Diablo Immortal ready for public alpha, promises 'content updates are always going to be free'

Opening a chest in Diablo Immortal
(Image credit: Blizzard)

Blizzard's mobile game Diablo Immortal is about to go into limited technical alpha, lead designer Wyatt Cheng explained in an update video. "A small number of players, primarily in Australia, will briefly have access to test the game," he said, "and help us look at our early leveling experience, as well as our midgame systems."

The alpha will feature four out of the final game's six classes: the barbarian, monk, demon hunter, and wizard (no crusader or necromancer). It'll have a lower level cap than the complete game, stopping at level 45, although players will be able to test a paragon system like Diablo 3's to continue improvement past the cap. Unlike Diablo 3, Diablo Immortal will have multiple paragon trees of abilities designed around different playstyles.

Another feature of Diablo 3 appearing in slightly altered form are the randomized dungeons called greater rifts. In Diablo Immortal they'll be called elder rifts, and require keys to open.

The legendary items discussed at Blizzcon last year were mentioned again, with an explanation they won't be tradable and will have to be "self-found". An item-leveling system will keep older legendaries relevant by letting you salvage gear for crafting material to upgrade them, and upgraded legendary items will gain random bonus properties at certain ranks.

As for the storyline, it'll be set between Diablo 2 and Diablo 3, and begin in Wortham. Looks like Deckard Cain is involved, because of course he is.

Finally, Cheng explained how Diablo Immortal will be monetized. "The entire main quest storyline and all future content updates are always going to be free," he said. "We are not gonna limit your game time with an energy system and new classes will be accessible to everybody, without requiring an in-game purchase. Diablo Immortal will be free-to-play, with optional in-game purchases available."

Those in-game purchases will include a battle pass, and items called crests that can be used to modify elder rifts. They might make the dungeon harder or easier, but either way they'll increase the loot you get from it.

If you want to pre-register for the alpha, you can sign up at the website.

Jody Macgregor
Weekend/AU Editor

Jody's first computer was a Commodore 64, so he remembers having to use a code wheel to play Pool of Radiance. A former music journalist who interviewed everyone from Giorgio Moroder to Trent Reznor, Jody also co-hosted Australia's first radio show about videogames, Zed Games. He's written for Rock Paper Shotgun, The Big Issue, GamesRadar, Zam, Glixel, Five Out of Ten Magazine, and Playboy.com, whose cheques with the bunny logo made for fun conversations at the bank. Jody's first article for PC Gamer was about the audio of Alien Isolation, published in 2015, and since then he's written about why Silent Hill belongs on PC, why Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale is the best fantasy shopkeeper tycoon game, and how weird Lost Ark can get. Jody edited PC Gamer Indie from 2017 to 2018, and he eventually lived up to his promise to play every Warhammer videogame.