The Diablo Immortal Technical Alpha has come and gone, and while we've already spoken about just how fun it was, it's important to look back on the experience and see if there's anything that we can take from the brief look at the game as we wait for another chance to play. With that in mind, we'll be looking at some of the key takeaways from the alpha, and why things are looking good for the future of Diablo Immortal.
The classic Diablo feel
One of the biggest fears many players had going into Diablo Immortal was whether or not the game could accurately capture the feel of a Diablo title. More often than not, franchisees that get ported over to the mobile world are usually done so poorly and can drive fans away by not playing or reminding them of the initial property. Thankfully, it seems like Blizzard has avoided this so far.
While those invited to the Diablo Immortal Technical Alpha didn't get a full experience into what the game will be, the bits that were included showed just how much like Diablo this game is. Everything from the combat, loot collection, and even things like the art style and music selection makes it very clear that Blizzard wanted this to look, feel, sound, and play like a classic Diablo game. Traveling through various dungeons and tackling hordes of enemies feels just as satisfying as it does in any other Diablo game, and while it may seem like not much of a leap forward in terms of new enemies or locations, Diablo Immortal does more than enough to make sure fans will be in the comfort of their favorite dungeon clearing franchise when they get the chance to play.
Combat keeps you playing
Another big concern coming into Diablo Immortal's Technical Alpha was how combat in the game would feel. It's no secret that fighting in Diablo games takes up a majority of the gameplay experience, so it was a huge feeling of relief when I first jumped on Immortal and found the combat to be extremely satisfying. One of the biggest things I was worried about going into my Alpha experience was how controlling combat would feel on a touch screen. Thankfully, Diablo Immortal spaces everything out well enough so that I never felt too cluttered or hit the wrong ability by accident.
Some players may not like the cooldown nature of the abilities in Diablo Immortal, but the flow and rhythm of Immortal's combat was never something I found frustrating. Likewise, the animation and feel of each battle was spot on, with each ability hitting with the appropriate amount of weight. While it would be nice for the game to add controller support once it fully launches, players who aren't fans of the touch screen nature shouldn't be too worried about how things work.
Something to play for
Because Diablo Immortal plays so much like a standard Diablo game, that means leveling up your gear and finding the next best piece of armor to equip isn't too difficult. With the wide array of gear and weapons to be found, this also means that there's always something to play for, regardless of what level you're at. Fortunately for players that are ready to invest a ton of time, though, there's definitely something to play for at nearly all times in Diablo Immortal.
Thanks to Diablo's Paragon system making its way into Immortal, even players who have reached the maximum level of 45 will have tons to keep playing for. Nearly each and every level in Immortal comes with new things to check out, whether it be new abilities, stronger gear to find, or even ways to rank up items with newfound gems or runes. With Immortal allowing players to constantly swap gear around and even swap in and out different gems as they go, I rarely found myself ever getting bored thanks to the near-endless ways to customize my play.
Repetitive, but in a good way
In a game like Diablo Immortal, or any Diablo game, finding the right balance between fun and repetitive is often very difficult. Thankfully, while the gameplay and the actions you do in Diablo Immortal may feel repetitive after some time, they're never not good, and thanks to some smart touches here and there, the repetition often results in some very varied moments.
I've already touched briefly on why the loot aspect of Diablo Immortal makes the game worth playing for longer periods of time, but thanks to the wide variety of ways to customize a character, the game's repetitive nature often feels fun. The game utilizes a power rating system for its weapons and gear, letting you swap things on the fly during dungeon runs and throughout the brief bits of story we were allowed to play. Thanks to how easy it is to upgrade and imbue weapons and gear with extra skills and buffs, this meant that I was pretty much constantly on the lookout for new items to try and find in order to maximize my skills.
Whereas other games might have had a hard time finding a way to make raiding the same dungeon over and over an entertaining experience, the sheer amount of things to find and ways in which to improve them in Diablo Immortal meant that I was perfectly fine constantly clearing out a dungeon.
Dedication to gameplay
Of course, one of the biggest aspects and early pieces of criticism that Diablo Immortal faced was in how the Diablo fanbase speculated what Blizzard would do with monetization in the game. Mobile games are notorious for having tons of microtransactions and being filled to the brim with ways for players to spend real-life money. Fortunately for those worried, it does genuinely seem as if Blizzard has simply disregarded many of the pay-to-win features found in other games in exchange for a game that's just made for fun.
Blizzard has briefly touched on Diablo Immortal monetization in its recent updates, but the gist of it is that there will be no "pay-to-win" features in the game. Instead, microtransactions will exist, but will only serve to enhance gameplay, and not affect it in any incredibly game-breaking way. One of the biggest uses of microtransactions seems to be in Diablo Immortal's Battle Pass, a system that allows players to earn some extra rewards for simply playing the game.
Certain currencies - Eternal Orbs - can also be purchased in Diablo Immortal via real-life money. Players can then use the Orbs to purchase cosmetic items in the game, as well as things like Reforging Stones and Crests that allow for tweaking gear or improving the reward pool for dungeons. All in all, Diablo Immortal will feature some microtransactions, but far from the ridiculous amount of other mobile games, and none of which truly change the game for anyone willing to spend any money.