Some of our SteelSeries employees got to play in the Diablo IV Early Access Beta... we gathered multiple people to share their impressions so check them out!
We have some fresh Diablo IV gameplay impressions for you. Sadly, I didn't get to play it myself, as I was busy traveling (and playing at a fighting game tournament). So I defintely missed out. However, a few employees offered to share their gameplay impressions of Diablo IV, once the queue times stabilized a bit. Reminder, it was only possible to play up to level 25 and the entirety of Act I.
The following are their impressions (mildly edited for length, clarity, etc).
Diablo IV Beta Impressions
Mike Wojtowicz, Digital Designer
After dealing with usual Blizzard-themed issues around servers on Friday, I was able to play the beta on Saturday ;).
I would love to see an offline mode just in case, but it hasn't happened since Diablo II, so I'm not sure.
I like the character customization and the fact that your created character shows up in cinematics.
I tried playing as a Sorceress, because I find the type of attacks very compelling. I was able to unlock spells which allowed me attacking from a distance, creating shields dealing damage to the opponents, and the ability to dash and shock monsters at the same time.
Environments look fantastic, they are very detailed, lightning looks very good, I love the overall atmosphere, sound design and music — everything is punchy and accentuates what’s going on the screen.
The prologue is dark, gory, it pulled me into the story. Interactions with NPCs and more interactive dialogue helped me engage with the game a bit more. I didn’t like the fact that as soon as you enter any big city, you can meet other players like in World of Warcraft . It took away from the feeling of a desolate story of a lone hero.
Jordan Trais, Senior Product Manager
I played to level 21 as a Barbarian. Didn't finish Act 1 (on purpose), but I did get pretty far, plus side quests. I wanted the beta unlocks for the release game that you get at 20, but I didn't want to "spoil" too much.
Overall, I enjoyed myself. I haven't "Diablo'ed" in quite a while. I played Diablo III on launch mostly for the single player and a bit after but really didn't do the seasons over the years.
I found the tone/style to be pretty dark in a good way. The sound design was great and the challenge was at a good spot for me. Played on World Tier 2 and found a couple bosses a little challenging but nothing too crazy.
On purpose I just went for it on the skill tree, didn't consult any guides. So I'm sure I wasn't min/max'ed but I did enjoy unlocking and experimenting with the new skills. I liked how the Barbarian skills were tied to the weapons so you had more combat variety, as opposed just the same weapon all the time.
Angela Ho, Creative Lead
I'm a newcomer to the Diablo series. I know the lore and the characters from other Blizzard games, but I never really actually tried out the game. It was very cool to finally try it for the first time! First and foremost, the game graphics are beautiful. I couldn't help myself zooming a bit closer just to see the details on the objects around the map or the interactions with NPC. There are just so many things to see and notice. I would stop at one place just looking at the NPC idle animation, or the buildings and decorations all over the place to really get a feel of the artistic direction they put into the area. I never enjoyed isometric top-down-view type of games (especially with mouse-clicking movement) but the complexity they put into the environment makes it feel like looking into a tiny world. There is something very satisfying about that, that the objects contains details even when viewing them from a distance.
Story-wise, the first couple quests pulled me into the story and got me interested with what's going on very fast. I'm the type of the person who don't skip cut-scenes, and I for sure enjoyed them a lot during those few quests I got to.
It may be that I didn't get very far during the Beta to diversify my combat style, but the combat was weird for me. I'm not used to a bunch of mobs just running at you at once and you just left click, pop some potions and tank the damage. It's early game, but as a Sorceress, I was expecting to finish off mob at a distance. I'm also used to ability rotations in MMO games and CC when fighting large group of mobs, so I was definitely panicking big time when I got swamped by 10+ mobs at once when I only have 1 ability unlocked. But for a veteran Diablo player it probably is very normal. It was a learning curve for me for sure.
Then I went into the dungeons, which I didn't quite enjoy. One is that I get lost in it because there isn't a visual indicator of where to go other than going to the unexplored area on your map. I know there's a yellow marker for you to follow, but during a dungeon, I just didn't see a marker anywhere on the map. And these routes sometimes loop back to previous area but you wouldn't know until you walked the whole way. I was accidentally back to the starting point and had to walk through the dungeon again. My second point is that the distance from point A to B is very long and mob fights are repetitive. I would much prefer having mini bosses that have different modes of attack on the way instead of just left-clicking groups and groups of weaker mobs. Or a smaller map so we spend more time building the story and use these fights for you to get used to your abilities. It was hard to keep me interested. I enjoyed the checkpoint where they push the story a bit, but anything in between I just didn't love. The final boss was different than mob fights, as it should. Though it was overwhelming for no reason. As if the way for them to raise difficulty is to add a lot more stuff on your screen. Bunch of laser beams, all the mobs you've seen on the way, and maybe couple other environmental traps. Having only 2 abilities unlocked at the time on my Sorceress, I could not grasp the pattern or flows of the attack and how I should approach defeating them.
Maybe Diablo always has had a fairly slow start to the game in terms of combat. But I definitely have played games that interest me in terms of combat system in the first couple hours. In my opinion, if 80% of the game is you killing mobs, the fights should be satisfying, no matter which stage of the game you are in. It could very well be that Diablo's combat system is just not for me. I love the lore and the stories and would love to experience through them all, but I would hesitate to buy the game if that's only 20% of the game.
Diablo IV Open Beta Info
There is one more session of the Diablo IV Open Beta coming up, on the weekend of March 24th-26th. Anyone can play and there is no need to possess any kind of key or pre-order receipt. See you at the Gates of Hell! (I will do my best to get in on this one!)
Diablo IV Release Date
The Diablo IV release date is June 6th, 2023. That is a Tuesday. If you pre-order the game, however, you can play it on June 2nd, which is a Friday (see what they did there?).
Looking forward to slaying minions of Hell once again!