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.
Blizzard Entertainment hasn’t made new announcements about the Diablo Immortal game. Not even 4 months after NetEase revealed their co-development tasks were completed.
We know Blizzard won’t be at GamesCom 2019, so there won’t be a Diablo Immortal panel there, nor gaming stations to play the demo. That leaves us little wiggle room to speculate where Blizzard might announce new details about the game, leaving us with BlizzCon as the most adequate platform. E3 already over (June 11-13) didn’t have Blizzard’s presence. SDCC started today, and nothing Diablo-ish appears in the schedule.
However, beta testing could happen in 2019, before BlizzCon… in theory. Don’t hold your breath though.
You can sign up for beta testing right now. It’s been up in the official website since November 2, 2018.
Without info on the game, and its requirements, it is hard to figure out the hardware specs and Android version Blizzard plans to support. What we do know is that Diablo Immortal Beta will be available to Android users. iOS won’t be available for beta, but there are plans to launch Diablo Immortal for iOS devices at some point in the future, or as the website coins it: “Soon”. Whether that means a simultaneous Android/iOS release, or a Android-only release, with a iOS version at a later time– that remains to be seen.
So when preparing for a game like Diablo Immortal when you do not own a phone or tablet, but for motives other than the game you plan to purchase one — you have to go the safe route. The latest Android OS: 9.0 Pie. Just in case, because we don’t know how far down the rabbit hole Blizzard plans to support (i.e. Android 8, Android 7, etc.)
For example, I have a device with Android 5. It won’t even load the Diablo Immortal beta sign-up app in Google Play. I also have an NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet running Android 8.1 Oreo. It won’t load the Diablo Immortal beta sign-up app in Google Play either.
If you don’t have an Android phone or a tablet, I will mention here some of the top alternatives available in the market right now running Android 9.
Several months ago, a NetEase representative revealed that all the development on the side of NetEase had been completed: “With regards to the launch of Diablo Immortal, we will announce a market launch date simultaneously with Blizzard. But on our side, development is already fully prepared and invested.”
It has been now 8 months since Blizzard Entertainment unveiled Diablo Immortal and no one has heard a peep about the game after that announcement — at least from Blizzard. So what happened?
NetEase has encouraged the press to reach out to Activision Blizzard to ask the question, but certainly nothing has been heard as a follow up. Why is Activision Blizzard holding up on details or on what the status of Diablo Immortal is?
I am going to speculate here based on what we know. Diablo Immortal was not received well by the audience at BlizzCon. Blizzard did clarify at least a couple of times that we would not be hearing about Diablo 4 at BlizzCon, but that the forges of Hell were burning. That was clearly a “Don’t expect Diablo 4 to be announced at BlizzCon.”
With Diablo Immortal and other Blizzard mobile games around the corner, those who already have phones might be thinking about upgrading, while those without a phone might wonder what’s the newest device in the block in 2019.
Samsung has officially announced the Samsung Galaxy S10. You can now buy it at carrier service companies starting on March 8, or you can pre-order the Factory Unlocked version here:
Chris Haga, former Diablo III Technical Artist uploaded a video shortly after the Diablo Immortal announcement at BlizzCon to share his point of view about the game, but more importantly to defend Wyatt Cheng, Mike Morhaime, and Allen Adham.
Chris Haga worked at Blizzard for 7 years until December 2011. A year before the Diablo III launch. He admits the game was not good upon launch, and praises Wyatt Cheng for turning around things until it felt more like Diablo II: Lord of Destruction.
NOTE: Not family or job safe. Some profanity spoken in both videos.
Diablo Immortal was announced as an MMOARPG (or massively multiplayer online action roleplaying game). However, there weren’t many elements we could see of this in the BlizzCon demo.
You never saw other players cross paths with any of the livestreamers while traversing the Bilefen. Only when they queued for the dungeon as a Group, did we see other players.
Of course, this is only a demo; and Wyatt Cheng mentioned you can see other people in the Westmarch capital city.
However, how much of a MMO features are we really going to see in Diablo Immortal when it comes to seeing other ungrouped people in the world? Better yet, why is the world of Sanctuary not a real world?
As I pointed out recently in a tweet addressed to @Diablo and in a forum thread at Diablofans, when I hear the term MMO wrapped around a Diablo video game, I have very steep and high expectations.
I knitted together the full map of the Bilefen by taking screenshots of the BlizzCon Diablo Immortal livestream by Bahjeera and Kraxell. For an “MMO” this doesn’t look like an MMO open world. I coined it a spaghetti string that goes from Point A to Point B.
Watching a Diablo Immortal gameplay video, I put together in Adobe Photoshop all the mini-map pieces to build the Bilefen map, as seen in the BlizzCon demo. I also added the quests and small areas within the Bilefen: such as the Abandoned Village, the Deathmire, and the Court of Madness.