The endgame of Diablo 4 sure does sound like it includes a bunch of MMO dailies in disguise, but not to worry: Blizzard has said the latest incarnation of its action RPG hasn't been designed to devour your entire actual life. After all, that's what World of Warcraft is for.
In a group interview quoted by our colleagues at GamesRadar, associate game director Joe Piepiora said that Diablo 4 "is not intended to be played forever" and, while there will be harder challenges to face once you hit level 100, "this is content where you'll be pushing yourself to see how far you can take your build, rather than trying to reach some endless grind of rewards as time goes on beyond level 100."
Eventually, once you've finished the campaign to unlock the capstone dungeon, finished the capstone dungeon to unlock the next world tier difficulty setting, and then the next, and then the one after that, as well as spending glyphs to repeat tweaked versions of the dungeons called "nightmare dungeons", collecting bounties on activities handed out by a cursed tree, and battling through helltide regions to collect shards to spend on helltide caches (there are always shards), you'll be ready to face the final, final boss.
"At level 100, we do have a pinnacle boss encounter we want players to engage with that's been balanced so that it's extraordinarily, extraordinarily challenging," Piepiora said. "Players that reach level 100 are going to have an extremely difficult time on this boss encounter." It's a way of giving players an ultimate goal, he went on. "That's the point, is to say, 'I have managed to get an extremely powerful character build together. This is my capstone, this is the goal that I have for myself within a period of time after I've reached level 100'. You know, that's the aspirational piece we want players to chase. There's cosmetic things, there's other rewards you can get from that encounter, but it's not about getting more gear at that point. Like, that's the point of getting the gear, is to fight that particular boss."
Piepiora neglected to say who this pinnacle boss will be, however. Maybe the final, ultimate boss fight of Diablo 4 is against four Diablos all at once? Or perhaps Blizzard will take a leaf out of Wolfenstein 3D's book, and players will have to fight Lilith again, only in a mechsuit. Who can say.
Those who prefer their videogames to be endless Sisyphean treadmills have nothing to worry about, of course. Since Diablo 4 will be a live-service game complete with seasonal updates and battle passes, you'll be able to start a new character each season as you did in Diablo 3 and slog your way to level 100 and beyond all over again. Doesn't that sound like fun?
You can try Diablo 4 for yourself during the next playtest, a server slam running from May 12 through May 14, ahead of its final release on June 6.