When players heard that the Diablo franchise was going mobile, many were worried that the essence of the game as they knew it would get lost in the process. After all, this wouldn’t have been the first time a well-loved PC game got torn to pieces in its transition to new platforms. Yet Blizzard seems committed to ensure that Diablo doesn’t suffer a similar fate. The gameplay trailers we’ve seen so far suggest as much.
Especially since the devs have spent such a long time perfecting Diablo Immortal, we expect the game to set the new standard in the mobile ARPG genre. But what about good-old Diablo gameplay? Will veteran fans of the series get more of the experience they so sorely miss or will the game introduce an entirely new combat system? Find out more below.
1. A Familiar Loop: Battle Foes, Get XP, Gear Up
The good news is that even though Diablo Immortal will be a mobile game, it will be based on the same type of ARPG gameplay made famous by the franchise. Snippets of story will be introduced here and there in order to help the release fit into the rest of the lore, but you don’t have to worry about cinematics taking over the game. This will be a Diablo experience and, as such, it will fill most of your playtime with simple, soothing hacking and slashing.
In addition, you’ll immediately recognize the progression loop. Though your character starts with nothing but the shirt on their back, your goal will be to defeat as many demons as possible. Why? Well, first of all, because they’re the bad guys. But more importantly, because this is the only way to gain XP and level up.
Once every few levels, new abilities will keep things interesting. Plus, every step of the way, you’ll be praying to the RNG gods that the next monster you kill drops a shirt, a pair of trousers, or even a weapon that you can use to replace your battered gear. Scavenging for items is another thing that will take up a lot of time in Diablo Immortal and we wouldn’t have it any other way. After all, how are we to keep defeating hordes of increasingly powerful enemies if our characters don’t get more powerful in the process?
2. An Enhanced MMORPG Experience
One thing that we really love about Diablo Immortal is that it takes itself seriously as an MMORPG, even if it will be released on mobile. Consider that, in Diablo III, for instance, you could only join 3 other people in a party in order to defeat stronger monsters. If the trailers for Diablo Immortal are any indication, however, you’ll be able to form parties of up to 10 people and organize much more complex events.
It’s also worth noting that just because Diablo is going mobile doesn’t mean the devs will use the transition as an excuse to ease up on standards. The gameplay we were shown so far looks absolutely stunning, with real, fleshed-out characters and abilities that look and feel real. What’s more, it seems that the environment will play a bigger role in Diablo Immortal since we’ve seen characters interact in novel ways with sliding chasms and winding rivers, to name a few.
3. New Abilities and Tactical Options
So far, we haven’t gotten into any significant gameplay revisions, but that’s about to change with abilities. To create a better experience for mobile players, Diablo Immortal will feature skills that are more clearly directional and easier to aim. Many abilities will likely affect enemies in a frontal cone, which will help players make up for some of the disadvantages of giving up the mouse and keyboard.
However, the really cool thing about abilities in Diablo Immortal is the fact that they are programmed to interact in unique ways with one another. In the gameplay trailer, for example, we saw a Wizard cast an ability that froze a single foe, as well as a single-target ice beam. When she combined the two, though, they unleashed a massive AoE ability that destroyed all nearby enemies. It turns out, if you cast the beam at a frozen foe, the latter explodes into a myriad of icicles that can then damage everyone else.
Add this to the fact that such effects will likely occur between classes and players and you have one of the biggest improvements that Diablo Immortal brings to the series. Synchronizing your own abilities for maximum damage is one thing, but cooperating with friends and other players to do even more DPS is something not many mobile games have been able to harness.
4. Awesome Ultimates and Legendary Items
If cross-class combos aren’t enough to excite you, take a look at Blizzard’s update from 2019, which introduced several new areas in addition to unique legendary items and ultimate abilities for each class. While most of the latter seem to have some kind of AoE potential, we love it that each skill looks different enough to count. We’ve seen too many mobile RPGs where the different classes are essentially using the same 3-4 abilities, but have distinct animations.
With ultimates, skills, and items that are specific to each class, we expect Diablo Immortal to give us plenty of reasons to start multiple characters and try out different classes. In fact, we hope there will be some kind of reward system for players who do level up more than one character and that, like in the case of Black Desert Mobile, all of our heroes will be linked for easier progression.
So far, this is everything we know about Diablo Immortal and the type of gameplay you can expect from this release. However, with early regional testing on the horizon for the middle of 2020, we can’t wait to see what new features the devs decide to add to the game.