Diablo 4's endgame challenges are MMO dailies in disguise

Blizzard's latest Diablo 4 endgame preview makes the MMO comparisons even easier to make.

Diablo 4 begins as an action RPG where you click your way through dungeons collecting rare loot. But once you hit level 50 and finish the story, you'll have a list of MMO-like activities to complete as you climb through the remaining 50 levels. It's not unlike previous Diablo games, but the open world and repeatable quest systems push it closer to an MMO experience.

World of Warcraft players will be able to read between the lines on the features explained in the video. Many of them reward currency or a chance at rare loot, and you can repeat them on what seems like a daily or weekly basis.

Here's how Diablo 4's MMO-like endgame systems will work:

  • Nightmare Dungeons: After collecting a Nightmare Sigil in the open world, you can unlock an existing dungeon's Nightmare difficulty, which will introduce tough monsters, new objectives, and powerful loot.
  • Helltides: Around the world powerful demons will pop up that you can go and defeat for shards. You then take those shards and spend them to roll for loot at the purveyor of curiosities.
  • Whispers of the Dead: A big ancient tree will send you to complete short tasks, or bounties, around the world and reward you with loot.
  • Fields of Hatred: Areas around the map will let you engage in PvP to find and purify shards to spend on loot in a nearby town.

Like in the recent beta, Diablo 4's higher difficulty settings, or world tiers, bolster enemies and increase the value of your gold and loot rewards. To unlock greater world tiers, you have to complete the main story and then survive a capstone dungeon. These dungeons test your skill so that you're prepared for the whole game to ramp up in difficulty.

After you've reached the bottom of the skill tree, you'll start earning paragon points instead of skill points. Diablo 4's paragon system gradually increases your base stats like in Diablo 3, except there's an added layer of complexity toits layout, a grid of nodes that can be claimed for bonuses such as five more dexterity. Legendary nodes offer more specific bonuses like a 5% increase to your damage for every nearby enemy that is under the effects of a crowd control ability. And glyphs can be found in the world and placed on the board to empower the nodes around them.

All of this is on top of the normal loot-based progression that was available in the beta. Legendary items can offer affixes that completely change how you play your class by introducing unique interactions between your skills. And you can make your own legendary items by imprinting an aspect—earned from difficult dungeons—onto any item. Aspects are essentially legendary item affixes that you can specifically chase down.

Diablo 4's endgame isn't a complete copy of a typical MMO endgame, but there's a surprising number of similarities. If you stick with it after the credits roll on the story, you will likely find yourself in a daily routine to improve your character, roaming around the open world with other players occasionally joining you. There are even world bosses to defeat. You can't fool me, Blizzard. I've played your other games before.

Associate Editor

Tyler has covered games, games culture, and hardware for over a decade before joining PC Gamer as Associate Editor. He's done in-depth reporting on communities and games as well as criticism for sites like Polygon, Wired, and Waypoint. He's interested in the weird and the fascinating when it comes to games, spending time probing for stories and talking to the people involved. Tyler loves sinking into games like Final Fantasy 14, Overwatch, and Dark Souls to see what makes them tick and pluck out the parts worth talking about. His goal is to talk about games the way they are: broken, beautiful, and bizarre.