After nearly seven years of waiting, the long-anticipated Diablo 4 is finally available to play in open beta as of March 17th, 2023.
The controversial release of the last Diablo game, Diablo Immortal, had many people in the gaming community lose faith in Diablo 4. Diablo Immortal, created by Activision Blizzard and released in early 2022, is a mobile version of Diablo that exhibited some of the worst qualities of video games. It has a lack of unique gameplay, an extremely slow progression system, and exorbitant amounts of microtransactions that basically made it. Hence, players had to spend money to get far in the game.
Put simply, Diablo Immortal set a terrible precedent for what Diablo 4 might look like. However, the early trailers and gameplay for Diablo 4 make it seem like Diablo Immortal never happened. It seems to fix all of the issues that appeared in Diablo Immortal while also staying true to the look and feel of the original Diablo 1, 2, and 3. All in all, Diablo 4 is showing great signs for the Diablo franchise going forward. That being said, it is important to take these good signs with a grain of salt as the game is still in early access, and no one has gotten far enough in the game to draw any overarching opinions on it.
Jumping into the gameplay, there are five main classes for players to choose from: Barbarian, Druid, Sorceress, Rogue, and Necromancer. Each class has its own style and story as well as unique build paths and skills to choose from. So even if you two players have the same class, the way they play could be completely different from each other due to the robust skill systems put in place.
Players can also choose how difficult to make the game for themselves; playing on normal/veteran difficulty is for a more casual game experience while playing on hardcore make it so that if a player dies once, their character is deleted forever. The last point in the gameplay is the progression/story and gearing system. The progression is well put together with a unique story that also expands on the narratives put forward in the past Diablo games. Gearing systems so far seem balanced, giving appropriate amounts of good gear while also making legendary items rare to find but boosting a character’s power by a significant margin.
Finally, let’s get into how you can play this game for yourself. There are a few ways to get into the open beta that is only available from March 17th to 19th and again from March 24th to 26th. The first and most straightforward way is to actually pre-order Diablo 4. Unfortunately, the minimum purchase cost of a Diablo 4 pre-order is $70 and up to $100 for the Ultimate edition. The other way is to order KFC’s newest sandwich, the Double Down, through the KFC app or on the website before March 18th. The final way to get access is to wait until March 24th, when the final few days of the open beta will be available to all players, even those who did not pre-order the game or order KFC. After the last day of the open beta on March 26th, Diablo 4 will likely not be playable again until its full release on June 6th, 2023.
Before you decide to purchase anything, though, make sure you check out the minimum and recommended specs for playing the game on PC, or you have either a PS4, PS5, or an Xbox One Series S or X. Diablo 4 is a multiplayer game so you can either play with up to 3 other friends, and you will be in an open world with other players that are online. It is also a cross-platform game, so players on the PC can play with people on the PlayStation or Xbox.
The last note about the open beta of Diablo 4 is that players can only play through Act 1 of the story and level up to 25. This still equates to dozens of hours of gameplay, but it is by no means the full Diablo 4 game. Also, any progress that is made in the open beta will not be transferred to the full release of Diablo 4 on June 6th, so everyone will be starting fresh when the long-awaited release does finally come.