While Diablo Immortal wasted no time labeling itself as an MMORPG, Diablo 4 has been a bit more cagey. At BlizzCon today, developers at the Systems & Features panel for the latter game shed a bit more light on everything from PvP to pay-to-win, but it was the MMO parts that caught our attention, as it sounds as if the game’s multiplayer won’t just be limited to you and your friends who port to you.
Blizzard’s Angela del Priore dropped this nugget of info: The number of players out in the overland game world will be “variable by location” – as the studio will “make a place less or more populated depending on what’s going on there.” Sanctuaries, of course, are meant to feel desolate, while big boss areas and towns should have lots of other players. Just note that doesn’t apply for your private areas, like dungeons; you can bring only three friends into those, and they stay private. And as for campaigns, you’ll need to complete the campaign objective in private before you start seeing other players in the area beyond your party. There are clans too!
We’re thinking the open-world part sounds a bit like a scaled-down Marvel Heroes and Path of Exile – not a bad thing at all for fans of MMOARPGs – except in that you can choose to play the campaign fully solo if you like.
Here’s a bit more from the Q&A:
On monetization: Blizzard will sell a base game and expansions – plural – but “we will not sell power,” so they’re saying they won’t do pay-to-win.
On customization: There will be more options beyond legendaries. As you put points into different skills, the power goes up and new “parts of the skill” and components are unlocked. Two players with lightning builds can still be pretty different.
On soloing and offline: No, there’s no offline mode, but nothing requires partying. Dungeons and campaign quest areas are private.
On trading: The goal is to make the main thrust getting loot from monsters, while also allowing trading. There are three types of tradeable items: freely tradeable items, one-time tradeable items, and soulbound items that can never be traded. Pretty typical for MMOs. (They are asking for more feedback on this.)
On PvP balance: The same skills and talents and items are in both modes, but Blizz thinks the best stuff for PvE will be different from the best stuff for PvP. They think they’ll have “enough tuning knobs” to keep it balanced.
On legendaries: They will not rain from the sky. There won’t be modification to legendary drop rates as you get further into endgame.
On combat speed: They’re expecting timing and evasion to matter a lot more as you level up and combat feels more intentional.
On item stat randomization: Affix effects are randomized within a range.
On seasons: There will be stuff beyond seasons, but yes there will be seasons with new legendaries and new and different content. (It’s a pretty vague answer.)
On hardcore mode: Yep, it’s happening.