Although it's what most fans wanted to see, Diablo 4 was not announced at BlizzCon 2018, with mobile spinoff Diablo Immortal instead sitting as the major Diablo announcement at the event. The reaction was not positive, with fans dismayed that an event for Blizzard's most devoted was seen as the best place to unveil a game for a platform that has often failed to hit the mark.
Perhaps the most surprising thing about this disaster however, is that Blizzard actually made a video to announce a new Diablo game, but did not want to reveal it at the event. Although it is a head-scratching decision, at least fans can find solace in the fact that Diablo 4 is definitely happening, even if Blizzard does not yet feel comfortable announcing the much-wanted main Diablo sequel.
Whenever Blizzard is able to reveal Diablo 4, fans will no doubt have a wish list of what they want to see from the game. Although Diablo 3 is still a lot of fun to play, it's a game that was first released all the way back in 2012, and so there are plenty of improvements that can and should be made to that formula. Read on to find out what Blizzard can do to make Diablo 4 great.
Remember Diablo's Roots in Diablo 4
Although there have been plenty of major advancements in video game development since Diablo 3 first launched, Blizzard should first take a step back and look at the origins of Diablo. There was a clear tonal shift between Diablo 2 and Diablo 3, with a slight move towards more of a high fantasy setting and a greater variation when it came to level design.
However, this didn't work for everyone, and plenty of fans would prefer Diablo to maintain its dark, gothic roots and gloomy palette. It's easy to see why, as well: Diablo 2 in particular is distinct among its peers, and it's still a game with a tone that rings true today. Moving back towards this, and away from a change of pace that some felt was too close to Warcraft for comfort, could really make Diablo 4 a big hit with fans.
As well as this, Blizzard should also keep the heroes of the old games in mind. A new roster of playable characters would be great, but the potential to unlock the likes of the Necromancer in-game would add a new way to keep players engaged, perhaps by completing specific criteria like in Super Smash Bros. such as a certain number of hours playing or beating the game on specific difficulty levels.
Sharpen up Diablo 4's combat gameplay
Although Diablo 3 is still plenty of fun, porting over its gameplay as-is into a sequel could make it feel a little dated in comparison to some competitors. Blizzard wouldn't need to reinvent the wheel, as there's only so much you can do to an isometric hack'n'slash without it turning into something more cumbersome, but it's clear that something needs to change here.
This can even be seen in other games that try to emulate the Diablo formula. Shadows: Awakening mixes things up a little with the ability to shift between characters and realms with a touch of a button, and although this isn't something that Diablo 4 should directly have, it shows that with a little ingenuity the repetitive clicking can have new life breathed into it.
Something that may work here is an expansion of the roll dodge mechanic that was introduced to the console version of Diablo 3. Adding a bit of nuance to that, and of course making it available to PC players, could give the player more agency. Better yet, some kind of parry ability could also do the world of good, and help make Diablo the definitive hack'n'slash game on the market.
Sort Out That Diablo 4 Story
Diablo's world of Sanctuary has a lot of promise. There's a depth to it that is ever hinted at, and in particular the atmosphere of Diablo 2 created this sense of a much greater universe outside of what the player saw. It's a series with some strong lore behind it, but it's fair to say that the franchise has never quite reached the heights of great storytelling.
Exactly why the plot has failed to hit home is a subject of debate, but it's something that Blizzard may want to address. Diablo 3 may have been the worst example of this, with a story that attempted a much greater scope but that failed to deliver much attachment to either the characters or the stakes.
Of course, the Diablo franchise isn't one where storytelling will ever be a priority, but delivering a strong main plot could really add some extra punch to the game as a whole. Titles like the original Dragon Age have shown that different character classes can still lead to a deep story across the board, and building on the potential that Diablo has to create a powerful dark fantasy narrative could make all the difference for Diablo 4.