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Diablo 4 Pre-Launch Player's Guide

Diablo 4 Pre-Launch Player's Guide

Nate McKay
Diablo 4 Pre-Launch Player's Guide

Diablo 4, Blizzard's highly anticipated action role-playing game, is poised to captivate fans with its dark and immersive world. Although the game doesn't launch until June 2, 2023, we have plenty of information including gameplay mechanics, character classes, progression systems, and multiplayer features to help guide players in their first forays into Sanctuary.

The information in this guide is accurate as of the Diablo 4 beta and is subject to change over the pre-launch period.

Making and Customizing a Diablo 4 Character

Diablo 4 offers several character classes and aesthetic options. You should always remember that only your class and gender are permanent: anything else can be changed at the wardrobe during gameplay.

You don't need to spend hours finding the perfect look for your character; just get the basics and start playing!

Picking a Diablo 4 Character Class

  • Sorcerer: The Sorcerer is a ranged fighter who harnesses elemental magic, raining down destruction on foes from a distance. Upon reaching level 15, sorcerers automatically gain access to a quest called "Legacy of the Magi," which unlocks a system of passives. These passives modify existing abilities, such as making the Fireball ability explode and deal damage in an area of effect or increasing the effectiveness of chilling foes. At level 30, sorcerers can equip a second passive. The equipped passives can be exchanged whenever you want to adapt to new playstyles or equipment (as long as you’ve unlocked the passive you want to equip). For more about sorcerers, see the DiabloBuilds Sorcerer Overview.

  • Rogue: Rogues are known for a sneaky, indirect playstyle, giving the player lots of crunchy decisions about how and when to dash in and pick enemies off. Rogues get options to choose a new ability spec at level 15, 20 and 30. Our favorite playstyle from the beta included a combo-damage spec from level 15, but you can also choose Inner Sight or Preparation. For more about Rogues, see the DiabloBuilds Rogue Overview.

  • Barbarian: Barbarians have a brute-force playstyle with a unique weapon system. As they progress, barbarians level up different weapon types (up to level 10, for each type) to unlock exclusive passives for that weapon type. The Barbarian will get the bonuses based on the weapon type and their current level with that weapon type. The higher the weapon level, the more powerful the bonuses, though you'll generally want to focus on weapons with the highest DPS. For more about Rogues, see the DiabloBuilds Barbarian Overview.

  • Druid: Druids are agile shapeshifters able to transform into various animal forms, allowing for versatile strategies.Upon reaching level 15, druids start obtaining Druidic Offerings in loot and can unlock a system called Spirit Boons. There are four spirits, each with its own set of passives. Druids can choose one passive from each spirit to increase their power. For more about Druids, see the DiabloBuilds Druid Overview.
  • Necromancer: Necromancer use ancient magic to create followers who fight on their behalf. Necromancers can begin scaling very early, gaining access to the Book of the Dead at level 5. This system allows them to choose between different types of minions: skeletal warriors, skeletal mages, and golems. Each minion type has further customization options, specializing in different aspects such as damage, defense, or special attacks. For more about Necromancers, see the DiabloBuilds Necromancer Overview.

How to Pick Your Diablo 4 Difficulty

When starting a new Diablo 4 character, you’ll be able to pick between World Tier I (Adventurer) and World Tier 2 (Veteran). The “World Tier” is just the difficulty level of the game, setting how challenging mobs, enemies and dungeons are as well as the rewards you get from combat.

For most players who have experienced a past Diablo title, you should have no problem picking the Veteran difficulty.

Diablobuilds recommends skipping Tier I (Adventurer) difficulty entirely so you can level up faster, get better loot and prevent the game from feeling simplistic or repetitive as you grind to higher dungeons. Tier II (Veteran) difficulty unlocks 20% more experience, 15% more gold from slain enemies, and more challenging enemies overall.

Later, you’ll be able to unlock Tier III (Nightmare) difficulty and eventually Tier IV (Torment) difficulty. Moving on to these difficulties is optional and can be changed at any time from the select screen or the world tier status in Kyovashad.

Nightmare difficulty is unlocked by completing the campaign and Cathedral of Light Capstone Dungeon and is recommended by the developers once your character passes level 50. It increases enemy difficulty, but rewards players with double the experience and 15% more gold compared to tier I.

You’ll also get new items, the ability to unseal more exciting Nightmare Dungeons with Nighmare Sigils (which occasionally drop).

Nightmare difficulty also adds Helltides around Sanctuary. These are hour-long, region-wide events which make combat even harder but give the opportunity to unlock unique crafting materials and Cinder chests.

The final difficulty, Tier IV (Torment) will unlock once you complete Fallen Temple Capstone Dungeon on Tier III. Most players should aim to switch to Tier IV difficulty around level 70, and will give you Ancestral item drops!

If you ever find the game too easy, or if you find that you are leveling up too slowly and the game is no longer fun, you should immediately increase your World Tier to the next level. You can always change it back, but the increased experience, better gear and access to new in-game features will help you enjoy Diablo 4 for longer and prevent you from getting grind fatigue.

Diablo 4's Gameplay Mechanics

At its core, Diablo 4 retains the beloved hack-and-slash gameplay that has defined the series. Players will venture through a vast and interconnected world filled with challenging monsters, treacherous dungeons, and engaging quests. The game introduces a day-night cycle and dynamic weather, enhancing the immersive experience.

Players will explore a contiguous open-world where all five distinct regions are directly connected, a departure from past games in the series. Players will experience different weather effects and a day-night cycle while exploring this open-world. Additionally, the game will offer numerous dungeons to explore, along with a vast array of legendary items to discover.

Matching the modernized open-world feel, the Diablo 4's campaign is now non-linear, departing from the traditional act structure seen in previous Diablo games. Players have the freedom to adventure and engage in repeatable content as much as they desire. Alternatively, they can choose to focus solely on the main story and progress through it without any distractions.

There’s tons of other interesting mechanics, including Helltides, cinders, Nightmare Sigils and other game features to uncover, but we’ll leave these for later guides where we can discuss them in more detail. Because many features are locked by difficulty tier, they were not deeply explored in the beta!

Diablo 4's Progression Systems

Character progression in Diablo 4 centers around the skill tree and talent system. As players level up, they earn skill points that can be invested in various branches of the skill tree, unlocking new abilities and enhancing existing ones. The talent system provides further customization, allowing players to fine-tune their character's playstyle by selecting specific traits and passive bonuses.

However, each class has some abilities and play-styles that it does best. See DiabloBuilds' other in-depth guides to help you decide how to build and itemize to support the ultimate character

Itemization and Looting in Diablo 4

Loot has always been a core element of the Diablo series, and Diablo 4 is no exception. The game introduces a revamped itemization system designed to offer more meaningful choices and deeper item progression. Items now come with affixes that grant specific bonuses, allowing players to tailor their equipment to suit their preferred playstyle. Additionally, items can be socketed with gems to further enhance their capabilities.

There are 5 item tiers in Diablo 4: Common, Magic, Rare, Legendary and Unique. Early in the game, you’ll mostly be working with common and magic items. As you progress, you’ll gain access to Legendary items.

Legendary items can also come in two elite forms: Sacred Legendary items and Ancestral Legendary items. Consider these sub-tiers that begin appearing as you reach deeper into the game.

To unlock Sacred Legendary items in drops, you must be playing on World Tier III (Nightmare) difficulty, which isn’t available until later in the game.

To unlock Ancestral Legendary items in drops, you must be playing on World Tier IV (Torment) difficulty, and you must be playing the very end stages of the game. An Ancestral Legendary item is the most powerful gear you can get, but it will replace your Legendary or Sacred gear.

To start, first worry about leveling up your character, then visit the DiabloBuilds guide on rare and legendary items to help optimize your gear.

Diablo 4's Multiplayer Features

Diablo 4 embraces both cooperative and competitive multiplayer experiences. Players can form parties with friends or join public games to tackle challenges together. The party system allows for easy communication and coordination, with features such as the action wheel facilitating invitations to parties or trades.

Trading is possible for common items, rare items, gems, gold, elixirs, and magic items, but legendary items, aspects, unique items, enchanted items, quest items, and other currencies cannot be traded.

Because trading is limited within your party, you'll need a little strategy and luck to round out your loot as your progress. You never need to worry about your teammates sniping the best loot, though: each player sees their own drops, eliminating concerns about loot stealing. Everyone can pick up their individual loot drops, which also helps keep your teammates engaged throughout the fight (we all know that one friend who stops to loot instead of contributing to the quest at hand).

How to Start with Diablo 4

Diablo 4 promises to deliver an exhilarating and immersive gameplay experience. With its dark and interconnected world, engaging character classes, revamped progression systems, and robust multiplayer features, the game seeks to captivate both longtime fans and newcomers to the series.

The skill tree and talent system provide depth and customization, while the itemization revamp adds further complexity to character building. Whether playing solo or venturing into multiplayer encounters, Diablo 4 is poised to offer countless hours of intense and rewarding gameplay.

As fans eagerly await the game's release, the anticipation for the next chapter in this iconic franchise continues to grow.

Kick off your Diablo 4 journey by looking over top builds and getting a sense of how you want to scale your character then, on June 2, launch head-first into the ultimate Diablo experience!

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