Despite the initial backlash over “Don’t you guys have a phone?” Comment from Blizzard developer Wyatt Cheng during BlizzCon 2018, I’ve been eagerly awaiting the release of Diablo Immortal. I understand that a lot of fans were upset and expected the announcement of Diablo 4, coming after BlizzCon 2019. However, I’ve always considered this to be something that complements and doesn’t take away development from the core franchise. as it was co-developed with NetEase on a platform outside of Blizzard’s usual scope.
One of the biggest factors that got me interested in Diablo Immortal was the simple fact that if a mobile game could be done well, an iconic Blizzard Entertainment franchise would be the place to do it. that. Currently, most mobile titles are clones or ‘portals’ based on successful console or PC games, or gacha games designed to make as much money from players as possible. A few decent games have popped up here and there, but they’re always the exception not the rule.
If it walks like a duck
With all that said, I finally got my hands on the Closed Beta of Diablo Immortal. It seems that Diablo, plays like Diablo, but there are some aspects that are not quite feel like Diablo. That’s not to say the game doesn’t turn out to be a very interesting mobile ARPG, but it’s certainly watered in a few areas that I think many Diablo fans are interested in.
Currently, the game has 6 character classes: Barbarian, Wizard, Demon Hunter, Monk, Crusader and Necromancer. Thankfully, none of these are gender-locked (yay!) and each has a few different face options available. While aesthetic choices have never been a big part of the Diablo franchise, I feel like they can take this further, and hopefully they will before the game’s public launch. they.
Diablo Immortal’s atmosphere is very similar to Diablo 3’s. The art style, environments, gameplay loops, abilities, and character designs are closer to D3 than any previous title. While this may not be harsh enough for Diablo 2 fans, the team has done a great job of making this look like it belongs in the rest of the series.
The problem, however, is that the design team did a great job of making it look like Diablo 3, to the point where it feels like you’re playing Diablo 3 with a slightly different story. Rather than being a separate game, it’s more like Diablo 3: the Prequel.
One step back
In addition, many gameplay design elements have been reduced. Many of the complaints that Diablo 3 initially received was that the skill tree design was much simpler than its predecessor. Well, now the skills are even simpler.
Each ultimate class has access to one main attack and 4 skills at any given time. They can be selected from 2 different main attacks and about 8 skills. Additionally, main attacks can be temporarily charged for killing enemies.
This is the level of skill customization. There are no runes to convert skills into different abilities and no skill tree to customize your class. Furthermore, all skills are cooldown based. There are no resources (Mana, Rage, Arcane Power, etc) and therefore no ability to consume resources. This feels very limited as the ability to spend resources in Diablo 3 is one of the strongest abilities in the game, and this limits future game design decisions.
There is an additional way to modify or enhance your skills, which is through earning legendary items. Legendary items give an enhanced effect to your skills or completely change what they do. I’ve spent most of my time playing the Necromancer class and have focused on building a master minion using the Command Skeletons, Skeletal Mage, and Command Golem skills.
By equipping the Crown of the Gilded Leash, my skeletons transform into a single Skeletal Captain that can perform a whirlwind attack on a targeted location. While some of the upgrades are cool, fun, and powerful, it’s entirely up to you to drop those specific legendary items. If a new legendary item drops that doesn’t match your current build, you must continue using the lower tier item or change your skill settings. I keep finding legendary items for skills that don’t fit my playstyle, these either end up in my pocket or end up being a lifesaver.
In addition to skill modifiers, items can also be equipped with base and legendary gems. Base gems increase things like life, damage, and armor. Legendary runes usually offer bonuses for all stats and a unique ability like applying a chain lightning when attacking or summoning vines when you take damage.
The old crafting system has also been removed. Instead of building items from scratch, players can take advantage of equipment to power up their existing items or craft gems. This might seem like another step backwards, but crafting is rarely useful when leveling up in Diablo 3, and it’s nice to be able to earn some extra miles from your gear. In addition, upgrade levels can be transferred to new items without having to pay for resources.
While item design may be on par with Diablo 3, the attributes are another aspect that seems to have been simplified. Items benefit the core attributes: Strength, Intelligence, Strength, Vitality, and Will, and they can also have a single magical attribute such as critical hit or speed attack. This number is greatly reduced from the amount available on Rare and Legendary items in Diablo 3 and makes it impossible for us to focus on proper builds that prioritize crit, crit damage, and crit damage. / or attack speed over survivability.
Finally, a single buff can also be equipped to provide a small stat bonus and additional ranks for 5 different skills. This is like a return to Diablo 2 Grand Charms that increased the skill level.
Overall, Diablo Immortal increased item width and enhanced skills at the expense of depth.
ARPG Common World
One aspect of Diablo Immortal that I really like is the focus on a shared world instead of a hallway. Back in the Diablo 2 days, corridors were super important for farming, trading, PvP, and hanging out with friends. Now that there are easier and more efficient ways to transact and communicate, it makes a lot of sense to remove the lobbying barrier and create a seamless world.
Diablo Immortal has opted for an ‘MMO-lite’ experience where other players can breathe life into the world around you. This makes the game world feel more alive, and it’s often great to get support from other players. Also, if there’s a certain party you want to play with, the organization options are still available, and non-team members can’t join new quests or dungeons.
The end game offers many options for different types of players. The challenge dungeon is designed as a solo or team competitive PvE space. Elder Rifts, dungeons, and hidden lairs provide a more casual PvE farming environment. For those looking to test their skills against the living, Diablo Immortal finally offers coordinated PvP.
Finally, let’s talk about the elephant in the room: make money. Diablo Immortal is a free game and will not require any purchases to complete the story or join any of the base games. However, the item shop can increase significantly for players who spend money. For example, players can purchase Legendary Crests for Elder Rifts to ensure legendary gem drops, and the Empowered Battle Pass provides significantly more materials for character progression. So far, not spending money seems to only temporarily slow progress, but we will likely have to wait until the game officially launches to better gauge the gap between free and paid players. .
In its current state, I feel Diablo Immortal has turned out to be much better than fans expected, but it also falls short in a few key areas. The removal of resource-based skills and a reduction in item modifiers will limit the ability to customize the gameplay enough to really hold back the game. While this may not be a contender for the best Diablo game ever, it’s sure to scratch an itch when you’re away from your PC or console.
https://www.mmorpg.com/previews/diablo-immortal-beta-preview-2000123634 | Diablo Immortal Beta Preview | MMORPG.com