Last weekend's Diablo 4 early access beta got off to a rough start. Servers were immediately slammed, which meant long waits for anyone trying to get in, and unstable connections for everyone who did. We were all shocked.
The situation had mostly smoothed out by Saturday, and Blizzard's Rod Fergusson said that in the big picture, the bumps in the road were a good thing because they helped Blizzard hammer out Diablo 4's issues well ahead of launch. "This weekend was to prepare for next weekend, and next weekend prepares for launch," he said.
But with the open beta set to kick off tomorrow, Blizzard is warning that eager players can expect more of the same. The early access beta was limited to people who had preordered Diablo 4, along with some promotional invitations; the open beta is, well, open, and it's fair to assume that a lot more people will be crashing through the door.
"When we open the gates again this Friday to absolutely everyone, we are expecting a lot of people," Diablo global community development director Adam Fletcher wrote in the Blizzard forums. "There will be lengthy queue times, particularly on Friday when we first launch and during peak regional windows. This past weekend helped us to forecast the capacity we expect this weekend, and we will be using that capacity to intentionally stress our systems in preparation for launch.
"In summary, while we know it can be frustrating, we need queues to properly stress test our services and we are designing to ensure we have them some of the time."
Just a reminder that we are expecting an immense amount of players this weekend and we expect queues and a few bumps along the road.This is why tests are important and we greatly appreciate you all helping us make the launch of #DiabloIV as smooth as possible come June. https://t.co/jK6pOEH2JrMarch 23, 2023
Fletcher also said that the Diablo 4 beta may be taken offline from time to time so Blizzard can make adjustments or fixes, and asked for feedback from players on both technical and gameplay matters.
"By providing feedback, reporting, and patiently waiting in queues before enjoying Act 1 of Diablo IV, you are helping us to continually improve the game," he wrote. "This past weekend energized the team, who were finally able to watch players around the world experience what they have been building firsthand, and we’re excited to see and learn even more during this upcoming Open Beta weekend."
The reaction to the early access Diablo 4 beta here at PC Gamer was a little mixed: I thought it was great, but senior editor Robin Valentine found it inadequately evolved from Diablo 3. The response from players seemed generally positive overall: There were complaints about specific issues, naturally—repetitive dungeons was at the top of many lists—but for the most part, everyone seemed at least cautiously impressed by the experience.
Diablo 4 open beta preloading is live now. The event itself begins at 9 am PT/12 pm ET on March 24, and runs until 12 pm PT/3 pm ET on March 27.