In this blog post, I would like to share with you my first impression of Diablo 4. And at the backdrop of this video, I have recorded a recent legion event at World Tier 2 difficulty. It took my character a long walk on foot to reach the very southern end of the map. But it was fun nonetheless.
In a nutshell, does Diablo 4 Early Access meet my expectation? I would say yes. Does it worth its price tag? I still think that Diablo 4 is a very expensive game. But it also has a lot more content compared to its previous iteration released 11 years ago. Compare to recent AAA game launches, I would say Diablo 4 is very stable. I have not encountered any bugs or problems logging into the game. 99.99% of the time, the game runs smoothly. Except for some rare stuttering perhaps due to other players joining the area online.
Diablo 4 reminds me of World of Warcraft. The design of main quests with clusters of side quests populated the entire map, which is a familiar scene if you are a WoW veteran. Resource gathering. Claiming Altar of Lilith in D4 versus collecting Dragon Glyph in WoW. Online events. Mounts. PvP. The list goes on, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Time will tell if this concept works assuming that Diablo 4 doesn’t grow as World of Warcraft does with each content patch and expansion. Will the content feel stale? We shall see.
I also like the non-linear aspect of Diablo 4. I could focus on the main quest. Or I could take a break and do some side quests, explore the map, claim altars, do cellars and dungeons, join events, and be rewarded for the effort such as additional skill points for all my characters in the same realm.
I really like the storytelling aspect of the game which connects to me emotionally such as the time when Lilith found her son Rathma dead and self-reflected as a mother. The cinematic is beautiful. If you don’t mind talking to the NPCs and doing some of the side quests, examining the objects such as paintings or books, you would experience another aspect of storytelling whereby the same story is told or further elaborated through a different person or object. A town is not just a convenient location for salvaging stuff or crafting. Each town comes with its unique culture and challenges. In short, take some time at least for your first run to experience the story, when the characters and the world come alive.
Onto the combat, it is responsive. I play on World Tier 2 Veteran difficulty. The pace is slower. But the combat is more engaging as I would need to dodge a fair bit and think before I pop certain skills. The fight can be satisfying as well, especially when I overcome some really difficult situations such as Butcher. It is still too early to comment on the skill tree and gear design and class-specific mechanism. I’ll have to experience more in the end game. So far though, I must say, I enjoy having to make difficult decisions and trade-offs when it comes to skill point allocation and gear choices. And that is good news.
As for the cash shop, so far what I’ve seen are cosmetic items and they ain’t really that enticing to me, for now. The price tags are pretty in line with other aRPG such as Path of Exile. But Path of Exile is free-to-play though. But you know Blizzard. Nothing comes cheap.