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Diablo Immortal begins rolling out technical alpha today

The mobile take on Diablo is hitting the technical alpha stage and Blizzard had a lot to say about it on Thursday.


There's been a lot of attention on Diablo 4, which is still in line to release on PC at some point in the future. However, it's not the only Diablo game on Blizzard's plate. The publisher is still working on Diablo Immortal, the series' first foray into mobile platforms. There hasn't been a lot of information on the game since it was first unveiled at BlizzCon 2018, but that changed on Thursday. Not only did Blizzard reveal more information, the team is about to roll out the game's technical alpha.

It's been over two years since Shacknews last went hands-on with Diablo Immortal. Since then, Blizzard's clarified a number of things, including a series of items that the development team cleared up today on the Diablo Immortal website. Players will return to Sanctuary five years after the destruction of Worldstone, putting this story square in the middle of Diablo 2 and 3. While the Worldstone has been shattered, its remnants threaten to throw the world into chaos. The goal is for players to hunt down what remains of the Worldstone and destroy its remnants, a journey that will take them all across Sanctuary.

The hunt for the Worldstone remnants begins in Wortham, where players can explore areas like Ashworld Cemetery, Dark Wood, and the Shassar Sea alone at any time. Six zones will be available over the course of the technical alpha. For those who want to explore with friends or strangers, those players can party up for dungeons. The dungeons are filled with both lore and loot. While these will ideally provide an ample challenge, Blizzard assures mobile users that these dungeons will average 10-15 minutes.

The technical alpha will feature four playable classes. The Barbarian, Monk, Wizard, and Demon Hunter will all return from previous Diablo games. They'll each have two different Primary Attacks, their own Skills, and a unique Ultimate ability. Each character will have their own character progression system, which will include the returning Paragon system, which kicks in after hitting the level cap. Four different Paragon Talent Trees will be available in the technical alpha: Survivor, Treasure Hunter, Vanquisher, and Gladiator. Yes, as implied here, Blizzard has its eye on endgame character builds in the hopes that Immortal will prove enticing enough for players to stick around.

Another incentive for players to see this game through to the end is the updated loot system. Like in past Diablo games, players can find loot drops throughout their sessions with the ability to level up rare and legendary gear with salvaged materials. There are 12 gear slots available, which will include reserved slots for legendary items. The most prominent way to experience the Diablo endgame is to play Rifts, which consist of a randomly generated map infested with powerful monsters. Both Challenge Rifts and Elder Rifts (the latter of which can be modified) can be completed for greater drops.

Diablo players are likely reading all of this and have a few things they're thinking about. Immortal is a free-to-play game. It's a mobile title. It's from developer NetEase. There's a lot of loot. Their questions are likely, "What's the catch?" and "How is Blizzard making its money?" In an effort to ease concerns, Blizzard is noting that real-money purchases will mainly center around a few items, purchasable with the real money Eternal Orbs currency. Crests, which are modifiers for Elder Rifts, are among the items that can be purchased with Eternal Orbs. Those can be purchased, but can also be earned through natural gameplay. Players can also purchase materials for reforging item properties, though Blizzard notes that these can also be earned through gameplay. Lastly, there's a Battle Pass system, which will feature special season quests and activities. There will be both a free and paid Battle Pass available, though given the backlash to sister series Hearthstone's similar Season Pass model, players may rightfully be wary of what's coming.

Diablo Immortal is also looking to implement something called "The Market," which Blizzard is adamant is not the infamous Diablo 3 real-money auction house. To that end, players cannot cash out in The Market. Everything players find here will be exchanged with in-game currency only with limits on what players can and cannot put up for sale. Blizzard's goal is a sustainable player-driven economy where players can search for the materials they need without diving into their wallets.

Based on the initial reaction to Diablo Immortal, both Blizzard and NetEase know they have an uphill battle to sell this to the Diablo player base. Their hope is that the story, the traditional Diablo gameplay, the impressive (for a mobile title) visuals, and a design that appears to move away from predatory free-to-play practices will eventually win players over. Their efforts will begin with this technical alpha, with the first invites rolling out today.

The Diablo Immortal technical alpha will first open to Android users in Australia. Those who pre-registered the earliest will receive access if their device meets the minimum system requirements. Blizzard will also look to invite various members of the Diablo community to get their input. Look for the technical alpha to roll out to everyone else, both on Android and iOS, in the months ahead.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

From The Chatty
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    December 17, 2020 3:00 PM

    Ozzie Mejia posted a new article, Diablo Immortal begins rolling out technical alpha today

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      December 17, 2020 3:18 PM

      It's the game everyone asked for! Hooray!

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      December 17, 2020 3:46 PM

      I’m not sure how I feel about abrasion being the first shacker to review this.

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      December 17, 2020 3:51 PM


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        December 17, 2020 3:56 PM

        dang, 3 gig patch!

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          December 17, 2020 4:21 PM

          lmk if it supports gamepads. The demo I played last year was actually very good, basically Diablo 3 but with new content.

          The iPad version in particular was terrific

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      December 17, 2020 4:14 PM

      Do YoU NOt hAVe pHONeS!?

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      December 17, 2020 4:21 PM

      I've played about 40 minutes. So far it's Diablo 3 switch edition, but with some mobile concessions.

      So it's pretty good considering it's Diablo on the go.

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        December 17, 2020 4:22 PM

        Is there gamepad support?

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          December 17, 2020 4:22 PM

          I don't have one to check, but I couldn't see any references to it in the control menu

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          December 17, 2020 4:25 PM

          According to the verge there is no support currently in the Alpha.

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            December 17, 2020 4:28 PM

            That was my main feedback after playing it on iPad Pro lol. Ran native at a very smooth 60fps, it was basically new Diablo 3 content. I hope a gamepad option gets in there eventually

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              December 17, 2020 4:29 PM

              Doesn't run particularly well on my s20, but with patches it'll probably smooth out.

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                December 17, 2020 4:35 PM

                it runs fine on my Samsung S10, but it doesn't let me apply the fast FPS option.

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                  December 17, 2020 4:36 PM

                  It just seems choppy to me. Or it could just be at an fps I haven't games at for a while haha.

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                December 17, 2020 4:42 PM

                I played it on an iPhone 11 Pro and an iPad Pro, presumably the 2018 model with the A12X.

                This was a pre-alpha build from 2019 made for Blizzcon so who knows the state its in now, but what I saw was very nice and smooth.

                New areas and monsters aside, it basically looked like the Switch version except running at native res

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        December 17, 2020 4:37 PM

        But then it's diablo 3, so it's still not that great

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          December 17, 2020 4:45 PM

          I liked Diablo 3 a fair bit after Reaper of Souls, but if you didn't like it this won't help that.

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          December 17, 2020 5:02 PM

          I thought people liked Diablo 3?

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            December 17, 2020 5:25 PM

            It got much better after launch, but that launch was horrible.

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              December 17, 2020 5:50 PM

              So it was the CP2077 of it's day?

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                December 17, 2020 6:47 PM

                No. D3 had some questionable design, but it was still plenty playable.

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                  December 17, 2020 8:30 PM

                  Hey I made like $130 on that auction house. Wasn't that horrible :)

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              December 17, 2020 8:25 PM

              it got better after Jay Wilson left and everyone else on the team stopped working on his World of Diablocraft vision

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            December 17, 2020 8:22 PM

            They do

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            December 17, 2020 9:46 PM

            It all depends on frame of reference. After a couple years of patches and new late-game content, people like Diablo 3.

            But all the same a lot of people think it’s a real step back and a disappointment from Diablo 2.

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      December 17, 2020 8:33 PM

      if this works on iOS, people on M1 Macs can probably run it using Big Sur iOS! so that's how Apple's going to kickstart the Mac gaming ecosystem.

      the M1 chip would be pretty good at playing mobile games too.

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        December 17, 2020 9:08 PM

        The build I played last year was on iOS, so yeah, easy entry to MacOS

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      December 17, 2020 9:40 PM

      As a Diablo fan, I have zero interest in this game.

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