Diablo IV was announced at Blizzcon 2019, and though they let us know that it was in the early stages of development, it’s still came with a trailer and a million rumors as to how the game was going to work.
Since then, the developers of Diablo IV have provided frequent updates to the game and how it is going to work when it finally comes out. As of June 2020, they have announced that they still don’t have a full playable Beta, but we’ve been given so much more, so here is everything we know about Diablo IV.
If you need to catch up on the Story of the Diablo series, check out our guide to the past.
When it comes to the story of Diablo IV we don’t know much about what is directly going to happen. We know that the end of Diablo III: Reaper of Souls released the evils back into the world, and we know from the Diablo IV trailer that Lilith has come back from her long exile in the Void.
Additionally in the trailer we seem to get a look at Inarus, the angel that locked Lilith in the void and took the powers of the Nephalem away, wrapped in chains. Though right now that’s just speculation.
When it comes to the story though,we do know that Diablo IV intends to change up their delivery…
Unlike previous entries in the title, Diablo IV is looking to take advantage of powerful in-engine ‘cutscenes’ that will use the camera to zoom in on your character model and the person that you’re talking to. This should be a much more immersive experience than the previous Diablo games that remained in their Isometric camera angle for everything.
The June Update also told us that there is going to be a lot more than just the story in each area of Diablo IV. Each section of the open world is going to help the story, but according to playtests an area that contained about half an hour of story content took the average player several hours to complete. That tells us that there is a lot more than just the story in each section of Diablo IV.
As part of that July update, they also confirmed that the mounts seen in some trailers are staying in the game. They are there to allow players quick traversal through the massive open world of Diablo IV, one that should make Diablo III look cute by comparison.
When it comes to the classes in Diablo IV, we know that there are going to be 5 classes. As well as the fact that three of those classes are the Druid, Sorcerer and Barbarian. We have a full breakdown of everything we know about those classes.
Beyond the classes that we know and the gameplay we’ve seen. We’ve learned some things about the class philosophy that’s coming into Diablo IV. Notably the creators mentioned that the Barbarians arsenal (The ability to carry more weapons and switch fluidly during combat) and the Druid’s shapeshifting are unique feelings that they want to bring to the rest of the classes. This may mean that we are going to see changes to the Sorcerer, and that other classes will have abilities that are hopefully close to those mechanics.
Additionally, when mentioning classes, the June Update said “The overall feedback from the team was that even at these early stages, Diablo IV is very fun to play.” Which is promising as the game moves into new stages of development.
Items and Inventory:
There are a lot of UI changes coming to Diablo IV and some massive changes coming to the inventory system.
The first of these is that there is no longer any inventory shuffling needed for taking loot back to the base. The bag now auto organizes and carrys back the absolute most you can. This is an incredible change that will keep players from playing inventory tetris instead of Diablo. This switch is a fantastic quality of life update for players that will make things easier to work.
Second of the menu changes is that the UI for couch co-op has changed. Players can now individually bring up their inventory menu without pausing the entire game.This is a fantastic change for the couch co-op players of Diablo who always needed to stagger pause times so everyone had time to equip their new loot. Letting players change items on the fly will keep the game moving and smooth for everyone instead of cascading groans around the couch when someone needs to pause to check their new item.
The biggest change that is coming to items is that Ancient Legendary Items are gone. In Diablo III ancient items were the be-all and end-all of the end game, leading to build and character ubiquity. To avoid this, the creators of Diablo IV are removing ancient items and swapping them out for change to the affix system. We don’t have a lot of information on how the system is going to work, but the idea is that players can add Ancient-like buffs to any weapon they want, allowing players to look how they want and have massively different builds into the end game. This is a huge change from previous Diablo games and should drastically change how players interact with late-game dungeons and what builds are viable.
Addutionally on the items and inventory front. There are 3 news stats coming into Diablo IV.
- Angelic Power: increases the duration of all beneficial effects (like self-buffs or healing)
- Demonic Power: increases the duration of all negative effects (like debuffs or damage over time)
- Ancestral Power: increases the chance of on-hit effects (aka increased proc chance)
These powers are also shown to be prerequisites on some items. For example a set of armor may require 50 Demonic power to unlock a special feature.
We don’t know a lot about these stats yet, in terms of how common they will be or the best ways to acquire them, but in the item update Blizzard was clear that they wanted there to be tradeoffs with the different powers, with players making important choices based on the items they have equipped and the build they’re aiming for.
Finally on the items and inventory front. Attack and Defence stats have been locked to certain items. For example, you’re only going to find attack on weapons. The developer’s hope with this is that players will embrace the fantasy of a more powerful sword instead of wondering why their amulet makes their sword sharper.
The developers were very clear though that Diablo IV’s item progression will be quite deep and that just choosing weapons/armor based off of attack or defence will rarely be the optimal way to play outside of the early game.
Enemies and Families:
The enemies in Diablo IV have had a lot of love and care put into them.
“Every monster has been reimagined, but in a darker, more gritty art style. We have lovingly handcrafted every creature you’ll encounter from the ground up: that includes demons, NPCs, Act Bosses, and even the skittering critters you can crush underfoot.” – Candace Thomas, Lead Encounter Designer for Diablo IV
Within the enemies of Diablo IV there have also been massive changes to how enemies are classified and organized. The biggest of these changes are families.
Families in Diablo IV are groups of enemies that share a background, like Cultists or Cannibals. Within Diablo IV, these families work together cohesively to offer different experiences in combat than any other family does, despite having some of the same style of enemy within their ranks.
An example of this is the Cannibal family. The Cannibal family has no ranged unit, meaning you’ll never get hit with an arrow when you’re fighting the Cannibals. To make up for this, every Cannibal is a swift and aggressive attacker, leaping over obstacles and gaps to try and get a tasty bite of the player. This means that players always know what they’re getting into when they start running into Cannibals, and also makes battling Cannibals very different from fighting Cultists, who will summon many small enemies to fight you instead of charging themselves.
Past families, Diablo IV enemies are focused on a class system. Right now we know three of the classes.
Swarmers: Small and fast enemies that are meant to make AOE abilities feel powerful.
Bruisers: Massive tanks that make DOT abilities feel powerful
Melee Combat Units: Mid tier health and powerful attacks, shield their ranged allies
Dungeon Bosses: We don’t know much, but we can assume.
Every monster family will have units that fall into some of these categories. For example we know the Cannibals have 2 Melee Combat Units, a swarmer and a bruiser. That means that when we encounter a certain kind of enemy with the Cannibals we know when to pull out the damage over time and when to shoot off a fireball.
It’s worth noting that monsters that fit into a class won’t act the exact same as other monsters in that class. For example the Cannibal’s two melee combatants are a sword wielder who approaches slow and makes large sweeping attacks, and a halberd user who leaps at the player from a long distance. Both are melee combat units, but players will need to adapt to the kind of unit they are battling.
Additionally, one of the apparent focuses of the Diablo IV team was to make it so that enemies in the world feel like they are living in the massive open world of sanctuary rather than simply waiting of the player to walk by. This means that Cultist enemies may be in the middle of a ritual when you interrupt them, or Cannibal enemies might be sitting down for a nice snack.
The Cannibal Family Lineup – Credit Blizzard
Online and Multiplayer
As we mentioned above, we know that couch co-op is a staple of the Diablo series that Blizzard isn’t looking to drop. Additionally we know that if you’re playing with friends, enemies and players will scale so adventures of any level can battle together for the fate of sanctuary. If that feature is well balanced, it will be an amazing way to get new players into the game.
A notable change from previous Diablo games is that Diablo IV is always online and there is no way to turn that feature off. Players are always going to see other players in hub areas like towns, and occasionally run into other travellers on the road. Don’t worry though, Blizzard is currently working on the online features and how you interact with other players, but this is what we know so far:
- Dungeons and Quests are instanced, meaning only you and your party will be in a certain dungeon.
- Towns and other hub areas will have lots of other players, but there are no lines to talk to NPCs.
- You may run into a small amount of players in the overworld, but they aren’t common.
- There are world bosses that will have dozens of players teaming up to slay the beast.
Overall Diablo IV’s online features are looking to let players have a solo experience if they want it despite it being essentially an MMO. It is worth noting that Blizzard has mentioned they are tweaking and revisiting how the online features of Diablo IV work. If there are any changes we will update you here.
Dungeons and Loot:
Finally it has been confirmed that Diablo’s randomly generated dungeons and loot system are making a comeback in Diablo IV, meaning there will be nearly infinite dungeons to explore and loot to find. We see this as a huge win, as more content is a fantastic thing and Diablo’s dungeons have rarely been something we delved through for the architecture outside of the story mode.
Diablo IV is still in Pre-alpha, meaning there hasn’t been anything to play other than what we saw at Blizzcon 2019. Though we are excited for the game and everything that is coming, there are still lots of things we need to learn.
Overall, Diablo IV promised to be a gritty return to form for the franchise after players disliked the aesthetic of Diablo III and so far Blizzard has been absolutely delivering on that promise. As for gameplay? We’ll let you know as soon as Tierlist.gg gets our hands on the game.
There is lots more to come with Diablo IV, and we’re looking forward to all of it.