Diablo 4 devs detail UI, controller support & new enemies

In its Quarterly Update posting, Blizzard has revealed some new details on the eagerly anticipated Diablo 4


Diablo 4 was officially announced at BlizzCon 2019 on November 1, 2019. Since that time, fans have been itching to get their hands on as much information as possible. Well, today is a good day then, because Luis Barriga, game director for the Diablo 4 team, shared a blog post that touched on the UI, controller support, and new enemies players can expect to encounter.

After receiving feedback about the UI from people who tried the BlizzCon demo, the team has made a few key changes but also notes that visual polish is one of the last things they look at when working on the UI. The first public demonstration of the game featured the health globe and skill bar on the bottom-right portion of the screen which is a big change from the traditional bottom-center positioning that has been used in all other Diablo games on PC. 

PC users overwhelmingly wanted the traditional presentation, while console players were ok with a corner position. Due to the differences in average viewing distance between desk and couch players, the ease of switching the player view from the main action to the skill bar is a big concern. PC players sit closely to their displays, so having to constantly swap from center to corner focus was tougher than for a couch player who may be sitting more than ten feet from their display.

Diablo 4 will be the first game in the franchise built from the ground up with controller support. The PC version of Diablo 3 never got official support in the same way the console versions of the game did, but this changes for the sequel. The development team will be building the game to accommodate both input types for a seamless experience no matter how you choose to play. 

Monster design is very important to the team at Blizzard. Diablo 4 is expected to be larger in scope than previous games and the developers wanted to offer enemies that offered various types of challenges, even when encounters were limited to a certain area. To help achieve this, a detailed monster taxonomy system has been created where specific enemy types can be grouped into “monster families.” Players will encounter enemies classified as Drowned or Cannibals, with the individual creatures in those families getting a more explicit classification such as “bruiser” or “swarmer.” 

These monster families will have weaponry and abilities that are unique and may work in concert to increase difficulty. The Cannibal bruiser will carry a spiked club that can stun players. On their own, they may not pose the world’s biggest threat, but when encountered at the same time as a Cannibal swarmer, things can get dicey. Cannibal swarmers can carry out fast, deadly attacks, but are not always guaranteed to land their blows, in traditional RPG fashion. Should a player find themselves stunned by the Cannibal bruiser, the Cannibal swarmers chances to land a deadly blow become all but certain. This sort of dynamic interplay between enemy types will help to keep combat feeling fresh, which is a positive for a genre built on the foundation of killing hundreds of millions of foes.

For more detailed information on Diablo 4, refer to the Quarterly Update blog posting at the Blizzard website.

Contributing Tech Editor

Chris Jarrard likes playing games, crankin' tunes, and looking for fights on obscure online message boards. He understands that breakfast food is the only true food. Don't @ him.

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