Saturday Morning Gaming: A few moments with Diablo IV
So KFC had this promotion where if you bought a double-down, you got a free ticket to play Diablo IV.
I want to shake the hand of the guy who came up with this brilliant cross-promotion.
My own, personal, take is that the double down isn’t that good of a sandwich-adjacent meal. HOWEVER. The Spicy Double-Down? The other chicken restaurants out there might as well close their doors.
Anyway, I got my free ticket to play Diablo IV.
SO! I have some observations about the first couple hours or so of gameplay. Short version, if you don’t want spoilers, I am *SOLD*.
If you don’t mind some minor spoilers for the first couple hours of gameplay, read on.
First off, here’s the opening cinematic:
The beta gave you three options to play: Sorcerer, Barbarian, or Rogue. They also showed you the Necromancer and the Druid on the character selection screen but they said “UNAVAILABLE” when you hovered over them.
I picked the Barbarian.
Some first impressions:
They got rid of inventory tetris. Remember how a two-handed greatsword took up 8 slots, a ring or a potion took up one slot, and a belt took up two horizontal slots while a pair of gloves took up two vertical slots?
Well, they got rid of that! Everything is one slot now. You can hold 33 things. That means 33 rings or 33 two-handers. So they’ve simplified things.
Also, check out these stats:
Attack power, Armor, and Life.
No more strength or dex or vitality! They’ve simplified things down to the bone. When you get an item, it gives you either attack or armor. It helpfully has a green arrow pointing up or a red arrow pointing down. So you don’t have to waste time wondering “is this better than what I have now?” The game tells you!
I don’t like that.
Skills are a little bit better.
You can pick out your build from the get-go. Do you want a frenzy barb? Use your first point to buy Frenzy! Or buy bash or flay or lunge.
This will be your left-click attack. It will help build up your “Rage” (think: Mana). When you hit level 6, you will have an opportunity to purchase a skill that spends Rage. So left-click, left-click, left-click, RIGHT-CLICK! Left-click, left-click, left-click, RIGHT-CLICK!
Okay. That’s not so bad.
If you’re wondering about health potions, they don’t have them anymore. Or, specifically, they’ve changed them. You now carry 4 potions. Occasionally, enemies drop a potion. Additionally, they have now included “elixirs”. Drink one to give yourself a boost to your cold resistance. Or a boost to damage! Or evade! These are hoardable. But you can only carry 33 of them (don’t worry, they go in a different tab than your items so you don’t have to worry about dropping a sweet sword to pick up a particularly nice elixir). They’ve also included “ingredients” in the game so you’ll get the joys of clicking on every single backlit bush you see. Get to town, refill your elixirs.
So use them if you need them, you’ll pick them up as needed. You can no longer hoard them. You can upgrade them, but you need to be level 20 to get the first upgrade and I’m still in the early teens.
The combat is pretty good. I made fun of the left-click, right-click dynamic earlier but, seriously, it’s pretty sweet. My frenzy barb does this thing where he frenzies up and then gives a finisher with both weapons. It’s a lot of fun. As for the monsters, I’m still only in Part I but I’ve already encountered a bunch of remixed old favorites as I wandered around:
They’ve kept the thing where you get cutscenes as a reward for beating a particular area:
The cutscenes are breathtaking. Seriously. I was glued to the screen.
They’ve even included stuff like “achievements” now.
So there’s more and more and more reason to just go out for one more run. Kill one more boss. Collect more ingredients. Get one more achievement.
They’ve also included a new kind of currency. Obols.
I don’t know about you but klaxons are going off in my head that they’re going to have an online store that will do stuff like sell you currency. Oh, is getting another slot for your chest going to cost 100,000 gold? Hey, get 80,000 gold for $4.99. Want some Obols? Hey, we’ve got several packages available, starting at $4.99!
I mean, maybe they won’t do that? But I remember Diablo Immortal and how they made money hand over fist with that phone game. They’re probably going to do the same here.
Anyway, the game is absolutely amazing so far. They’ve done a great job bringing the franchise into the new generation. Maps have depth and you go up stairs or down them, climb cliffs, that sort of thing, and it feels like you’re changing altitude when you do it. The sound design is *OUT OF THIS WORLD*. The background music and the noises the monsters make are, seriously, top notch.
And then I look at the pricing page and…
Lemme tell ya, for $70, they’d better *NOT* include a store in the game. But, you know, I’ll probably get it anyway. Because, seriously, the game is *AMAZING* so far.
So… what are you playing?
(Featured image is a screenshot of the character select screen. All screenshots taken by the author.)