BlizzCon 2018: Diablo Immortal lore, zone, class, and Q&A recap

    
35
Knives out.

Blizzard’s Wyatt Cheng and Matthew Burger took the stage for the Diablo Immortal Q&A panel at BlizzCon tonight, clearly aware of the drama swirling around the internet in regard to the game’s announcement last night.

“We love our community, and our Diablo community is a passionate one,” Cheng started out, as the crowd laughed nervously. “We want to say that we hear you. And we have multiple Diablo projects being worked on by multiple teams. Diablo Immortal is one of those projects we’re very excited about, but there are others.”

“Like what?” somebody in the crowd shouted. Chang laughed and moved on. It’s not happening y’all.

Up first? Lore. Burger tackled the basics of Diablo lore for folks who aren’t up on it, specifically to plant Diablo Immortal on the timeline. Bad guys, good guys. You get the idea.

Burger then moved on to discussing some of the new villains of Immortal, including Skarn, and some of the heroes who will be helping the players too.

Cheng switched gears to some of the zones and biomes in Immortal. That includes Bilefen and Port Justinian. Here the devs show some gameplay of a character running through a swamp. It looks like Diablo – no huge surprise really. Zoltun Kulle’s Library will also make an appearance – not the Archives from Diablo III, mind you. The Shassar Sea is where the player will meet a demon hunter on a quest for revenge.

The Tomb of Fahir is an indoor instanced dungeon – there’s a reference to grouping here! – and the broodmother boss. Another instanced dungeon is the Kikuras Rapids, which is sort of water ride where you’re going down the river on rafts trying to survive the enemies pelting you from the shore and the water. And the Forgotten Tower will also make a return from Diablo II, complete with a resurrected Countess.

Finally, the duo move on to the classes and skills. Barbarians get Furious Charge, Hammer of the Ancients, and Throw – yes, you can throw baddies at other baddies.

Necromancers will get Command Skeletons, Corpse Lance, and Skeletal Spikes.

Crusaders use both shields and melee, with skills including Blessed Shield, Sweep Attack, and Falling Sword.

Wizards are all about style: They’ll use Meteor, Ray of Frost, and Ice Crystal. Of course the best part is when you combine the spells.

Demon Hunters will feature Daring Swing, Strafe, and Rain of Vengeance, the standard arrow barrage.

Lastly, there are the Monks, with Seven-Sided Strike, Kick, and Imprisoned Fists, which literally lets you punch souls out of the enemy’s body.

Sean Copeland then joined the stage for the Q&A. The first fan to the mic thanked the team for its passion in spite of the negativity – to lots of cheers. He then asked about Mephisto. “Too early to say,” Burger teased, noting that some of the Prime Evils are returning faster than they should, hint hint.

The second fan apologized to Blizzard for April Fools Guy’s inappropriateness. More cheering. His question was about socketing and runic keywords. Cheng couldn’t answer it but did talk about itemization a bit and noted that the demo inventory is disabled and the team is working on that plus legendary powers.

Another fan asked about microtransactions vs. single-pay. Cheng said they simply don’t know, that Blizz is building an “excellent game first” before deciding the business model. This has basically been Blizz’s line on monetization all weekend.

Then a fan asked about how Blizzard hopes to keep Diablo relevant by going the mobile route. Cheng repeated that there are multiple Diablo projects being worked on. Again, hint hint. He also said Blizzard is focused on making great games, with the implication being that relevance will take care of itself if the games are good period.

The next questioner focused on trading, referencing the RMT issue from Diablo III. Cheng said they are cognizant of Diablo III’s problems – that Diablo III made it too easy to get stuff without playing, while the expansion made it way too hard to trade anything. It sounds like Cheng is aiming for a middle-ground.

The last question was about the other factions in the game beyond the demon hunters. Burger and Copeland sort of dodge the question (which is weird, so it’s probably either a really good guess about something important or not important whatsoever), but they say the span of time provides lots of space to explore.

And that’s a wrap!

Follow all of Massively OP’s coverage of BlizzCon 2018, Blizzard’s annual fan convention highlighting World of Warcraft, Diablo III, Overwatch, Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm, and beyond!

35
LEAVE A COMMENT

Please Login to comment
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most liked
Subscribe to:
Reader
Nate Woodard

This definitely is not a make or break scenario for me, but I get the outrage. Blizzard has a company has been going the wrong way for the last few years now. And, if I was a die hard fan. I’d feel pretty crappy about this. I mean, seriously?! Stop mobilizing games, game developers! Believe me when I say, there is a whole community of people you are alienating for the new generation.

Reader
Danny Smith

Imagine being a Diablo diehard. For you Blizzard IS Diablo. Its your favourite series. You grew up playing it. But its been 6 years and seasons aint so interesting no more. Then Blizzard says “huge announcements” at blizzcon and “Diablo, whats next” on the mainstage.
So you spend hundreds of dollars for a ticket, flight to California, hotel booking and more to be there. To see the next big reveal in your favourite series. The banners all showing big D himself and you couldn’t be more excited!

…and they reveal a clone of an existing, highly mediocre net-ease mobile game. Thanks for coming chump, thats your lot. Buh-bye!

I’m not the biggest Diablo fan but i can understand why people may be somewhat salty over this embarrassment of bed shittings.

Reader
Bruno Brito

>Daybreak: “Man, i honestly think anything can top our fuckups anym-”

>Trion: “Hey, guys, we got a issue, and i’m sure our games will suffer because of it. I think they’ll become ( even more ) P2W cashgrabs, and go into maintenanc-”

>Blizzard: “HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA YOU TWO ARE CUTE”

Pepperzine
Reader
Pepperzine

Another fan asked about micro-transactions vs single-pay. Cheng said they simply don’t know…

Bullllllshit lol! You expect people to believe blizzard is putting out a product that is ready to be displayed and demoed, and they simply don’t know how they are monetizing it? Do they really think people are that stupid? It’s straight up insulting.

Reader
Arktouros

Hey now, I’m sure plenty of mega corporations you can just randomly start up a brand new project taking up hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of resources without first submitting any kind of proposal or explain how it would be monetized. I mean they clearly just focus on making a good game first. It’s not like a fucking awful monetization model has ever ruined a good game before, right?

I feel like this is why game companies are trying to get out of the Western market. We’ve all been doing gaming too long now and the bullshit just doesn’t stick anymore.

Reader
Schmidt.Capela

If they really don’t know then it’s deeply troubling. For any game that is going to have micro-transactions you need to plan the monetization ahead of time because it influences the gameplay; a monetization strategy that didn’t take into account the gameplay, or vice-versa, drags the whole game down, and is the kind of error only truly incompetent and inexperienced devs are expected to make.

So, what this comment tells me is that either the devs behind this are lying or are incompetent. I’m not sure which is worse.

Reader
Hirku

They aren’t incompetent, and that would be better because it wouldn’t involve insulting our intelligence.

Reader
Bannex

Not even a new class… or one of the unused older ones like amazon and druid.

Reader
Weilan

Yeah, did you see how they showed the demon hunter? It looked like it was hanging by its legs from the ceiling in all its coolness… hahahahaha … what a joke…

Reader
Sorenthaz

Ugh the first two people asking questions felt so planted after yesterday. Or they were just kissing butt for easy cheers/applause.

And nobody asked two of the more important questions that should’ve been asked:

1. How much control does Blizzard have over the actual gameplay/etc., and how much of it is under NetEase’s control?

2. It looks AWFULLY similar to past NetEase mobile ARPGs including Demon Seals and Crusaders of Light (or whatever it’s called). Are Blizzard at all concerned with that?

Reader
Arktouros

April Fool’s Guy said his question was screened in advance and he lied to get past it. Unlikely they would legitimately allow those questions.

Reader
Loyal Patron
Patreon Donor
Armsbend

Because you wouldn’t want to waste anyone’s time while they are plugging the games you paid upwards of $2000+ to see. Developers have gotten way too full of themselves.

Reader
Loyal Patron
Patreon Donor
Armsbend

They’ve already started paying their brigade of “influencers” – like Krippian to plug this disaster.

Reader
Bruno Brito

You mean Kripparian?

Reader
Loyal Patron
Patreon Donor
Armsbend

sure – not my job to know how to spell his stupid fake name.

Reader
Bruno Brito

lol

Reader
Arktouros

All things considered (he’s heavily invested into mobile gaming last few years, known quantity with Blizzard titles, etc) I found Kripp’s response to be pretty reasonable.

Reader
Loyal Patron
Patreon Donor
Armsbend

I know – he is a smart reasonable guy – which is why he is the perfect patsy for Blizzard. He is one of the few worth every penny – for now at least.

Reader
steel hunt

Reskin? Questionable. I did not play the Immortal demo but I can tell you 99% of mobile MMORPG is that layout because it is intuitive to mobile players.

Now that being said, I can see that it is pretty generic in terms of graphic and game play compare to other mobile MMORPG.

I am curious if there is any real time pvp and auction house in this game.

Reader
Sorenthaz

Here’s a NetEase game called Demon Seals.

Here’s the Diablo Immortal trailer for comparison.

It’s pretty clear that they’re reusing the base systems and UI and whatnot. Yeah the graphics are different, models look better, etc. as Demon Seals is older, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that it looks awfully similar at its core.

Also NetEase has produced multiple clones of it.

Reader
steel hunt

Generic looking? Certainly for Diablo Immortal

There are so many mobile MMORPG with the same UI and base system.

Here are just some random examples of mobile mmorpg with very similiar layouts

download2.jpg
download.jpg
Reader
Schmidt.Capela

It’s not just layouts. It’s game mechanics and even skill effects too.

Which, mind, is to be expected. It’s the way NetEase makes their own games; they reskin old games, improve graphics a bit, change the lore and a few mechanics, and have a “new” game to sell. It would be ingenuous to expect them to change their ways when making Diablo Immortal.

Reader
J

Pretty much what I expected for a mobile game. The control scheme is quite limited. So the move set has to be neutered in the process. I wouldn’t count on it having hardcore mode at all.

I would count on the more savy PC players installing in on an Android emulator (not that hard) and then trivializing the content with superior controls and screen size.

Reader
steel hunt

If it is free, I would definitely give it a try. Might be a good game on the phone when you are not in front of PC or console.

Reader
Denice J. Cook

Bluestacks FTW! Now that’s the first positive idea I’ve heard from this entire debacle. :P

Yangers
Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Yangers

If this isn’t a nickel and dime monstrosity, I’ll be amazed.

Reader
Dave Ward

This is my issue with mobile gaming in general, micro transactions every step of the way or you have to grind grind grind grind until you’re almost in tears. Also I live in Canada where I cell phone carriers charge outrageous amounts of money for data usage and you can’t get unlimited. If I’m stuck with using wifi I might as well just play on a laptop or desktop where I can actually see things and control things better.

Reader
steel hunt

The problem is I can’t bring PC to my workplace, but I can auto grind on my phone!

Reader
Minimalistway

Look at the business models for other Blizzard games, i would not compare this game to other companies mobile games, both Hearthstone and Heroes of the Storm offer free game play which you can enjoy without buying anything, Overwatch is buy to play and everything is cosmetic in the loot boxes.

Diabol 3 is buy to play, and i have no idea about Starcraft, WoW is subscription.

None of them i can describe as “dime monstrosity”, and i expect Immortal to keep the pattern.

Reader
Schmidt.Capela

None of those other games was developed in partnership with one of the most egregious proponents of the P2W model like Diablo Immortal is, though.

Reader
Minimalistway

It could happen, but i prefer to wait and judge when Blizzard talk about the business model, until then i’m hopeful.

Reader
Schmidt.Capela

I’m not. Diablo 3 was the game where Blizzard attempted to add a pay-to-win component with the money-based Auction House and the exchange of gold for real money, with a cut of all transactions going to Blizzard. If Blizzard wanted to allay the community fears about a game they make in partnership with a P2W-loving company, for a franchise where they attempted to go P2W in the past, going the P2W route, they should have shown, if not the whole business model, at least some hard guarantees like “you will never be able to purchase anything that makes your character stronger”.

Given Blizzard’s, Activision’s, and NetEase’s story, I fully expect this game to be a microtransactions-ridden P2W game, and it’s up to Blizzard to prove otherwise.

Reader
steel hunt

Not a blizzard fanboy here, but you gotta wait and see what comes out of it before giving your judgement.

hypefordays
Reader
hypefordays

It’s a curious thing, as there are many alarming factors that collided to get the community to come together and dislike this announcement. First and foremost — perhaps the most prominent — is that they hyped Diablo all this time, increased sales of tickets, then immediately switched and said “don’t expect anything big”. Naturally people thought they were pulling their arm.

Then the event comes and the biggest announcement in a PC focused audience that spent thousands of dollars to come to a company they love is a phone game. Which has the prime spot to go on last — the last one leaving the taste in peoples mouth on whether the announcements were a success or not. The way it was presented was also a travesty; it was corporate talk leading into something as opposed to two fan/dev talk to fellow fans. It’s like they were making an excuse before announcing something — and though he was trying to remain energenic, you knew he knew that a positive response wasn’t there.

Which then leads into the question if they’re so out of touch with the community, or they simply knew this would be the response and didn’t care. Didn’t care about the community that built them and sacrificed for them (speaking again — and only of — going there and buying increased sales tickets… though there are much more situations). At which point they just said screw the current community, let’s reach for a new audience for their money. They could have put that announcement in the middle, and then had Reforged and other things wash out the bad taste. They could have waited until a real phone centric event to reveal it. Or held it until another diablo announcement was with it. But no — prime real estate to f**k over current fans for cash.

Then they heavily censored their youtube and other outlets. Deleted comments — even well made ones — if they got too many likes (it’s obvious they were aware of and prepared for the response). Reposted their video repeatedly to get rid of thumbs down. Etc. The MVPs on Blizzard’s own site were just as disappointed and getting countless likes. Then the snide comments they made about people not having phones, or trying to turn the subject around and so on and so forth — there were a lot of them, not just the minor ones I mentioned. This is the same company that said, “you think you do but you don’t.” ACTIVISION Blizzard doesn’t give a shit about anybody as the evidence seems to show. I’m glad Mr. Morhaime isn’t associated much with them anymore.

It seems to me that they will sell their own mother for some cash at this point. There are even video comparisons of the game itself being a clone of previous games made by their partner, with a new skin. Honestly, I wouldn’t put it past them at this point. But more information will have to come out on that.

Reader
Schmidt.Capela

I do believe Blizzard is being technically true when they say they are making this game from the ground up; the parts of the game they are responsible for — which seem to be basically the writing and art assets — do seem to be new, if closely styled on Diablo 3.

NetEase sure isn’t building their part of the game from the ground up, though. It’s not how that company works. NetEase instead reuses as much of their old games as possible whenever making a new one, to the point they all play almost exactly the same. To expect anything else would require quite a large dose of naivety.

BTW, this doesn’t make me see Blizzard in a more positive way. Quite the opposite. The Blizzard execs and devs talking about it would need to be complete idiots to avoid noticing that what people mean with the game being a clone is the gameplay, the engine and programming, the things that they left to NetEase; to take a bit of true information out of context in a deliberate attempt to mislead the audience is, IMHO, as bad as outright and intentionally lying.