Even after its BlizzCon 2019 announcement, Diablo 4 didn’t seem like it was really happening. Fast forward nearly four years and some betas later, and Diablo 4 is almost here. It releases on June 6th for Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, PS5 and PC, with Deluxe and Ultimate Edition owners gaining access on June 2nd. It’s set after the events of the third game and features a grittier, more gruesome atmosphere.
Players band together to save the world once more from the forces of evil and can choose from one of five classes – Druid, Necromancer, Rogue, Sorcerer and Barbarian. Here’s everything you should know before you buy.
Diablo 4 has Smart Loot, but the overall system has changed. There are no gear sets, at least none that we know of at this point. Unique items return in addition to Common, Magic, Rare and Legendary rarities. Each has a level requirement, and as you progress through the game, it’s not uncommon for later Magic items to have higher base stats than your current Rares. You’ll get more affixes on Rare and Legendary items, with the latter providing unique benefits, like additional Skill Levels (either strengthening them or enabling their use without investing Skill Points) and various build-defining passives.
Uniques can provide game-changing passives, like the returning Windforce, whose hits have a chance to deal double damage and knock back the target, or the Flamescar wand, which emits embers that gravitate towards enemies while channeling Incinerate. There are even stronger end-game Uniques, including one that allows the Druid to remain in Werewolf form.
Crafting, Imprinting and Enchanting
As you slay enemies through the world, you’ll pick up various materials, from salvage and ore to monster parts. These can upgrade and craft different items. The Blacksmith will upgrade your weapons and armor, increasing their levels for some stat bumps, and also helps dismantle anything you don’t need for materials. The Jeweler is in charge of rings and amulets but can also upgrade them and socket Gems into equipment, which are also upgradeable. The Alchemist upgrades your Health Potion and even creates Elixirs providing effects like increased armor, elemental resistance, XP gain, dodge chance, and more.
The Occultist is perhaps the most essential. As you explore the world and gain Legendary Aspects (more on that below), you can imprint them onto Rare items and upgrade them into Legendaries. Aspects can also be imprinted onto other Legendary items, and depending on the slot, an imprinted item will see increases in its stats.
If you find an Aspect on a gear piece that’s not ideal, extract and save it for a different character or build. You can also enchant items using Veiled Crystals on Rares and the much rarer Fiend Rose on Legendaries, which allows for rerolling affixes.
However, once you reroll an affix, the others become locked, and only the rerolled affix can be re-rerolled. Certain Aspects can also only be imprinted on specific gear pieces, like Mobility Aspects on boots, Offensive Aspects on weapons etc. These can also be placed on Amulets and Rings if needed, but since only one Legendary Aspect is allowed on each item, you’ll have to make some tough choices.
Codex of Power
One particular mechanic that will help in managing Legendary Aspects is the Codex of Power. As you complete dungeons, these Aspects will unlock in the Codex and can be imprinted on items. It’s a good way to track all the different Aspects and ensures you won’t have to get lucky for a Legendary drop to either use or extract its Aspect.
However, there are some tradeoffs – you’ll always roll the lowest range on a stat when using a Legendary Aspect from the Codex. Furthermore, the Codex doesn’t contain all the Legendary Aspects. You’ll have to find those from Legendary items, which is the domain of RNG. Still, as a bump in power while grinding through the end game, the Codex is very useful.
The world of Diablo 4 consists of five regions, with waypoints located throughout for easy traversal. Scosglen is a rainy landscape with Werewolves and the Drowned, new water-based enemies on the coastlines. The Dry Steppes is, well, a bunch of steppes with unforgiving environmental conditions. Kehjistan is a desert with various ruins, while Hawezar is a swamp-filled region hiding artifacts.
Beta players will be familiar with Fractured Peaks, with its snowy mountain ranges. Though the story is composed of Acts with a defined main quest path, there is enough freedom to go almost anywhere in a region and do what you want, from different side quests and Dungeons to World Events.
World Events are like the Public Events from Destiny. They spawn in the open world and usually involve slaying hordes of monsters. You’ll escort a character back and forth while fending off monsters, collect items from slain enemies and deposit them – the list goes on, and each provides loot and XP upon completion. Sometimes you’ll fight off hordes of enemies in Legion Events.
There are also World Bosses, massive threats that require multiple players to take down, though there is solo potential. The only one we’ve seen in action is Ashava in Fractured Peaks, who spawns on a timer. If you don’t defeat her within a set time limit, you must wait several hours for another opportunity. Defeating Ashava grants a good amount of XP and some Legendaries, providing a viable farming method.
You’ll also run into Strongholds in the wild. These are enemy camps with a powerful boss to liberate. Do that, and establish a new friendly settlement with vendors, new side quests and a waypoint to fast travel to.
Each region also has several dungeons, with over 100 to explore and conquer. Despite being randomized, each has an objective, from rescuing prisoners to finding keys and opening doors. Their aesthetics reflect their respective regions, and upon defeating a dungeon boss, you’ll unlock a new Aspect. If you’re not interested in clearing out all the dungeons, it’s possible to target one with a desired Aspect and go through that instead. Dungeons provide Renown on completion, so it’s worth visiting them.
All regions have Renown, awarded upon completing dungeons and side quests, wiping out enemy Strongholds, finding waypoints and other tasks. There are five levels of Renown, shared with all characters in an account, with rewards like Skill Points, XP, additional charges for Potions and Paragon Points. Renown is less of a completionist task and more of a way to reward players for exploration and completing side content, but it has some great rewards to offer.
The end game is a core component of any action RPG looter, and Diablo 4 is no different. It uses the World Tier system, where subsequent World Tiers have tougher enemies but provide bonuses to Gold, XP and loot. The first two are available from the outset, but you need to finish Capstone Dungeons to advance into further World Tiers.
New Helltide Events also start appearing from World Tier 3 onwards and are a source of Fiend Roses for enchanting Legendaries. The enemies are stronger but offer much better loot, and you can collect Cinders to open Helltide Chests for even more rewards. In addition to Ashava, other World Bosses can be fought and farmed.
You also have Nightmare Dungeons, tougher versions of the existing ones with special modifiers like Hellgates that teleport monsters from other regions, unstoppable monsters, higher monster attack speed and more. However, you’ll need to find the Nightmare Sigil corresponding to that dungeon by completing tasks via Whispers of the Dead, other Nightmare Dungeons, etc. The stronger the Sigils, the more challenging the modifiers, but the better the loot.
Of course, player power doesn’t stop growing when the story finishes. You also unlock access to the Paragon Board at level 50. These are boards with tiles of various kinds, offering different bonuses based on rarity. Normal Tiles provide stat boosts. Magic Tiles offer more bonuses but are less common. Rare Tiles are even less common, but along with bonuses, they also contain unique powers for those fulfilling the attribute requirement. Finally, there’s a single Legendary Tile, which provides a Legendary Power when unlocked.
But that’s not all. The starting Paragon Board also has Gate Tiles at the edges, which allow for connecting other Paragon Boards, each with unique Tiles and Legendary Powers. You can even rotate Paragon Boards in case there are different paths you want to take to certain Tiles. If that weren’t enough, there are also Glyphs, which can be socketed into specific Tiles and affect other surrounding Tiles. Leveling up Glyphs increases the radius of their effect.
Finally, if you get to level 100, which the average player could take over 150 hours to do, there’s a “pinnacle boss encounter” to cap it all off. It’s “extraordinarily” challenging per associate director Joe Piepiora and a test of your build crafting, min-maxing and class.
Fields of Hatred
If you’ve nothing else to do or want to test your limits in Hardcore Mode, come down to the Fields of Hatred. It’s the game’s PvP component and involves slaying monsters and other players for Shard of Hatred and then spending those at vendors for rewards. Collect enough Shards, and you become a Vessel of Hatred, pinging everyone to your presence and granting a bonus if you die.
Survive, and you get the bonus instead because evil prevails. There are also Seeds of Hatred, which you can grind into Red Dust to spend at vendors (but be wary of other players who want the same). These are for PvP cosmetics, and the Red Dust remains persistent even if Seeds are lost.
When the base story finishes, the Big Bad is defeated, and the Pinnacle Boss is probably conquered, what’s next? There will be seasons, with the first launching in mid to late July. Seasons will introduce new Legendaries, quests, quality-of-life features, enemies and new characters.
Certain limited-time events can also occur, including vendors briefly visiting or enemies attacking a specific region. Players when progressing through the Battle Pass can get a slight boost to progression, which is good since each season requires creating a new character. Renown resets too, but this works well since you can claim those rewards again for seasonal characters.
While playing through a season, the Seasonal Journey will keep track of your progress, outlining objectives to complete in each chapter, like crafting a gem, completing a certain number of dungeons, hitting level 20, etc. You’ll earn resource caches, gear and other rewards for completing them and Battle Pass XP.
It’s no secret that Diablo 4 has a wide variety of monetization. There’s an in-game Store with various cosmetics, from armor sets to effects, and Battle Pass, to rank up. You can purchase the Premium Battle Pass for $9.99 or the Accelerated Battle Pass, which includes Tier Skips and an emote, for $24.99.
There are 90 Tiers in the Battle Pass, with 27 offering free rewards. As for the store, it rotates cosmetics periodically and even recommends some based on your play style and fashion choices. Cosmetics from the store require Platinum, a premium currency purchased with real money, but you can also earn it in some tiers of the Premium Battle Pass.
Diablo Immortal was criticized, and rightfully so, for its excessive monetization and various options to pay for power. Right off the bat, Blizzard says you can’t buy power in Diablo 4. The Battle Pass contains Smoldering Ashes, that provide a bonus to Gold, Obol, and XP gain during a season. So while you could purchase Tier Skips to unlock them, there is the worry that all the cool armor will only be available in the store, the developer says you can “acquire hundreds of transmogs, weapons, and pieces of armor, including dozens of armor sets” through regular gameplay.
Those on PC who played the open beta can expect similar hardware requirements at launch. Diablo 4 scales pretty well, running at 1080p native/720p render resolution, Low settings and 30 FPS on an Intel Core i5-2500K or AMD FX-8350, 8 GB RAM and a GeForce GTX 660 or AMD Radeon R9 280. For Medium settings at 1080p/60 FPS, you’ll need a Core i5-4670K or Ryzen 1300X, 16 GB RAM and a GTX 970 or RX 470. High settings at 60 FPS and 1080p demand a Core i7-8700K or AMD Ryzen 2700X, 16 GB RAM and an RTX 2060 or RX 5700 XT.
Finally, for Ultra settings at 4K/60 FPS, you’ll need a Core i7-8700K or Ryzen 7 2700X, a whopping 32 GB RAM and an RTX 3080, RX 6800 XT or an RTX 40 Series GPU that supports DLSS 3. Regardless of your hardware, a broadband connection (since the game is always online), Windows 10 version 1909 or newer and an SSD – yes, even on the lowest settings, with 90 GB installation space needed.
4K/60 FPS on Xbox Series X
The good news is that consoles won’t suffer in terms of performance. On Xbox Series X, the action RPG will run at 4K/60 FPS while the Xbox Series S version runs at 1080p/60 FPS (which is interesting since the beta ran at 1440p), per Diablo franchise GM Rod Fergusson. While he didn’t explicitly mention the PS5 version, it did run at 4K/60 FPS during the beta, the same as Xbox Series X.
On PS5, the beta ran at 1080p and 30 FPS, while the Xbox One version offered the same frame rate at 900p resolution. Meanwhile, the PS4 Pro ran it at 1180p/30 FPS, and Xbox One X provided 1440p/30 FPS. Long story short, if you own a current-gen console, then Diablo 4 will look incredible.
Free Previous to Current Gen Upgrades
Slaying the forces of evil for those sweet dopamine rushes – er, loot drops, can be pretty expensive, with Diablo 4 retailing for $70 on every platform. However, it does support Smart Delivery on Xbox, so you only need to buy it once to play on Xbox One or Xbox Series X/S. Dual ownership is available for PS4 and PS5, providing access to both versions.
Local Co-op, Crossplay and Cross-save
It wouldn’t be a Diablo title on consoles without local co-op. Fortunately, Xbox and PlayStation players can have another person join in by simply turning on another controller and following the on-screen prompts. Only one copy is necessary for local co-op, but it’s unfortunately for two players. On the bright side, playing with others grants five percent additional XP. If players party together, they earn 10 percent increased XP.
Diablo 4 also supports cross-platform multiplayer. Players across all platforms can co-op together, though everyone will need a Battle.net account. Cross-progression is also active. Whether upgrading from PS4 to PS5 or shifting from Xbox to PC, all your progress will carry over, including cosmetics purchased in the store.