Two Weeks Later, Our Thoughts On The Diablo IV Open Beta

The minute I finished my 20+ hour Beta run on Diablo 4 (D4), I immediately wanted to pen down my thoughts and let the world know how great this game is. However, I had doubts if I was just under the effects of nostalgia tinted goggles, if I was being too much of a hardcore fan boy, if it was the heat and hype of the moment. So I decided to cool down (just like the skills in D4) for about 2 weeks and assess my thoughts about the game then.

I am happy to report that my feelings are the same.

The History

Backtracking to Diablo 3 (D3), I remember when I booted the game up for the first time ever and my excitement hit an all-time low. So many things were not the same but I powered through the enemies and the main villain of the game, the story. It was a tough pill to swallow but as a fan I knew that the initial release of Diablo 3 was nowhere near Diablo 2 or even the original Diablo’s quality. Coupled with server crashes and the real money auction house, Diablo 3 was a failure waiting to be acknowledged.

Eventually over time, multiple patches and expansions made the game much better but I never truly had that same spark of excitement I once did for this franchise. I was sceptical of all news about Diablo 4 because just like Diablo 3, the game has been in developmental hell and follows the release of the mega failed project of Diablo Immortal. However, through sheer curiosity I followed the developer updates and started hearing positive reviews about D4 from the most critical and cynical reviewers.

And thus, I was compelled to download the Open Beta.

The Changes

And boy, was I glad I did. The amount of changes from the get go was immense. The world felt like a struggling, living entity dealing with a demonic crusade. People were scared, dialogue was aplenty. The atmosphere was heavy and ominous, the environment itself told a story without words.

There was a huge shift in the urgency and immediacy of doing things but it maintained a foreboding tone throughout. Even though the story only lasted till the end of Chapter 1 of Act 1 (a total of 5 Acts available in the full release), the side quests and world exploration was more than enough to keep you occupied.

Safe to say, there was more story in this Open Beta than there was in D3’s initial release.

I played as a Rogue and some hours as a Barbarian with both classes having a very distinct feel and style of playing. The skill system is a hybrid of D2 and D3, you can customize each skill but there is a level requirement for each tier of skill. This changes the way you play at low levels and how you play at higher levels with the ability to refund your distributed skill points at any time for gold.

Every alternate level unlocks abilities, skills, access to different quests, areas and even vendors. This was only the Beta mind you, we have not accessed the Paragon board system, the additional skills and upgrades after Level 25 and any more systems the developers are keeping as a surprise. I managed to reach the level cap and gain access to the Rogue’s ultimate and it felt amazing to unleash a hailstorm of arrows on a group of unsuspecting enemies or literally Naruto clone your character and wreak havoc on a dungeon boss.

Itemization felt great with the power score making inventory management easier. I managed to get my character 80% decked out with legendary gear and each one felt unique. Crafting was minimal but it seems like the crafting system is a huge ecosystem in the game and there are multiple aspects of it. This has me excited beyond words because it was scrapped from the Diablo 3 Beta which I was really looking forward to; instead back then we got a watered down crafting system that was bland and boring.

Some of the new elements present in D4 feel like a very MMO inspired take on things with Happenings and Event Challenges popping every now and then. This allows you to cooperate with other players to get a stash of high quality loot if you are successful. While the dynamic shift is welcome, I personally prefer a single player aspect with the exception of World Bosses. World Bosses feels like a massive raid with a Monster Hunter like combat system, charging up your adrenaline as you consistently chop down the massive oak that is the World Boss.

The rewards for killing a World Boss is ridiculously lucrative and you should do it with friends for an added pinch of fun.

The Final Verdict

Long story short, there is very little to not like about D4 based on the Open Beta and this is coming from me 2 weeks later. Combat was impactful and tactical, story was grim and compelling, loot was plenty and unique, the skill tree offers high levels of customization and builds, the quality of life improvements was modern but not oversimplified, graphics was crisp and impressive and there is only more to come.

This will definitely be on my June list of must buy games, alongside Street Fight 6 and Final Fantasy 16. And it should be on yours too.

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