Joe: So this is my very close friend, the Fallen Lunatic. I know he is my close friend because he always wants to be really close to me; but the Fallen Lunatic is a really interesting case because he is part of the Fallen family. This idea of families is really important to Diablo IV. In the case of the Fallen, the Lunatic runs forward and tries to explode.

The Fallen Grunt tries to surround the player, while their Shaman friends hangout in the back, throwing fireballs and resurrecting grunts.

Let’s take a look at another example of families in Diablo IV. The skeleton family. A great thing about the skeleton family is that like the Fallen, the members of the family can work together to do something greater than they could do by themselves. So, of course, you have got skeletons with swords, shields… Shield skeletons can stun you, while two-headed axe skeletons bring down their axe on your head. You have got crossbow skeletons who are firing from the middle distance; and in Diablo IV you have got my personal favorite… the skeleton ballista.

This is an amalgamation of skeletons that have come together to barely hold out this giant bow that can fire from multiple screens away; and when we talk about how important legacy is to Diablo IV, this is a great example. The inspiration for the skeletal ballista came from Diablo II, where you could walk out of the doorway, and be surrounded by skeletons, and then be getting shot from offscreen by ranged skeletons. It creates this choice moment where do I stay engaged with the skeletons I am fighting and try to dodge these arrows, or do I get deeper into danger and lay the smackdown on the skeleton ballistas. In Diablo IV, that gameplay is back.



But of course, skeleton ballista is not the dangerous thing you will face in Diablo IV, there are also Elite monsters; and if you play Diablo III, there are some monster powers or affixes that are making a return — like mortar or frozen; but in Diablo IV, there are a new category of affixes that we call Enhancing Affixes.

These affixes take the monster’s base powers and improve on them. In the case, of a skeleton ballista, it might have a multishot affix. So he is firing 3 ballista shots instead of the usual one; and the cool thing about Enhancing Affixes is that when we apply that same Multishot Affix to something like a Fallen Shaman, he can resurrect multiple grunts or brutes instead of the usual one. Totally changing how the gameplay plays out.



Now, of course, there are lots of bosses in Diablo IV; and if we go back to that previous slide with the skeletons you might see the tomb lord standing pride and tall in the middle.

The Tomb Lord is a master of necromantic magic and bone, and he can resurrect his skeletal minions, he can create bones of walls and shatter them, and he can spin his magic into a storm bone that can blind you; but in Diablo IV, you have additional combat options to fight back. One of these is the new evade ability. Every class can do a short distance dash that gets you immediately out of danger, and allows you to strike back very quickly, and get back in the action. It is perfect to get out of something like this bone storm.

Also, many class skills in Diablo IV grant the unstoppable status. This status allows you to break out of any control impairing effects. So if you are stun, blinded, slowed… you can break out of it, and grant immunity for the duration of the stat. In the case of our Barbarian friend who just doesn’t want to deal with this bone storm anymore, he can rallying cry — becoming unstopabble and granting his allies unstoppable as well, and immediately dish out more pain onto the Tomb Lord.

Rallying Cry

Rallying Cry


Now, you had a chance to play the demo. You may have seen this one. This demon, Ashava. This is our first world boss in the Diablo series, and it is so big that we had to pull the camera out just to frame the action, and show everyone engaged with it.

Ashava is a huge undertaking, and looking at some of the stats already that we have come in, I see that a lot of people have fallen to Ashava.

But the really cool thing about the Bosses in Diablo IV, and Ashava is a great example of this, is the new stagger system. This mean that you could bring your control effects into fights against bosses — like your stuns, your freezes, chills; and when you apply them to bosses, it builds up the stagger bar. When it is filled, the boss becomes staggered, and something really cool happens.

EDITOR’S NOTE: In the case of Ashava, when the stagger bar fills completely, Ashava’s huge arm blade shatters into pieces, and he drops to the ground stunned for several seconds.

I came over that term myself; but basically, what it means is that for each boss that we design, we build some unique behavior. So when you stagger Ashava, you can break off its arm blades; and this changes the whole fight, because this giant sweeping attack that it performs are greatly reduced in their range; and areas of the battlefield that were dangerous, become safer. In fact, if you stagger Ashava multiple times, it breaks, you can break off both arm blades, and this changes the remainder of the fight.

Now, of course, you take on something like Ashava, you will need some Legendary gear. David is going to talk a bit more about that.


1. Classes2. Skill & Talents3. Sharing the Open World4. Dungeons
5. Monsters6. Items7. Q&A
Buy the BlizzCon Virtual Ticket while VODs last.

Hope you enjoyed this article. Please, support Blizzplanet on Patreon (monthly) or PayPal (once), and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitch for daily Blizzard games news updates.

BlizzCon 2019 Panel Transcripts