Wyatt Cheng: Diablo Immortal Internal Playtest (Aug 4)

Right after the Activision Blizzard Q2 2020 Investors Conference, lead designer Wyatt Cheng surprised everyone with a Diablo Immortal update at the official website with the following message.


Greetings Diablo Immortal Community! 
 

It’s been a little while since you’ve heard from us, so we wanted check in and share an update on how development has been progressing for Diablo Immortal. We have seen many burning questions about the status of development on Diablo Immortal and rest assured, the team has been hard at work. 

We have transitioned to working from home, the team is still making good progress, and we are delighted to be marching toward key development milestones. One of the most important milestones for every new game at Blizzard is the internal company playtest. Blizzard is full of passionate gamers with a diverse range of playstyles and gaming tastes—the internal company playtest allows the development team to access that deep well of feedback.  

The Diablo Immortal team is eager to see how our Blizzard colleagues around the world experience our game. From the very first login to choosing a Legendary item to perfectly complement your build, we’ll be soliciting feedback to guide our decisions as we iterate on the game before it goes beyond Blizzard’s walls. In our quest to reimagine what is possible on mobile, we want to make sure the game delivers authentic Diablo combat with traditional Blizzard polish in a way that is natively intuitive on the platform. 

Once our playtest concludes, the team will focus on working through the feedback. This milestone is crucial to our team because we want to ensure that Diablo Immortal is the best experience for our players when we’re ready to share it with the world. Getting the game into the hands of more of us at Blizzard is a major step toward getting it into yours.

Diablo Immortal is coming together, and we can’t wait to share more details about our ongoing testing and release plans as development progresses. On a personal note, I also wanted to take a moment to thank you for your continued support and patience. On behalf of the Diablo Immortal team, we are grateful that you have been on this journey with us so far and we appreciate all of the interest for our game. Know that the minions of hell are hard at work and we can’t wait to show you everything we’ve been doing when the time is right. 

–Wyatt Cheng
Lead Designer, Diablo Immortal Team

Source: official Diablo Immortal website


VIDEO ANALYSIS

For those who complained about the Diablo Immortal new gameplay video shown in China — we now have a fully-western blood and gore update from Wyatt Cheng.

The well-geared Barbarian slashes three succubi-looking demons and half the screen is splashed with red blood — spraying in the direction they were hit. This is brutal.

This image is possibly some kind of altar by a plaza in the Westmarch capital city. We can see two bystander female citizens, and possibly an NPC on the bottom-left. We can see the Demon Hunter fully geared. Take a look at the lightning and shadows of the Diablo Immortal engine. How the light reflects on the stony-bricks of the ground (southeast of the Demon Hunter).

You probably didn’t notice, but this next screenshot seems to show a female Barbarian casting Spear of the Ancients.

In the next screenshot, we can see the Demon Hunter, Wizard, Monk and Barbarian. It is not clear to me if a sixth player (Necromancer) is in this scene. There is a very cool special effect on the ground as if it is being shattered, showing lava beneath the ground. This could be a telegraphed boss ability. Notice also the light reflection on the black slabs of the ground. Also to note, there are two boss minions entering the battlefield with long curved swords. There are three Health Globes around the center. The Barbarian also slashes the boss and you can see here what the Chinese version lacked: a very wide bloody red slash from his axes.

The video is very low quality, but gives us some visual info. The monk has an ability that summons a ghostly copy. Unknown if this is a Mystic Ally. The website only shows Dashing Strike, Cyclone Strike and Seven-Sided Strike.

Another ability that isn’t shown in the website. The Wizard is clearly casting Disintegrate. I think I briefly saw Magic Missile and probably Shock Pulse, too (but it also looked like a frost cone ability which doesn’t exist in Diablo III, so I am going with Shock Pulse). The website only shows three abilities: Meteor, Teleport and Lightning Nova.

In the next screenshot, we now see what the monster that comes out of a portal to tackle a wizard actually looks like. It is in no way similar to the Diablo 4 outdoor world boss. This is some other type of gigantic monster that seems to be empowered by a chunk of the Worldstone.

Something I like about Diablo Immortal is that bosses or your target is highlighted with a red outline. I recently played Bladebound (in my iPad Pro) and it is appalling to me that sometimes it is difficult to tell a boss from a mob until it is too late. Nothing like visually differentiate the boss from other mobs and the ground with a faint outline. That’s the Blizzard way.

How often can you say while leveling up from 1-70 that you get three Legendary drops from the same boss? Unless you are playing a high level Greater Rift or Torment II+ difficulty mode? Maybe we got a hint at one of those? (thx, RVxCobra|WoXian for the observation)

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