After playing the Diablo 4 betas, I was pretty surprised by how it all felt. And the more I played it, the more I enjoyed it. But I kept noticing features that seemed very familiar from other games, primarily MMOs.
The long travel times between side quests, the huge open world that you can freely explore, even seeing other players walking around helping me do random events.
It felt a bit odd because it felt like I was playing an MMO within an ARPG. The combat feels great, the esthetic is dark and gritty again and we were blessed with a new antagonist that everybody seems to love - Lilith.
But as much as I love the idea of these new MMO like systems, such as World Bosses, Diablo 4 is taking a huge risk here and at the end of the day, put simply, Diablo 4 may not be for you.
Feel More Like An MMO Than ARPG
This is all from my time from the Diablo 4 betas. So, take this all with a grain of salt. But the reason why I say Diablo 4 may not be for you is because Diablo 4 feels more like an MMO than it does an ARPG.
In other games like Path of Exile or Diablo 2, you have one town that acts as a Quest hub, and from that one point you go on to different areas, usually on a linear path, killing monsters and hunting for that sweet loot.
In Diablo 4, however, you are left to your own devices. The main focus will always be the story line. But aside from the main quests, you can level how you want. If you want to farm dungeons all day, you can do that. Or, if you’d rather hop from quest hub to quest hub, doing side quests or exploring the world, you can do that.
There’s this weird sense of freedom that is present when playing Diablo 4, which is a refreshing feeling but alien at the same time.
Getting Stronger Feels Punishing
There are a few problems with this because with the freedom to play how you want, there are also additional systems now that you may not enjoy. For example, as you level throughout the world, monsters and areas will scale along with your level, which means getting stronger may feel a bit punishing.
There will be power spikes along the way whenever you get a key legendary or rare item. But that quickly diminishes once you start to out level your gear and scaling starts to catch up with you again.
One of the positives of a scaling level system is that you can just hop into a friends’ world and just play with them. There’s no big power difference between characters like in Diablo 3, because everything is scaled down to your individual levels.
My only concern with this system is that the process of slowly seeing my character become stronger and stronger is one of the reasons I love playing ARPGs. And the silver lining here is once you hit max level, scaling doesn’t matter anymore.
New Timed World Events
A big concern of mine is world bosses, simply because of how the world boss system is being implemented. Personally, I enjoyed the world bosses and I think they are a great overall addition to the game. But the bosses themselves are on set timers.
They will only spawn at certain times of the day and you will only have 15 minutes to kill the world boss. If you fail to kill the world boss within these 15 minutes, they just walk away. Literally, just that’s it. Leaving you with nothing and just wasting 15 minutes of your time.
There may be situations where halfway through the fight, people just start to leave. This is another system taken from MMOs like World of WarCraft, where you’re now being forced to do an activity you may not want to do.
My concern is that world bosses might just be the beginning. Seasonal content, such as the Seasonal Journey, which was teased earlier in the development cycle, might include daily or weekly tasks later down the road. I want to log in and play Diablo 4 when I want to, not when I feel like I have to.
Concerns About Hardcore
One thing that I think deserves a mention here is how these systems may affect hardcore players. Because it seems like they’re getting the short end of the stick.
Since Diablo 4 is now going into this MMO like direction, hardcore players are forced to try and kill a world boss that can potentially one-shot people. This could easily be a one-way ticket back to the main menu. Another option would be just to ignore the world bosses altogether, but where’s the fun in that?
There’s also a high probability that hardcore players can be lured into a death they can’t avoid, since there are now other players walking around in an open world environment and there’s no grace period for loading screens or dungeons. It would be pretty easy for players to accidentally or even on purpose kill other hardcore players by luring monsters over by a dungeon entrance, especially now that monsters and areas scale with players levels.
Final Thoughts and Concerns
Overall, I feel like Diablo 4 has a bright future. But at its core, it may not appeal to some past Diablo fans with its time gated content and open world MMO like features.
If you enjoy MMO games in general, I feel like you’ll enjoy Diablo 4 as much as I have. And now you can start preparing for Diablo 4 Gold. After all, Diablo 4 will be officially released in a few days.
However, if you’re looking for a spiritual successor to Diablo 2, I would probably suggest playing Last Epoch or maybe giving Path of Exile 2 a chance.
This all might change post-launch, but it seems like Diablo 4 is walking down a slightly different path compared to previous Diablo games.