We're past the beta playtests for Diablo 4, which means we're out of opportunities to experience play the returning ARPG royalty series until its release date. Luckily, after years of waiting both before and after its reveal at Blizzcon 2019, the couple of remaining weeks before Diablo 4 hits is barely a wait at all. Limber up that left-click digit; you'll be needing it.
We've been piling up a treasure trove of prerelease info and development updates for months now. However you'll be heaping up the demon corpses, we've got all the details you'll need for your next descent into Hell. Here's everything we've learned about Diablo 4's classes, open world, and inevitable endgame.
What is the Diablo 4 release date?
Diablo 4 will release on June 6, 2023, with early access for preorder players beginning several days before on June 1.
The release date follows an announcement that the game wouldn't be releasing in 2022, and dashed the hopes of those who were led by a fairly reputable leak, corroborated by the Xbox Era podcast, that there would be an announcement of an April 2023 release date.
Diablo 4 trailers
Here's Diablo 4's opening cinematic
Revealed at IGN's 2023 Fan Fest, Diablo 4's intro cutscene is as foreboding as you'd hope. It features the player character wandering a frozen mountain woodland—however you customize yours, they'll appear here—until they discover a statue with such rancid vibes that their horse flees panicked into the dark. Because it's a Diablo game, the pony does not fare well. Forced to seek shelter alone, the player character takes a cave nap just in time to dream of dark and terrible omens.
What other Diablo 4 trailers are out there?
The original reveal trailer was one hell of a way to announce Diablo 4. The cinematic is gorgeous and morbid, exactly as Diablo should be. Imagine how much better off the world would be without treasure hunters accidentally resurrecting the ultimate evil.
The first official gameplay trailer was also a great tone-setter, showing off three of the character classes in combat, traversing the open world on horseback, and a bit of co-op against a gnarly, big boss creature.
The release date trailer first shown at the 2022 Game Awards proves that Blizzard's cinematic teams are still firing on all cylinders. Headed by rogue angel Inarius, a Crusader expedition into hell proves through grisly, graphic impalement that angelic forces can be every bit as terrifying as their demonic counterparts.
Diablo 4 classes
Druid | Best Druid build
One of the first classes announced for Diablo 4, Druids are able to harness earth and storm magic. If that's not enough for you, they can seamlessly shift into Werebear and Werewolf forms. Where Druids had devoted transformation skills in earlier Diablo games, transformations in Diablo 4 are temporary states granted by relevant skills. Continue using Werebear skills, and you'll stay as a Werebear for longer. They also have some beast companion options in summonable wolves and ravens..
Barbarian | Best Barbarian build
The Barbarians are back with their massive strength and piles of weaponry. Barbarians have access to an "Arsenal" mechanic, allowing them to assign their individual skills to use specific weapons from their four melee weapon slots. In addition to offering granular skill customization, the Arsenal system also grants bonuses depending on which weapon you're using, which increase as your Barbarian spends more time using that weapon type.
Sorceress | Best Sorceress build
For the traditional elemental spellcasters, there's the Sorceress class who can hurl lightning, ice, and fire at enemies from afar, with matching elemental specialization options. Unlike Diablo 3's Wizard, the Sorceress is far more focused on elemental magic, so expect flashy displays of the elements and pure arcane shenanigans. The new Sorceress also utilizes the new Enchantment system which allows them to not only utilize six skill slots like everyone else, but three Enchantment slots that turn skills into unique passives.
Rogue | Best Rogue build
At BlizzCon 2021, Blizzard added a fourth class to the mix, the Rogue, who hasn't appeared by that name since the original Diablo. We've got some details on the Rogue's abilities here, and you can count on doing dirty work at range with your bow, but also up close with daggers and short range knives. The Rogue works with a "combo points" mechanic that sees your abilities build off your attacks, and they also have a specialization called "Shadow Realm" where you can become immune and drag enemies into a spooky looking grayscale where you get all kinds of powerful.
Necromancer | Best Necromancer build
With a spooky showing at the 2022 Xbox & Bethesda showcase, Blizzard revealed the Necromancer as Diablo 4's fifth and final class. The Necromancer will be bringing along their expected retinue of skeletons of every variety, and plenty of bone and blood magic besides. The Necromancer utilizes corpses as a resource, along with the mana-like Essence. We even know we're seeing the return of Bone Prison, in case you want to trap your enemies in place for all sorts of nefarious reasons. Of course, if you're more about animating bones to be your buddies, the new "Book of the Dead" feature lets you customize your minions and evolve them into different specialized skeletal pals, here's hoping there's a bardic option.
Diablo 4 has actual character customization
Diablo 4's character customization system will allow players to outfit their characters with hundreds of unique armor pieces as well as detailed facial and body characteristics. There are many Barbarians, but this one is yours. An expanded dye system will also let players customize individual pieces of armor, or entire outfits, "in a range of colors that still feel grounded and realistic in the world we’re building."
It's not just armor though. Diablo 4 will let you change the facial features of your character, a new feature for the series. Blizzard says that your characters will get more close-up time than ever before in the series, in menus and cinematic sequences.
Here are all the details Blizzard mentions in its June 2021 development update:
"You will be able to change the face of your character, the hairstyle, the facial hair (beards and eyebrows), and add jewelry (nose piercing or earrings), makeup, and body markings such as tattoos or body paint. You will also be able to change the color values of your character’s skin, eyes, hair/facial hair, and body markings. Some elements will be class specific, to support the classes’ unique backgrounds, but many will be shared between classes allowing more possibilities to mix and match."
Diablo 4 gameplay
Here's a June 2022 Diablo 4 gameplay showcase
While it's almost a year old now, this June 2022 Diablo 4 developer gameplay showcase highlights the systems and mechanics players will interact with in Diablo 4's open world, like public events that task you with battling massive demonic foes alongside whatever other players are in the area. It also gives a look at character creation and a few other bits and bobs, like the fact you can reclaim areas for NPC's to move in and set up shop.
If you'd also like a recent look at raw combat, this VFX video from the Blizzard quarterly update blog shows off some spicy visual effects as various classes mow down hordes of demons.
Our Diablo 4 preview playtime left us with high hopes...
As written in our Diablo 4 hands-on preview, our own Tyler Colp had lots of positivity to share after playing a late 2022 demo build of Diablo 4, with particular praise for the immediate and engaging character customization choices. "Diablo 4 reminds me why other action-RPGs don't do it for me. It either takes too long to earn enough abilities to formulate a plan or they drop so many on you that it's overwhelming," Tyler wrote. "Blizzard knows exactly how quickly to fill your spellbook and when to introduce a new wrinkle to get you thinking."
...and our beta impressions tempered them
Diablo 4's beta weekends in March 2023 and its following "server slam" in May certainly had no difficulty attracting hordes of eager demon-slayers. Not all of us left the Fractured Peaks brimming with enthusiasm, however. Some of the PC Gamer staff came away with the a strong sense that Blizzard's ARPG design chops have stagnated in Diablo 4, if not regressed. Through May's server slam, inconsistent beta class balance, long ability cooldowns, trickling combat resource generation, and restrictive playstyle options made for some strong concerns about just how fun any of Diablo 4's classes will be in the long run—and so close to release, what we saw in the beta is probably what we're going to get, aside from numeric tweaks.
Diablo 4 is emphasizing class choice and identity
In November 2022, Diablo 4's game director Joe Shely and the Diablo general manager Rod Fergusson sat down to talk to IGN about how they designed Diablo 4's class gameplay, and they had some interesting things to say, focusing on how they wanted even two players of the same class or sub-class to be able to be unique:
"We started with a couple of classes and we had some really cool ideas for class mechanics that would be specific to those classes. It proved to be very compelling not just in terms of the gameplay of the class, but also, if you're playing a barbarian, and maybe you're grouped up with a sorceress, and the sorceress is using her class mechanic, you look at that and go 'There's lots of interesting gameplay there I can check out.' We really wanted the classes to shine in their own ways."
Among other things, they confirmed that you will be able to re-spec your skill tree point by point, though it will have a gold cost that becomes more and more expensive as you get deeper into the game, making it so "those choices have meaning." Initially, this was described as being expensive enough that you'd eventually be better off making a new character, but Diablo general manager Rod Fergusson recently walked that back on Twitter.
Diablo 4 is making big changes to items
Blizzard says that its ideals when it comes to itemisation are strengthening class identities, supporting deeper customisation and giving players a level of depth that sits somewhere between Diablo 2 and 3. "We aim to provide years of things to discover and countless ways to build a class," former game director Luis Barriga wrote in a development update.
Specific changes include the addition of weapon speed and other inherent physical characteristics that you'll find across all item types. Every shield, for instance, will have a block attribute on top of whatever other properties they have.
Item qualities and affixes have also been in the crosshairs. Blizzard says it wants to give players more flexibility and doesn't want them to feel like they should just ignore everything that isn't a legendary-tier item. "We’re increasing the potential power of individual affixes on Magic items," said Barriga. "We're increasing the maximum number of affixes on Rare and better items in the endgame. Legendary affixes now roll randomly (Yes, really!) on Legendary Items. And Unique items will replace Mythics."
Say goodbye to inventory Tetris
Yup, you heard right. No more shuffling various shapes around your limited inventory space trying to bring back just one more bit of loot. Blizzard says it wants to "avoid interrupting gameplay with pockets of inventory management." Fair.
Instead, every individual piece of lootable equipment in Diablo 4 takes up the same amount of space. You'll still need to portal back to town to empty out your treasure sack now and then, but you won't be scooting around rings to optimize your hoard beforehand.
Each Diablo 4 class has a skill tree
Leveling up in Diablo 4 earns ability points that can be spent on the skill tree for your character's class, unlocking active and passive abilities as you do so. Abilities are clustered on the skill tree by category; initially, you'll be spending points on primary skills—your left mouse button attacks that don't require spending any mana or energy. Dropping enough points in the tree will eventually allow you to spend points on Core skills—your bread and butter resource-spenders—then defensive skills, and so on.
After unlocking an ability with a single point, you can then spend further points to upgrade it and choose between paired modifiers. For example, after upgrading the Barbarian's Frenzy attack, you can choose to either gain a stacking damage reduction buff as you use it, or instead have it grant your other skills an attack speed increase.
Blizzard says that it currently aims for players to unlock around 30-40% of the nodes on the skill tree by the endgame, meaning players will have quite different builds even within the same class.
Diablo 4 is open world
Diablo 4's open world contains five regions to explore. "Each region is fraught with dangers of their own kind," said lead environment artist Matt McDaid in 2022's first quarterly update. "Many routes, and hidden corners to uncover. How you chose to make your way through this vast world is up to you. The Art and Design teams have constructed a contiguous world where you can roam from coast to coast, or high up into the glacial ridges. For the Environment Art team, we want to ensure each handcrafted location is distinct and immersive."
Helpfully, the environments team over at Blizzard has produced six videos to start giving you an early look at what you'll find in Diablo 4's regions, which you can see below:
- Scosglen Coast
- Orbei Monastery
- Forgotten Places
- Wretched Caves
- Flooded Depths
You get a horse in Diablo 4
Thankfully, you won't have to cross all of Diablo 4's open world on foot. A quest during the main storyline will unlock a ridable mount that you can call up at any point while adventuring in the overworld.
Your horse will be modifiable with all sorts of unlockable cosmetics. Diablo 4 might take place in a dour, demon-ravaged world, but that doesn't mean your 7-foot tall Barbarian can't embody their inner horse girl.
Diablo 4 will support controllers for PC
Blizzard talked in its first quarterly update about how it's designing the user interface with lots of player types in mind. Here's some UI/controller-specific stuff you can do in Diablo 4 according to lead UI designer Angela Del Priore:
- Switch between mouse/keyboard and controller without "throwing people completely off kilter"
- Choose to have the action bar in the middle center or bottom left of the screen
- Open UI screens independently in couch co-op mode
- Rebind your primary attack to something other than left mouse click
There aren't currently plans for a map overlay in Diablo 4
Diablo 4 beta players were surprised to find that the game didn't have what's become a fixture in ARPG games: a transparent map overlay. Instead, navigating relied on the incomplete view provided by the in-game minimap. Otherwise, checking your location means pulling up the fully-opaque, full-screen world map, halting your movement and leaving you exposed to harm.
Responding to questions about whether there were any plans to eventually include one, Diablo general manager Rod Fergusson said on Twitter that there were no current intentions to include a transparent map overlay.
Diablo 4 endgame
The Paragon system returns
Like Diablo 3, Diablo 4 will have its own Paragon system for post-game progression.
Once players hit level 50 in Diablo 4 they'll gain access to the Paragon Board, which uses digital tiles to enable very specific power boosts and character customization. The process begins at the center of the board and radiates outward across normal, magic, rare, and legendary tiles. Each one earned will give your character a boost of some sort, from the very basic to the extremely powerful. Some tiles are sockets for glyphs found throughout the game that confer different benefits when inserted into the board. Glyphs can also be leveled up, increasing their benefit.
Eventually, you'll reach the edge of the Paragon Board, but that's not the end of the process. Instead you'll find a gate tile, a special kind of tile that unlocks and connects to other Paragon Boards, each with a unique layout and new magical, rare, and legendary tiles.
"Once your hero reaches a gate tile, you’ll choose which new paragon board you would like to attach to at that location," Blizzard said in the 2021 end of year update. "The desired outcome is a personalized set of bonuses that will empower your hero and honor your dedication to their progression, that will remain fun to tweak and adjust over many playthroughs."
Blizzard also confirmed in their August 2022 quarterly update that the metagame would change regularly, including additional paragon boards and glyphs—so you can expect your character to have to adapt over time.
Diablo 4 will have plenty of repeatable endgame activities
In addition to higher difficulty tiers that are unlockable after finishing the main story, Diablo 4 will have a range of repeatable endgame activities if you're really looking to squeeze a few hundred hours out of the game. Here's an overview of some post-game content detailed in a Diablo 4 endgame video:
- Nightmare Dungeons can be accessed by using a Nightmare Sigil looted from enemies in the world, which increase the associated dungeon's difficulty by adding new enemies, modifiers, and objectives. As you'd expect, the more difficult the dungeon, the better the loot.
- Helltides will heighten enemy difficulty in regions of the world when playing in higher difficulty tiers. Enemies killed in Helltides can drop shards, which can be used to open special Helltide Cache chests.
- Whispers of the Dead are bounties from a big, cursed tree that populate the world with randomized objectives, which you can complete for rewards.
- Fields of Hatred are PvP-enabled zones, where you'll earn shards that need to be purified before they can be used as currency in town. Other players will be notified when you're purifying shards, meaning you'll have to fight off potential shard thieves.
Diablo 4 will have a "pinnacle boss" for level 100 characters
Intended as an ultimate test for your character build, Diablo 4 will feature an endgame encounter with a "pinnacle boss." As associate game director Joe Piepiora told GamesRadar, the pinnacle boss is "balanced so that it's extraordinarily, extraordinarily challenging. Players that reach level 100 are going to have an extremely difficult time on this boss encounter. That's the point, is to say, 'I have managed to get an extremely powerful character build together. This is my capstone.'"
Of course, there will be some rewards, too. While your gear chase will have reached its culmination by that point, the pinnacle encounter will still have cosmetics and "other rewards" to underline your achievement.
Diablo 4 has a Battle Pass
Detailed in a December 2022 developer livestream, Diablo 4 will have a seasonal content model, with each Season lasting roughly three months. Each Season will have an associated Season Pass, which grants rewards as players achieve higher ranks by completing in-game activities. As in standard Battle Pass fashion, there will be a free Season Pass available to all players, with a $10 paid Season Pass offering additional—and presumably, cooler—rewards. All Season Pass rewards will be cosmetic, so you won't be missing out on any mechanical rewards if you don't shell out another ten bucks every three months.
Diablo 4 will also have an in-game store, but aside from the Season Pass and eventual expansions, only cosmetics will be available for purchase.
Diablo 4 multiplayer
Diablo 4 will have cross-play multiplayer
There's good news for anyone who has friends that play on Xbox or Playstation consoles, at the Xbox and Bethesda Games Showcase back in June 2022, Blizzard slipped in that Diablo 4 crossplay is going to be fully open between platforms: "We've got fully enabled crossplay. If you have an Xbox, and your buddy has a PC, you're going to be able to group up. Or you can play couch co-op."
How do the online features work?
The main takeaways are that dungeons will be instanced for solo or partied players, and in the overworld you'll see more players in towns and safe areas—though there's no option to turn them off altogether, even if you're solo. World events will draw players together, and you'll be able to ride mounts to cross great distances (these will be horses, and yes, you'll be able to buy horse armor for them). Difficulty can be set when you enter a dungeon, while above ground it will be scaled to your level (though there is a permadeath mode).
Sadly, this is all bad news if you're understandably an opponent of always-online games: you won't be able to play Diablo 4 offline.
PvP will take place in Fields of Hatred
At BlizzCon 2021, Blizzard reveled how Diablo 4's open world PvP will work. You can find the full details here, but the gist is that PvP will be contained to areas called Fields of Hatred. Enter one, and you're fair game.
Inside a Field, you'll collect Shards of Hatred by fighting monsters, opening chests, killing other players, and completing other tasks. Hold onto your Shards long enough to cleanse them at an altar, and you'll be able to spend them on items from special merchants. If you're killed while holding uncleansed Shards, though, you'll drop them, and whoever took your life will get to grab them.
Hardcore characters will face permadeath in PvP
Contradicting indications made a few years back, Diablo 4's development director, Adam Fletcher, confirmed on Twitter that characters you make in the game's optional Hardcore mode won't be spared from permadeath in PvP. As with anywhere else, death in the Fields of Hatred means game over for the character—you'll have to make a new one.
Luckily, that won't be an unavoidable risk added onto the already-high-stakes Hardcore mode. The Fields of Hatred PvP zones are entirely optional and avoidable, so you only have to put your character on the line against other players if you want to. Otherwise, you can safely stick to all the other ways you might accidentally get your Hardcore character violently unmade.
Other Diablo 4 info
Here are the Diablo 4 system requirements
A refreshing departure from the relentless march of hardware standards, Diablo 4's only making modest demands with its system requirements. For now, at least—the requirements listed here are what Blizzard's specified for the upcoming public beta, and could be revised for the full release. Blizzard recently confirmed that Diablo 4 will have DLSS 3 upscaling support available in the game from the get-go.
Minimum (1080p, 720p render resolution, low graphics settings, 30 fps)
- CPU: Intel Core i5 2500K or AMD FX 8100
- RAM: 8 GB RAM
- GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 660 or AMD Radeon R9 280
- Storage: 45 GB available space
Recommended (1080p, medium graphics settings, 60 fps)
- CPU: Intel Core i5 4670K or AMD R3 1300X
- RAM: 16 GB
- GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 or AMD Radeon RX 370
- Storage: 45 GB available space
There's nothing the Diablo 4 marketing team won't try
The closer we get to release, the more it feels like Blizzard has allotted a near-infinite Diablo 4 marketing budget. First was the campaign to make living billboards out of fans by offering beta keys for those who got Diablo tattoos. Then, there was the Diablo 4-themed showing at Milan Fashion Week, about which you'd be forgiven for not immediately recognizing as Diablo-related and, as a result, wondering if that doesn't contradict the idea of marketing itself. Next, Blizzard gently dabbled in heresy, repainting the interior of a deconsecrated French chapel with Diablo 4 murals and trusting that technicality is a ward against divine retribution.
Stepping away from reigniting satanic panic, Blizzard's most recent marketing stunt only defaces a holy place if you consider your body a temple. Otherwise, you can secure early access to the Diablo 4 beta courtesy of Colonel Sanders, KFC's very own Lord of Terror.
What will the Microsoft purchase mean for Diablo 4?
If you somehow missed it, Microsoft announced it's buying Activision Blizzard in the latest mega-deal to drag us towards the inevitable corporate cyberpunk future. This of course will shake up the Etch A Sketch at least a bit on everything Blizzard has in the tank, including Diablo 4. However, it's really too early to tell what's going to happen, since the next Diablo is quite far out. We probably won't hear anything concrete about plans until the deal is finalized and the ink is dry.
Diablo 4 replaced its game director in late 2021
Following the harassment and discrimination lawsuit against Activision Blizzard by the state of California, the company confirmed that Diablo 4's game director Louis Barriga was no longer with the company. Blizzard then introduced senior game designer Joe Shely as the new game director. Shely has been on the Diablo 4 team since 2017, previously working as a designer on multiple World of Warcraft expansions before becoming a senior game designer on Diablo 3.
"Like many of you, our team has been reflecting upon recent events," Shely wrote in the Diablo 4 quarterly development blog from October 2021. "A lot has happened since our last blog and the hard work of practicing the values we aspire to must continue. In parallel with that important work, development of Diablo 4 continues too."