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With Diablo Immortal — released on June 2, 2022 — Blizzard bring the world’s premier action RPG series to mobile devices and PC as a free-to-play game.
Announced back in 2018 as a mobile-exclusive, Diablo Immortal was initially met with some controversy as fans weren’t enthused by the idea of a mobile Diablo experience. That’s all changed. Not only did alpha and beta tests gain a lot of positive traction among fans, but Blizzard dropped a bomb, revealing that the game would come to PCs as well. There’s reason for excitement: A fully-fledged MMORPG that will support buckets of social systems at launch and live service content for years to come, it’s a grand expansion of the core Diablo formula.
Want to know more? Read on for everything you need to know about Diablo Immortal.
Diablo Immortal: cut to the chase
- What is it? A free-to-play Diablo mobile and PC game
- When can I play it? June 2, 2022
- What can I play it on? Android, iOS, and PC
Diablo Immortal release date
Diablo Immortal released on June 2 for Android and iOS, and entered open beta on PC at the same time. In a world full of battle royale games ruling the smartphone gaming industry, Diablo Immortal, an action RPG game, has made its debut globally.
The game is available for all platforms, including Android, iOS, and PC. In simple terms, it’s a free to play online game that supports cross-platform functionality.
Initially Diablo Immortal was due to release sometime in 2021, but Blizzard announced (opens in new tab) in August that the ARPG was delayed as the team needed more time to tune “core and endgame features”.
Although the PC version launched in open beta, Blizzard says the game is complete. The testing period will allow the development team to tweak the PC version’s UI and interface – which were first developed with mobile devices in mind – in response to fan feedback.
Diablo Immortal PC version
Diablo Immortal won’t be the mobile-exclusive it was set up to be. Blizzard has also developed the game for PC and is set to release the port at the same time as its mobile versions.
The developer has been keen to emphasize that this is very much a mobile-first game, however. That means the entire experience has been developed with mobile users in mind, rather than traditional PC players. That means faster-paced gameplay and shorter dungeons that can be completed in small bursts of playtime, to suit mobile audiences that tend to not play in long gaming sessions.
The PC and mobile versions will be identical, offering exactly the same content and experience. To make sure they align even more closely, Blizzard has included controller support for both versions of the game and, in a first for the Diablo series, enabled a WASD-based control scheme for PC players. That means you won’t need to point and click around the map to move, freeing up your hand for more frenetic combat moves.
The PC version of Diablo Immortal launched in open beta on June 2. Blizzard says this additional testing period will only be instituted to tweak the game’s interface and UI off the back of fan feedback, as the game was initially developed for mobile devices. The core PC port is complete and ready to go. All progression you make in the beta will carry over to the game’s full release.
Diablo Immortal trailers
Release date & PC announcement trailer
A cinematic and gameplay trailer was released online when Diablo Immortal received its final, official release date. The trailer also confirmed the game will be launching on PC, showing off lots of footage of the port.
Developer update in April 2021
The launch of a closed Alpha test in April 2021 brought with it a video developer update in which we get very brief glimpses at some more parts of the game.
ChinaJoy Gameplay trailer
Diablo Immortal made an appearance at a gaming convention in China called ChinaJoy, with a brand new gameplay trailer (via BlizzPlanet (opens in new tab)). Across around two and half minutes of footage the trailer gives a glimpse of new models, UI and Diablo 2 villain Baal makes a brief appearance.
BlizzCon 2019 gameplay and development update trailer
BlizzCon 2019 brought a gameplay and development update trailer for Diablo Immortal which shows some new character classes, gameplay mechanics and locations. Check it out below:
BlizzCon 2018 trailers
Two trailers were revealed for Diablo Immortal during Blizzcon 2018 – one a relatively extensive look at gameplay, the other a cinematic focusing on the story. Feast your eyes on both below:
Diablo immortal review
We had the chance to go hands-on with Diablo Immortal, experiencing 10 hours of the game and we enjoyed our time with it. We found that a lot of the Diablo experience has been adeptly preserved in the mobile game.
It’s fair to say the game has more of Diablo 3’s empowering, arcade-like action feel than Diablo 2’s murky clickfest dungeon delving, but veteran Diablo fans should still get a thrill out of lining up enemies and blowing them away with powerful (and familiar) abilities. Given Diablo Immortal is set between the second and third games, it’s hard not to feel like this is a greatest hits version of the Diablo experience that shaves off plenty of complexity, but in exchange you get a Diablo you can take anywhere – and even some new MMO-like multiplayer modes teased at BlizzCon 2021.
You can read more about our early impressions of the game in our hands-on experience.
Diablo Immortal game guides
From characters and classes to game controllers and spells, we’ve got a complete collection of guides to help you master Diablo Immortal:
Diablo Immortal Crusader: a complete skill overview
The Diablo Immortal Crusader is one of the newest additions to the Diablo class stable, and it’s ready to smash into the demonic horde on mobile.
First appearing to smite the forces of hells in the Diablo 3 expansion Reaper of Souls, now the Crusader brings the sword and board lifestyle to Diablo Immortal. If you want to sound like an entire pantry of pots and pans while laying into demons and rain damage over the battlefield like a colander full of holy water – the Crusader is for you. Read on for all you need to know.
Diablo Immortal Barbarian: a complete skill breakdown
With the Diablo Immortal Barbarian, we have an old friend and staple of Diablo returning, and they aren’t shy about introducing their axes to the dark tide of demons.
Ever since they joined the fray in Diablo 2, the Barbarian has been a frenzied blur of weaponry and shouting. Now we’re going to get the latest flavor in Diablo Immortal, and the Barbarian looks to carry on the tradition of turning large demons into multiple smaller demon pieces. Do you enjoy being a human blender in a sea of enemies who is simply too angry to die? If so, Barbarian is your pick. Read on for all you need to know.
Diablo Immortal Necromancer: a complete spell overview
The Diablo Immortal Necromancer sees the fan-favorite class get a new iteration on mobile platforms. However, do you have it in you to master raising the dead to do your bidding?
If you’re all about commanding death itself and tearing apart demons with your mastery of everything bone and rotting flesh, the Necromancer is probably for you. The resident edgelord class has always been very popular in Diablo games, and that is doubly true of Diablo Immortal. It’s one of the strongest class identities out there, and perhaps the most unique in the game. Read on for all you need to know.
Diablo Immortal classes: how to use the best classes
Understanding the Diablo Immortal classes is going to give you a huge leg up over other players just starting their journeys in Sanctuary. That’s why we’re here to give you the lowdown on what’s on offer.
Diablo has always been about choosing your favorite classes to take on the minions and bosses of Hell. The class selection screen from the first game is one of the most iconic in the franchise’s history, and the roster of classes has grown and shrunk to fit the needs of the series. Read on for all you need to know.
Diablo Immortal controller support: using gamepad on mobile or PC
The Diablo Immortal controller support discussion has been at the forefront of a lot of the game’s betas. Being able to play with controller is high on the list of wants from the community.
It’s not hard to see why. While touchscreen controls have come a long way in recent years, they still feel like a sub-optimal way of playing most games. As more triple-A-like experiences come to mobile, the need for controller support is ever-important. Games like Apex Legends Mobile and Valorant Mobile are great examples of games that’ll benefit greatly from controller support. Read on for all you need to know.
Diablo immortal gameplay and story
It may be primarily a mobile game but, for the most part, this is going to be the same Diablo you already know and love, albeit with controls designed to make the most out of a phone touchscreen rather than a mouse or controller.
Developed cooperatively between Blizzard and Chinese devs at NetEase (the company which co-operates Overwatch, Diablo 3 and Warcraft in China), the game will be set five years after the events of Diablo 2, and will explore what happened after the Worldstone was destroyed in that game, and the path taken to the dismal world of Diablo 3.
The likes of Tyrael, Malthael, and Leah and Deckard Cain will all feature in the story, as will the demon hunters Valla and Josen who appeared in Blizzard’s Heroes of the Storm. In terms of foes, expect appearances from Diablo’s buddy Baal and Skarn, the Herald of Terror. Story beats will be dished out via non-playable characters, with additional storylines landing through updates to the game.
Built from the ground-up, Diablo Immortal will introduce new abilities and techniques not yet seen in a Diablo game. While six familiar classes will be present (Barbarian, Demon Hunter, Monk, Necromancer, Crusader and Wizard – with the Witch Doctor notably absent at this stage), they’ll be able to work together in all-new ways.
Abilities will be able to be combined to make cross-class cooperative play more exciting. A Wizard for instance will be able to freeze a foe with ice crystals before firing a beam called the Ray of Frost into the crystal. When used individually, the Ray of Frost and ice crystals can only take down one baddie, but if the ray is fired at the crystal, it fragments the beam so it can hit multiple enemies.
Players will be able to use Ultimate Abilities (charged through repeated basic attacks) and Legendary items in order to enhance their powers and unleash well-timed devastating attacks that could give them the edge in a difficult battle.
Projectile and melee attacks will also be more clearly directional now—many attacks will include a directional cone within which to fire them off, which will likely be handy when attempting to trigger the combo moves described earlier.
The other big change for the game will be the number of players who can team up together. Previously, this has topped out at four for Diablo 3. But footage of Diablo Immortal shows as many as ten players banding together to battle foes. Early reports indicate that these large-scale battles will be locked to open-world areas, with instanced dungeons (and the boss-specific loot they offer) instead tied to four-player maximum parties, though a recent trailer from ChinaJoy looks like it has six-player parties available.
There also seems to be a greater emphasis on environmental and platforming obstacles in Diablo Immortal. The gameplay clip showed levels in which players had to abseil down a chasm while battling the forces of darkness, and another where they traveled along what appeared to be a river in a raft, taking on baddies along for the ride.
The question is how similar will Diablo Immortal be to previous Diablo games?
During our hands-on time with Diablo Immortal, we found that the game adheres to more of the arcade gameplay of Diablo 3 rather than the more grounded hack-and-slash combat of Diablo 2.
“Regardless of how much the devs say they’ve invoked the grim, dark dungeon-ey look of the latter in Diablo Immortal’s design, it’s the brighter and more vibrant look of Diablo 3 that has the most influence. But look out for some familiar faces from the fan-favorite Diablo 2.”
“Diablo Immortal feels like a Greatest Hits album for Diablo, preserving a lot of the enemies and encounters from the series in a more streamlined experience.”
So it’ll have everything you know and love about Diablo, but will still feel fresh – hopefully. You’ll fight enemies, level up to acquire new skills while dearly wishing that the next felled foe will drop a more powerful weapon, armor piece or accessory to make your coming battles easier. It’s an addictive loop that has made Diablo one of the most revered franchises in all of gaming.
Diablo Immortal reception and controversy
Diablo Immortal’s announcement was met with, at best, a mixed reception. It’s been several years since Blizzard released a mainline Diablo game, and so the trailer seemed a tease for those expecting a full PC or console release. As such, the backlash was immediate, with some accusing Blizzard of cashing in on fans’ goodwill, and that the game was merely a reskin of co-developers NetEase’s previous mobile ARPG titles.
Those concerns have largely been allayed after later Blizzard announced the game would be coming to PC as well as mobile. But the studio tried to previously assure fans that it’s taking as much care with Diablo Immortal as any of its titles and that it’s an all-new game worth their time.
In an interview with GamesBeat (opens in new tab), former Blizzard president J. Allen Brack defended the decision to create a mobile game stating that while Blizzard would like its core fanbase to give the mobile release a chance, it’s understood that “every game is not going to be for every person”.
Brack added that as a mobile title, Immortal will, of course, be “different” and that it’s not trying to replicate the PC experience” but promised, “it’s going to be a good, authentic experience for the Blizzard games we bring to that platform.”
However, so great has been the animosity that Blizzard has had to show its hand for further titles earlier than expected. Diablo 4 was officially announced at Blizzcon 2019 but, previous to this, Blizzard revealed that Immortal was not the only Diablo game currently in the works.
In another interview with IGN (opens in new tab), Brack said that the fan reaction to Immortal’s reveal had taught Blizzard “a huge number of lessons”. Brack acknowledged concern that Blizzard was moving away from PC releases in favor of mobile but said that this mobile release “doesn’t mean we’re not going to be continuing to make awesome PC games and awesome console games like we have in the past”.
Diablo Immortal pricing and in-game purchases
In December 2020 it was confirmed (opens in new tab) that Diablo Immortal is going to be a free-to-play game with optional in-app purchases.
In the announcement, Blizzard said: “We plan on supporting Diablo Immortal with a constant cadence of free content, including new gear, features, classes, stories, and areas to explore. We also want to make sure every purchase feels fair and is guided by a clear set of values that place an emphasis on the player experience for all players.”
In-app purchases are going to be “entirely options” so they aren’t going to involve things like buying equipment – that can only be had by playing the game. Instead, in-game purchases will allow players to buy gems, crests and reforging items. In the BlizzCon 2021 Q&A, it was said that there are plans for a battle pass system with free and paid tracks.
When Diablo Immortal launches it’ll have six core classes and the team is planning to add more along with extra areas and content. This will also be free to every player and no classes, zones or other content will be paywalled. “In-game purchases should never circumvent gameplay. We want to structure our purchases so it’s a bonus and you feel good about it,” lead designer Wyatt Cheng said.
In an early test of the alpha version of the game, one reviewer wrote for IGN (opens in new tab):
“I wasn’t able to spend real money during the alpha, but I felt no compunction to do so, nor did I feel like I was missing out on anything by purely playing Immortal free-to-play.”
“This game has an awful lot of compelling gameplay and content for free, and all future content will also remain free, whether it’s new gear, areas, features or even classes. The proof will be in the playing, of course but, at this point, the real-money options seem like they won’t be necessary to enjoy Diablo Immortal, but instead will be a nice bonus for those that are already in deep.”
Diablo Immortal news and rumors
June 2: In an exclusive interview with TechRadar Gaming, general manager Rod Fergusson made one thing clear: It’s more than just Diablo 3 on your phone. Much more.
June 2: In a world full of battle royale games ruling the smartphone gaming industry, action RPG game Diablo Immortal has made its global debut.
June 1: Diablo has yet to launch, but it’s already banned in two countries. Thanks to loot box laws, Belgium and the Netherlands won’t be joining in the devilish fun.
May 31: As a free-to-play MMO, Diablo Immortal will include a slate of multiplayer social features. A new blog post outlines how these have been made more accessible to support the game’s core experience.
May 29: We’re still days away from launch, but release times and pre-load have been confirmed. PC players can pre-load Diablo Immortal right now, letting you jump straight into Sanctuary when the free-to-play multiplayer game goes live.
More Diablo news and tidbits ▼
May 16: The announcement of Diablo Immortal’s PC port did wonders for the game’s image, but it’s a good thing that it started life as a mobile exclusive. As game director Wyatt Cheng tells TechRadar, by designing for mobile, the team was able to explore new design principles and experiment with novel gameplay concepts that were beyond the reach of past Diablo titles.
Apr. 25: A release date for Diablo Immortal, the next entry in the acclaimed action RPG series, has just been announced, alongside the surprise reveal that the formerly mobile-exclusive title will also be launching on PC.
Mar. 29: Diablo Immortal is now up for pre-order on iOS devices and pre-registration for Android users. But if you’ve seen a release date floating around, it might be best to ignore it.
Release date and PC version announced
Diablo Immortal will release on June 2 and, to the surprise of many, launch on PC alongside Android and iOS devices.
Blizzard’s latest action RPG, once pitched as a mobile-exclusive Diablo game that will take the series in a bold new direction, will actually be playable on the platform most series fans are familiar with: PC.
It will launch on PC in open beta on June 2. Blizzard says the game is fully complete, but is leaving the testing window open to make UI and interface adjustments off the back of fan feedback.
Pre-registering now open
It is now possible to pre-register for the game.
There are a couple of ways to go about this. You can either head to the official Diablo Immortal website (opens in new tab), click the “pre-register now” button, then log in using Battle.net account. Or, you can go straight to the Google Play or Apple App store and follow the directions that they give to pre-register.
A pre-order bonus has also been announced (opens in new tab). If 30 million people pre-order or pre-register for Diablo Immortal before its release, the Horadrim Cosmetic set will be available for anyone who completes the game’s tutorial within the first 30 days of its release.
Transforming your character
Blizzard has shared some more details about Diablo Immortal in a March blog post (opens in new tab). Discussing how you’ll be able to shape your character as you play the game, the post touches specifically on changing class and cosmetics.
Rather than requiring players to create alt-characters each time they want to test out another of the game’s six classes, you’ll be able to change your existing character to a new class. When you do so, you’ll retain all of that character’s level and item progression, and receive new items that suit their play style. None of the items you had equipped or kept in your stash will be removed.
Blizzard says the class change feature has been implemented because it didn’t “want to force our players into the hard choice of giving up progress on their main character to support an alt.
“We also didn’t want anyone to feel obligated to keep a roster of alt characters to gather rewards and resources, or to match the shifting demands of Leaderboards, Cycle of Strife, or other competitive systems.”
However, while you’ll be able to switch to any class you fancy, there’ll be some, as yet undisclosed, limits on the frequency of changes. Blizzard also says players who focus on a single class will have some advantages, such as a broader selection of available character builds. The class change feature won’t be available when Immortal launches but will be added after release in a patch.
As for cosmetics, in Diablo Immortal you can earn and buy new gear to change the appearance of your character. Complete cosmetic sets are available to every class and a new one will be rolled out monthly, themed around that month’s Battle Pass. The visual appearance of your Legendary items will also change as you level up their gems’ Resonance stat. That means your armor and weapons will become beefier, more intricate, and emanate brighter light as you progress.
According to the post, “purchasing the Battle Pass for a given month will allow you to unlock a cosmetic outfit for any one class, and purchasing the Premium Battle Pass will also include custom portal skins and portrait frames.”
Others will be available in the in-game shop, though Blizzard says it wants “to make room for cool free cosmetics, and a number are earned through play”.
Delayed to tune “core and endgame features”
Blizzard announced (opens in new tab) in August that Diablo Immortal will no longer release in 2021, with the team now aiming for release in the “first half of 2022”.
“Following feedback provided by test participants of the Closed Alpha, our team has been tuning core and endgame features,” Blizzard wrote in a blog post announcing the delay. “For example, we’re iterating on PvP content like the Cycle of Strife to make it more accessible, alongside late-game PvE content like the Helliquary to make it more engaging. We’re also working to provide controller support for those who want to play our game in a different way. However, these changes and additional opportunities to improve our gameplay experience will not be realized in the 2021 timeframe we had previously communicated. So, the game is now planned for release in the first half of 2022, which will allow us to add substantial improvements to the whole game.”
BlizzCon 2021 canceled
There was no update on Diablo Immortal at BlizzCon 2021 as Blizzard canceled the event.
“The ongoing complexities and uncertainties of the pandemic have impacted our ability to properly move forward on many of these fronts, and ultimately we’re now past the point where we’d be able to develop the kind of event we’d want to create for you in November,” Saralyn Smith, Executive Producer of BlizzCon, wrote in an announcement (opens in new tab).
An online event with “smaller in-person gatherings” will apparently be held in early 2022, much like BlizzConline 2021. More details on this are expected at a later date.
Cycle of Strife and PvP
We had the chance to sit down with some of Diablo Immortals’ developers to discuss the game’s faction vs faction PvP mode, Cycle of Strife, currently being tested in closed Alpha. With players taking part as Shadows, Immortals or Adventurers, competing in cycles, Diablo Immortal’s PvP is quite unique and potentially complex, particularly for a mobile game.
“So part of [Cycle of Strife] was that [Diablo Immortal] is an MMO, part of it is we want to have a big social structure, and part of it was some more recent Diablo games didn’t have PvP,” Senior System Designer Kris Zierhut told Techradar. “This is really the first big PvP system that Diablo has ever had.”
At the moment, the team is still adjusting and tweaking Cycle of Strife but even on release, Cycle of Strife will continue to change as more content is added and items are rebalanced. See more detail on Cycle of Strife in our full interview.
A “much richer endgame experience” than Diablo 3
Diablo Immortal’s endgame will apparently be “much richer” than that in Diablo 3, the game’s senior combat designer Julian Love has told Pocket Tactics (opens in new tab).
“One of the things that we really want is for players to have lots of different things to do in order to progress their characters,” Love says. “We have things like elder rifts, which are an incremental improvement on greater rifts. Then you’ve got the Helliquary, you’ve got bounties, you’ve got PvP. There’s also the Cycle of Strife that includes an adventurer thread, which is for people who are more PvE focused.
“Typically, when we think about games, we think about leveling up through the storyline, seeing all the zones, then you reach a level cap, and that’s where the game ends. But in the case of Immortal, that’s really kind of where a whole new version – the full-blown version – of the game begins, in that all of these systems are unlocked for you and all of that variety is at your disposal.”
Love touches on the game’s MMO nature and how this “more social environment” plays into the endgame. The Helliquary, he explains, is “a big endgame system where you are setting yourself up against these really large demons that are very intentionally difficult to fight. You’re going to have to prepare for those, you’re going to have to get good at them, you’re going to have to go out and engage in other aspects of the game in order to take them on.
“Of course, players are going to share stories about those kinds of challenges with one another and reach out to others within the game in order to discuss those things. If it was an entirely single-player experience, those stories wouldn’t get shared and referenced as much as when you have a social environment.”
Closed Alpha introduces new content
A closed Alpha (opens in new tab) for Diablo Immortal began in 2021 and introduced plenty of extra content. Accessible only to a limited number of Australian Android players at the time, the Diablo Immortal beta built on December 2020’s technical Alpha by adding a new class (the Crusader), new zones, a new dungeon and some endgame content.
Stay awhile and listen to #DiabloImmortal’s Lead Designer Wyatt Cheng, @candlesan, detail what’s new in the Closed Alpha.🛡 New Class – Crusader🗻 New Zones & Dungeon⚔️ Expansive Endgame Content Pre-Register: https://t.co/AY1Vn89lfk pic.twitter.com/EaRJgb9NbxApril 21, 2021
The addition of the Crusader means that five of Diablo Immortal’s six launch character classes have been tested, with only the Necromancer left to go. More classes are expected to be added to the game after launch.
The new zones included in the Alpha were Mount Zavin, “the home of the Monks, who are among Sanctuary’s most deadly warriors” and the Frozen Tundra, a region where “war festers… around the great mountain of Arreat, where the Lord of Destruction still threatens the world.” The Frozen Tundra is also the home of the game’s new dungeon, the Cavern of Echoes, in which “adventurers will need to ward off the cold embrace of death as they seek out the Iceburn Tear.”
On top of all of that, there was a new PVP mode being tested. Called the Cycle of Strife, it sees three factions – adventurers, immortals and shadows — “wage war for the Eternal Crown—an ancient source of power central to the Cycle of Strife.”
Before getting to the Cycle of Strife, though, players were able to opt in to prove themselves in the 8v8 Battlegrounds in the city of Westmarch. On top of all of that, the blog post detailing the Alpha said there was also “new Legendary items and Legendary gems, an additional Paragon Tree, two extra skills per class, a test experience teeming with new quests, bounties, and more!”
Finally, there’s the Helliquary. This device came to players after they finish the Main Quest in Bilefen and it “allows heroes to locate powerful demons and trap them! Once the demons are defeated, the Helliquary can turn their Demonic Remains into power the Hero can take advantage of.”
Minimum device requirements for Technical Alpha
In a blog post (opens in new tab) detailing the Alpha for Diablo Immortal last year, the minimum device requirements to take part were revealed and were as follows:
Android Minimum Requirements
- CPU – Snapdragon 670 / Exynos 8895 and higher
- GPU – Adreno 615 / Mali-G71 MP20 and higher
- RAM – 2GB of RAM and higher
- Version: Android OS 5.0 (Lollipop) and higher
Apple Minimum Requirements
- iPhone 8 and higher
- Version: iOS 12 and higher
The Horadric Bestiary
The Diablo Immortal Twitter account (opens in new tab) has been tweeting out some entries in the Horadric Bestiary, seemingly revealing some of the creatures that you’re likely to come across in Diablo Immortal with a description and a brief video of artwork.
The Tweets are being posted once a week and thus far we’ve seen descriptions and images of things like the Hellhound, Khazra Warriors and Poisonous Bat Lizards.
Don’t judge an Insane Demon’s ferocity by its size. Many have fallen victim to their deceptive looks.📖 ℌ𝔬𝔯𝔞𝔡𝔯𝔦𝔠 𝔅𝔢𝔰𝔱𝔦𝔞𝔯𝔶 pic.twitter.com/PuOosCXye5March 22, 2021
BlizzCon 2021 didn’t bring us a firm release date for Diablo Immortal, but there was an interesting Q&A which answered a few questions about the game and revealed more about what’s to come. Below we’ve listed some of the interesting details.
More testing is coming soon
We didn’t get a release date for Diablo Immortal during BlizzCon 2021 but it has been confirmed that more tests are coming. In Diablo Immortal’s technical alpha which wrapped up in January, players were able to access five zones and progress through levels as part of testing the mid-game of character progression.
At BlizzCon 2021 it was confirmed new tests are coming for a wider audience and that these should allow players to run into some end-game systems, though it’s not going to mean the end of character growth as there are prestige points and loot grinding to attend to. Future tests are also going to have more questing zones, access to new character classes and may even run for a longer period of time.
What you saw in the Technical Alpha is not all there is. Another testing phase is coming to a wider audience with new content, a new class, and major endgame.Full Panel: https://t.co/KZ8Jw4HShx pic.twitter.com/X73D1mmRUWFebruary 20, 2021
Controller support is being investigated
During BlizzCon 2021, it was revealed that controller support was one of the most requested things from the technical alpha and that while there is no news on it at the moment, the team is “investigating” bringing controller support in the future.
Mobile MMO is the goal
During BlizzCon we got another look at Diablo Immortal and it’s been confirmed that the game is a mobile MMO, or at least an action RPG with MMO elements like voice chat, public events, and dedicated dungeons to take on with your friends.
During the game’s technical alpha, four-person dungeons were in operation and during the BlizzCon Q&A, the development team said they’d be keen to have event with more than four players, though at the moment they’re more of an aspiration and when the game launches it might be without these larger raid-like elements.
Players will operate out of the hub city of Westmarch, and may pass “dozens” of players as they wander around. But more crucial to the MMO experience is “that the world exists outside of you,” as Wyatt Cheng put it, and much like World of Warcraft, the Diablo Immortal world is a persistent place that marches on with or without you.
There are plans for guilds
The alpha also featured voice chat within private party and public channels. The development team said that it intends to implement guilds into the game too, so that players can “feel like your membership and participation in a guild matters”.
Suited for short play sessions
Diablo Immortal’s gameplay is going to be more suited for short play sessions, which seems fitting for mobile. In the BlizzConline 2021 Q&A, the team leads talked about aesthetic and gameplay changes that have been made to make the Diablo experience work on smartphones.
The Immortal team acknowledged the challenge of adapting the action RPG to mobile phone controls within the display as it means that players’ fingers will cover up some of the action, though it was said that it’s easy to “melt right into the game”.
To make the game more suited to short play sessions, the Immortal team designed activities for one minute, or three minutes, or five minutes, so it would be satisfying for players who picked up and put down the game for brief sessions. But this shouldn’t stop it being fun for those who want to play far longer sessions, as they do with the PC and console Diablo games.
The game is also literally brighter and easier to see for those playing on their phones in varying lighting conditions. “It does benefit the game to not be so dark, because you’ve got players playing in a bunch of different ambient light situations and they can really struggle to see anything,” combat designer Julian Love said. “It’s the kind of problem where a gamma knob slider doesn’t really fix the problem. You really need enough ambient contrast in order to make sure that the visceral action remains present and people can distinguish what’s going on. It’s a very fast-paced game.”
Even with these changes, the Immortal team is still trying to make Diablo Immortal feel like its PC and console predecessors – though it will likely take trial-and-error to nail the right approach.
“The biggest thing I care about is ‘Does It Feel Like Diablo,’ and only way to find out is push it into public and see if it’s on the right track,” Love said.
There will be PvP experiences
Lead designer Wyatt Cheng said that Diablo Immortal’s PvP plans are “ambitious” and there are different zones with different mechanics. In the game’s technical alpha there was a glimpse of the kind of content they’re making to pit players against one another. These include a treasure chest that would spawn every three hours and only open to the last player standing.
Using the mobile platform
Diablo Immortal is all about feeling like a Diablo game but, in working with mobile, the development team has an opportunity to create entirely new experiences that haven’t been done on console or PC.
In the BlizzCon 2021 Q&A combat designer Julian Love said that because every smartphone player is using the same control scheme, there’s an opportunity to explore new monster effects; things like allowing enemies to freeze the ground and make players slip, then combining that with other environmental effects like wind.
“You’ve got this whole new problem for players: the ground is slippery, and there’s a wind blowing against you this way, and if I move with the wind I’m faster but slipping all over the place, but if I fight the wind, I don’t have traction,” Love said. “These are whole new problems for the player to solve.”
We don’t know how often effects like this will crop up in Immortal, but it’s interesting to see how mobile is presenting new opportunities for gameplay.
Rod Fergusson is overseeing the Diablo franchise
The Coalition studio head Rod Fergusson has announced he’s leaving the Gears of War developer to oversee the Diablo franchise at Blizzard Entertainment.
Fergusson officially made the announcement on Twitter, revealing that he will be joining Blizzard in March where he will, no doubt, join the team in developing the upcoming Diablo 4 and Diablo 4 Immortal.
Check out his tweet below:
Starting in March, I will join Blizzard to oversee the Diablo franchise. Leaving is bittersweet as I love our Gears family, the fans, and everyone at The Coalition and Xbox. Thank you, it has been an honor and a privilege to work with you all. pic.twitter.com/0FuO3RFYSQFebruary 5, 2020
Watch the video here: Diablo Immortal: everything you need to know