Diablo 4 Blizzcon Panel Reveals Tons of Details About Blizzard's Latest
Diablo 4 is officially coming from Blizzard. In their Blizzcon panel after the announcement, they delivered tons of new info about the upcoming game.
Diablo 4 was one of the many games and updates unveiled this afternoon at Blizzcon 2019. Blizzard showed off both a visually stunning cinematic trailer and an action-packed gameplay trailer at the opening ceremonies. However, it was the follow-up panel where most of the more intriguing details were shared. Give the panel in its entirety a watch on the official site, or just skip down the page to get an overview of everything they talked about. But first, give announcement cinematic another watch to get you in the mood to “return to the darkness”.
Throughout the panel, the devs continuously referred to this being a more “grounded” take on the Diablo franchise. It was clear that the team is using Diablo 2 as their inspiration and getting away from much of Diablo 3 in the process. While the game is heavily inspired by the occult and biblical themes, the gritty darkness of old Diablo games is back with a vengeance.
The story centers around the summoning of Lilith, daughter to Mephisto, Lord of Hatred. In case you’re not up on your Diablo lore, she was once the lover of archangel Inarius. Their unholy union ultimate led to the creation of the Nephalem, which effectively makes her the mother of all humankind. Unfortunately for adventurers, it does not seem like she is a nice mommy.
The campaign will take you through a massive open-world with five distinct regions. The team learned a lot from Diablo 3‘s adventure mode and they are using it for the basis of the new, non-linear campaign. Now, you won’t have to play through the main story in its entirety before doing much else. Instead, you can now take breaks and jump into the copious side content at your leisure. This should allow you to customize the experience to preferences. Plus, it lets you approach the game in new ways when you inevitably roll a second character.
Speaking of characters, Diablo 4 will feature five classes for you to play as. At Blizzcon, they gave us a look at three of the classes: Barbarian, Sorceress, and the returning Druid. Each of them got a quick rundown at the panel, providing a better look at what to expect when you launch the game.
The Barbarian has always been among the most popular Diablo classes. Its melee-focused build made it a solid starting class option in Diablo 2 and 3, though that doesn’t mean the Barbarian lacks depth. It’s just that “run into groups and deal massive damage” is an easy concept to get behind.
With Diablo 4, most of what you know and love about the class is returning. They will still be mountains of muscle that love to engage in visceral, bloody combat. However, the team is giving everyone’s favorite warriors a few new tools. Most notably is the new Arsenal system.
Barbarians are known for carrying a war chest of weapons into combat and this new system will let them do just that. You’ll be able to equip four different weapons and use them all as the situation calls for it. You can carry both one- and two-handed weapons on your person. Any time you use an ability, the weapon needed for it will be automatically equipped and used. You’ll also gain any benefits of the equipped items, so loading your Barbarian up with four legendary weapons seems like a smart play.
Blizzard is still going to use fury generation as the main way of powering your abilities as a Barbarian. However, the team has replaced elemental magic with the class spilling buckets and buckets of demon blood. As someone who sunk 1,000 hours into a few hardcore Diablo 2 Barbarians, these seem like solid additions to the classic character.
That said, the big news character-wise is that Druids are officially back. The devs at the panel said the class wasn’t originally being planned, but then they saw some art someone at the studio had done and immediately changed their minds. Thank goodness they did.
The new Druid looks like they’ll be able to mix-and-match abilities much more effectively than they did in Diablo 2. Druids have always been hybrid characters who can switch between summoning, spell-casting, and shape-shifting. However, Diablo 2 Druids were most often built around shape-shifting. In Diablo 4, the team is really embracing the hybrid nature of the class and will let you swiftly move from one form to the other as you chain together abilities. Of course, if you’d like to focus on one form or the other, you can. The team just wants to give you as many options as possible.
The Sorceress was the least talked about of the three classes. They just focused on her ability to use her elemental magic to “light up the darkness”. Basically, the character will be your typical glass cannon with the ability to use magic across the different elements to kill her foes quickly and effectively.
They did not reveal the other two classes just yet. However, we can do some guessing based on what they’ve shown so far. None of these classes have a defensive focus, so tanks like the Paladin or the Crusader seem like a solid bet for inclusion. We also don’t have a focused summoning class, which has always been a Diablo staple. You could make the case that the Druid has summoning abilities, but it’s not on the level of someone like the Witch Doctor or Necromancer. Personally, I want to see either the Amazon or the Assassin come back, but they feel like DLC characters to me.
Of course, Blizzard could always look to surprise us with a brand new class. There were two of these at launch in Diablo 3, so it would make sense for the other two classes to be brand new.
Regardless of who you play as the focus for every aspect of the characters is around customization. The devs gave a quick glance at the cosmetic options available in Diablo 4. You’ll be able to change your character’s gender, hair, skin color, scars, tattoos, and more when you load up the game. These levels of customization will extend to other parts of the game as well.
To the joy of the live audience, the devs showed off the return of talent trees. The devs talked a lot about giving you the tools to “play the build that’s in your head” as opposed to playing the character they designed. Further enhancing character customization will be skill ranks and the return of rune words. These popular Diablo 2 items are back, but won’t require you to puzzle out secret code words to be effective. Instead, they’ll be much more free-form and easier to use.
The team also spoke at the panel about how Diablo 4 will function as an online space. The new open-world map may present some new problems; however, the devs have implemented several major towns that serve as social hubs. Here, you can trade items and talk with other players. You can also organize groups to help go and take down various world events as they come up. At the panel, they showed a group fighting a massive world boss as an example of what to expect in these encounters.
Of course, these events and the hundreds of dungeons you encounter will continue to be randomized. It really wouldn’t be a Diablo game without that randomization. That said, with these new, bigger maps, Blizzard is giving you mounts to help get around quickly. These come with cool dismount abilities that you jump off your mount and into battle in style.
Obviously, there was a lot of information at the panel. I didn’t even touch on their discussion about legendary weapons. And they have a few more scheduled for tomorrow with yet more info. That said, the early signs are encouraging. It seems like they’ve learned a few big lessons from Diablo 3, the biggest being that people love Diablo 2. The devs at the panel did say that the game wasn’t coming soon, not even “Blizzard soon”. However, this early look at the game has me excited to play a new Diablo game. That’s not something I probably would have said last week.
Diablo 4 will come to PC, PS4, and Xbox One at some time in the future.