At BlizzCon 2023, the Diablo 4 team took to the stage to announce Vessel of Hatred, the live service action RPG's first expansion. Vessel of Hatred's announcement was accompanied by a pre-rendered trailer previewing a new take on Diablo 2's jungles of Torajan and narrated by legacy baddie, Mephisto.
There's not a ton to go on from the trailer itself, just a quick fly-through of some jungle ending with a panoramic shot of the sort of Maya-influenced stepped pyramids that marked Diablo 2's city of Kurast. Mephisto's narration is suitably ominous and threatening, but not particularly illuminating. He says archdevil stuff like "There will be no salvation in the light." That's cool man, it'd be weird if you were like "the light can beat me, why should I even bother."
This will be our first time returning to Torajan since Diablo 2's third act, though Diablo 3's Witch Doctor class originated from the region, and Torajan has gotten lore shoutouts here and there as well. The return of a major Diablo 2 area and villain all makes this feel like a love letter to that game, but one thing that won't be a throwback is Vessel of Hatred's as-of-yet unrevealed new class.
Diablo 4 production director Tiffany Wat described it as a "completely new class never seen before in the Diablo universe." That seems to pretty definitively rule out a reprisal of past classes like the Paladin, Assassin, or Witch Doctor, but I have no idea what direction Blizzard will branch out in to expand the roster. Something tied to Torajan lore in a similar way to the Witch Doctor seems likely, but it could just as easily be out of left field.
Though you should take it with a grain of salt, leaked information initially shared by Russian YouTuber YbuBaKa and reported by Sportskeeda suggests that the new class will be a glaive-wielding nature and flight-focused warrior called the Spiritborn. Notably, this allegedly datamined information includes the correct location for the expansion (though it specifies the city of Kurast within Torajan) as well as Mephisto's involvement.
The leak incorrectly calls the expanison "Lord of Hatred," though this potentially fits as a WIP title. The leak also predicts a new mercenary system for hiring followers, as well as a raid titled Tomb of Akarat. Vessel of Hatred is currently set to release in "late 2024," though Blizzard has said that more details on the expansion will be coming over the summer.
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Ted has been thinking about PC games and bothering anyone who would listen with his thoughts on them ever since he booted up his sister's copy of Neverwinter Nights on the family computer. He is obsessed with all things CRPG and CRPG-adjacent, but has also covered esports, modding, and rare game collecting. When he's not playing or writing about games, you can find Ted lifting weights on his back porch.