Diablo: Past, Immortal, and Future
Written by Charles Matthews for 9 to 5 Gamers
1997’s genre-defining action roleplaying game; Diablo was the first to serve players with the oh, so satisfying “shoot and loot” concept. The sound of gold being dropped by felled enemies quickly became a shot of dopamine for those navigating the dungeons deep below Sanctuary’s Tristram.
Catchphrases like Deckard Cain’s “Stay awhile and listen” and The Butcher’s “Fresh Meat” became hallmarks of the series and gaming pop culture in general.
Blizzard Entertainment still honors the original Diablo within Diablo III every year with the “Darkening of Tristram” event.
Despite Blizzard North’s objections, an expansion; Hellfire was developed by Synergistic Software, a subdivision of Sierra at the time. Hellfire added a new character class; the Monk (and two hidden classes, shhh), two new locations, and additional in-game items. In general, Hellfire received favorable reviews and was Synergistic’s most lucrative release ever.
Diablo II is one of the few sequels that didn’t crumble under the weight of expectations set by its predecessor. The game added new regions and changed the available character classes from Warrior, Rogue, and Sorcerer to Amazon, Necromancer, Barbarian, Sorceress, and Paladin. Even though most of the game mechanics stayed true to the original, extra features were added to accommodate the sequel’s larger scope.
The second Diablo game also received an expansion; Lord of Destruction but this time it was developed by Blizzard North’s own team.
The new content gave players two more character classes; the Assassin and the Druid, an additional single-player story “Act” and a significantly revamped multiplayer experience.
Both Diablo II and Lord of Destruction underwent a modern-day makeover and were re-released under the name; Diablo II Resurrected on September 23rd, 2021.
Diablo III was released almost twelve years after Diablo II to much fanfare but great disappointment. The game didn’t have an offline single-player mode and Blizzard’s servers weren’t ready to take on launch day traffic.
It quickly became apparent that Diablo III‘s Auction House feature also wasn’t doing players any justice. The core premise of… “Loot, oh glorious loot” had turned into “Junk, junk” and “oh, this is cool but it doesn’t fit my class”.
Players were pretty much forced to find the items they really needed on the AH, raising the question, “Why bother grinding for loot at all?” The developers responded to the outrage and eventually removed the Action House but the online requirement remained.
The game’s expansion; Reaper of Souls gave players a new class, an additional storyline “Act” and a brand new game mode. Adventure mode made it possible for players to level new characters without having to go through the entire storyline again. Instead, they could test their skills for prize loot in “Nefilim Rifts” and complete missions for “Bounties”, ultimately paving the way for Diablo III‘s… Seasons!
The Necromancer Pack was the last of the game’s additional paid content and included a new class, an in-game pet, and some nifty but ultimately inconsequential extras.
Diablo Immortal will be the fourth title in the franchise and the first made (initially) for mobile. When the game was announced, fans were disappointed, to say the least. Excited to see progress on Diablo IV only to be served with a mobile game, caught many completely off guard. In an effort to appease fans and reach as wide an audience as possible, Blizzard Entertainment decided to work on a PC port of Diablo Immortal, the beta of which launches on the same day as the mobile versions.
The story will unfold between the events of Diablo II & III, so it’s a sequel AND a prequel.
Players can choose from all six of Diablo III’s character classes; Barbarian, Crusader, Demon Hunter, Monk, Necromancer, and Wizard.
The angel Tyrael is nowhere to be found, leaving heroes to face new and familiar enemies alone, including The Skeleton King, Baal, and the Countess. Ultimately, players will have to take down Skarn, The Herald of Terror, and one of Diablo’s top generals (pictured above).
Diablo Immortal will take place across eight distinct zones, including Mount Zavain, the Frozen Tundra, and the Realm of Damnation.
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“The Old Growth” (voiced by James Goode) in the Forest of Misery.
Zones will also feature area-specific dungeons, such as the Cavern of Echoes and the Pits of Anguish, each serving players with unique enemies and epic rewards.
The Pits of Anguish’s “Zaka” encounter is said to be:
…a screen-filling boss fight with the most blood by volume of any in the game.
Diablo Immortal can be downloaded on iOS and Android on launch day and pre-loaded on PC via the Battle.net launcher… NOW! Be sure to check out the release schedule below to see when YOU can start playing…
Diablo IV does not have a confirmed release date, but fans are excited despite Blizzard’s shortcomings with its predecessor. The tone of the game is much darker, reminiscent of Diablo I & II, rather than the almost cartoon-like approach of Diablo III.
If the latest gameplay demo is anything to go by, it will be epic. We sincerely hope that Blizzard will deliver for die-hard fans and new players alike.
(All Images, Video & Audio Files are © of Blizzard Entertainment)