As we hurtle rapidly towards Diablo IV’s launch on June 6th, one aspect of it has been kept tightly under wraps: what the endgame experience will be like for players. That is until now. Last week they released a video that gave us our first public look at what we can expect from the endgame experience of Diablo IV. In addition, I had the opportunity to participate in an interview with Associate Game Director Joseph Piepiora and Lead Producer Kayleigh Calder, where we discussed everything related to the endgame experience. So, let’s dive into all the juicy bits.
So, I’m max level; what do I do now?
I was specifically curious about what happens if a player hits max level before they finish the campaign and how that would work. Piepora explained that the campaign is designed to be played only in world tiers 1 and 2, and as players gain levels, the content in those tiers will get progressively more challenging. After finishing the campaign, if the player is level 50, they can complete an “endcap dungeon,” which will allow the player to move on to the higher world tiers. That sounds great and provides a bit of a testing ground to see if the player is ready to move on to more challenging content.
One of the new features in Diablo IV is an entirely new Paragon system, and as Calder explained, “the most it has in common with the one in Diablo III is the name.” It sounds like they are aiming for the paragon system to provide a lot of the customizations in playstyle; Calder continued with,
“you can level two sorceresses, they could play and feel entirely differently depending on the choices you make, not just in your skills and the legendaries you get, but also the paragon board itself and the choices you make as you travel through that.”
Piepora also chimed in to point out that it won’t be possible to get everything in the paragon board; progression will be capped. This is great because your choices on the board and how you path through things will matter a lot more.
One of the significant criticisms I saw after the open beta weekend was that the gameplay was shallow because the choices in building your character were pretty limited. However, they have reserved much of the complexity and player choice for the paragon levels. This is a brilliant way to do things because it doesn’t make things immediately overwhelming for new players. They can quickly get in and start learning about what they can do as they level.
Another significant pillar of endgame content is nightmare dungeons, which are accessible through the use of nightmare sigils. Piepora described the process in this way, “nightmare sigils are earned by completing whispers of the dead, another feature available for the players once they’ve finished the campaign and they’ve gotten a little further in the story and a regular piece of content they’ll be dealing with as part of the seasonal content as well… Now, each one of these nightmare sigils is tied directly to a dungeon somewhere in Sanctuary… When you get one of these nightmare sigils, it’s gonna have a number of different modifiers which we call afflictions baked into the sigil itself.
They might increase the monster’s attack speed, they might increase the monster’s damage they deal when making poison attacks, and it might make them all have barriers every time you initially fight one in combat. There’s also some positive affixes and modifiers as well, such as increases experience generated, increased gold drops, and things like that.”
Calder also pointed out that higher world tier difficulty will result in more challenging nightmare dungeons, so players have some control over how difficult a challenge they seek out. This will add a lot of variety to dungeons as you work through your paragon levels.
Additionally, he mentioned that there are over 120 dungeons in Diablo IV, but each season there will be about 30 of these, which will be part of the seasonal content and change up when a new season starts.
Seasonal Story Content
As someone who tends to enjoy the story of Diablo games, seasonal content as it has been described for Diablo IV had me a bit concerned because I may not be able to play in every season, but if each season adds more story, I would hate to miss out on it. Pieporia addressed this in two parts.
The first part he explained is that every season will have a specific theme, and along with that theme, there will be story content that supports it. That slice of story content will be temporary and only playable during the season it’s related to.
When it comes to expanding on the larger story of Diablo IV, if we were to have content that would thread from the conclusion of Diablo IV and lead into the expansion, or anything like that we might do in the future, in that sort of situation we’d want to continue to tell the story of Diablo IV, then we would make sure that content is persistent and available for all players at all times.
Piepiora expanded a bit on what we can expect from the Diablo IV battle pass system: “In terms of how does the battle pass link up with in game activities and how do we make players want to engage with it – so the way players will progress through the battle pass is by completing all manners of in game activities to earn what we call favor, which will be the fuel that drives the battle pass as players progress through them.
This sounds like the ideal type of battle pass where we’ll be able to do various things to progress and not have to go out of our way to do specific things we may not want to do.
MMO, ARPG, or Both?
When asked about treading this line, Piepiora had an interesting take on it: “The answer is that Diablo IV is an ARPG first. It is a dungeon crawling, monster slashing, monster killing, loot collecting game. It has these persistent online elements where you can see and run into these other players in the interconnected overworld – we want these things to feel like they are married well together.
Overall, the endgame for Diablo IV seems vast and varied, which is about all I could have asked for. They also talked a bit about after leveling your first character through the campaign, when you make subsequent characters, you’ll have the choice to play the campaign or not, which is a huge plus.
According to https://www.mmorpg.com/interviews/interview-diablo-iv-devs-spill-the-tea-about-endgame-2000127709
The material in this article is written on the basis of another article.