It hasn't been that long since Blizzard rolled out the technical alpha for Diablo Immortal. As it turns out, the team has been working quickly to take development to its next phase. On Wednesday, Blizzard announced that the mobile dungeon crawler would kick off its closed alpha today and there's a full laundry list of new features that it will include. Among the new features is the first PvP mode and it's much more detailed than one might expect.
PvP in Diablo Immortal will be a faction-based, king of the hill-style affair called the Cycle of Strife. Here's the lore behind the Cycle of Strife: In an effort to protect Sanctuary from demonic forces, Daedessa the Builder created the Eternal Crown. She bestowed it upon her son, Kion, and tasked him with forming a group to protect Sanctuary from the Burning Hells. That group is the Immortals. However, Daedessa realized the urgency in this mission, so she asked her daughter, Akeba, to challenge the Immortals in the name of keeping them worthy of their station. Akeba's group is called the Shadows. If the Immortals are ever defeated by the Shadows, then the Shadows become the new Immortals.
All players begin the Cycle of Strife as Adventurers and eventually take part in this seasonal conflict. There are only 500 Immortals across the globe. There are great benefits to being one of the Immortals. Only Immortals can take part in a special PvE raid called Kion's Ordeal, where the baddest of the Hells' forces await. This is where Immortals can use the Blessing of Daedessa to gather copious amounts of loot for their vault, as well as earn faction-wide buffs that apply only to them.
There can be an infinite number of Shadows who can challenge the Immortals. The Shadows can form individual guilds called the Dark Houses, where they can take part in their own Shadow-specific missions. One of them involves raiding the Immortals' vault, which gives Shadows the opportunity to steal some of the rewards collected by the Immortals during their Kion's Ordeal runs. Surviving Shadows can walk away with some of the Immortals' loot, but any Shadows who die during this run will walk away with nothing.
There is an incentive for Dark Houses to rank up. The top 10 Dark Houses each season will each do battle with a group of Immortals in the Rite of Exile, a multi-stage PvP event. If the Immortals win, they hold on to their station. If any of the Dark Houses win their battle, they will become Immortals and the fallen Immortals will become Shadows. There are a lot of moving parts with the Cycle of Strife and Blizzard will be monitoring it throughout the closed alpha, adjusting any elements when necessary.
While PvP is the biggest addition from the previous technical alpha, there's a lot more that players can expect to see in the next closed alpha. The level cap will be increased to 55, for one thing. Players can also venture into two new zones. Mount Zavain is the home of the Sanctified Earth Monastery monks, who are facing the threat of the goat-like Khazra. Higher up, the Frozen Tundra lays around Mount Arreat and is home to scattered barbarian tribes, who are warding off the forces of Baal, Lord of Destruction. Those looking for a new dungeon challenge can jump into the Cavern of Echoes, which will house a rare artifact and what Blizzard is calling a "cool boss fight."
Users can also look forward to a new playable class. It's the Crusader, making its return from Diablo 3. The Crusader will bring along several familiar skills, such as Shield Glare and Shield Bash. The Crusader will also improve on some skills, like Draw and Quarter, which will now allow players to drag enemies behind them and position them in choice ways to help set up for ally attacks.
Other changes will include several quality of life improvements. Among these is an overhauled user interface for the Codex, adjustments to the Challenge Rift reward system, greater Elder Rift rewards, an increase in Rare Crest drops, and an updated and improved Horadric Bestiary.
PvE-wise, the most exciting new addition may be the Helliquary, which unlocks between Level 41 and 45. The Helliquary device will aid you in building up your character, but it's powered by Scoria, which is taken from fallen Helliquary bosses. There will be one Helliquary boss available during the closed alpha, but Blizzard's goal is to add bosses for the Helliquary to locate on a monthly basis.
There is much more to discover in Diablo Immortal's technical alpha. Blizzard will monitor play intensely in an effort to optimize the game for all mobile devices and make it an experience worth coming back to regularly. There is still no final release date for Diablo Immortal, but if the closed alpha goes well, that date may end up being closer than expected. The closed alpha is rolling out now on iOS and Android. To get in on the action now or for future alphas and betas, be sure to register on the Diablo Immortal website.
Ozzie Mejia posted a new article, Diablo Immortal launches closed alpha with faction-based PvP
My iPad is ready.
I wish they would make a console version.