During the BlizzCon 2018 Diablo Immortal panel, Wyatt Cheng said something that has been poking the back of my mind ever since. Something that has made me think that Diablo Immortal is not just to tell the story of what happened five years after Diablo II’s Worldstone destruction, but also serve as a primer for Diablo IV.
That thing poking at the back of my mind is that there is not just other worlds out there — as revealed to the dragon Trag’Oul in Diablo: The Sin War (Vol. 3) — but there are also other timelines. If you are into DC Comics or Marvel Comics — you know what I mean: a multiverse of alternate timelines.
It is official. Activision Blizzard revealed that Diablo Immortal will enter its beta testing phase in the middle of 2020. No specific date was provided, but the exact middle of the year is June. So any date within June, and even July is a fair approximate of when to expect the beta.
This was revealed by Cody Johnson during the Activision Blizzard Q4 2019 financial results conference call held yesterday (Feb 6). You can read the transcript here.
With lack of Diablo Immortal spotlight at BlizzCon 2019, and through observation, I think we can now discard what NetEase said back on February 29, 2019 about their side of development been wrapped up.
BlizzCon 2019 showed that the developers are polishing the game in-house to meet their quality standards. While Diablo Immortal did not get a spotlight at BlizzCon 2019 with its own panel, there was activity in the form of a Diablo Immortal press kit and a new gameplay video featuring the Demon Hunter.
So when exactly is Diablo Immortal going to ship? Blizzard Entertainment hasn’t set a date for release date, nor for beta testing at the moment of this posting.
However, I think it is safe to gauge at this moment based on some trends.
Diablo Immortal was unveiled at BlizzCon 2018 with three playable Classes: Barbarian, Wizard, and Monk. The website was silent for a full year until BlizzCon 2019 when the Demon Hunter’s abilities were updated. However, for a full year of no news and showcasing only the Demon Hunter instead of two Classes or the remaining three… that’s telling upon itself. Reveals are now been gated as “one Class per event” — and before BlizzCon 2019 there were three remaining classes’ abilities not yet featured: the Demon Hunter, Crusader, and Necromancer.
So if we use BlizzCon 2019 as a gauge to measure when the game is going to be released, I might dare to say that we might hear about the next Class at PAX East on February 27; or at GamesCom on August 25. Then final Class’ abilities might be revealed at BlizzCon 2020, then.
Or PAX East and GamesCom as the reveals with beta starting shortly after August 25 with a release date near October-November range. That would leave BlizzCon 2020 to focus on post-launch content.
So I am using my sham magic ball to predict the game might release a short time before or after BlizzCon 2020.
At the moment, and this is concerning, the Diablo Immortal beta registration Android app is only accessible to those with Android 8 (Oreo) or above. I can tell because I have two Android devices: One runs Android 5 and the tablet runs Android 7. My Android PC emulator runs with a Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus profile with Android 8. That’s the only one that can see the Diablo Immmortal registration app in the Google Play.
Concerning because as of August 2019, the latest Android version available is Android 9 (Pie) — which leaves a lot of phones out there in the dark unable to register. To me that says that Blizzard has not yet readied to support older phones. I assume that when beta testing is nearing we might see older versions of Android become able to load the Diablo Immortal registration app in the Google Play store. At least, I hope.
In the meantime, if you don’t own an Android phone or tablet, I suggest checking out my recent article about installing an Android PC emulator (which also works in Mac computers). You can register to participate in the Diablo Immortal beta through your PC emulator which thankfully emulates a Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus phone at 1080HD.
I found very intriguing that Diablo Immortal was not mentioned during the BlizzCon 2019 Day 1 panels. Instead, Blizzard Entertainment posted a Diablo Immortal update article in the Diablo III website.
They provided a short FAQ. BlizzCon 2019 attendees can play a Diablo Immortal demo at the showfloor where they can test the Barbarian, Wizard, and Monk (same as last year), but now with the addition of the Demon Hunter. Attendees can play through the town of Wortham and the outdoor zone of Ashwold Cemetary.
Blizzad Entertainment added a new base game mechanic: Ultimate Abilities — “All classes gain charge for their chosen Ultimate by using basic attacks. Once this charge has been built up, players can choose to augment their basic attack for a short time in a face-meltingly powerful display of strength, guile, or raw magical potential.”
Blizzard Entertainment announced Diablo Immortal at BlizzCon 2018, and when asked whether Diablo Immortal could be played on the PC, the developer said only on Android and iOS devices. However, on November 5, 2018 there was a sneaky comments by NetEase to the chinese media that not many people know about:
Diablo Immortal was made with NetEase’s Messiah-engine (which supports PBR); and that NetEase is alright with players using Android emulators on their PC. (source)
So you see, you don’t really need a phone to play Diablo Immortal. You can play Diablo Immortal on your PC using your keyboard and mouse.
Personally, I never had a smartphone until a few months after Diablo Immortal was announced when I got ahold of an older model with Android 6. Definitely, not android savvy… just like many of you. When I read that NetEase was ok with PC emulators, I immediately looked around in Google to read some articles and watch some videos.
I found one constant go-to Android emulator for the PC recommended by people. Even better… Mac players can install the emulator too.
Here is how to play Android games on your PC or Mac computer:
Step 1: Install BlueStacks. Login using your Gmail credentials.
Click the 3 lines icon to open the Settings, and choose “Advance.” There you can switch to the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus profile. That phone currently has the Android 9 Pie. Diablo Immortal at the moment doesn’t show up in earlier Android versions.
Step 2: Launch Google Play within BlueStacks. Type DIABLO IMMORTAL. Register to participate in the Diablo Immortal closed beta test using a Google email/Gmail address.
Step 3: Once Diablo Immortal goes live, install the game using Google Play within the Bluestacks window. However, for practice purposes, go ahead and install any NetEase game such as Crusaders of Light, or Knives Out.
UPDATE: The ASUS ROG Phone 2 became available in the United States on September 24th. You can order it now.
Those who don’t have a phone, or plan to play Diablo Immortal (or give it a try) might like to hear that ASUS plans to reveal details about the ASUS ROG Phone 2 on July 23. It is confirmed that the device will be sold in China the same day.
So far the following details have leaked through the TENAA certification website.. the ASUS ROG Phone 2 consists of a 6.59″ AMOLED 18:9 display with 120Hz refresh rate (adjustable between 60Hz, 90Hz, or 120Hz); a 5,800mAh battery with a 30W fast-charger; the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Plus octa-core 7nm SoC clocking at 2.95Ghz; and Android 9 (PIE). At least two models have been approved by the TENAA Certification in the range of 8GB RAM and 12GB RAM. In terms of internal storage, the TENAA Certification lists three options: 128GB, 256GB, or 1TB.
Pricing is rumored to start around $640 (roughly translated from Chinese currency). We will have to wait until July 23 at an event in China to learn more details. ASUS is also slated to showcase the ASUS ROG Phone 2 at the ChinaJoy 2019 expo on August 1 in Shangai.