Diablo IV - Beta Impressions

CriticalGaming

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So through my connections and friends at Activision Blizzard, I got into a private test for D4 way before some of the most recent End-game betas and such that Blizzard gave out. In fact I've had D4 since Early June of this year. Now that the beta is closed and a public ramp up is about to happen I am no longer under NDA, and can talk about my impressions of D4.

The game is very promising, think a sort of fully open world Diablo 2. The game plays a lot like Diablo 2 in both the general combat feel as well as the talent tree system and the way the loot rolls. One thing that people hated about D3 was that the gear was very build specific, and end game D3 focused around building for a certain armor set on whatever class you were playing. Diablo 4's loot works more like Diablo 2 in which items are not build specific but actually more elemental, or damage type specific. For example items might buff your frost damage, or improve the power of DoT skills. Other items might even give you points into skills that you don't even have unlocked through your own choices. Like you could have an item that grants you 2 ranks into Blizzard on your Sorc, even though you're using only fire spells. Things like that.

So from the very outset it seems like they really took to heart a lot of the problems people had with D3 and dialed the game much more into a D2 feel. Not just in terms of the itemization but also in tone, D4 is fucking dark. Like holy shit some crazy dark things happen in the game, none of which I'm going to spoil or talk about, but it easily is one of the best stories in a Diablo game to date which is great.

As for the open world, Diablo 4 has an open world much the same way WoW has an open world. Each zone has a level range to it but that range will scale based on what story quests you've completed. The game's story is act based just like every other Diablo game. However after you beat the prologue you are free to do Acts 1,2, and 3, in any order you'd like. Though grinding side dungeons might be required in order to level yourself up to a decent level for given missions. Every zone has both main dungeons as well as side dungeons which all seem to generate randomly.

Let me take a step back, the open world and the dungeons, caves, castles, etc all the stuff on the open world map is static. It never changes and will never change through various playthroughs. However random events may or may not be occurring around the map, and every dungeon you load into from the world will be randomly put together for you and whomever you might be grouped with. And that means there is a shitload of stuff to do, which is great because all these dungeons and open world events change and reopen up in different ways once you complete the story. Endgame will revolve around you doing random events and earn bounty rewards similar to world quests in WoW where once you do four or five in an area you return to an NPC for a boxed reward. In these boxes are dungeon keys which when used will power up one of the dungeons/caves/castles in the world. These keys will grant buffs to enemies or debuff you or maybe both.

And not every dungeon has the same objectives either. They actually came up with a little bit of variety when it comes to what you have to do in the dungeons, sometimes you'll find a key on a random enemy to open a final door with a boss, sometimes you just save people tied to poles. It's not a lot of variation, and it's all basically excuses to kill shit, but it's nice that it isn't all the exact same. Boss fights are also more interesting that just being a fat health bar, many will do things that will just kill you if you aren't paying attention and it strikes me like they really looked at games like PoE and Lost Ark to adapt some more interesting and complex boss mechanics into the fights. I wouldn't say anything has been super challenging, but the overall difficulty of the game as a whole is much harder than anything in D3, but i don't know if it's as hard as D2.

The classes are all great basically each class has a web-like talent tree separated by sections and each section has like 10 modes to put points into. Some of these nodes will be passives like more crit or more dot damage or whatever but the main nodes will be skills. These skills will be like Fireball, Frostbolt, things like that. But here is the cool thing, once you unlock a skill, you get acess to modifier nodes behind that node. For example let's say you chose Fireball as your main skill, then you'll have the option of picking a modifier which could be a choice between your fireball doing X% more damage but can no longer crit, OR Crits cause fireball to apply a dot that deals X damage over 6 seconds. And every skill in the game will have these either or modifiers. It allows for two Fire Mages to play completely differently and care about a completely different set of gear which I think is really cool.

For the most part I feel like they've done good things all around with D4 and it's a huge improvement over D3. Though it isn't all sunshine and rainbows either as I do have some problems with it.

First of all they hyped up being about to run around the open world on a horse. Well you don't get the horse until you beat the campaign. So you have to beat the game before you get a horse. Though to be fair, once you beat the game you never have to beat the game with any character after that. Think adventure mode in D3, so once you beat the game you can just make characters directly into open world adventure mode and those characters will get a horse right away.

Also while it's cool that builds are no longer dependant on Legendary items or gear sets, it has been the Legendaries not as exciting to get. I don't know if Legendary sets are even in the game because I've never found one in 500 hours of playtime, but maybe they aren't impliemented in the beta. Top that off with the legendaries being kind of boring, because I don't think they want them to grant much of a power boost they usually just have more modifiers on them or have really weird abilities like occasionally making you shit out a poisoncloud. So the loot hasn't been all that fun imo, which hurts the experience because it's Diablo and loot is the point. That could all be because early Beta testing though and many items simply aren't in the game or implimented.

Overall the game does look good though I can't lie. I didn't have a lot of hope for it because of Blizzard being terrible the last few years, but this game does show a lot of promise so long as they can keep the greed out of it, but that's not gonna be known until launch.
 
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FakeSympathy

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Oh man, super happy to hear that D4 sounds good for know.

One thing I have to wonder is how much of a live-service will this game be? Because I know they talked about having a cosmetic-only battle pass, but will this game be a full priced game or a f2p?
 

CriticalGaming

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One thing I have to wonder is how much of a live-service will this game be? Because I know they talked about having a cosmetic-only battle pass, but will this game be a full priced game or a f2p?
It is going to be a full priced game and there is a cosmetic shop. But to be honest the cosmetics they had in the beta (which they gave me $50 in credit to "test") didn't appear to me at all because the stuff you get in game looks pretty cool anyway. I'm not big on cosmetics but at least it's only cosmetics for now. Hopefully it stays that way.
 
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FakeSympathy

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What about currencies? hopefully none of that premium currency bull crap, and we juts have the in-game gold that's actually in-game
 

CriticalGaming

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What about currencies? hopefully none of that premium currency bull crap, and we juts have the in-game gold that's actually in-game
So there are two currencies in game. Gold for obvious basic things, and then another currency that i forget it's name but it's the same type of thing you used for gambling with Kadala in D3. Both are in-game only.
 
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CriticalGaming

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There was a closed "endgame" beta a month or two back that more people got into. These previews are not that, because the "endgame" beta didn't have any campaign in the game.

When I got the first invite the entire campaign was in the game minus cutscenes, so I've played the whole story kinda. Like no cutscenes and a lot of the voice acting was just text to speech. So when I was in I probably put 200+ hours into the game across every class. Then recently they completely shutdown all access to the beta and it's even gone from my battle net launcher which means the game is going to start ramping up it's public push.

These 10 hour videos are the first phase of that I would guess so it's given people a more polished view of the first act or two of the game and the classes.
 

Hawki

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Quick question, is there any indication as to the system requirements?
 

CriticalGaming

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Quick question, is there any indication as to the system requirements?
No sadly. I played it on my msi laptop with a RTX2080 and it ran beautifully on Max. So use that as whatever benchmark you can.
 

Dreiko

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So I guess you don't have a phone.



(Might jump into D4, only one I played, as odd as I know it sounds, was D1 and on the ps1 at that, but I did put a lot of time on torchlight 2 and enjoyed it a lot)
 

CriticalGaming

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Oh so something else i forgot to talk about is that all the stats matter for every class. While some classes will want more of certain stats over others, you always benefit from having stats period. The Barbarian gets more crit chance from intelligence for example.

This means that gear can always be useful to you regardless of the stats it might roll on it. Which i think is a good thing and allows for potential build making for each class beyond wearing whatever the meta set is. If sets even end up a thing because i never found any.
 

Samtemdo8

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Please don't suck.

I can't play Baldur's Gate 3 on my PC because its woefully behind in specs and there is no console version

I don't have a PS5 so I can't play Final Fantasy 16.
 
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BrawlMan

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I have no interest in this game, but I know my older brothers probably going to get it. He's an adult and he can make his own decisions like anybody else. I won't stop him, nor guilt trip him.
 

CriticalGaming

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If anyone is interested there is a fully free Open Beta Weekend for D4 from March 24th-26th. So if you are curious at all, it's free and on every platform to get in and check out.
 
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