Last Updated on March 21, 2023 by Michael Brockbank
This past weekend, we were able to play in the pre-order beta for Diablo IV. And from what we’ve seen so far, I’m more excited about the game’s full release than ever. Though, a bit part of that is because I’ve been a fan of Diablo since the 1990s.
In fact, the original Diablo is why I started building my own computers in the first place. Well, at least a very large part of it.
How Was Playing the Beta for Diablo IV?
Since we pre-ordered Diablo IV, we had access to the beta server before the open beta began. So, I’m relatively sure that some of these issues might be solved.
Then again, it’s a beta for a reason.
This means you shouldn’t have expectations of an awesome experience. When we started playing, our purpose was to purposely try to break the game and then send bug reports.
However, we really only came across a few issues here and there.
First of all, virtually every Diablo game has great cinematics regarding its era, aside from the original Diablo, which really didn’t have a lot of cut scenes.
Cut scenes weren’t really a game-changing thing until after the late 1990s.
This might be a bit of a biased opinion, but I love all of the cinematics of Diablo since the introduction of Diablo II. And Diablo IV didn’t disappoint.
Long Queue Lines, Obviously
When we first logged in as soon as Diablo IV’s servers were live, it was exceptionally easy to get into a game. It wasn’t until we tried later Friday night that the queue lines began to grow.
By then, we were waiting anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes before we could even create characters. And some people wound up getting dropped as soon as they were next in the queue.
Given the nature of the beta test server and the sheer number of Diablo fans, there’s no wonder why Blizzard had to throttle connections. They’re trying to test the game, not completely overrun the server.
More Character Customization
There is far more character customization in Diablo IV, even in the beta. I’m not sure if they plan on expanding on the customization screen, but you have more options than in the past.
In Diablo II, you could only pick a character that already had a pre-generated look and gender. In Diablo III, you had a choice between male and female variants. This time around, you can customize skin, hair, face, and tattoo patterns.
Not to mention jewelry and such.
It feels like Diablo IV has more of an RPG feel than the previous, hack-and-slash variants I’ve been playing since 1996. Personally, I don’t really mind playing a pre-generated character. But the customization is kind of nice.
Multiplayer Worlds and Events
Unlike its predecessor, Diablo IV has multiplayer worlds once you get past the first “introduction” questline. And the introduction lines are disturbing, to say the least. But disturbing in a good way.
Horror dialed to 11.
Once in the main town of the first “chapter,” you can see other players and interact with them as you wish. I don’t really know how I feel about this feature. But at least when you loot, it’s still player-specific, meaning others can’t ninja loot your droppings.
The events that occur are very reminiscent of Defiance. A red circle appears on the map where players can join in to take on a major boss or other event circumstance.
Here, you’ll loot the purple Obol currency that are essentially “blood shards” from Diablo III, in that you trade them for random gear from the Curiosities vendors.
However, we had a few people come in to loot after we killed off the event ourselves. So, don’t be shocked when you see bottom-feeder players follow you around and stand back to see whether you’re successful.
No More Identifying Magic, Rare, or Legendary Items?
One element that kind of urks me wrong is how you no longer need to identify magic, rare, or legendary items. Now, I’m hoping that this is just because Diablo IV was in beta and that they plan on bringing back identification scrolls or something similar.
I don’t like games that are too easy to play.
I doubt they’ll bring back Deckard Cain to “sit a while, and listen.” But handing me items that are already identified just kind of turns me off slightly. It’s not a deal-breaker by any means. But I hate when developers pussify a game franchise.
Upgrading Items is Neat – Ish
Upgrading items is kind of a near feature. If you have something at level five, you can beef it up to still be useful quite a few levels later.
However, there is a major drawback to this function. By the time I collect enough stuff to upgrade the item, I’ve already found several things that are far superior in every way.
So, I doubt I’ll use upgrading until I hit max level in most cases.
Skill Tree Caps at 5 per Ability?
I’m glad that Diablo IV brought back a proper skill tree. Unfortunately, I’m kind of disappointed that they cap the level of each skill at five points. In Diablo II, I remember dumping 20 points just for making skeletons.
I liked creating an Army of Darkness.
Yet, I can kind of see why they capped it in such a way. If you dumped everything into one ability, it would make your 1-4 keys pretty much useless. And I do like the fire shield spell for wizards while wielding a flame thrower (gotta watch our live stream in open beta).
Diablo IV has Unlimited Looting in Beta!
During the evening when we played, we came across a villager’s body near the middle of the map. Every click made it toss out basic loot. I sat there for several minutes filling up my backpack just to see if it truly was unlimited.
Eventually, one of my friends came by and also began looting the endless stream of basic junk.
The graphic looked like there were hundreds of bodies piled in one. In any case, the unlimited loot wasn’t all that extravagant. Nonetheless, if you needed junk to scrap, it was an awesome find.
Constantly Dropping Players
Perhaps one of the biggest issues playing the beta for Diablo IV was the consistent dropping of connections. Out of the three of us that were playing here at my house, I am the only one who never dropped.
That’s incredibly odd considering that we all used the same internet connection.
In the evening, Sam was dropping every five minutes or so and Donaven lost his connections after about 30 minutes. We had no problem playing in the mornings, though.
Once you drop, it’s back to the queue screen with you.
It’s the Beta for Diablo IV, What Do You Expect?
When you play a beta of any game, you can expect a lot of random errors, glitches, and breaks. That’s the purpose of a beta – to break everything you come across. That way, developers can spend the next few months fixing those issues before going live.
Aside from the dropping issue, which Blizzard acknowledged relatively quickly, the endless looting was the only game-breaking element I could find. And I tried doing everything I could think of to cause what damage I could.
From the perspective of a beta, Diablo IV is probably one of the more stable games I’ve played, aside from World of Warships. I didn’t have a single issue in the closed beta from Wargaming.net.
My point is that you shouldn’t get too riled up while playing a beta of any title. There’s a reason why its version is zero point something. In the case over the weekend, it was version 0.8.
From what I’ve played thus far in the beta, I am really looking forward to the full-game release on June 6th of 2023.
Open Beta for Diablo IV Will Be a Nightmare
I plan on playing a bit of the open beta just to experience more of what Diablo IV has to offer. However, I bet it’s going to be a hot mess. Everyone who has even heard of Diablo is more than likely going to load up this Friday.
Still, I would like to see how the game fares with such a large player base. What kind of lag will there be from so many players on a single server?
In any case, I’ll be taking to the open beta as soon as time permits. Some of us have jobs that interfere with game time.
Looking Forward to Diablo IV Outside of Beta
So far, Diablo IV has far more of a horror feel to it with some very disturbing imagery beyond what Diablo II and III delivered. Then again, that’s one of the reasons why I love the franchise as much as I do. I was worried about what Blizzard was going to do with the latest iteration.
This is coming from a dark fantasy and horror author.
I still have a feeling that they’ll introduce some kind of in-game purchases or loot boxes at some point. But that’s mostly the skeptic in me based on many developers of this era.
Regardless, I am setting aside the weekend of June 6th to do nothing but play Diablo IV while eating tubs of chocolate peanut butter ice cream.
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