Endgame Growth & Activities, PVP & Release times in Diablo IV
Diablo IV launches on June 6th, 2023 for PC (Battle.Net), XBOX, & PlayStation with a 4 days Early Access (no wipe) for pre-orders (so kind of really launching June 2nd).
Diablo IV’s team has shared some additional information (via a video) about the post-story experience and the PVP aspects of the game. I’ve got some of things I’d like to say about what was shared with us in that video. I’ll express my thoughts, including some concerns, regarding what was revealed as well as what is already known from previous Blizzard videos and interviews.
Blizzard are promising “A variety of different experiences players can pursue. An entire world of sanctuary for players to offer. There’s going to never be an absence of something to do. After a player has finished the campaign, there’s a lot more game to go and participate in.” Players gain access to a special – what Blizzard calls – Capstone Dungeon that they have to complete. Once players finish this Capstone Dungeon they will gain access to the first additional World Tier (Word Tier III a.k.a. Nightmare). Each World Tier brings better experience rates and gold drop rates. It’s worth noting that certain powerful loot (Unique Items also Ancestral & Sacred gear) only drop on World Tier III and above (it supposedly will go all the way to World Tier VI).
Whether we’re fans of dungeons, PVP or just roaming around the world (Whispers) there’s a way to continue our Diablo adventure long after hitting max level.
Growing in Power
Blizzard states that, as our character(s) continue(s) to grow in power, we’ll start with the skill tree and expand out into the Paragon system. A lot of the choices the players will make are grounded on skills themselves and the fantasies associated with those skills.
The Paragon Boards will allow us to have a lot more depth, a lot more customization, many more options as we go. We can rotate the board so we can choose a different path. This will allow us to approach the Glyphs, board sockets, and legendary tiles we are after in different ways that will involve taking different board tiles on the way. The majority of tiles on each board are basic ones that simply give + 5 to one of the core attributes but there are also blue and yellow ones that give a little bit more depth and are more suitable for specific types of builds. Charting their own path trough the Paragon Boards (and picking the Boards that suit their chosen Skills and Playstyle) will hopefully be enough for the more capricious players out there that were unhappy with how ‘small’ the Skill Tree was in the Beta. The Paragon Boards are a way for a player to keep expanding their character(s) and making it/them ‘uniquely yours’. I’ll make content dedicated specifically to this as a deep-dive very soon.
Blizzard also briefly talked about the Codex of Power (for which I already have a written guide+list). In a nutshell, it’s a system that allows players to obtain certain Legendary Aspects/Powers by completing dungeons for the first time as well as by reaching certain points in the game’s main story/campaign. In the Open Beta there were 114 Aspects that can be obtained via the Codex which is around half of the total number of Aspects in the Beta, 224, that was confirmed via a Beta datamine. Codex of Power Aspects always have the minimum roll possible unless obtained regularly by a drop but can be imprinted as many times as you want while dropped Aspects can be re-used, sadly, only once. This allows players to take Rare or Legendary item bases that they like and imprint them with the exact Aspect that their build needs. Rare items Imprinted that way automatically turn into a Legendary item.
Blizzard says that every part of Sanctuary is fulfilling and satisfying. Nightmare Dungeons are going to give players the opportunity to experience the regular dungeons in each area they might have already done in the past BUT with various twists added to them. Players will enter a Nightmare Dungeon with a Sigil (that they either found or crafted at the Occultist). That dungeon will be a modified version of one of the 120+ standard dungeons with added modifiers that may alter the playstyle & the intensity of the dungeon. Those dungeons will be more difficult and may even have additional objectives. This is achieved by introducing dungeon affixes/modifiers that grow in number as the rank/grade of the Sigil goes up.
One example of such Nightmare Dungeon affix is called Hell Gate. Occasionally, portals will come up throughout the area that will just pour out different monsters that aren’t native to that region/dungeon. Players will have the added difficulty of dealing with those extra enemies while handling everything else inside the dungeon. Imagine the Butcher showing up for some fresh meat as you’re dealing with a Hell Gate + some regular dungeon-native enemies at the same time. The number of dungeons Blizzard has confirmed is 120+. I do remember them previously saying 150+ in an interview or a video. I guess the other 30 have either been removed or won’t be ready for launch. Any one of those 120+ dungeons can become a nightmare dungeon if you find or craft the right Nightmare Sigil and then use it. Using a Nightmare Sigil will activate a Nightmare version of that dungeon with the affixes that were on the Sigil. This will supposedly “add a little bit of a twist of flavor on your particular dungeon”.
There will be some targeted activities in Diablo IV that suit what players are feeling in the mood for. The forces of Hell are starting to have more influence in parts of Sanctuary, in the vast, interconnected overworld of the experience, and as the players are going into Helltide Areas, they’re going to find even more powerful enemies. By killing those enemies, players will be able to “gain these special shards they can take to go and use to purchase these big rewards that are available at these caches that are found throughout Helltide Areas“. Basically, what they are saying here is that we, the players, will encounter Helltide events, and upon clearing those, we’ll be awarded keys that can unlock Helltide caches, which can be found in Helltide Areas.
“The sky darkens and the rivers run red, meteors fall from the sky and the monsters get harder”. Blizzard say they really want to create new experiences for the players. One such experience is the Whispers of the Dead system.
Whispers of the Dead
Whispers of the Dead is a system similar to Diablo III‘s bounties. Players get Whispers of the Dead/bounties from the Tree of Whispers. Apparently, “the tree has a little bit of a grudge against our players, and it would like for them to go serve its needs”. Players will take 10 bounties that they need to serve, which the game seems to refer to as “Whispers silenced“. Here I hope it’s not time-gated but rather simply limiting it to just 10 bounties per full whispers run. We’ll gather different rewards, different items, and bring those back to the tree, in hopes that the tree will reward us something really meaningful (hello bounty rewards RNG à la D3).
One thing that Blizzard revealed is the choice between 3 different types of rewards players can make. So, while it seems to be random what 3 types of rewards collections we’ll get, it’s also going to be random what is in those collections. My guess is that they may have made it to maybe have a guaranteed at least 1 Legendary but that’s just me being hopeful. Whispers are contained activities that can be done either solo or in a group. Here I’m hoping that split-pushing whispers will be possible. Blizzard says that they really “wanted to create a variety for people to be able to spend time where they wanted to in the world”.
The Fields of Hatred
In Diablo IV, the focus is on the world of Sanctuary, and there are parts of that world that are called the Fields of Hatred, where Lilith’s presence in Sanctuary has begun to seep through and manifest these poisonous areas throughout the world. When players go to these regions, they get to engage in player-vs-player conflict. These offer opportunities for the player to collect shards, with a catch. Shards need to be purified before players can take them back to town and turn them in for random gear rewards. When someone attempts to purify their shards, other players in the same field of hatred will know of this and can choose to go and intervene for the chance to steal those shards for themselves. Blizzard mentions that people should “be prepared that you might lose some stuff in the meantime”. What this refers to should be the loss of unpurified shards (purified shards can not be dropped as per what was officially confirmed many months ago).
Once players have purified their shards, “they can take these, go back to nearby towns to sell them, and then use that to buy a whole bunch of interesting cosmetic items and rewards.” While technically true, and they are not lying in our faces, they do make it sound that EVERYTHING you can buy via PVP rewards is cosmetic BUT that’s not the case. Yes, you can exchange purified shards for cosmetic rewards (not sell the shards as Blizzard said but straight up use them as currency as seen in the video). Note how they said “cosmetic items and rewards” and that is not clear whether cosmetic refers to the rewards part of this statement. Well, it doesn’t.
As the video showed us, we can use the shards at a PVP gambler vendor to directly buy random gear the same way gold can be used to gamble at the regular gambler npc. So, what I’ve been trying to warn people about is how this introduces a terrible dis-balance by not separating PVP and PVE gear and by letting people earn non-cosmetic rewards by partaking in PVP. PvE players may feel forced to partake in PVP IF, AND ONLY IF, the good loot chance from the PVP gambler ends up like a faster and a better way to earn good loot than the regular gambler, doing Nightmare Dungeons, and silencing Whispers.
Further on, Blizzard confirms that the Fields of Hatred are “a place for people who really love PVP and want to still get loot and still increase their character’s power. If that’s the way they want to play, they can.” While there’s nothing wrong in getting stronger and rewarded for partaking in PVP, it’s only right & fair if there are separate PVP and PVE versions of one’s character (like, for example, Guild Wars 2 structured PVP versions of the PvE characters).
Launch is just the beginning
“Launch is just the beginning” is what Blizzard say and it’s to be expected with a game that has adopted a seasonal content model. They say that one of the things they are really focused on is “creating a living, breathing set of updates for players to engage with after the game has gone live”. It’s going to be “a way to keep coming back and experiencing more Diablo IV in fresh ways”.
Global Launch Times
North America Early Access:
Pacific Daylight Time (PDT): 4PM, June 1
Eastern Daylight Time (EDT): 7PM, June 1
South America Early Access:
Brasilia Time (BRT): 8PM, June 1
Europe Early Access:
British Summer Time (BST): 12AM, June 2
Central Europe Summer Time (CEST): 1AM, June 2
Asia and Australia Early Access:
Korea Standard Time (KST): 8AM, June 2
Australian Eastern Daylight Time (AEDT): 10AM, June 2
North America standard release:
Pacific Daylight Time (PDT): 4PM, June 5
Eastern Daylight Time (EDT): 7PM, June 5
South America standard release:
Brasilia Time (BRT): 8PM, June 5
Europe standard release:
British Summer Time (BST): 12AM, June 6
Central Europe Summer Time (CEST): 1AM, June 6
Asia and Australia standard release:
Korea Standard Time (KST): 8AM, June 6
Australian Eastern Daylight Time (AEDT): 10AM, June 6
Useful Links (Spreadsheets & more):
I’ve also made two spreadsheets: one for theorycrafts/builds that shortlist the active and passive skills + legendary aspects that work well together with each build & the second one contains the full skill trees of all classes + all aspects (known so far) that the classes can use.
For all of my Diablo IV Pre-Launch Theorycrafts/Builds: This Spreadsheet
For my Diablo IV Pre-Launch Class Skill Trees (can be used as mini-calculator): This Spreadsheet
♦ ◊ ♦ ◊ ♦
This concludes My Endgame Growth & Activities, PVP and Release Times info post for Diablo IV. If you’re interested in the game, below are links to the various platforms where one can buy it (you can just click the links to open a new tab):