BlizzCon 2019 has wrapped up, as has all the news, announcements, behind-closed-doors scenes and everything else, with Blizzard announcing Diablo IV, Overwatch 2, World of Warcraft Shadowlands and Hearthstone Descent of the Dragons.
In addition to that, we saw the announcement of Hearthstone Battlegrounds, a take on the popular auto-battler genre with a Hearthstone twist, some amazing esports results, including the first female to win the Hearthstone Grandmasters Global Finals and Team USA taking the Overwatch World Cup Championships.
Aside from announcing all the games, some epic esports results and much more, we wanted to shift focus to Diablo IV by talking about everything known about the game thus far.
Gamers were expecting something big this year out of BlizzCon 2019 after last year’s big Diablo Immortal announcement, and the PR disaster that accompanied it. The game was intended to be released across mobile, and when an earnest audience member asked about plans to bring the game to PC. When told Immortal would be a mobile exclusive, following crowd boos and jeers, a Blizzard employee asked sarcastically whether or not the audience members attending “even had phones”.
Not to mention the snafu following Blizzard banning players from the Hearthstone pro circuit for speaking their minds on the Hong Kong and China debacle. Blizzard needed something to bring back the crowds and their fans, and the announcement of Diablo IV has made everyone forget all about the problems.
You probably already know that Diablo IV will be on the way from Blizzard in the next few years and will be available on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. This makes it the first new entry into the series since Diablo 3 in 2012, excluding expansions, so to say that it’s been a long time coming would be an understatement.
The game will take place many years after the events of Diablo 3, after the actions of High Heavens and Burning Hells have sent millions to the slaughter. The developers have said that the game is headed back to the franchise’s “darker roots”, which among other things, means a lot of blood and gore with gritty darkness and despair. In the announcement, Blizzard announced the first three classes for the game, Barbarian, Sorceress, and Druid.
Diablo 4 will see the return of Lilith, daughter of Mephisto, in the isometric action RG and will feature an open world map with five regions, day and night cycles, and a non-linear campaign. There will be five classes, three having been announced already, and while there’s always room to speculate, there’s a good chance it’ll be something we’ve seen before from the series. Whether it’s some kind of Assassin, Necromancer, Witch Doctor or Bard.
The game is being released on a brand-new engine and will be released simultaneously on all platforms. The mere fact that the game is being released on current-gen consoles tells us that the game should be out in the next two or three years, given that next-gen consoles may only be a year away.
What Else to Expect
Now that the conference is done and dusted, a lot of online news stories are developing regarding a little more about the game each time. PCGamesN, in a conversation with Joe Shely, lead designer, said that the game will feature microtransactions.
“Diablo IV will be available as a base game, and […] we’re going to have expansions. You will also be able to acquire cosmetics in the game,” he said. He went on to hint at the game having some kind of shop, but one that will “not sell Power”, so should purely be microtransactions.
The game is also set to be always online, something that bothers players for some reason, who perhaps aren’t always connected to the internet. You can play in groups to tackle some missions, or on your own, as long as you’re connected to the internet.
The rune system also appears to have been replaced by a system that will see you spending points on skills to improve them, which does sound an awful lot like Diablo 2. Each class will have a talent tree that will allow players to customise their build and additionally enhance weapons and equipment through a Rune Word socketing system.
One of the bigger differences in Diablo IV is that the game is seemingly taking a leaf out of the World of Warcraft book by giving gamers a lot of dungeons, and loot. Hundreds of randomly generated dungeons will be created, in a similar way to Diablo 3. Each character will have five abilities including Evade and an Ultimate spell or attack too.
To Sum Up
While everything does sound quite promising, we’ll have to wait and see what the next few months will bring. If players can cast their mind back to the Diablo 3 launch, a real-money auction house existed at one point, let’s not forget that!
It sounds and feels like Blizzard wants to have a dark approach to Diablo 4, in creating some more gory sessions, lots of dungeons and plenty of loot. Almost taking you back to the original days of Diablo. They also seem to be mixing up the game with some World of Warcraft inspired themes by having people jump into the same server, explore the maps, run a day and night cycle and more.
One of the things that some gamers are really hoping for, is the removal of the ability that allowed players to re-spec their character into something else on the fly. With Diablo 2, if you happened to spend all your ability points in swords, only to find a Legendary Axe, then that’s just life, and life is tough! Time to start a new character.
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