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Diablo Immortal: Closed Alpha, release date, everything you need to know

Blizzard is bringing the Diablo series to your mobile phone, and we cannot wait.

Diablo Immortal was announced in late 2018 by Blizzard, and will be the first Diablo entry designed for play on mobile devices. While there are many mobile RPGs to play, Immortal will be the first full Diablo game designed from the ground up to be played on a mobile device, and thus carries a ton of excitement with it. Ever since its announcement, we've gotten a slow trickle of Diablo Immortal footage, including some gameplay.

With two Technical Alpha's for Diablo Immortal having been released in 2020, Blizzard has also released a ton of new information on the game, including news on how monetization works, gameplay, and much more.

Here is everything we know about the game so far.

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Hell unleashed

Diablo Immortal

See at Google Play

Diablo Immortal is a fully realized entry to the Diablo series. With the added benefit of an MMO experience, Immortal looks set to be amazing.

What is Diablo Immortal's story?

Diablo: Immortal takes place between Diablo II and Diablo III, and acts as a bridge between the two stories. Five years after the destruction of the Worldstone, Sanctuary is thrown into despair thanks to some ancient evils, and humanity once again is thrown into danger. Players will have to travel across all of Sanctuary to locate shards of the Worldstone and help restore order to the world.

Throughout Diablo Immortal, players will come to meet the last Horadrim, Deckard Cain, and face off against foes like the Skeleton King and his Queen, among many other iconic characters. When players first start Diablo Immortal, they'll find themselves in the town of Wortham, and be tasked with traveling through places like the Ashwold Cemetery, the cursed Dark Wood, and the Shassar Sea in hunt of shards of the Worldstone.

In a recent interview with Android Central, Senior Narrative Designer Justin Dye of Blizzard spoke about diving back into the world of Diablo 2, with the team excited to explore some of the past while also bringing in new ideas.

"Usually someone will pitch the idea, we'll kick it around, see how it feels," said Dye. "But in general, I don't think that there's ever been too much of an honest struggle in that kind of thing, because in truth, we sort of just follow the passions and see where they go. So in general, if anything, I feel like getting those has been easy."

"The game right now takes place in only about 10 areas," Dye continued. "Many of them are not even from Diablo 2, and a whole bunch of them are new places we've never been to before. So in general, it's a fun challenge."

What type of game is Diablo Immortal?

Like almost all Diablo games, Immortal is an isometric, top-down, hack-and-slash MMO where you battle hordes of minions and use magic and might to win the day. What's different about Immortal, though, is that it's fully designed to run on phones, and will also include a large multiplayer component, making Diablo Immortal more of an MMORPG than a typical mobile experience.

Blizzard assures us that the game will still have a substantial single-player story, but Diablo Immortal is also aimed to be a true MMORPG, with features like shared social spaces, four-player dungeons, legendary loot, and even guilds. Blizzard seems to be hoping that this approach will make monetizing the game easier as the content will continue to grow over time.

What is gameplay like in Diablo Immortal?

Gameplay in Diablo Immortal is going to be very familiar to fans of the iconic franchise. As you explore throughout the world of Sanctuary, you'll progress through a variety of dungeons in order to earn new loot and progress in the main story. According to Blizzard, dungeons in Diablo Immortal can be completed within 10-15 minutes either by yourself or with a party, and are filled with monsters, gears, and items. In our Diablo Immortal hands-on, editor Daniel Bader described the experience as "fun as hell".

Outside of the traditional dungeons found in Diablo games, Immortal also features Rifts, a mechanic that comes into play during the endgame modes of Immortal. Rifts will allow players to transport themselves to new areas in an effort to take on some particularly difficult monsters. The areas you'll be transported to will be randomly generated, and you'll be timed to finish off your enemy. Should you succeed, you'll be rewarded with a ton of loot that could really help boost your character.

Diablo Immortal will also feature different types of Rifts, in the form of Challenge Rifts and Elder Rifts. Challenge Rifts features higher difficulty options and a leaderboard to show off how you fare against other players, while Elder Rifts can be modified to increase the variety and rewards you earn for completing them.

While PvE gameplay is at the heart of Diablo Immortal, it will also feature some PvP elements as well. Revealed during their BlizzCon 2021 panel, Diablo Immortal's Lead Producer Wyatt Cheng mentioned that many of the Zones found in the game will have their own randomly spawning event, which may take the form of something like players having to battle each other over a chest of treasure.

What is the release date for Diablo Immortal?

Blizzard has yet to release any information surrounding a release date for Diablo Immortal. While Blizzard at one point said it was on track for a 2021 release, a recent earnings call said it was now aiming for early 2022.

How to play the Diablo Immortal Technical Alpha

Blizzard recently launched another Closed Alpha for Diablo Immortal, allowing select fans to participate to test out the game. However, the Alpha is currently only available to Android users in Australia, specifically for users who pre-registered for the game on Android. Blizzard has said that its goals for the second Alpha is to continue gather valuable feedback on both server stability and client performance data, so while you won't be able to participate now, it's likely that the company will host another round of testing in the future.

Does Diablo Immortal have Paragon leveling?

Yes! Fans of Diablo III will know what Paragon leveling is, but for those unaware, this system unlocks a new set of skill trees once you reach max level in Diablo Immortal, allowing players to continue learning some new abilities. The Paragon system has been tweaked a bit to fit into Diablo Immortal, but players will still be able to access Paragon trees and customize their characters even further than what they can do when they hit max level.

Is there PvP in Diablo Immortal?

Yes. Players looking to take each other on in Diablo Immortal will have the ability to, with The Cycle of Strife. First, players will start out as Adventures, who can gain notoriety and fortune for defending Sanctuary citizens. Just like its name suggests, the Cycle of Strife is a never-ending battle for dominance amongst players.

At the top of this group of fighters are the Immortals, who are the most elite fighters. Below them are the Shadows, who will come together in groups known as Dark Houses to challenge the Immortals. Shadows can raid the Vaults of Immortals and complete Contracts that will attempt to weaken them, and as they grow in strength, Dark Houses can even attempt to overthrow the sitting Immortals, and replace them if they succeed. This starts a new Cycle of Strife, and puts the new Immortals right in target of the Shadows.

Diablo Immortal's PvP section will also have its own Battleground, where Adventurers, Shadows, and Immortals can all participate. Here, 8v8 PvP battles will take place, with an attacking and defending team facing off. Attackers will have to take down Guardians and Zealous Idols to destroy the defending teams Ancient Heart. Needless to say, this will be a huge chance for players to showcase their characters true power and abilities in a way that hasn't been previously available.

What is gear like in Diablo Immortal?

Gear is the foundation of any Diablo title, and Diablo Immortal is no different. Earning gear in Diablo Immortal will be one of the biggest keys to success for any player, and much like every Diablo title, you can find gear by taking down monsters, buying it from NPC vendors with gold, and by just playing the game. Better yet, all items will be available through playing the game, meaning you won't have to worry about someone being able to buy better gear than you without earning it in the game. When it comes to gear, each item will have its own unique stats, but those can be enhanced via the use of gems, runes, and charms:

  • Players can insert Gems into pieces of gear to increase their stats, while stronger gems - named Legendary Gems - will also provide for new capabilities that keep your character continuing to grow in power and skill.

  • Runes exist as a piece of currency to help players craft Legendary Gems, and can be spent at any jewel crafter in Westmarch. For players that make it to endgame content, you'll also be able to find Runes in Elder Rifts, so collecting them shouldn't be too much of a hassle.

  • Finally, Charms act as another way for players to customize their gear in Diablo Immortal. They occupy their own space in a gear slot, and will carry between one and five skill rank bonuses that help increase the rank of your skills.

What classes are there in Diablo Immortal?

Like all good games of its kind, there are a lot of classes to choose from. As of right now, Blizzard has revealed that there will be six classes in Diablo Immortal, although only four of them — Barbarian, Monk, Wizard, and Demon Hunter — were playable in the Technical Alpha.

For a look at the six classes playable when the game officially launches, check out your future options below:

  • Barbarian: The likeliest first class for many players, Barbarians will likely be a strength-based class, and use brutal and powerful weapons to take down foes. Attacks like the Hammer of the Ancients and Ancient Spear will help clear enemies quickly and efficiently.
  • Monk: Monks will focus on precision in Diablo Immortal, and use lightning-fast attacks that focus heavily on mobility and swiftness.
  • Wizard: Wizards are all about magic, and will have a wide-range of arcane abilities, including a meteor attack, a lightning blast, and the power to teleport on the battlefield.
  • Demon Hunter: The Demon Hunter is another class that will take advantage of long-range attacks, utilizing a crossbow to take down enemies. Players can expect to learn a ton of crossbow-based attacks, including abilities that can stun and knock back enemies.
  • Crusader: This class seems like the closest thing to a Paladin that might exist in the game. Crusaders are clad in armor and look to take down whatever evil might exist. Blizzard hasn't revealed exactly what types of attacks to expect for this class just yet.
  • Necromancer: This was the final class announced for Diablo Immortal, so there's not a lot of information available yet. According to Blizzard, they will "use their powers over life and death" to take the fight to whatever enemy they may have.

Each class has four abilities, which will be different and unique across each class. Classes will also be able to use Ultimate Abilities, which will augment certain powers that the characters already have. According to the company, the current plan is for each class to get 12 unlockable skills, with players allowed to use five at the same time while they play.

Is Diablo Immortal free-to-play?

Yes. By far the biggest questions surrounding Diablo Immortal is how it will operate as a game. Thankfully, Blizzard is fully prepared to treat this like a true Diablo title, meaning that it will indeed be free-to-play, but will include optional in-app purchases.

While some might hear "in-app purchases" and worry that the game will feature tons of microtransactions, Blizzard seems very dedicated to making sure that Diablo Immortal has no "pay-to-win" aspects in it whatsoever. According to the company, their plan is to support Diablo Immortal with a constant flow of free content, which includes new gear, features, classes, stories, and areas to explore. At the end of the day, Blizzard says that the core Diablo Immortal game experience will always be free, and should be something players can enjoy whether or not they spend money.

Does Diablo Immortal have a Battle Pass?

Yes. Much like most modern games that feature some sort of online component, Diablo Immortal will have a Battle Pass. Similar to other battle passes in games, this will allow players to earn rewards by completing various seasonal quests and other in-game activities.

Diablo Immortal's Battle Pass will have both a free and paid track, allowing players to earn rewards whether or not they want to pay for it, although the paid track will have access to more rewards, including exclusive cosmetics and other special items.

Is there a market in Diablo Immortal?

Diablo Immortal will have a market, but Blizzard has already confirmed that it will not be a real-money auction house like Diablo III had. Instead, Diablo Immortal's market will feature anonymous buyers and sellers, with no ability to cash-out.

Similar to other games, there is going to be a limit on what can and can't be put on the market, but it will still serve as a great place to find certain materials, supplementary items, and Legendary Gems, among other things. Free-to-play players will also be able to utilize the market to exchange items they find for other in-game currency, making it a solid way to boost their in-game money without having to spend anything.

What does the UI look like in Diablo Immortal?

One of the biggest questions that fans had heading into Diablo Immortal was how the game would fit abilities, health, and other information onto a tinier screen. During ChinaJoy, China's biggest video game convention, Blizzard released a brand new trailer for Diablo Immortal, giving us a look at how some of this is going to be presented.

During the short video, brief glimpses of gameplay can be seen, with the UI fully available as well. Thankfully, it looks like Blizzard has found a way to get all of the necessary information onto the screen, with players health, buffs, and abilities all showing up neatly onto the screen. For anyone who may have played other MMOs on their phone, this shouldn't be too different, with abilities popping up on the right side of the screen and right within reach of your thumb.

Are there microtransactions in Diablo Immortal?

While Diablo Immortal is free-to-play, microtransactions will exist in the game. According to Blizzard, Diablo Immortal will not feature any "pay-to-win" mechanics, with the in-app purchases found in the game either serving as cosmetic items or things that will complement gameplay.

What is the control system like in Diablo Immortal?

On screen control

Because Diablo Immortal is a mobile game, it naturally has on-screen buttons for its control scheme. You can see in the GIF above that they aren't too obtrusive, which is nice if you're using a smaller phone, although they still may get in the way of the action. You can see that the right thumbstick almost disappears completely when not in use, which is a nice touch, though it's all the attack icons that take up the most space.

Hopefully, Blizzard will add controller support as well as on-screen buttons. Most phones these days are compatible with various controllers, and the game experience will be much better if you can see more of the game rather than the icons.

Hell unleashed

Diablo Immortal

See at Google Play

Diablo Immortal is a fully realized entry to the Diablo series. With the added benefit of an MMO experience, Immortal looks set to be amazing.

Updated Aug. 3, 2021: Added information about release date delay.

Source: androidcentral

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