Diablo was released almost 27 years ago. In that time, it has created a resounding legacy that has shaped much of the gaming world. The first game formed the foundation for the modern MMO, and Diablo 2 is considered by many as the best ARPG ever created. This game has created a strong community of active players who are welcoming and completely in love with the world.
By the time Diablo 3 was released, the community had a clear wishlist of what they wanted in the next game. They were vocal about their wish for a sequel and were overjoyed when Diablo 3 was announced. But many of these established gamers were disappointed at its release.
The feedback for Diablo 3
The common consensus was that the game had changed too much. Diablo 3 did not feel like the medieval horror game that Diablo 1 and 2 were. Combat had become too simplified, with rare loot being easy to farm and combat scenarios requiring less strategy. Characters became very cookie-cutter in how they could be built, with limited options on what the player could do. The art leaned too much into fantasy territory, losing some of its uniqueness. The Auction house was a travesty. Not to mention that the story took a sudden left turn.
Blizzard had developed Diablo 3 to appeal to new gamers, to bring them into the ARPG fold. In the process, they had sidelined their core audience.
Of course, Blizzard did do some cool things with Diablo 3. For instance, it had better boss fights. Their couch co-op was universally loved. And the new area effects in combat required the player to keep moving.
The greatest strength of Diablo 3 was that Blizzard rolled out fixes quickly based on criticism. The changes bettered the gameplay for everyone and did a great job hooking in their new audience. No old-school player will say that 3 is better than 2 or 1 but they won’t really hate on 3 either.
Stepping into a new Diablo
It’s 11 years since the last entry in the franchise, and Diablo 4 will be released on June 6, 2o23. With this game, and all the expectations that sit on it, Blizzard took on the unenviable goal of trying to bridge the gap between 2 and 3- to create a game that is faithful to the Diablo universe while still being friendly to newcomers and fans of Diablo 3.
Based on feedback from their last game, they revisited the art, gameplay, and character-building systems for Diablo 4. Based on the reviews and reactions to their last Beta this March, Blizzard seems to have met quite a few of their goals.
Diablo 4 now offers more character-building options. By bringing back the runewords system from Diablo 2, as well as bringing back unique weapons, players will have the opportunity to create unique character builds by endgame.
Ready to create your build in #DiabloIV?
⚔️ Select your class.
📖 Focus your playstyle with the Skill Tree.
🎯 Hone your skills with the Paragon Board.
🔥 Enhance your strength with gear and crafting. pic.twitter.com/jH8zYjnCJa
— Diablo (@Diablo) May 1, 2023
In many ways, Diablo 4 seems to have embraced the older games with a darker, more sinister mood and expanded gameplay options. They have also met modern gaming standards with a more expansive open world, crazy boss battles, and cool procedurally generated dungeons.
Considering that the release of this game is right around the corner, we can only wait and see what gameplay feedback Blizzard will action. Their present concern is ensuring a smooth game launch and avoiding the server issues Diablo 3 faced at launch. Diablo 4, like 3, needs a persistent online connection, even for the single-player campaign.
The last and upcoming open betas are meant to overload and test the servers. March’s beta faced heavy waiting queues as well as lag that required gamers to reset the game. The next server slam beta is scheduled for May 12. It might serve as an important indicator of how well Diablo 4 will perform at launch.
— Wowhead💙 (@Wowhead) March 24, 2023
The wishlist for Diablo 4
In terms of gameplay, feedback from the beta has been a mixed bag. While mostly positive, there have been concerns about how empty and repetitive the world seemed to be, especially since the map is the largest open world map for Diablo. A lot of it is cautious optimism to see what the game will look like in its complete form, hat character building and equipment will look like once the game opens up, as well as what the endgame will look like.
Things we are hoping to see:
- More variation and randomization of enemy types within Sanctuary
- Endgame that isn’t just about the grind
- Consistent deeper engagement with character building
- The return of the Paladin and Crusader classes to see more variations in combat and playstyles
- Free respeccing. Currently, it will cost gold to respec a character, but a common wish is to be able to freely readjust the characters so that the players can experiment more easily.
- Specialized drops only from bosses to improve the game experience.
Despite all the debate out there, it is clear this is a game that all fans, including me, are looking forward to. It is a journey that will be fun and exciting, and we can only hope that Blizzard will meet or outshine our expectations. In the meantime, see you in the beta.