The gates of hell are creaking open, and the Diablo IV Open Beta is almost upon us. Beginning this Friday, March 17 for those who have pre-ordered the game (and starting on March 24 for everyone else), the Beta will offer a huge amount to play ahead of the game’s launch of June 6 – and will even offer rewards for the final game to those who pass its many challenges.
Ahead of the Open Beta, we caught up with Game Director Joe Shely to learn about what’s in store – and his personal recommendations for what to do in your early visit to Sanctuary. After that, we’ve also got all the key details to help you prepare:
Xbox Wire: What do you recommend players aim to do within the scope of the Open Beta? Any recommended side quests?
Joe Shely: For the Open Beta we are providing a very thorough experience of the early game in Diablo IV. I would encourage players to go through the entire story campaign of Act 1 within the Fractured Peaks zone and to just explore the world to see what it has to offer. Go off the beaten path and try out the World Events, liberate a Stronghold, pick up all of the side quests, and delve into the dungeons scattered throughout the zone. You will also be able to play all five of our playable classes during the Open Beta weekend on March 24 and I hope everyone gets a chance to give them all a try and let us know what you think.
One of my favorite side quests that you will be able to experience in the Open Beta is ‘The Woodsman of Nevesk.’ I won’t go into spoilers, but it is a great example of how we are approaching storytelling in Diablo IV to highlight the struggles of the citizens of Sanctuary and how a seemingly simple task can evolve into a longer chain of quests dealing with some serious consequences of your actions.
XW: Are there any secrets included that you don’t expect all players to find? (No spoilers, of course!)
JS: There are definitely things within this Open Beta that I am very excited for players to discover. Sanctuary is full of surprises, and you will experience some of them while you are exploring Fractured Peaks. Keep an eye out for ‘Altars of Lilith’ hidden around the world. Some will be tough to find but you’ll be rewarded with a boost to your character’s power, so be sure to explore your surroundings well. There might even be a few unexpected encounters that pop up from time to time that will test your mettle and reaction speed!
XW: What have you learned from previous public tests, and how has that altered what’s available in the Open Beta?
JS: We’ve done many internal and closed tests where we learned a lot and iterated on the game over the course of development. We received invaluable feedback and were able to improve on all aspects of the game including class skill trees, overall balance, and all of our end-game content. This will be our first open public test, so we are looking forward to the feedback and data we get from having such a massive amount of players be able to join and experience Diablo IV for the first time.
XW: What will the Open Beta help you learn before the release of the full game in June?
JS: We are holding our Open Beta far enough ahead of our official launch on June 6 in order to be able to act on as much of the feedback we get during these weekends. We expect a lot of great insight and feedback from players on things like balance, flagging bugs, gameplay features that could be tweaked to be more fun or more intuitive, and much more. Of course, one of the biggest things we will also be focusing on is testing our server infrastructure to make sure we are able to provide the best experience possible on launch day.
XW: If someone is totally new to Diablo, is there a class or playstyle you recommend they try to get to grips with the game?
JS: Diablo IV is all about player choice and we do not want to force any player, new or veteran, down a path they don’t want to go down. We designed all of our classes to have a very clear learning curve from the moment you create your character. As you level up and earn talent points, you will be able to choose a path in the talent tree and gain access to new abilities and passive skills one at a time. Whether you choose the in-your-face melee Barbarian or the ranged spell-casting Sorceress, you will slowly get introduced to their playstyles and have time to experiment and get to know your abilities. You will also be able to easily respec any of your talent points so you can experiment with different builds to find what you most resonate with.
Diablo IV Open Beta: Key Details
When You Can Play
The journey begins with Early Access starting March 17 at 9 a.m. PDT and concludes March 20 at 12 p.m PDT. Those who have pre-ordered and received Early Access can begin their preparations with Early Download of the Diablo® IV starting today on the Xbox Store.
For those waiting to play until Open Beta weekend, your Early Download begins Wednesday, March 22 at 9am PT. Hell welcomes all to the Open Beta beginning March 24 at 9 a.m. PDT and ending on March 27 at 12 p.m. PDT. To the players who explore what Sanctuary has to offer in Early Access, you will not need to download again for Open Beta.
No Xbox Live subscriptions will be required to play Diablo IV during the Open Beta or Early Access weekends. Once Diablo IV launches, an Xbox Live Gold subscription will be required to access some of the game’s multiplayer features.
Three Open Beta rewards are yours to earn in these next two weekends and will be awarded at the release of Diablo® IV. Make your way to Kyovashad to earn the Initial Casualty Title. Then, reach level 20 to earn the Early Voyager Title and the ferocious and furry Beta Wolf Pack cosmetic. Travel in packs to hasten the road to reward – you’ll gain 5% bonus experience for playing in the proximity of another adventurer and 10% bonus experience if they’re in your party—consisting of up to 4 players in online co-op or up to 2 players on couch co-op.
A sizeable loot drop also awaits those who stand together and successfully fight the larger-than-life world boss during the Open Beta. The ever-fearsome Ashava lurks in the shadows, awaiting the time to strike. When Ashava appears, you will have the opportunity to team up with fellow heroes of Sanctuary to combat this vicious demon. Ashava will be ready to put you to the test on March 18 and March 25 at 10:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m., 10:00 p.m., and 12:00 a.m. PDT. The only question that remains is… will you survive?
This Friday, begin your journey as the Barbarian, Rogue, or Sorcerer as you slay the demons that await in Early Access. Once Open Beta begins, two additional classes will be at your disposal to wreak havoc on those who stand in your path – the Necromancer and Druid. Progress carries over between weekends but will be wiped before the game launches on June 6, so use this opportunity to explore the classes, test your build theories, and experiment with the power that is now in your grasp.
*Actual platform availability and launch date(s) of the Beta subject to change. Minimum Open Beta duration is 2 days. Limited time only. Internet connection required. Battle.net account required.
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