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What We Can Expect from the Presumed Diablo 4 Announcement

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It seems like a Diablo 4 announcement is a forgone conclusion, and with all the various supposed leaks, the D4 ones are the most credible, if not basically confirm the announce. Now the info doesn't really say that it absolutely WILL be announced at BlizzCon, but it would be pretty weird to release an art book with D4 images and lore on November 3rd aka the last day of BlizzCon, without having actually announced the game in any way before that. So it's very safe to assume/basically guaranteed we will be getting to see Diablo 4 very soon. But what exactly will we see?

The BlizzCon schedule isn't exactly helpful, as the only Diablo-related panel is the Art of Diablo, on Sunday November 3rd, which coincides with the book's release, but there are those four 45 minute long free to watch "Coming Soon" panels right after the opening ceremonies, and one of them just might be Diablo-related. So what I wanted to do is speculate a bit on what will be revealed not only on Friday but also over the course of the entire con.
 

Scenario 1: The Bare Minimum
The worst case scenario, where we don't get to see or find out much at all.

At the very end of the opening ceremony, in the same manner they did Diablo: Immortal, the lights go down and turn red and we get to see a big old stylized number 4 on the big screen. And then that's it. They're making it, we'll find out more soon enough, no panel on it afterwards.

- This one's pretty unlikely, partly due to the Lilith lore already leaked. As she's sure to be one of the main antagonists it would be weird to just talk about her art design without mentioning what's happening and how she's involved with the plot at all.
 

Scenario 2: The Cinematic
Not much info, but a decent look at the intended atmosphere and story themes.

Same thing as before, end of the ceremony, except this time it's a full Blizzard style cinematic. The contents of the cinematic could be a lot of things, but Lilith featuring prominently seems the best bet. Whether it will be a more mysterious and gloomy affair, with Lilith only showing her face at the very end or alternatively it could be a more action-y one, somewhat uncharacteristically for Diablo, but we could see some angel-demon fighting and possibly even a new class (or a returning one, like druid, which would get the fans excited). In any case, the cinematic's purpose will be to cement a "return to the roots and origins" as will the rest of the discussion around the game, to reassure fans that we're headed more in a Diablo 2 direction - which will be helped by the Diablo 2 remaster announcement.

- This one seems a very solid bet, although I'd expect more added to it. I'd say we're almost certain to see a cinematic, perhaps not a full one as we're used to from game/expansion openings, but definitely something solid.
 

Scenario 3: The World and Lore
A whole lot of info, but not about the game itself. We get to know about the new world Sanctuary has become after the 15th time Diablo died and came back.

We still get the cinematic, same as above, but it's also accompanied by a lot of art and concepts, featuring some new areas we'll get to explore, new monsters etc. Again we might get to see a new class or returning ones, with concept art to show it off. There will be a panel after the opening ceremony talking about how the world has changed and is a darker place now that the 7 evils are all out again, and either under Lilith's command or fighting Lilith and we have to help her. The lore will be the big focus along with the concept art and we'll get to know a lot about the history behind the world, especially Sanctuary and its creation, with Lilith and possibly Inarius in the historical spotlight.

- This one is my bet, as it ticks all the boxes, from getting into how D4 will be darker and more gory, to the explosiveness of the cinematic reveal, and also has a solid amount of meat to discuss without ever getting into the gameplay.

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Scenario 4: Gameplay Reveal
We get to see the game in action. It doesn't have to be a live demo, just footage, but we see what it will look like.

Probably no cinematic in this version, just the logo and then straight into the action. Almost certainly a new class shown off (or the Barbarian, again), and a whole lot of new enemies. The absolute best part of Diablo 3 was its combat, as it still stands unrivaled in the ARPG arena, and if Blizzard can just keep it that way the sequel will be on solid ground. We don't get a whole lot else, just a bunch of combat and maybe a few flashy skills with an impressive boss at the end.

- This one is just straight up not happening. The actual gameplay reveal will be saved/postponed for a different event, probably not this or next year. If Blizzard do manage to pull it off for BlizzCon it's going to be incredibly impressive and bode well for the game not taking 10 years to come out.
 

Scenario 5: Systems, aka the actual game
This is the best case scenario. We can get whatever of the above, it doesn't really matter, but the big thing is we get to hear about how they will improve and evolve the itemization, skills, endgame and everything else that makes an ARPG actually playable/re-playable.

This one is even less likely to happen than the gameplay reveal. Partly because it's not the kind of exciting announcement the crowd expect to see at an event the size of BlizzCon, and partly because I'm sure they don't really have the systems worked out yet. Of all the things we're could see, this is what I'm interested in. They nailed the combat in 3, but basically everything else was either a mess or just plain bad (I'm not gonna mention sets again, but... SETS), so hearing about how 4 is going to be different is key to the game. Even if they just come out and give us some endgame ideas they have I'd say that would be a massive step forward and immediately restore all my confidence in the franchise.

- If this one happens I'm selling most of my belongings and putting all my money in Activision Blizzard stock. And I won't care if only 6 people buy the game and I end up broke on the street because it will be the best thing ever.
 

Scenario Infinity: World of Diablo 4...Craft
Where Titan failed, Diablo will succeed. The game structure will remain relatively the same, except we get a whole lot of social features, more than 4 players at once, and the usual suite of MMO features.

This one I'm massively conflicted about. If Blizzard are ever to do another MMO that's not called WoW 2, this would be their best bet at not sucking. Generally speaking ARPGs sort of want the MMO structure, as there's only so many thousands of times you can run a "randomized" dungeon before giving up on life. An MMO structure with patches bringing new content and, more importantly, systems, is a natural fit and throwing a whole lot of cosmetics at the crowd to fund development ensures that we get more than 7 devs working on the future of the game. There's a way to do a Diablo MMO that would actually make the game better, but the problem is that's a hard thing to pull off. Lost Ark looked extremely promising but was completely eaten up by its archaic MMO systems, taking a great combat system, incredible graphics and an ok/workable skill system and throwing it in the dumpster over a stale and generic item level grind.

Pulling off a good Diablo MMO might be beyond Blizzard (and beyond pretty much any developer around these days, if we're being honest), but if they managed to get it even 70% of the way there it would be a sight to behold. Having a sustained and constantly evolving array of systems and endgame activities, with big patches adding new content and ideas within a traditional ARPG like Diablo is my wet dream. Something like what Destiny 2 is pulling off, as it started pretty bad and has constantly been getting better and better with each new expansion, new ideas coming in and the game currently having a ridiculous amount of activities to take part in - I can only imagine that structure but with Diablo gameplay and itemization.

- This one is bound to happen eventually. It's a no-brainer. Somehow this decision would both be very brave and bold AND a completely safe bet that can't possibly fail (at least in financial terms). The only reason it hasn't happened already is the potential cannibalization of the WoW audience. Will it happen in a few days? No.

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We won't have long to wait to see which of these (if any) come true, but I'd definitely like to hear what you guys think will happen and what you hope will happen, as there's a whole lot of options in-between the ones I mentioned above. I can't say I'm extremely hyped for the announcement, as I don't expect there to be too much info that I'm personally interested in, but I very much am hyped about the game itself. Even if it ends up being just Diablo 3.5 (like Borderlands 3 was BL 2.5) I'd love that, as I think D3 is a very solid game with some very poor decisions that can be easily rectified. And if it does turn out to be an MMO? Well, it'll be WoW Vanilla all over again and I guess I'm getting divorced.
 

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While this is a lot to read for a speculation post, which I'm absolutely not doing, I believe it's a bit too late for scenario 1. After the shitstorm stirred up for blizzard, I don't think they can get away with just a number IV on screen.

I also don't think it's a world of diablocraft option either. I mean, I really would not like it to be. Firstly, because I don't see any super successful titles in this segment, cept PoE. But it's one of how many? Just because PoE is successful, it doesn't necessarily mean Diablo should go in the same direction.

Diablo needs to be a fkin good game, it doesn't really matter mmo or single player. In fact mmo format might put specific constraints on the game systems only putting it farther away from being fun.

I'll go with cinematic or gameplay video.

Off the topic: what I personally expect from d4 is a totally overhauled combat system. I understand this might be an unpopular opinion, but I don't really want another point-and-click, or even another point-and-click-and-spam-your-abilities combat system. To me it feels like we'll have just more of what we already got. And it gets old really soon. I'm all down for a responsive action-oriented combat that requires players to actually use their brains and press goddam buttons.

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They really need to show something interesting. Don't think copying current games is going to help much, game should stand more on it's own. Otherwise they are setting it up for failure, as people who wanted something like PoE, will simply keep playing PoE. We've already had many examples why entering any genre gold rush that late is a bad idea.

Edited by Arcling

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16 minutes ago, Arcling said:

They really need to show something interesting. Don't think copying current games is going to help much, game should stand more on it's own. Otherwise they are setting it up for failure, as people who wanted something like PoE, will simply keep playing PoE. We've already had many examples why entering any genre gold rush that late is a bad idea.

True POE has established high standards. 

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1 hour ago, CaperfinWoW said:

True POE has established high standards. 

Regardless of its quality, if you've got people already heavily invested into a game, it's hard to make them switch over. There is only so much room on the market for the specific genre or niche, with already established titles.

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13 minutes ago, Arcling said:

Regardless of its quality, if you've got people already heavily invested into a game, it's hard to make them switch over. There is only so much room on the market for the specific genre or niche, with already established titles.

good point

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3 hours ago, Arcling said:

Regardless of its quality, if you've got people already heavily invested into a game, it's hard to make them switch over. There is only so much room on the market for the specific genre or niche, with already established titles.

Have to disagree with this pretty hard. Both enthusiasts that play the same game over and over and more casual players are always looking for something new to try out. Sure they might return to their game of choice eventually, but they always want to try out the new thing. Almost literally every single person that played and enjoyed WoW that I know tried out the majority of, if not all of the "WoW-killer" MMOs that were released in the years after it. Especially with an ARPG where you totally have the option to just play the main story and then decide if you want to invest more into it long term.

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8 hours ago, Undeath said:

While this is a lot to read for a speculation post, which I'm absolutely not doing, I believe it's a bit too late for scenario 1. After the shitstorm stirred up for blizzard, I don't think they can get away with just a number IV on screen.

I also don't think it's a world of diablocraft option either. I mean, I really would not like it to be. Firstly, because I don't see any super successful titles in this segment, cept PoE. But it's one of how many? Just because PoE is successful, it doesn't necessarily mean Diablo should go in the same direction.

Diablo needs to be a fkin good game, it doesn't really matter mmo or single player. In fact mmo format might put specific constraints on the game systems only putting it farther away from being fun.

I'll go with cinematic or gameplay video.

Off the topic: what I personally expect from d4 is a totally overhauled combat system. I understand this might be an unpopular opinion, but I don't really want another point-and-click, or even another point-and-click-and-spam-your-abilities combat system. To me it feels like we'll have just more of what we already got. And it gets old really soon. I'm all down for a responsive action-oriented combat that requires players to actually use their brains and press goddam buttons.

Your comment is a lot to read just for a comment post, so I'll just reply without having read it.

I'm kidding ?

PoE isn't like an MMO, not sure what you mean there, it's basically the exact same structure as D3 with more variety. As for the switch up in gameplay I both agree and disagree - I'd love to see Blizzard's take on a different combat system, as I think they nail combat in pretty much all games, but it shouldn't be a Diablo game. Apparently they did want to do that with D4 so it was a DArk Souls game which would be awesome, but again, maybe as a side-game in the Diablo world, not a direct sequel.

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I don't think it would be as difficult to lure POE/GrimDawn type players as the many of the above posters think, especially since these games were built upon the success of Diablo 2. While people have gripes (legitimate or otherwise) with individual franchises, what Blizzard has been successful at that no one else has is building their brand into a nexus platform for all of their franchises.

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1 hour ago, Starym said:

Have to disagree with this pretty hard.

Most of data says otherwise. It's temporary, and indeed majority of people will eventually come back to their favorite titles, which makes those other games unsustainable as the so-called "live service". Those "WoW-killers" you have mentioned are no longer operational or had to change into free to play, having way smaller audiences. It may not matter to you, but many love their skins, mounts and whatever else they have. There are also many illogical reasons, people often hate what they don't play (only mirroring popular opinions). Timing is important, like MOBAs are past their peak, that's why you aren't seeing any new serious contenders to become a new e-sport title in this genre. We've seen this happening all the time, as these fads come and go.

1 hour ago, Starym said:

Especially with an ARPG where you totally have the option to just play the main story and then decide if you want to invest more into it long term.

And that means a maintenance mode if not immediate death of multiplayer for remaining titles, as soon as those numbers start dropping down. Genres that fall out of the spotlight, usually end up with only few viable "live service" titles, and it's getting crowded in there.

Edited by Arcling

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2 minutes ago, Arcling said:

Most of data says otherwise. It's temporary, and indeed majority of people will eventually come back to their favorite titles, which makes those other games unsustainable as the so-called "live service". Those "WoW-killers" you have mentioned are no longer operational or had to change into free to play, having way smaller audiences. It may not matter to you, but many love their skins, mounts and whatever else they have. There are also many illogical reasons, people often hate what they don't play. Timing is important, like MOBAs are past their peak, that's why you aren't seeing any new serious contenders to become a new e-sport title in this genre. We've seen this happening all the time, as these fads come and go.

And that means a maintenance mode if not immediate death of multiplayer for remaining titles, as soon as those numbers start dropping down. Genres that fall out of the spotlight, usually end up with only few viable "live service" titles, and it's getting crowded in there.

It really doesn't have to go the live service route though. Even if it ddoesnt rake in millions in microtransactions it can still be a viable expansion etc game, I mean take a look at Boderlands 3, they dont have any microtransactions, still do events etc and are based on base game sales + DLCs aka expansions. I dont think its what Blizzard want to do but it's absolutely doable and PoE wouldnt affect it at all. Hell, a whole lot of people still play D3 with absolutely no additional content on a significant level.

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13 minutes ago, Starym said:

It really doesn't have to go the live service route though.

Ideally, it's what I want as well. Full game without any of that bullshit, just big expansions. Unfortunately, doesn't seem like Blizzard wants that. But that's a general problem with the industry, good enough is never good, they need to fulfill insane demands from investors. Diablo 4 needs to stand out in some way, otherwise it's going to end in a state similar to D3, or perhaps even worse. Anyway, it's best to not expect too much at this point, better to be positively disappointed. ?

Edited by Arcling
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1 hour ago, Arcling said:

Ideally, it's what I want as well. Full game without any of that bullshit, just big expansions. Unfortunately, doesn't seem like Blizzard wants that. But that's a general problem with the industry, good enough is never good, they need to fulfill insane demands from investors. Diablo 4 needs to stand out in some way, otherwise it's going to end in a state similar to D3, or perhaps even worse. Anyway, it's best to not expect too much at this point, better to be positively disappointed. ?

If the leak is true and we get to see gameplay i'm already extremely surprised and amazed.

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