We spent a long time waiting for Diablo 4, both before and after Blizzard confirmed years of speculation about its existence with a gory reveal at Blizzcon 2019. Years later, our reward for all the staying awhile and listening is at hand: the Diablo 4 beta begins this weekend, with the full release only a couple of months behind.
Blizzard has been dropping regular development updates about Diablo's return, all leading up to its looming release in June. And at long last, we're all able to try it for ourselves, with March's beta weekends giving us an early opportunity to descend into Hell and explore Fractured Peaks. Here's everything we've learned about Diablo 4's classes, open world, and inevitable endgame.
What is the Diablo 4 release date?
Diablo 4 will release on June 6, 2023, as announced with a cinematic trailer at The Game Awards in December 2022.
The release date follows an announcement that the game wouldn't be releasing in 2022, and dashed the hopes of those who were led by a fairly reputable leak corroborated by the Xbox Era podcast that there would be an announcement of an April 2023 release date. A few months longer, but we're less than half a year off, though there are some doubts about making Diablo 4's release date without some serious crunch.
The March Diablo 4 beta tests have begun
As Blizzard announced at IGN's 2023 Fan Fest, the Diablo 4 (opens in new tab) beta is available to play now, from March 17-19, for players who've pre-ordered the game. The Diablo 4 open beta will be available for everyone next weekend, from March 24-26.
Diablo 4 trailers
Here's Diablo 4's opening cinematic
Revealed at IGN's 2023 Fan Fest, Diablo 4's intro cutscene is as foreboding as you'd hope. It features the player character wandering a frozen mountain woodland—however you customize yours, they'll appear here—until they discover a statue with such rancid vibes that their horse flees panicked into the dark. Because it's a Diablo game, the pony does not fare well. Forced to seek shelter alone, the player character takes a cave nap just in time to dream of dark and terrible omens.
What other Diablo 4 trailers are out there?
The original reveal trailer (opens in new tab) was one hell of a way to announce Diablo 4. The cinematic is gorgeous and morbid, exactly as Diablo should be. Imagine how much better off the world would be without treasure hunters accidentally resurrecting the ultimate evil.
The first official gameplay trailer (opens in new tab) was also a great tone-setter, showing off three of the character classes in combat, traversing the open world on horseback, and a bit of co-op against a gnarly, big boss creature.
The release date trailer (opens in new tab) first shown at the 2022 Game Awards proves that Blizzard's cinematic teams are still firing on all cylinders. Headed by rogue angel Inarius, a Crusader expedition into hell proves through grisly, graphic impalement that angelic forces can be every bit as terrifying as their demonic counterparts.
Diablo 4 classes
Druid | Druid Gameplay (opens in new tab)
The shapeshifting Druid class was one of the first to be announced for Diablo 4. They're able to use powers based on the earth and wind and seamlessly shapeshift into Werebear and Werewolf forms. Unlike past entries, the Druid won't use a skill to transform specifically into a form, but instead when using a skill that requires a particular form, they will shift into it and remain shapeshifted briefly. Druids are also able to bring some companion summons to help out, including wolves and ravens.
Barbarian | Barbarian Gameplay (opens in new tab)
The Barbarians are back with their massive strength and piles of weaponry. We know that the Barbarian will use something called the "Arsenal" system, which allows them to tote around four different types of weapons to swap between. You can even assign different skills to use specific weapons, so if you want to get really granular with your customization—or just use the specific bonuses from a weapon for a particular skill—you'll have that option.
Sorceress | Sorceress Gameplay (opens in new tab)
For the traditional elemental spellcasters, there's the Sorceress class who can hurl lightning, ice, and fire at enemies from afar, with matching elemental specialization options. Unlike Diablo 3's Wizard, the Sorceress is far more focused on elemental magic, so expect flashy displays of the elements and pure arcane shenanigans. The new Sorceress also utilizes the new Enchantment system which allows them to not only utilize six skill slots like everyone else, but three Enchantment slots that turn skills into unique passives.
Rogue | Rogue Reveal (opens in new tab) — Rogue Gameplay (opens in new tab)
At BlizzCon 2021, Blizzard added a fourth class to the mix, the Rogue, who hasn't appeared by that name since the original Diablo. We've got some details on the Rogue's abilities here (opens in new tab), and you can count on doing dirty work at range with your bow, but also up close with daggers and short range knives. The Rogue works with a "combo points" mechanic that sees your abilities build off your attacks, and they also have a specialization called "Shadow Realm" where you can become immune and drag enemies into a spooky looking grayscale where you get all kinds of powerful.
Necromancer | Necromancer Reveal (opens in new tab) — Necromancer Gameplay (opens in new tab)
With a spooky showing at the 2022 Xbox & Bethesda showcase, Blizzard revealed the Necromancer as Diablo 4's fifth and final class. The Necromancer will be bringing along their expected retinue of skeletons of every variety, and plenty of bone and blood magic (opens in new tab) besides. The Necromancer utilizes corpses as a resource, along with the mana-like Essence. We even know we're seeing the return of Bone Prison (opens in new tab), in case you want to trap your enemies in place for all sorts of nefarious reasons. Of course, if you're more about animating bones to be your buddies, the new "Book of the Dead" feature lets you customize your minions and evolve them into different specialized skeletal pals, here's hoping there's a bardic option (opens in new tab).
Diablo 4 has actual character customization
Diablo 4's character customization system will allow players to outfit their characters with hundreds of unique armor pieces as well as detailed facial and body characteristics. There are many Barbarians, but this one is yours. An expanded dye system will also let players customize individual pieces of armor, or entire outfits, "in a range of colors that still feel grounded and realistic in the world we’re building."
It's not just armor though. Diablo 4 will let you change the facial features of your character, a new feature for the series. Blizzard says that your characters will get more close-up time than ever before in the series, in menus and cinematic sequences.
Here are all the details Blizzard mentions in its June 2021 development update:
"You will be able to change the face of your character, the hairstyle, the facial hair (beards and eyebrows), and add jewelry (nose piercing or earrings), makeup, and body markings such as tattoos or body paint. You will also be able to change the color values of your character’s skin, eyes, hair/facial hair, and body markings. Some elements will be class specific, to support the classes’ unique backgrounds, but many will be shared between classes allowing more possibilities to mix and match."
Diablo 4 gameplay
Here's the latest Diablo 4 gameplay showcase
This June 2022 Diablo 4 gameplay highlights some of the systems and mechanics players will interact with in the game's open world, like public events that task you with battling massive demonic foes alongside whatever other players are in the area. It also gives a look at character creation and a few other bits and bobs, like the fact you can reclaim areas for NPC's to move in and set up shop.
If you'd also like a recent look at raw combat, this VFX video from the Blizzard quarterly update blog shows off some spicy visual effects as various classes mow down hordes of demons.
Our Diablo 4 preview playtime left us with high hopes
As written in our Diablo 4 hands-on preview, our own Tyler Colp had lots of positivity to share after playing a late 2022 demo build of Diablo 4, with particular praise for the immediate and engaging character customization choices. "Diablo 4 reminds me why other action-RPGs don't do it for me. It either takes too long to earn enough abilities to formulate a plan or they drop so many on you that it's overwhelming," Tyler wrote. "Blizzard knows exactly how quickly to fill your spellbook and when to introduce a new wrinkle to get you thinking."
Diablo 4 is emphasizing class choice and identity
In November 2022, Diablo 4's game director Joe Shely and the Diablo general manager Rod Fergusson sat down to talk to IGN about how they designed Diablo 4's class gameplay (opens in new tab), and they had some interesting things to say, focusing on how they wanted even two players of the same class or sub-class to be able to be unique:
"We started with a couple of classes and we had some really cool ideas for class mechanics that would be specific to those classes. It proved to be very compelling not just in terms of the gameplay of the class, but also, if you're playing a barbarian, and maybe you're grouped up with a sorceress, and the sorceress is using her class mechanic, you look at that and go 'There's lots of interesting gameplay there I can check out.' We really wanted the classes to shine in their own ways."
Among other things, they confirmed that you will be able to re-spec your skill tree point by point, though it will have a gold cost that becomes more and more expensive as you get deeper into the game, making it so "those choices have meaning" as Diablo 4 looks to have more of a focus on your build being tied to your character, unlike Diablo Immortal and Diablo 3, which were far more focused on your build being tied to your equipment. In the devs' words: "you're not just going 'okay I'm level 65, time to change my clothes and become a different barbarian.'"
Diablo 4 is making big changes to items
Blizzard says that its ideals when it comes to itemisation are strengthening class identities, supporting deeper customisation and giving players a level of depth that sits somewhere between Diablo 2 and 3. "We aim to provide years of things to discover and countless ways to build a class," former game director Luis Barriga wrote in a development update (opens in new tab).
Specific changes include the addition of weapon speed and other inherent physical characteristics that you'll find across all item types. Every shield, for instance, will have a block attribute on top of whatever other properties they have.
Item qualities and affixes have also been in the crosshairs. Blizzard says it wants to give players more flexibility and doesn't want them to feel like they should just ignore everything that isn't a legendary-tier item. "We’re increasing the potential power of individual affixes on Magic items," said Barriga. "We're increasing the maximum number of affixes on Rare and better items in the endgame. Legendary affixes now roll randomly (Yes, really!) on Legendary Items. And Unique items will replace Mythics."
Say goodbye to inventory Tetris
Yup, you heard right. No more shuffling various shapes around your limited inventory space trying to bring back just one more bit of loot. Blizzard says it wants to "avoid interrupting gameplay with pockets of inventory management." Fair.
Diablo 4 has three new stats
Blizzard is adding three new stats to Diablo 4: Angelic Power, Demonic Power, and Ancestral Power. Each has its own effect, but they'll also be used as prerequisites for item affixes.
- Angelic Power: increases the duration of all beneficial effects (like self-buffs or healing)
- Demonic Power: increases the duration of all negative effects (like debuffs or damage over time)
- Ancestral Power: increases the chance of on-hit effects (aka increased proc chance)
Here's Diablo 4's skill tree
In its quarterly update for September 2020 (opens in new tab), Blizzard talks about Diablo 4's new skill tree. The branches of the tree are where you'll spend experience earned while leveling to unlock new active skills, enhancements for those skills, and Passive Points. Passive Points are spent in the roots of the tree where you unlock additional effects.
Blizzard says that it currently aims for players to unlock around 30-40% of the nodes on the skill tree by the endgame, meaning players will have quite different builds even within the same class.
More recently, in November 2022, Blizzard spoke with IGN and confirmed that the skill tree can be re-speced, but at a cost that ramps up as you level in an effort to make your investment in your character and their build deeper: "There's going to be a point in time where, and I'm going to make up a number but say at level 50, you go like 'oh, I'd like to be a different barbarian, but it's too expensive to undo everything I've done, it's actually better for me to roll another barbarian and start a new one and go fresh."
Diablo 4 is open world
Diablo 4's open world contains five regions that can be explored in any order. "Each region is fraught with dangers of their own kind," said lead environment artist Matt McDaid in 2022's first quarterly update (opens in new tab). "Many routes, and hidden corners to uncover. How you chose to make your way through this vast world is up to you. The Art and Design teams have constructed a contiguous world where you can roam from coast to coast, or high up into the glacial ridges. For the Environment Art team, we want to ensure each handcrafted location is distinct and immersive."
Helpfully, the environments team over at Blizzard has produced six videos to start giving you an early look at what you'll find in Diablo 4's regions, which you can see below:
Diablo 4 will support controllers for PC
Blizzard talked in its first quarterly update about how it's designing the user interface with lots of player types in mind. Here's some UI/controller-specific stuff you can do in Diablo 4 according to lead UI designer Angela Del Priore:
- Switch between mouse/keyboard and controller without "throwing people completely off kilter"
- Choose to have the action bar in the middle center or bottom left of the screen
- Open UI screens independently in couch co-op mode
- Rebind your primary attack to something other than left mouse click
Diablo 4 endgame
The Paragon system returns
Like Diablo 3, Diablo 4 will have its own Paragon system for post-game progression.
Once players hit level 50 in Diablo 4 they'll gain access to the Paragon Board, which uses digital tiles to enable very specific power boosts and character customization. The process begins at the center of the board and radiates outward across normal, magic, rare, and legendary tiles. Each one earned will give your character a boost of some sort, from the very basic to the extremely powerful. Some tiles are sockets for glyphs found throughout the game that confer different benefits when inserted into the board. Glyphs can also be leveled up, increasing their benefit.
Eventually, you'll reach the edge of the Paragon Board, but that's not the end of the process. Instead you'll find a gate tile, a special kind of tile that unlocks and connects to other Paragon Boards, each with a unique layout and new magical, rare, and legendary tiles.
"Once your hero reaches a gate tile, you’ll choose which new paragon board you would like to attach to at that location," Blizzard said in the 2021 end of year update (opens in new tab). "The desired outcome is a personalized set of bonuses that will empower your hero and honor your dedication to their progression, that will remain fun to tweak and adjust over many playthroughs."
Blizzard also confirmed in their August 2022 quarterly update (opens in new tab) that the metagame would change regularly, including additional paragon boards and glyphs—so you can expect your character to have to adapt over time.
Diablo 4 has a Battle Pass
Detailed in a December 2022 developer livestream (opens in new tab), Diablo 4 will have a seasonal content model, with each Season lasting roughly three months. Each Season will have an associated Season Pass, which grants rewards as players achieve higher ranks by completing in-game activities. As in standard Battle Pass fashion, there will be a free Season Pass available to all players, with a $10 paid Season Pass offering additional—and presumably, cooler—rewards. All Season Pass rewards will be cosmetic, so you won't be missing out on any mechanical rewards if you don't shell out another ten bucks every three months.
Diablo 4 will also have an in-game store, but aside from the Season Pass and eventual expansions, only cosmetics will be available for purchase.
Diablo 4 multiplayer
Diablo 4 will have cross-play multiplayer
There's good news for anyone who has friends that play on Xbox or Playstation consoles, at the Xbox and Bethesda Games Showcase back in June 2022, Blizzard slipped in that Diablo 4 crossplay is going to be fully open between platforms: "We've got fully enabled crossplay. If you have an Xbox, and your buddy has a PC, you're going to be able to group up. Or you can play couch co-op."
How do the online features work?
The main takeaways are that dungeons will be instanced for solo or partied players, and in the overworld you'll see more players in towns and safe areas—though there's no option to turn them off altogether, even if you're solo. World events will draw players together, and you'll be able to ride mounts to cross great distances (these will be horses, and yes, you'll be able to buy horse armor for them). Difficulty can be set when you enter a dungeon, while above ground it will be scaled to your level (though there is a permadeath mode).
Sadly, this is all bad news if you're understandably an opponent of always-online games: you won't be able to play Diablo 4 offline.
PvP will take place in Fields of Hatred
At BlizzCon 2021, Blizzard reveled how Diablo 4's open world PvP will work. You can find the full details here (opens in new tab), but the gist is that PvP will be contained to areas called Fields of Hatred. Enter one, and you're fair game.
Inside a Field, you'll collect Shards of Hatred by fighting monsters, opening chests, killing other players, and completing other tasks. Hold onto your Shards long enough to cleanse them at an altar, and you'll be able to spend them on items from special merchants. If you're killed while holding uncleansed Shards, though, you'll drop them, and whoever took your life will get to grab them.
Other Diablo 4 info
Here are the Diablo 4 system requirements
A refreshing departure from the relentless march of hardware standards, Diablo 4's only making modest demands with its system requirements. For now, at least—the requirements listed here are what Blizzard's specified for the upcoming public beta, and could be revised for the full release. Blizzard recently confirmed that Diablo 4 will have DLSS 3 upscaling support (opens in new tab) available in the game from the get-go.
Minimum (1080p, 720p render resolution, low graphics settings, 30 fps)
- CPU: Intel Core i5 2500K or AMD FX 8100
- RAM: 8 GB RAM
- GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 660 or AMD Radeon R9 280
- Storage: 45 GB available space
Recommended (1080p, medium graphics settings, 60 fps)
- CPU: Intel Core i5 4670K or AMD R3 1300X
- RAM: 16 GB
- GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 or AMD Radeon RX 370
- Storage: 45 GB available space
There's nothing the Diablo 4 marketing team won't try
The closer we get to release, the more it feels like Blizzard has allotted a near-infinite Diablo 4 marketing budget. First was the campaign to make living billboards out of fans by offering beta keys for those who got Diablo tattoos (opens in new tab). Then, there was the Diablo 4-themed showing at Milan Fashion Week (opens in new tab), about which you'd be forgiven for not immediately recognizing as Diablo-related and, as a result, wondering if that doesn't contradict the idea of marketing itself. Next, Blizzard gently dabbled in heresy, repainting the interior of a deconsecrated French chapel with Diablo 4 murals (opens in new tab) and trusting that technicality is a ward against divine retribution.
Stepping away from reigniting satanic panic, Blizzard's most recent marketing stunt only defaces a holy place if you consider your body a temple. Otherwise, you can secure early access to the Diablo 4 beta courtesy of Colonel Sanders (opens in new tab), KFC's very own Lord of Terror.
What will the Microsoft purchase mean for Diablo 4?
If you somehow missed it, Microsoft announced it's buying Activision Blizzard in the latest mega-deal to drag us towards the inevitable corporate cyberpunk future. This of course will shake up the Etch A Sketch at least a bit on everything Blizzard has in the tank, including Diablo 4. However, it's really too early to tell what's going to happen, since the next Diablo is quite far out. We probably won't hear anything concrete about plans until the deal is finalized and the ink is dry.
Diablo 4 replaced its game director in late 2021
Following the harassment and discrimination lawsuit against Activision Blizzard by the state of California, the company confirmed that Diablo 4's game director Louis Barriga was no longer with the company. Blizzard then introduced senior game designer Joe Shely as the new game director. Shely has been on the Diablo 4 team since 2017, previously working as a designer on multiple World of Warcraft expansions before becoming a senior game designer on Diablo 3.
"Like many of you, our team has been reflecting upon recent events," Shely wrote in the Diablo 4 quarterly development blog from October 2021. "A lot has happened since our last blog and the hard work of practicing the values we aspire to must continue. In parallel with that important work, development of Diablo 4 continues too."