Editor-in-Chief Conversation Xbox Wire with Blizzard Senior Community Manager Adam Fletcher and Game Director Joe Shelley.
The gates of hell are creaking open, and the open beta testing of Diablo IV is almost on the nose. Starting this Friday, March 17th for those who pre-ordered the game (and starting March 24th for everyone else), the beta will offer a huge amount of content and even reward those who take part.
Ahead of the Open Beta, we caught up with Game Director Joe Shelley to find out what’s in store for you and give him some personal advice on what to do during your early visit to Sanctuary.
Xbox Wire: What do you recommend players do during the open beta? Any recommended side quests?
As part of the Open Beta, we’ll be taking a closer look at the early part of Diablo IV. I would encourage players to play through the entire Act 1 story campaign in the Shattered Peaks zone and just explore the world to see what it has to offer. Get off the beaten path and take part in world events, liberate the fortress, complete all side tasks and dive into dungeons scattered throughout the zone. You’ll also be able to play all five of our playable classes during Open Beta weekend on March 24th, and I hope everyone gets a chance to try them all out and let us know what you think.
One of my favorite side quests that you will be able to play in the open beta is Neveska Forester. I won’t go into spoilers, but this is a great example of how we approach the storytelling in DiabloI – about the struggles of the people of Sanctuary and how a seemingly simple task can turn into a longer chain of quests involving some serious consequences of your actions. .
XW: Are there any secrets that you hide from all the players? (Of course, no spoilers!)
There are definitely things in this open beta that I’m excited to open up to players. Sanctuary is full of surprises, some of which you’ll discover as you explore Fractured Peaks. Watch out for “Altars of Lilith” hidden all over the world. Some of them will be hard to find, but you will be rewarded with a boost to your character’s power, so be sure to explore the area well. Perhaps from time to time there will be unexpected meetings that will test your ingenuity and speed of reaction!
XW: What have you learned from previous public tests and how has that affected what will be available in the open beta?
We did a lot of internal and closed tests, during which we learned a lot and iterated the game throughout the development process. We received invaluable feedback and were able to improve all aspects of the game, including class skill trees, overall balance, and all end game content. This will be the first open public test, so we look forward to the feedback and data we get from so many players who will be able to join Diablo IV for the first time.
XW: What will the open beta test help you learn before the release of the full game in June?
We’re postponing the Open Beta until the official launch on June 6th so we can react to the feedback we’re getting this weekend. We expect a lot of input and feedback from players on things like balance, bug flags, gameplay features that can be tweaked to make it more fun or intuitive, and more. Of course, one of the most important things we’ll also be focusing on is testing our server infrastructure to make sure we can provide the best possible experience on launch day.
XW: If someone is completely new to Diablo, is there a class or play style you recommend trying to get comfortable with the game?
In Diablo IV, it’s all about the player’s choice, and we don’t want to force the player, newbie or veteran, to take a path they don’t want to take. We have designed all of our classes to have a very clear learning curve from character creation. As you level up and gain talent points, you will be able to choose a path in the talent tree and access new abilities and passive skills one by one. Whether you choose a melee barbarian or a ranged sorceress, you will gradually become familiar with their playstyles and have time to experiment and get to know your abilities. You can also easily change any talent points to experiment with different scenarios and find what you like best.