By Petar Vukobrat
November 4, 2019
Diablo IV has finally been unveiled with a stunning announcement video. After last year’s fiasco (also known as Diablo: Immortal), a lot of fans were expecting great things from Blizzard, and with good reason. A sequel to the critically acclaimed Diablo III was long overdue and seeing how there’s nothing quite like Diablo out there in the world, it was only natural for fans to demand a worthy successor to one of the best games of all time.
And by the looks of it, Blizzard delivered.
As far as cinematics go, this is a pretty darn good one. Maybe that’s an understatement. It sets the tone and teleports you into a dark world filled with horrendous monstrosities and chilling mythology. The story is directly tied to Diablo II, and that’s evident in the overall tone as well. This is a much darker setting, one that’s oozing with a gothic aesthetic.
If you felt that Diablo III lacked in gore and sheer, unfiltered bloodshed, then you have a reason to celebrate.
We also have a very solid look at Diablo IV’s many gameplay elements, and while there’s still a lot we don’t know, it’s hard not to get excited for the things to come. Blizzard showcased three classes so far — Barbarian, Sorcerer, and Druid.
Seeing how there’s an early demo available at BlizzCon, the internet will surely be flooded with Diablo IV content and gameplay in a matter of days if not hours.
Diablo IV will allow you to pick an overall aesthetic that consists of skin color, overall expression and tone. This is a positive. They’re not providing us with a ton of options overall (although that might change over time as well) but are instead giving us a handful of options to choose from. Not the deepest kind of character customization, but we’ll take it.
Certainly, beats what we had in Diablo III, that’s for sure.
Following the initial Diablo IV Announcement, Blizzard has said they intend to make the game a lot slower and more subdued than previous entries. They want it to be an actual grind and to be a bit more rewarding to those who decide to fully commit. That means you’ll travel for longer, your item/set power spikes won’t be as evident (which is a good thing seeing how things often got out of control back in Diablo III), you’ll traverse the map on a mount instead of teleporting (although the latter will still be a part of the game in some capacity), and so on.
But just because things will become a bit slower doesn’t mean the game will lack in action or spectacle. On the contrary. Judging by the gameplay trailer, Blizzard is pushing everything that fans love and adore about the series to the extreme.
If there’s one takeaway that can be made from the gameplay trailer it is the fact that all of this feels familiar, but also highly refreshing. It’s still the same formula we all know and love, but with a twist that many fans across the globe have been wanting for years.
We’ve also seen a fair bit of the engine that’s powering the whole game. Character models look nice, but it’s the environments that Blizzard focused on the most, and with good reason. That’s the most important part, and the world we’ve seen so far was at once both beautiful but also dreadful and ghastly — just the way it should be. Finally, the updated engine allowed Blizzard to create bigger landscapes and thus cram in more detail; they were able to imbue these lands with more horror and decay.
If you played Diablo III (or any similar game in the past), you’ll feel right at home once you start playing.
As mentioned above, Blizzard only announced three different classes at the time of this writing. And much like in Diablo games in the past, each class brings with it a highly unique playstyle, different sets of items, abilities, ways to upgrade, mounts and so on.
Barbarian remained somewhat unchanged, at least when it comes to the class’ core identity. They’re still exceptionally durable and are focused on melee and weapon-oriented combat. The biggest change this time, however, is the fact that Barbarians will be able to carry four different weapons at every point in time and quickly switch between them.
Sorcerer is pretty much a no-brainer. This class manipulates the elements and functions much like a Mage.
Druid is a shapeshifting caster that can transform into multiple animals (or summon them to his aid), control natural elements and create chaos through many types of damage. The last time we’ve seen this class was all the way back in Diablo II and it feels like a nice addition to the game. You’ll be able to transform from one form to another in quick succession and thus string impactful abilities with relative ease.
Regardless of the class you opt to play, you’ll be able to personalize and customize your characters through deep and layered skill trees, runes and ability-specific upgrades. While this isn’t exactly a novelty per se, Blizzard is focused on providing even more options when compared to prior installments.
Rune Words will also make a return from Diablo II and will allow you to empower your weapons with new and unique bonuses and effects.
Blizzard realized that fans wanted a bit more freedom when it comes to how they want to tackle the whole Diablo experience. Because of this, they’re making Diablo IV’s campaign a bit more open and, by proxy, less linear. This means you’ll be able to traverse its huge world, complete side quests and experience the game in your own way. The main campaign is always there, present and waiting, but it’s not imposed on you by any means.
You’ll also have a rideable mount if you want to move through the world at a faster pace. Diablo IV will also have dedicated PvP zones that will function as social hubs. In other words, you’ll be able to interact with other players, exchange items, enter guilds, take on huge raid bosses and so on.
And of course, there’s the story. We still don’t have all the details, but if the announcement trailer is any indication, we’re bound to get a gory tale that has direct ties to Diablo II. There’s a lot to like when it comes to the overarching narrative Diablo IV seems to be telling. Blizzard is obviously focused on deepening their (already) fascinating lore, and that’s always a cause for celebration. If you need to catch up, you can read a bit more about Lilith, the daughter of Mephisto, who also happens to be the main antagonist this time around.
Right now, it seems like every kind of player will be satisfied with how things are turning out. If you’re a Diablo veteran, you’ll be glad to know that Blizzard retained the best aspects of Diablo. And if you’re a complete newcomer, this vast and gory world will provide you with a ton of content and replay value. No one’s being left out, and that’s fantastic, especially after last year’s underwhelming BlizzCon.
In other words, Blizzard really needed a home run, and all signs are pointing towards yet another incredible installment in the Diablo series. If anything, they created a fantastic foundation on which they’ll build upon, which is a relief seeing how many questioned Blizzard’s ability to correct course after a couple of baffling misfires.
The announcement also revealed that Diablo IV will be playable on PC, PlayStation 4 as well as Xbox One. There’s no Nintendo Switch release at the time of this writing, but it’s definitely a possibility, especially after Diablo III’s success on the platform. Raiding dungeons and collecting loot is just as good — if not better — while on the go. Finally, there’s a very good chance that Blizzard is working on a port for the next generation of consoles as well. In fact, Diablo IV is probably going to be released around the same time as Sony and Microsoft’s latest consoles and having such a stellar title ready for launch would surely sell a lot of units, especially during the holidays.
While we’re still far from Diablo IV’s release, Blizzard said that they plan on releasing additional information over the coming weeks and months, so stay tuned!