and what you want to do even with an ongoing story. During BlizzConline, it was revealed that players will be able to freely roam the map, conquering enemy strongholds and taking them for themselves, and even discovering corrupted zones known as the Fields of Hatred. In our chat with art director John Muller during BlizzConline, he stated that players will be able to have a greater sense of appreciation for the world with its new structure.
"We're creating this open world of Sanctuary for the first time, where it's a connective space. You can get on your mount and go from the harsh horrid coasts, all the way to the deserts, and then going through different regions along the way," he said. "Everything has a place now, so the history, the lore, everything you've heard about Diablo, it's no longer just a 2D representation that you click and go to a map. You're traversing the space on your horse, and it's a really different kind of experience. I think for the genre and for Diablo players, I know it's something people are going to enjoy."
Diablo 4's Gameplay
Diablo 4 isn't straying far from its roots as an isometric, dungeon-crawling action-RPG. The Diablo series is built around the loot and gear grind as you level up from fighting hordes of enemies and tough bosses, and there's now more options for you to acquire more loot and ascend in power. As stated previously, Diablo IV is now an open-world action-RPG, what this allows for is more freedom to explore and more opportunities to engage in new activities. Along with main quests, you can also find world events happening in the world, allowing you to sync up with other players to take down large targets or raid dangerous dungeons.
Some of the standout features that've been announced are PvP battles, mounts for faster traversal, and character build customization tools. Specifically, Rune Words (a feature from Diablo 2) are the way to tune your character and further tweak how they function--attaching rune words grants different effects and stat buffs. All classes also have skill ranks and talent trees that you'll progress through as you level up. Skills and talent trees will be vast for each class and Blizzard said that players will only have around 40% of skills unlocked by the time they reach the endgame. Along with that, the endgame will also introduce a new meta-leveling system similar to the Paragon levels from Diablo III, though not much has been said about how that will work at this time.
Diablo 4 will be an always-online game in a persistent world shared with other players, even for those who wish to go about things as a solo experience. However, multiplayer is a big factor in the Diablo experience--enemies will scale to the party's levels and dungeons will be separate instances with various difficulty options. This also extends to the new PvP gameplay with the Fields of Hatred. In these zones, players can fight for loot against more challenging monsters and escape with your haul to keep it. In similar fashion to The Division's Dark Zones, it blends PvE with PvP, and according to game director Luis Barriga, it offers for a more tense change of pace from the larger game.
"It can be a cool cat and mouse game [when playing PvP aggressively], but if you are kind of the shark and you go hostile and you start killing players for a long enough, you become the Vessel of Hatred and it basically becomes harder to maintain," he explained. "Other players will actually see you on their map, so you then become content for other players. It's a very interesting mechanic that in a way it gives the 'gankers' a disadvantage, but they might take pride in it. We have really high skilled people on the team and they don't mind that they'll advertise like, "Hey, here's the Vessel of Hatred, everyone gang up on them," because they can take people 3v1 and so on."
Returning for Diablo IV is the +Skill Rank affix system, which sees skills grow in "potency" as more points are spent on them. If a player finds an item with a skill they haven't acquired yet, they're also able to use that ability anyway. You will also get special legendary powers via items, including armor or accessories, and these are not tied to specific unique items–that means you have a much better chance of actually getting the ability in question than you would in the past.
As players earn skill points, they'll be able to unlock more titles on the Paragon Board. There are several types of tiles ranging from "Normal" to "Legendary," with only one of the latter available on each board. There are also Socket tiles with special Glyphs, as well as a single Glyph tile you can use to unlock a second Paragon board connected to the first.
Diablo 4's Character Classes
As for character classes, Diablo 4 will feature five in total. So far, we're only aware of four, all returning from previous games: Barbarian, Druid, the Sorceress/Sorcerer, and the Rogue. When compared to previous Diablo games, the classes of Diablo IV will be far more customizable, allowing for a deeper focuses on build management and designing the look of your chosen archetype on their journey.
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The Barbarian is your powerful melee class that uses axes, swords, polearms, and various one- and two-handed weapons. What's new here is the arsenal system which grants Barbarians four weapon slots so you can swap between them easily. Barbarians have strong AOE attacks and dash strikes.
Druids are shapeshifters who use earth and storm magic. They can transform into a werewolf or werebear for different attacks, and can even transition between forms mid-combo to diversify their moveset in combat (called seamless shapeshifting).
Sorceress/Sorcerer is your standard mage class that uses a combination of fire, lightning, and ice magic with various attack properties like AOE, AOD, or straight-up damage. Of the many spells they have, one that stands out is turning into a ball of lightning and darting across the map to hit multiple targets for high damage.
The newest reveal from BlizzConline was the Rogue, which is so far the fourth playable class coming to Diablo IV. Absent since the original Diablo, this dexterity focused class focuses on speed, quick reflexes, and abilities that debilitate and stagger multiple enemies at once. Wielding both a bow and short swords, the Rogue can use stealth and fast moves to pull on over against their enemies. According to the developers, fans who enjoyed playing as the Assassin and the Demon Hunter from Diablo II and III respectively will find a lot of similarities with the Rogue's skills and abilities.
Where To Find More On Diablo 4
We've been covering Diablo 4 since its reveal, and there are a ton of finer details about the game. If you want more check out our stories below:
- Diablo 4 Feels Like A Demonic Destiny Thanks To Its Shared World
- Diablo 4 Is Adding New Elements And Bringing Back Old Ones In An Attempt To Be More Replayable
- Diablo 4 Will Let You Spend Money On New Skins For Your Characters
- Diablo 4 Will Bring Back Talent Trees And Rune Words To The Series
- Diablo 4 Devs Talk Controller Support On PC, UI Changes
- Diablo 4's Creepy New Cannibal Enemies Are Fast And Hungry
- Diablo 4's New Boss: Concept Art Is "Nightmare Fuel," But In A Good Way
- Diablo 4 Update Details Its New Open-World Multiplayer Areas
- Diablo 4's Reworked Skill Tree Revealed
- How Diablo 4 Changes Itemization, Including The Removal Of Mythics
- Diablo 4 Designer Discusses How Itemization Will Work And Some Major Changes Being Made
- Diablo 4 - How The Rogue Class, PvP, and Open World Work
Blizzard will still be revealing new content for Diablo IV in the months leading up to his release. This will likely include the still-unknown fifth class in the game, as well as more information on platforms and a final release date. In the meantime, Diablo II Resurrected is available across consoles and PC.
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