The Diablo 4 developers: Joe Shely (game director), Meng Song (lead systems designer), and Peshkov (lead world designer) discussed details of the upcoming Diablo 4 Early Access Beta and Open Beta during a YouTube livestream. The event was moderated by Adam Fletcher (community lead).
I’ll type the recap below the video.
Diablo 4 Dev Update Livestream (Feb 28) Recap
- All engine in-game cinematics include your unique customized character — making the story so much more immersive and personalized.
- The Inarius statue is shipping now.
- The Diablo 4 Early Access weekend starts on March 17 at 9am US-Pacific. You can choose any of the three Classes playable in that test: Barbarian, Rogue, and the Sorcerer. Early Access is available to those who pre-ordered Diablo 4.
- The Diablo 4 Open Beta weekend starts on March 24 at 9am US-Pacific. During Open Beta, you can choose any of the five Classes: Necromancer, Druid, Barbarian, Rogue, and the Sorcerer.
- Both Beta tests end at noon (US-Pacific) — Early Access weekend ends on March 19. Open Beta ends on March 26.
- Both Betas are important for Blizzard to stress test the servers in preparation for the June 6 launch, and want feedback on Class Balance.
- Both tests will feature: World Bosses — and spawn at 4 different times. One of them is Ashava.
- When a World Boss spawns, the camera view opens up for all players so that you can view the battlefield and the different boss encounter mechanics. The experience is seamless. You show up there, and no need to organize or group up before the encounter. Only 12 players can show up or engage a World Boss. (This seems to indicate the spawn areas are instanced shards with no loading screens).
- For the Beta test only, World Bosses should be engaged at level 25. The Beta test level cap is 25. At launch (June 6), the level cap will be Level 100.
- OPEN BETA PC Minimum Specs requirements below:
- Those are not the PC mininum specs for launch. The developers continue to optimize the game to reach as many specs as possible.
- Raytracing will be available after launch.
- There will be a Diablo 4 Beta preload around a week before testing starts, so that you can play right away on the Beta weekends without worrying about downloading the client. When preload becomes available, Blizzard will update via social media and blog.
- Diablo 4 Beta couch-coop can be played in consoles. However, each person will need a Battle.net account.
- In Beta, you can create up to 10 characters per account.
- Your progress in Early Access will carry over to Open Beta. However, it won’t carry over to Launch (June 6).
- Those who participate in Beta will get rewards that will carry over to the launch: two titles, and a cosmetic reward. The first title: “Initial Casualty,” is obtained shortly after the prologue and tutorial when you arrive to Kyovashad. The second title is obtained at Level 20 (in at least one character): “Early Voyager.” For the cosmetic reward, you must reach Level 20 to get a Beta Wolf Pup Pack cosmetic — Make sure to use your main Battle.net account during Beta to redeem these rewards at launch on June 6. The Wolf Pup is animated and moves during its sleep (NOTE: Right-Click to “Open image in new Tab” for full size).
- There will be another Dev update on March 24 during Open Beta. Some people might be able to play with developers during the livestream. More details soon.
- Early Access Beta Testers and Open Beta Testers can livestream. No NDA.
- There are Treasure Goblins in Diablo 4.
ARMOR SYSTEM DEEP DIVE
- The main source of “Armor” stat to mitigate incoming physical damage comes from Helm, Chest, Legs, Boots and Gloves. Chest and Legs items provide the most Armor stats. Boots and Gloves provide the least Armor stats.
- The Armor value of an item depends on the item power. The Item Power of an item derives from the Monster item power. If you want to increase your item power, kill monsters higher than you, but not always. The higher the Item Power, the higher the Armor stats it provides. There is a baseline for how much damage mitigation a player has.
- Armor stat mitigates Physical damage, but in Diablo 4, it also mitigates a percentage of non-Physical damage so that a Boss with Shadow damage does not one-shot kills a player. For example, if an item provides 60% Physical damage mitigation, it will also provide 30% all non-Physical mitigation (fire damage, shadow damage and so on).
- As you reach higher World Tiers (equivalent to Game Difficulties) your character gets penalties to their elemental resistances. You will have to stack up on extra resistances to compensate.
- Monster Level scales with the Player level. However, there are situations where Monster Level is higher — i.e. Helltide events. These Helltide events spawn randomly in the world.
- Monsters also have damage mitigation — which allows monsters to absorb some of the players’ damage.
There are several Strongholds throughout the Diablo 4 world. As you explore each of the 5 zones of the world of Sanctuary, you will find unique Stronholds. Each with their own story, unique objectives, bosses, and some with puzzle mechanics. Rewards are specific to each Stronghold. Once you defeat a Stronghold, it becomes an open space. Some only provide new dungeons, others provide only a Waypoint, and so on. Once these Strongholds become open spaces, you can find other players in them. Besides XP and rewards, Strongholds reward you with a good amount of Renown.
In the Renown system, as you reach certain milestones by completing activities in each of the 5 regions of the game, you obtain rewards, skill points, Paragon points, additional Health Potion charges and more, Renown also unlocks additional content.
Some Strongholds will become Towns with vendors and Waypoints. Other Strongholds won’t become Towns nor have Waypoints, but may unlock a shortcut path to another area; others might become a side quests hub; others might unlock new dungeons that reward new skill codex powers.
When will we learn more about Diablo 4’s Progression and End-Game Systems?
ADAM FLETCHER: Some will be discussed in a livestream shortly after Beta.
Is there a limit on the number of people you can see in the Open World?
JOE SHELY: The amount of players showing onscreen is dynamic depending on the type of content you are doing. We want the exploration of the open world to feel like Diablo — to feel like a desolate place. If you are running around in this harsh world, but there are 20 people trying to defeat the same monsters then it defeats the purpose of that sense of the Diablo experience.
We have been tuning throughout the development process exactly how many people you can see while you are out exploring a world area. Strongholds and Dungeons are completely private experiences. You will only see people in there that you have invited to your party. When you complete a Stronghold, those Strongholds become public spaces, and it is at that point where you begin to see people in those spaces. If you participate in public Events such as Helltides, you will see some people. If you participate in a World Raid Boss encounter you can see up to 12 players. If you are in a Town you will see the most people there. You can see people’s cool gear in Towns, form parties, and engage with other social activities there.
Does Diablo 4 support Ultra-Wide Screens?
JOE SHELY: Diablo 4 supports Ultra-Wide Screens. You are going to get to see more of the world. If you have one of the mega super Ultra-Wide screens, however, you will see black bars on both sides of the screen.
Is there Controller support for PC?
JOE SHELY: Absolutely. Yes. That’s the main way that I do it.
Will Diablo 4 have Seasons like Diablo III?
ADAM FLETCHER: Diablo 4 will have Seasons. We’ll get more info on Season 1 as we get closer to the Launch. The Season 1 will start at some point later after Launch.
JOE SHELY: The key thing to note is that our ambition here is to make Seasons substantially meatier than we have seen in the past. We really want this to be a Live game that changes every Season, that introduces new gameplay elements, and it is something that we are putting a lot of work and effort into developing.
Any plans to bring back Runes and Rune Words to Diablo 4 at Launch or in the future?
JOE SHELY: This is one of the interesting things about developing the game and showing it off. We try as we develop the game to talk about everything that we are doing as much as possible. Because the game is in development, we are experimenting with things. If you see some of the screenshots we have released, the Skill Tree has changed dramatically as we have looked at player feedback after showing it off. That’s the great thing about showing things off, because we can get feedback from players and make adjustments. It also means that sometimes we’ll announce features like Rune Words, and we realize like… “you know what? This may need more time to get right.” We know that because Rune Words are an existing concept in Diablo. If we announce this new system and name it Rune Words, people might say I remember what Rune Words were, and this is not Rune Words. Then we need to make sure that we are fulfilling the players’ expectations. So that’s something that we plan to return to in the future.
Are there ways to track achievements and goals throughout the game?
JOE SHELY: There are achievements, and a number of Class-based challenges, challenges for a particular content, and all kinds of cool stuff.
Is there Traiding in Diablo 4?
JOE SHELY: Trading in Diablo 4 is less restricting than it is in Diablo III, but it is by no means wide-open trading. We know that there are a lot of players who enjoy the game for the trading experience, and that those players would like to have as fewer restrictions on trading as possible; and so we want to support that to the extent that we can, but we also want to protect the core gameplay to kill monsters to earn loot. So there are some restrictions on trading to further encourage the situation where the best way to get the most powerful loot is to kill monsters. That’s sort of our overarching directive there. But when you think about all the stuff that we plan to do with Seasons, and the Live Service, you can certainly see opportunities for different Trading roles (sp?) in the future.
Important: The recent Diablo 4 Dev blog was updated by Blizzard to reflect details shared in today’s video.