Blizzard have posted a lengthy quarterly update for the highly anticipated next episode in the Diablo franchise, where they honed in on storytelling, open world, multiplayer and more.
Much like the rest of the industry, Blizzard's developer horde has transitioned to working from home, but work on Diablo 4 thankfully continues with minimum hindrance.
"For our most recent milestone, we focused on blocking in all the elements in a region known as the Dry Steppes, complete with campaign content, open world elements, itemization, a PvP subzone, dungeons, and a cinematic to cap the completion of the region's narrative", they wrote.
As for the storytelling part of Diablo 4, Blizzard are working on conversations and means to deliver them. They're currently experimenting with "a mix of tool-generated and manually choreographed cameras" - basic conversations work with a simple zoom-in, but more complex one will require more hand-crafting.
The second component of Diablo 4's rejuvenated storytelling are real-time cutscenes, but those will be reserved for the most important story moments.
This has quite the effect on immersion, as they include your character as he is, sporting all his/her weapons and gear. And they lend themselves well to some detailed shots too, as you can see from the image below.
Blizzard took great care in analysing various playing habits in order to make Diablo 4 attractive to both extremes - those who focus solely on the story and those who like mixing it up. Yes, they also thought of the likes of yours truly, who likes to diverge from the main path whenever possible. When not, I somehow do it anyway, but I digress.
One of the most popular Diablo 4 features were apparently Camps, even though quests ddon't send you there. These locations can be turned into friendly outposts with NPCs and waypoint locations if you clear them of enemies, but there's no shortage of backstory here.
"For example, one of the camps in the zone was a town afflicted by a curse that turned villagers into piles of salt. Another was a crypt, haunted by a spirit that possesses the bodies of various undead—jumping from skeleton to skeleton until you defeat him", they wrote.
Traversing Diablo 4's map is additionally made easier with mounts, which also opens up many customisation options. One of them is attaching trophies to your saddle, which can be a clear sign of strength.
In order not to diverge from the traditional Diablo experience, Blizzard steered clear of infinitely populated lobbies, because " the game stops feeling like Diablo and the world feels less dangerous when you see other players too often or in too high numbers."
The main takeaway is that you're never forced to join a party, but solo players will be able to help out, grab their rewards and get out.
Overall, Diablo 4 seems to be progressing well, although we're still well off the alpha stage. "Even at these early stages, Diablo IV is very fun to play. The classes especially are going down a promising path that we’re excited about. We’re taking cues from what makes the Barbarian’s Arsenal system or the Druid’s shapeshifting feel special and looking for ways to apply similar innovations to all classes (more on this in a future update)", Blizzard wrote.
You can find the full post here .