It’s been just over two years since Blizzard announced Diablo Immortal, a mobile-exclusive entry in the legendary action RPG franchise, during BlizzCon 2018 to a… less than enthusiastic audience in attendance. While that audience certainly included folks who just plain hated the idea of a free to play Diablo for mobile (Ew! Mobile!), a lot of the animosity was also because a lot of people really wanted Blizzard to announce Diablo IV but instead they capped off BlizzCon with the mobile-only Diablo Immortal announcement. Way to read the room Blizzard! Just kidding, I love you guys.
Anyway, Blizzard definitely got the message and so fast-forward a year later to BlizzCon 2019 and it was ALL about Diablo IV with an official reveal, gameplay trailers, and tons of info. They didn’t forget about Diablo Immortal though, and while it wasn’t exactly a main focus of the show, they did release an updated gameplay trailer and a blog post with tons of new details about the game, like the fact that storyline-wise it took place in between Diablo II and Diablo III. Here is last year’s BlizzCon trailer, in case you need a refresher.
So that brings us to today, a day in the pandemic-stricken world of 2020 that saw the in-person BlizzCon event for this year cancelled and reborn as an online-only event called BlizzConline set for this coming February. That means we haven’t had our normal yearly dose of Blizzard news as of yet, but the team behind Diablo Immortal has some big news to share as they are gearing up for the next big phase in its development, and today they’ve announced a limited-time Technical Alpha test for the game.
How does it work? Well, first off it is limited to Android and players in Australia only. Basically anyone in Australia who has pre-registered for the game on the Google Play Store could get an invite, and they’ll be sent out to those who pre-registered earliest as long as their devices are up to snuff. Sometimes it pays to be on the forefront of these things! In a blog post outlining this Technical Alpha, Blizzard says they expect around a couple thousand people will get in for this particular testing period which should run for about two weeks.
If you don’t get into the testing pool, which is basically the majority of everyone, Blizzard hopes to satiate your thirst with a whole bunch of new information about Diablo Immortal. This starts off with a Gameplay Overview blog where they detail more of the storyline in the game, the various modes, multiplayer, and more. This leads into a second blog post dealing with Character and Progression where they break down the character classes, the leveling system, and more. Next Blizard has a blog post about Itemization that details how all of the items and loot work in Diablo Immortal, arguably the main essence of the entire series.
Finally, we all know that Diablo Immortal will be free to play, but what exactly does that mean? Blizzard dedicates an entire blog post to breaking down their approach and their values in regards to the monetization system. The most important bits in regards to this are: There is no energy system! You can play for as long as you like. Also, all of the gear in the game can only be acquired through playing, nothing will be sold as IAP. As I said, loot is the essence of Diablo so it would be pretty crappy if the best stuff was locked behind a paywall.
One thing I’m sure everyone would love to know is a release date for Diablo Immortal. Well, you’re not getting one today, sorry. Blizzard is famous for the high bar of quality they set for their products and for their willingness to take as long as necessary to reach that high bar. That said, I’ve had a chance to play this Technical Alpha version of Diablo Immortal a bit (and should be sharing more about it soon) and can say that the core of the game feels incredibly polished and complete, but given the team’s ambitions on what they’d like to do in terms of modes and content, it still might have a long ways to go.
That’s just my way of saying I just don’t know! It could be really close to being released, or it could be a LONG ways away. I think the best case scenario would be this Technical Alpha being a final stress test for the game with the aim being to release it during BlizzConline in February, but that’s entirely speculation on my part. Whatever the case, I think that whether you were excited or disappointed when Diablo Immortal was originally announced, we’re all going to love having a little slice of the Diablo experience nestled snugly in our pockets ready for some hacking, slashing, and looting whenever and wherever we please.