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Season 15 was supposed to end on December 16, but the Diablo team decided to extend it and the new end date is January 6. Season 16 is scheduled for the week of January 11.
The new Season will go live with Patch 2.6.4 that was available for testing on PTR.
In order to ensure a smooth transition between Seasons, and give players extra time to enjoy the Double Bounty Cache buff, we will be ending Season 15 on January 6. With this, Season 16 is scheduled to begin on January 11.
As a quick heads-up, we will also be resetting the current Era leaderboards on January 8, so you’ve still got some time to push for that final leaderboard placement before the rollover occurs!
The long wait is over and the Sanctuary is finally getting an update with set changes and various quality of life improvements. Patch 2.6.4 will be available for playtesting on Wednesday.
Patch 2.6.4 Highlights
Patch 2.6.4 will be deployed to test realms on November 21. It will be available one week for testing. 5 Armory tabs have been added for all characters. Greater Rift Keystones will be stored in the Materials tab. Primal Legendaries are marked with a red beam when they drop. They now have an updated background on their icons and are indicated by a red pentagram icon on the mini-map. Season 16 buff has been implemented and all Seasonal players will receive the legendary power from Ring of Royal Grandeur. This buff doesn't stack with additional Ring of Royal Grandeur. In order to improve class & set diversity at higher level Greater Rifts, Blizzard's adjusting some sets. Paragon points can't be swapped while a Greater Rift is open. Completing a Greater Rift level 70 solo for the first time in a Season will yield a Primal Legendary from the Rift Guardian. Blizzard (Source)
We’re launching the Patch 2.6.4 PTR later this week for some rapid-paced testing, and we want you to have the full download before you jump in to provide feedback. Between long-requested quality of life changes, class set balancing, and a new game-changing seasonal buff, Season 16 is going to be quite the journey.
Table of Contents
PTR Details PTR Goals PTR Tips Patch Notes General Greater Rifts Seasons Class Set Changes All Barbarian Crusader Demon Hunter Monk Necromancer Witch Doctor Wizard How to Participate in PTR PTR Character Copy Please note that this is a preview for PTR content and subject to change.
We will be conducting the Patch 2.6.4 PTR over the course of one week, starting Wednesday, November 21. During the course of the PTR, there may be periodic maintenances, outages, hotfixes, or minor patches.
There will be two buffs active to help you on your PTR journey: increased Legendary drop rate and double Blood Shard drops. This should allow everyone to acquire any class set items (or supplemental items) that might be needed!
Feedback should be provided in the PTR Feedback forum while bug reports should be provided in the PTR Bug Report forum; clearly separating these tracks allows our designers and quality assurance testers to hone in on the information they need most!
With a huge number of class set changes and a game-breaking Seasonal buff, we know it will be very tempting to get your hands on as much as you can! To help guide your focus, we’d like to offer our insight behind what we’d most like to see tested.
Players pushing Greater Rifts as high as possible in both Seasonal and Non-Seasonal play Experimentation with class set mix-and-matches, as made possible by the Season of Grandeur buff PTR Tips
This PTR is a little different from ones we have conducted in the past (and it’s been a while since we last had one). Whether you’re a seasoned PTR veteran or this is your first go around, here are a few tips to get you started.
Because of the limited duration of this PTR, we ask that participants pick a particular portion of this update to focus on testing. For example, if you’re primarily a Monk player, consider what changes impact the Monk specifically. What you like best, what you think may still need adjustment, and what you may want to see in the future (even if that may be beyond the scope of this patch) are all good questions to ask yourself. Prior to the start of PTR, consider stocking up on items like Puzzle Rings and Bovine Bardiches. Having these available after you import your character can make any necessary PTR farming much faster! Try to break things! Just tell us when you do so we can make sure the 2.6.4 launch is as smooth as possible for all our fans. When providing feedback, focus less on a solution and more on your experience. How did the changes make you feel? Was there something off you noticed? Did something seem wrong or insufficient? Suggestions are always welcome but identifying the issues themselves is most important. Patch Notes
Last updated November 19 @ 10:00 p.m. PST.
Below you'll find the preliminary PTR patch notes for patch 2.6.4. Please note that this isn't the final version of the patch notes and that some changes may not be documented or described in full detail.
PTR PATCH 2.6.4 - v188.8.131.52286
To provide feedback on patch 2.6.4, please visit the PTR Feedback forum.
To report any issues you experience while playing, please visit the PTR Bug Report forum.
For additional information on how to participate in the PTR, click here.
General Quality of Life Philosophy For this patch, we wanted to include a few frequently requested Quality of Life changes and focused on better celebrating and indicating Primal Legendary drops. Five (5) additional Armory tabs have been added for all characters, bringing the total to 10 Greater Rift Keystones are now stored in the Materials tab Any existing Greater Rift Keystones in both inventory and stash have been automatically moved Primal Legendaries are now marked by a red beam when they drop Primal Legendaries on the ground are now indicated by a red pentagram icon on the mini-map Primal Legendaries now have a red border and updated background on their icons Greater Rifts Philosophy The gameplay of micro-managing Paragon points during the course of a Greater Rift doesn't feel like especially engaging gameplay, nor was it consistent with the other existing rules of entering a Greater Rift. In addition, the below change to matchmaking is to make it much easier for all players to find groups for Greater Rifts, as the previous window (only between Greater Rifts) is typically very small. Paragon points can no longer be swapped while a Greater Rift is open Players can now be matched into public games where a Greater Rift is open Players who join in this manner will not be able to enter the active Rift Players inside the Rift will be able to continue with no additional difficulty scaling until the run has been completed Seasons Season 16: Season of Grandeur The buff for Season of Grandeur has been implemented This buff gives all Seasonal players the legendary power from Ring of Royal Grandeur This buff does not stack with additional Ring of Royal Grandeur (either equipped or in Kanai's Cube) Unlike previous Seasonal buffs, this buff will not apply to Non-Seasonal players When completing a Greater Rift level 70 solo for the first time in a Season, a Primal Legendary is guaranteed to drop from the Rift Guardian Class Set Changes Philosophy We are taking another tuning pass across all class sets to improve class and set diversity at higher level Greater Rifts. Please note that these values are not final and we anticipate some adjustments to occur during the course of PTR. All Classes Legacy of Nightmares The (2) Set bonus has been increased from 100% to 500% Barbarian The Legacy of Raekor The (6) Set bonus has been increased from 2800% to 7000% Immortal King's Call The (6) Set bonus has been increased from 1500% to 4000% Might of the Earth The (6) Set bonus has been increased from 5600% to 20000% Wrath of the Wastes The (6) Set bonus has been increased from 3000% to 10000% Crusader Thorns of the Invoker The (2) Set bonus has been increased from 140% to 350% The (6) Set bonus has been increased from 5400% to 15000% Roland's Legacy The (4) Set bonus has been increased from 3300% to 13000% The (6) Set bonus has been increased from 50% increased Attack Speed to 75% Seeker of the Light The (6) Set bonus has been increased from 2000% Blessed Hammer damage to 12000% Demon Hunter Embodiment of the Maruader The (6) Set bonus has been increased from 3000% to 12000% Unhallowed Essence The (6) Set bonus has been increased from 100% to 350% Natalya's Vengeance The (6) Set bonus has been increased from 3500% to 14000% The Shadow's Mantle The (2) Set bonus has been increased from 1200% to 6000% The (6) Set bonus has been increased from 50000% to 75000% Monk Uliana's Strategem The (6) Set bonus has been increased from 2100% to 9000% Inna's Mantra The (6) Set bonus has been increased from 150% to 1500% Monkey King's Garb The (6) Set bonus has been increased from 1000% to 1500% Raiment of a Thousand Storms The (2) Set bonus has been increased from 100% to 400% The (6) Set bonus has been increased from 13000% Dashing Strike damage to 60000% The (6) Set bonus has been increased from 1300% Spirit Generator damage to 6000% Necromancer Trag'Oul's Avatar The (6) Set bonus has been increased from 3300% to 3800% Witch Doctor Spirit of Arachyr The (6) Set bonus has been increased from 4500% to 9000% Helltooth Harness The (2) Set bonus has been increased from 1500% to 3000% The (6) Set bonus has been increased from 4400% to 9000% Raiment of the Jade Harvester The (2) Set bonus has been increased from 560 seconds to 35000 seconds The (6) Set bonus has been increased from 1650 seconds to 10000 seconds Zunimassa's Haunt The (6) Set bonus has been increased from 5500% to 15000% Wizard Tal Rasha's Elements The (6) Set bonus has been increased from 750% to 3000% Delsere's Magnum Opus The (6) Set bonus has been increased from 3800% to 8500% Vyr's Amazing Arcana The (6) Set bonus has been increased from 50% bonus damage to 100% How to Particpate
To participate in the public test, you must have a Diablo III game license attached your Battle.net account in good standing (i.e. one that hasn't been suspended or banned). In addition, you will also need to download and install the Blizzard Battle.net desktop app if you have not already done so.
Step 1: Create a PTR account. To create a PTR account, log in to Blizzard Battle.net Account Management and double-click on your Diablo III game license; this will bring you to the game management page. On this page, click "Create a PTR account.
If you've participated in any previous Diablo III PTR, the "Create PTR account" button may not appear. This is because you've already created a PTR account and can therefore skip this step.
Step 2: Once you have created a PTR account, installed the Blizzard Battle.net desktop, and logged in with your Blizzard Battle.net credentials, select "Diablo III" from the main menu on the left-hand side of the application.
Step 3: On the Diablo III screen, there is a drop-down menu right above the "Play" button (note that this may say "Install" if you do not have Diablo III currently installed). Select "PTR: Diablo III" from this drop-down menu before proceeding.
Step 4: You should now have the option to install and play the patch.
The PTR is available in all supported languages, and accounts from all regions are eligible to participate.
PTR Character Copy
The option to copy your existing Diablo III characters from your live account to the PTR will be available and can be done directly through the PTR client. However, only one region per account can be copied at a time. So, if you choose to copy characters from your account in a different region, any previously copied PTR characters will be lost.
Step 1: Log into the live game and then log out.
Step 2: Log into PTR client and create a level 1 character. After you're done, return to the main character screen.
Step 3: Click on the "PTR Copy" button located in the upper right-hand corner. (The PTR Copy button will not appear in-game until you have created a new level 1 character.)
Step 4: Select your region.
Step 5: Click "Copy." This will copy all characters on your account from the selected region.
Step 6: You will be disconnected from the PTR client.
Step 7: Log back in. Your copied characters will be available for play.
Please note that you can only copy characters from one gameplay region at a time. If you choose to copy characters from a different region, any previously copied PTR characters will be lost. In addition, you can only copy characters over to your PTR account once every 24 hours. Attempting to copy characters before this cooldown is up will result in an error.
As this is a test server, please anticipate uneven game performance, and note that restarts and downtime may occur without warning. Thank you, and we look forward to your feedback!
A new Diablo patch will hit test realms this week. Check out the official patch notes!
Deadset gets his hands on Diablo: Immortal and an interview with the devs!
With a world of mixed feelings surrounding the new Diablo announcement, our Diablo 3 guide writer, Deadset, got the chance to sit down with Wyatt Cheng and Joe Hsu for an interview, as well as spend time testing Diablo: Immortal. Check out what the developers had to say, as well as Deadset's thoughts on the announcement.
This past Blizzcon marks several ‘firsts’ for me. The first time I cross half the globe, from windy Eastern Europe to the unrelenting Californian sun. The first time I attend Blizzcon, a convention I have dreamed of since I was a child. And somehow, regrettably, the first time ever that I am scared to address the community, that I struggle to find answers and solace for the road ahead. Rest assured, I am no less disheartened and apprehensive than any of you by the news that the solitary confirmed Diablo project in sight is, indeed, a mobile game.
I will not mince words: the timing, framing and setup for the Diablo: Immortal announcement was poor. There’s little more to add to this conversation that hasn’t already been said, memed about or depressed over, and from this point on I will simply try to address the new game itself.
I was able to test the demo with extended, uninterrupted access. I had the chance to talk with developers both on and off the show floor, in interviews and community conversations. I pride myself in always delivering honest, factual and impartial information, colored only by my perception of good game design and love for Sanctuary. The things we all share in the hardcore Diablo community.
So let’s talk.
Impressions of the Game
I hung out and spoke a lot with Rhykker during the convention and I will echo his overall sentiment in many regards - including the fact that Diablo: Immortal is quite possibly the best handling mobile game I have ever played (high bar, I know), with the most tactile and satisfying combat in its genre and medium. This is not surprising for a Blizzard title, and Diablo 3 has been widely regarded as having the best feeling combat among its competitors, but it’s still important to stress that the level of polish and excellence of control over the character that is signature for the company is not lost in the translation to mobile.
There is also a surprising amount of manual skill - both for an aRPG and a mobile game - that you can apply to your play, with multi-skill interactions and positioning interplay that is rare for the medium and indeed, the preceding titles in the series. There were demonstrations of the Wizard using the Ice Crystal to refract Ray of Frost onto multiple enemies, the Crusader’s Falling Sword turned into a two-step active ability that can be used to either engage or reposition, or the Monk’s Kick, the heir to Dashing Strike, that can be bounced off walls for multiple successive hits. While that is an undeniable positive and an evolution of Diablo 3’s handling, it was also pretty evident that developers are still getting the hang of mobile aiming, as some skills felt better than others (i.e. the Wizard’s Meteor has a rather tight targeting reticle that swept too quickly over the battlefield to reliably get a good hit in).
The game is touted as a full-fledged Diablo MMO, with all the open world, constant live updates and content patches that will entail. Its pure multiplayer structure will require an internet connection and will not allow for immediate drop in-and-outs, though that wasn’t immediately obvious in the demo where you spend the ‘learning’ half of it solo. You will encounter up to 6 players in the questing environment, and up to 4 players in the instanced dungeons - and even though the latter can be soloed, they will remain tuned for a full party (and thus more challenging). There was a reassuring sense of difficulty to the demo, and even trash monsters inflicted a significant amount of damage that required attention and quick work with the health potion. The potion is handled in a Diablo 3-esque fashion - based on a 15-second cooldown, but with a heal over time as opposed to D3’s instant effect. Death was handled in a Softcore manner, with a very generous 5 second timer until respawn - though that might be adjusted in the final version of the game, as there was mention of up to 30 second penalty timer to encourage better play. As far as I could tell, Hardcore was off the table due to the relative instability of internet connections on mobile (see more on that in the interview below).
The outrage over the UI structure being very similar to other Netease titles like ‘Crusader of Light’ and ‘Endless of God’ is understandable, but kinda overstated - most mobile MMOs and action RPGs use very similar controllers and interface (see Lineage, Darkness Rises, Alliance x Empire).
A large portion of the (demonstrated) game however is built with adapted Diablo 3 assets - an issue that is disappointingly danced around, and is very obvious if you have spent any significant time in Diablo 3 (however tastefully rearranged and retouched, you will recognize numerous structures, tilesets and monsters). References to future bosses like a “giant spider” (no doubt Queen Aranae’s cousin) or a “clone of Zoltun Kulle” (come on…) don’t help much to inspire the ‘new title’ feel. It’s all topped off with the inclusion of the exact cast of characters from Diablo 3 (albeit strangely missing the Witch Doctor), even though Immortal is supposedly situated closer to Diablo 2 lore-wise. Despite the above, I don’t really doubt technical and artistic skill is necessary for the assets’ translation to a mobile device, and it makes for an unbelievably polished, if disturbingly familiar graphical experience. In terms of artistic feel, you will like the game if you were satisfied with Diablo 3 visuals, and there is a pleasant darker tinge to everything - if not a complete reversion to a more grounded and gothic journey.
Oh, and blood is jarringly absent.
The game was demonstrated on a Galaxy S9 and to give credit where it’s due, it blows my mind that such visuals are available on a mobile device. There were no lags, frame drops or technical issues that I can point out, though again - the 6-player open world was not active for the demonstration. Sadly there was no way for me to minimize the app or test it unplugged, so I could not tell the effect it had on the battery after extended 45 mins. - 1 hour of uninterrupted playtime.
To finalize my impressions from the game and the numerous talks I’ve had with developers, I would quickly like to clear up some misconceptions that I see floating around as best I could:
Lack of a resource system (mana or otherwise): This is still in the experimentation stage. Think of resource as a variable that enables the use of a skill, similarly to cooldowns and charges. Unlike say MOBA games, mana in aRPGs is usually a mechanic that the player works to overcome rather than play around. Currently charges replace mana as means of non-timer use of a skill that doesn’t clutter up the limited UI space.
Team size and Blizzard to Netease ratio: This is a twofold misconception. First, there’s the concern that Blizzard have simply dumped the IP onto a Chinese company with very little involvement on their part. From talks with developers I get the sense this is not true at all, and the team size on the Blizzard side is at least comparable to the one from Netease. There’s also concern that Diablo developers working on the mobile title are taking up resources from the unannounced PC game, which I was told is not true. In fact, during various conversations devs have expressed genuine surprise at the growth rate of Blizzard as a company - which raises entirely new concerns, but team size for PC should not be affected by the mobile title.
Claims of racism due to the elimination of the Witch Doctor: The Monk in Immortal is clearly dark skinned (both in cinematics and ingame), so that one is out, I believe. I will not make any claims to Chinese audiences' cultural preferences one way or the other. To be honest I simply think Witch Doctors never quite grabbed people as much as Necromancers, and it became even more obvious when the latter were added to the game. Two poison-heavy, curses-spreading, summon-reliant characters are a bit much for a single game, no matter how much they tried to spin the difference in D3.
If you have any additional concerns or questions about the gameplay of Immortal specifically, I can try to answer - please don’t hesitate to list them below.
Onto the interview!
Interview on Diablo: Immortal
I conducted this interview with Wyatt Cheng (lead designer) and Joe Hsu (senior producer) from the Diablo: Immortal team on the second day of BlizzCon, a few hours before the World Q&A panel. It reflects both the Future of Diablo panel information, as well as my own thoughts from playing the demo.
Interview with Wyatt Cheng and Joe Hsu
+ Show- Hide I think what surprised me the most is the announcement of a second ‘portable’ Diablo title, so close to the announcement and release of the Diablo 3 adaptation for Nintendo Switch. What inspired that?
Wyatt Cheng: The projects are being worked on by multiple teams, and so the Diablo 3 on Switch was started, and then we partnered with Iron Galaxy, and they worked on the Switch. One of the great things about having multiple projects in the pipe is that we can provide the Diablo community with more content. The timing wasn’t something that we strategically planned, honestly we’re just trying to bring everything to the community as quickly as we could - it’s just how long the development of these individual projects took.
Joe Hsu: We think about it as the same type of platform - we just want to bring more Diablo to the fans.
Wyatt Cheng: And of course, Diablo 3 on Switch is very substantially similar to the console and PC experience, whereas Diablo: Immortal is a brand new game.
Speaking from experience, the Switch version does indeed translate the Diablo 3 experience faithfully. What about the mobile experience though, how much Diablo is in there - skill trees, item choices, etc.?
Wyatt Cheng: Unfortunately, not all of our systems are worked out yet. I think a big one players have been wondering about is the itemization system, since the items are a key part of the Diablo experience. We’re still working on that. Couple of things that are very important to us, 1) we want to ensure there is some depth for our core gamers to have something to sink their teeth into that isn’t over-simplified; and 2) we are going to have legendary powers. We really liked the way that the legendary powers changed the way that you play Diablo 3, and we’ll be looking to bring that to Diablo: Immortal as well.
As for other systems, I think back to both Diablo 2 and Diablo 3 with regards to skills and endgame progression, what happens after you hit max level. We’re still working out the details on that, and we’ll be taking inspiration from all three entries in the series, but we may evolve some of those systems as well.
Just to make sure - considering the trimmed down skill system (12-ish) and (for the moment) the very bare-bones itemization that just bumps up defenses, health or damage, is it still reasonable to expect theorycrafting and a level of complexity to the game?
Wyatt Cheng: Yes. Definitely. That’s what I was kind of alluding to earlier, saying that we still want there to be meaty systems in place. The itemization that we have now is mostly a placeholder, there to get the game to a playable state. Sort of ‘getting to the 20% mark’ - or as they call it in the Silicon Valley, MVP (minimum viable product). We wanted to work on killing monsters and making the combat feel fun first, but part of that is knowing that an item dropped to the ground and in our heads we imagine that this item feeds into a bigger game. Right now the itemization that you see in the demo is honestly exactly like it was really early in development, and currently we have a lot of designs on paper to what we want the itemization to be. And it’s pretty different from what is available in the demo today.
And skill customization is still part of the idea? Considering we had 5 fixed skills in the demo, and just 12 promised by the presentation.
Wyatt Cheng: There is definitely going to be about 12 or more skills per class, and then you choose 5 of them for your current build. When we look at the way Diablo 3 (post-RoS) legendary items change the way certain skills worked, we feel like that was very similar in functionality to the way skill runes (introduced with vanilla D3) altered the way your skills function. It’s almost the same thing sometimes, like “Rend stacks twice” could easily be a legendary item or a rune power, because there was no clear definition of what was supposed to be one or the other. And while it’s still okay for us to have many systems and functions in the game, we want to ensure legendary items take the stage for changing how your skills work. Then, we’ll look at the supporting systems and what else they can do.
Joe Hsu: And besides supporting systems, we make sure that the feel of the game is very much Diablo - how it looks, how the action plays out. And then our lead artist Richie Marella spends a lot of time to make sure that the tone and the overall style fit within the Diablo universe.
We did mention that legendaries are meant to change the way you play, but how about the way you look? It was mentioned during the presentation, but when you equipped anything in the demo, it didn’t change the visuals of the character.
Wyatt Cheng: Items will change the way your character looks, they just don’t in the demo. During the panel we showed some concept art for the gear progression, and we only have concept art to show right now because we don’t have all the art assets in place.
Bringing it back to gameplay, how will Diablo: Immortal handle difficulties? We had the old school Normal to Nightmare to Hell progression in Diablo 2, and then in Diablo 3 we could adjust difficulty on the fly. Are we due for another change?
Wyatt Cheng: I have to preface this by saying this is all work in progress, so this could change between now and release. But the way we’re currently thinking about the game, is because it is a shared online world, the difficulties - if we have too many - will fragment players away from each other, while we want players to run into each other within their server community. So we’re looking at a single difficulty for the level-up experience, and then possibly when you reach max level - and we haven’t decided on a max level yet either, but when you do reach the end - you then have an Adventure Mode-like system, where the whole game becomes max level for you as well. Difficulties past that, well - again, this is all in flux - we may be looking to leverage our instanced dungeons for that, as well as a few other endgame systems which are yet to be designed as well.
Are we looking at a mode split of Hardcore / Softcore and Seasonal / Non-Seasonal like in Diablo 3?
Wyatt Cheng: I love hardcore, but for Diablo: Immortal - again, this is current thinking - we are not prepared to have it. We think mobile phones are totally ready for a top tier action RPG experience, but we’re not sure the mobile platform will be right for a hardcore experience. Blizzard has a strict policy that if your hardcore character dies, even if it’s due to the loss of internet connection, he stays dead. This is of course done to prevent cheating. That said, it is nice to be able to play with something at stake - and something that we did in RoS was to introduce the extra augmentation roll to the gem when you don’t die in a Greater Rift run, so this way you have an incentive to try avoiding death. We could look at systems that ratchet up what the stakes are, so that you care about not dying, without having to go all the way to hardcore.
On the topic of Seasons, we’re still figuring this out, but we’re thinking that over the long term, there are multiple ways to keep the game fresh. One is Seasons, for sure, but another is to grow the universe with live content updates. The latter is how we’re currently thinking about it; from the beginning, we’re planning to be able to expand the game with content updates over time. You can see World of Warcraft follows that model, and it’s just a different way of approaching that problem. And we have other ideas as well! These are just two.
We’ve talked about dungeons a little bit, and I want to expand on that. The demo had a very ‘fixed’ approach to its layout, monsters and composition. Is that temporary, or a conscious move from the randomized dungeons toward a more balanced, almost raid-like endgame activities?
Wyatt Cheng: The demo is definitely very fixed. For the live game, the outdoor world will be fixed because we’re crafting a shared world that we want to feel like a familiar place. The monster spawns, chests, shrines and events will be random though, so there will be variance in the world even when the geometry is static. For the instanced dungeons, we’re still exploring our options. It’s kind of a trade-off, like you said we could create that ‘raid environment’ but even there we’re looking to have random events, randomly placed monsters. We are trying both fixed and random layouts right now internally, and we’ll see what we end up with.
Those dungeons won’t run themselves though. Who will you be grouping up with in Diablo: Immortal? How much of the cooperative multiplayer vs. shared world MMO are we talking here?
Joe Hsu: It is a mobile MMO. In public zones you might run into players that you know, or ones you don’t, but you can definitely make friends with them. Multiplayer is very much in the heart of Diablo: Immortal and we plan to bring all of Battle.net’s features into the game, so you can play with your friends, or talk to them when they’re not ingame. We plan to fully support the social aspect of the game.
Speaking of “friendly” activity, will I be able to battle players in some way? Is PvP part of Diablo: Immortal?
Wyatt Cheng: You’re not alone, a lot of players in the Diablo community are passionate about PvP and we’ve heard that for sure. We want the outdoor areas to be places where your interactions with players will be friendly and social, so when you see somebody out there you’re happy to see him. However we’re thinking about ways to introduce conflict between players. It’s really too early to say, a lot of experimentation to be done still. What I can say is that there’s many ways that people can have a confrontation without it needing to be a totally fair, MMR-based esport. That’s the extreme. I don’t think we wanna be that.
Speaking of portability and the Switch version, a great feature of that is the suspend function that allows you to pause and resume anywhere. Is anything like that in store for Diablo: Immortal?
Joe Hsu: We’re planning on different features that will accommodate the lengths of different play sessions. So if you have just 2 minutes, maybe you organize your stash or do a short quest; if you have 15, you call up your friends to do a dungeon and so on. It is a MMO though, so players will have to be aware of the time they can commit.
Wyatt Cheng: I hate to draw too many comparisons to World of Warcraft, but we do look to all Blizzard games for inspiration. And in that game you can quit anytime, but you tend to hearth back to town and exit there. Similarly, in Diablo: Immortal you could quit at any point, but you might die to some monster attacking you. But if you town portal - we’re also thinking of picking the Westmarch waypoint from a map rather than using a portal, but that’s a technicality - that is a safe place to log off. But if you’re in the middle of an instanced dungeon with your friends, you should try to finish it - there will be no resuming from where you left off.
Taking other very popular mobile games into account, I can’t not ask about your feelings on emulation? Will it be accounted for, actively pursued, or anything in between? And let’s not forget emulation will ease streaming the game quite a bit.
Wyatt Cheng: I don’t think we’re gonna go out of our way to hunt down and ban people using an emulator, but I’m also a little apprehensive - and the reason I hesitate is because I don’t know if the game experience will be the best. Even if I map movement to keyboard keys, and then use my mouse to click and drag the abilities, I don’t know if that’s a more fun way to play. Comparing our control scheme for thumb movements to dragging the mouse, it seems like an uncomfortable way to play. While we wouldn’t stop it, I don’t know if people would like it that way - but that’s up to the individual player.
On the streaming side, I would like to explore ways for people to stream natively on their phone, because we definitely want to be able to embrace the streamer community. That’s an aspirational statement though, not a promise - just my feelings as a designer, ignoring engineering limitations.
We talked a fair bit about mechanics, but story-wise the game is set to fill an important gap in Diablo history - the space between Diablo 2 and Diablo 3. Does a mobile device lend itself to storytelling of such scale and importance?
Wyatt Cheng: It’s challenging for sure, but it’s not a new challenge. If you think about it, truthfully, even with Diablo on PC is a difficult game to tell a story, because people are skipping through most of it in clicking frenzy. We’re trying to employ a lot of these different techniques where you can maybe watch a short, nice cutscene the first time you enter a zone, and then you move on.
Sometimes I think telling a story is both the questline but also the setting, and letting aspects of the world tell the story. So when you enter the Shassar Sea, and as you’re wandering through, all of sudden there’s demonic corruption spreading in the desert, which ties into your main questline to cleanse it. This way you start absorbing the story almost through osmosis. We’ll have story there for the people who want it, but we’re also cognizant that for many people the main goal is to get loot, so they can just focus on that, too.
Is it possible for you to talk about the payment system of Diablo: Immortal?
Joe Hsu: Right now we’re really focused on gameplay. At Blizzard our core value is gameplay first, so we want to figure that out and make sure the game is awesome, and then we’ll worry about everything else later. We’re not ready to talk about it this time.
And of course, the most important question - will there be a cow level?
Wyatt Cheng: We’ll see, still too early to say. (laughs) And of course, it goes without saying, we’d be keeping that a secret.
Wyatt Cheng and Matthew Berger talked about the lore of Diablo Immortal and showcased some of its zones, instanced dungeons and of course its classes.
Given the backlash the announcement of Diablo Immortal caused, the panel started with Wyatt Cheng repeating that they love their passionate community and that there are multiple Diablo projects in the works.
Matthew Berger then proceeded to a rundown of the lore and timeline of the Diablo universe, highlighting some major characters. At the aftermath of the destruction of the Worldstone by Tyrael at the end of Diablo 2, in Diablo Immortal we learn that some corrupted fragments of the Worldstone have survived.
Puris the Decimator, who was available at the BlizzCon demo, is one of the game's bad guys. The main antagonist is Skarn, the Herald of Terror and Diablo's lieutenant, who is trying to resurrect his master.
Your allies include Valla the Demon Hunter, her master Josen, Jacob Staalek (he holds Eldruin while Tyrael is “dead”) and Deckard Cain.
The devs then showcased some of Diablo Immortal's outdoor zones.
It's a swampy island, whose main town is Port Justinian. The Wizard Jin is at the Bilefen and the Kikuras Rapids dungeon is also located there. A Worldstone fragment is corrupting the whole area.
Zoltun Kulle's Library
The wizard has a number of caches throughout Sanctuary and this is one of them. Another corrupted Worldstone fragment is here. The area is guarded by a curator, which is actually a copy of Zoltun Kulle who doesn't realise it's a copy.
Young Valla and her master Josen are trying to find a demon nest that has formed in the area.
In Diablo Immortal, instanced dungeons are areas where monsters stay dead when you kill them and have unique mechanics that cannot be found in outdoor zones. Three dungeons were shown.
Tomb of Fahir
You must unlock seals to proceed through the dungeons. There's a Broodmother boss and a lot of arachnoids!
You ride a raft to access it. Wyatt Cheng described it as "a theme park water ride with monsters trying to kill you". There's a Fetid Patriarch boss.
It's the same area as Act I from Diablo 2. The Forgotten Tower is the home of the Countess and you will find out that her cultists have managed to bring her back to life.
Afterwards, we learned the story and saw some skills of the six Diablo Immortal classes.
Furious Charge: Makes use of touch controls by aiming skill Hammer of the Ancients Throw: Throw an enemy to another enemy. Necromancer
Command Skeletons Corpse Lance Skeletal Spikes: Summons bones from the ground to impale enemies. Crusader
Blessed Shield: Can be aimed, damages enemies on the way out and back in and whoever doesn't get killed, get gripped to melee range. Sweep Attack: Gain damage and range the longer you hold your thumb on the skill. Falling Sword: Adjusted to be a two stage ability, target a location drops a sword on a location. Then activating the ability a second time causes you to crash down from above. Can use other abilities in between first and second activation. Wizard
Μeteor Ray of Frost: Two-step activation - start the channel and end it. Ice Crystal: Two-step ability. First, you place the crystal Then with the second activation or when its duration expires, the crystal explodes. Can combine it with Ray of Frost. Demon Hunter
Daring Swing: Reposition yourself from one position of the battlefield to another, while shooting from an advantageous position Strafe Rain of Vengeance Monk
Seven-Sided Strike Kick: You can use it off of walls to rebound off them and then hit enemies Imprisoned Fists: Punch the spirit out of an enemy A very brief Q&A followed. A couple of fans prefaced their questions by apologising for the other fans' negative reactions. Here are the answers:
Too early to say if Mephisto is in Diablo Immortal. Some of the Prime Evils are returning faster than they should. They are currently looking at what itemisation will be like. Legendary powers will be present. They will also add socketing and other ways to upgrade/improve items. Haven't figured out business model. Gameplay first. Team thinks there is some middle ground between everything being soulbound and the auction house in regards to trading in Diablo Immortal. We will probably see the history of other classes (not just the Demon Hunters) in the game, since it covers a big time frame lore-wise.