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Game preview 06 November 2019, 12:10

Diablo 4 – The Diablo We Want, the Diablo We Deserve

"Hell, it's about time," said Findlay in the StarCraft 2 trailer, and he could say it again. It's possible that Diablo 4 will be the kind of hack'n'slash we've always dreamed of, and will allow us to forgive the company all the recent mishaps. Or not.

Slated for release: June 2023.

…And its instruments

Diablo 4 will make sure you never run out of new iron for chopping anyone who dares stand in your way – and the gods of hack'n'slash are pleased about it. All those armors, axes, amulets, swords and hedgehog-like helmets from metalhead's wet dream are just waiting to be discovered. Only that they'll take a darker, Gothic form. There's a ton of equipment waiting.

Unique properties of legendary items we've seen in Diablo 3 will return, but this time, we shouldn't have real trouble obtaining them. In the presented demo, each of the characters got at least one, decent legend. We can also hope the Auction House doesn't come out of the closet. In addition, unique and magical (signed in blue) items should be useful on more occasions that a visit to the clerk. I curious how Blizzard will achieve this.

The cinematic trailer is just bonkers.

Now fasten your seat belts. The runic words, favored by players, are back. Items will have sockets, in which we will be able to place not only gems, but also runes – and combine them into words. This is also the reason for abandoning the runes that allowed customizing each skill.

At first glance, the development system is similar to the one we know from Diablo 3. But before you start throwing rotten tomatoes, listen. We will be able to juggle active skills at will, but this time, there will also be a tree of passive bonuses that we will raise each level. This looks like a more intuitive hybrid of character development models from Diablo II and the trees of Path of Exile, but in a less overwhelming form.

Either way, our choices will make a difference (though probably some form of respec will be there anyway). The creators want to offer maximum diversification. They try to design the game so as not to impose too rigid character builds on players, which so annoyed the Diablo 3 community. And maybe they will, who knows? It's a dodgy endeavor, but maybe they'll manage.

On launch day, we will choose from five heroes. So far, we've only seen some familiar faces – barbarian, druid and sorceress. The sorceress unleashes the forces of nature carrying the impact of a nuke, the barbarian carries a bizzilion swords, just in case, and the druid controls animals and can shapeshift into beasts. Their skills are diverse, and resemble those know well from previous installments. Only that they're all buffed-up.

Some enemies will be really challenging.

High hopes low

This game can still go both ways. Some mean microtransactions can still lure on the fringe of our perception. First off, hack'n'slash games have so many aspects that are perfectly suited for micopayments that it's always a risk, and second – despite the shift of artistic direction – Blizzard won't give up Asia, where this payment model seems to work just fine. The plot, despite the assurances and presentations, may turn out to as wacky and overblown as in the third part (the theme of the almighty Nephalem still gives me headache).

Fell the power of Mother Nature?

Server problems are practically a given – players will probably rush at the gates as soon as it's only possible. We can also be certain there will be moaning about balance of items, skills and characters. Perhaps the loot system is won't be as honest as we were promised. Constant connection to Internet will almost certainly be required. We can also expect a few PR flops both with regard to the game itself, and the current situation at Blizzard.

During the presentation at Blizzcon, the spectators were rather careful with enthusiasm. That's understandable after what they have seen in previous years. Blizzard still has a long way to go to regain players' trust. It's funny, almost ironic, that their biggest step toward redemption could be through a story of sin and darkness. A story we should have gotten seven years ago. But better late than never, I suppose. Especially if it's really that good.


Four o'clock in the morning. I struggle to keep my eyes open. I wrote this text for after carefully examining everything that was released on November 1 about the game. Yet, I'm still as hyped as ever. Years ago, Diablo II invited me to the world of fantasy, showing me how dark and intriguing games can be, even if their main premise is chopping demons to pieces. If all goes well, Diablo 4 will be what we always hoped Diablo games would be. And before I collapse into deep slumber, I have a request, Blizzard. My last will.

Don't blow it.

Hubert Sosnowski | Gamepressure.com

Hubert Sosnowski

Hubert Sosnowski

A raccoon in disguise. Had his head blown by Baldur's Gate, Todd McFarlane, Paul Verhoeven, Steven Erikson and J. Michael Straczynski. He wrote for the Polish Playboy, published a couple of short stories in magazines and books.


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