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With Diablo: Immortal now in technical alpha, we can check out several hands-on previews for Blizzard’s mobile action-RPG and learn how it plays and what it has to offer in terms of gameplay, systems, and monetization. Have a look:
It's clearly a big game, and even in 2020 I'm taken aback to encounter a full-scale Blizzard production on a mobile. It shouldn't be surprising, but it is. That also goes for the fact that Blizzard has found a way to make Diablo, always its most supple and immediate creation, play just like itself on a touchscreen. I'm excited to spend more time with it over the break and report back in the new year. There are still a lot of big ifs in Diablo Immortal's grand design and its business plan - but as yet, there's no big but.
It should be clear that Diablo Immortal has won me over. I am not at max level yet, but I will reach that this week. After that, I will work on an ideal build and my quest for the perfect legendary item will begin. I would also like to get started with the other classes and can't wait to see in what way the social aspect of the game will influence the game. Hopefully the game will remain friendly for free-to-play players, although I wouldn't mind spending a few bucks to show the developers that even in alpha, I really enjoy Diablo Immortal.
Really, the fact that the game feels so familiar is arguably the best-case scenario. Blizzard seems to have done an admirable job of transporting the spirit of its loot-heavy roleplaying game to a smartphone. But there are also a few elements of the experience — ones that will likely be key to its longevity — that I couldn’t test out in this preview. For one thing, Immortal is billed as a massively multiplayer game, one where tens of thousands of players exist simultaneously on one server. I saw a few players running around dungeons and graveyards while I played, but I couldn’t test out any of the actual social features.
I’m aware that for some, Diablo on the go is going to be an awesome thing, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my experience with the technical alpha so far. It’s a much better experience and game than what has been previously shown, so it’s clear a lot of renovation and care has been spent getting it to a new place. I almost sort of have to acknowledge this existence of what appears to be a quite competent mobile Diablo begrudgingly, since the biggest takeaway from tapping on my cooldowns and watching loot flip out of flopping demon corpses is that I wish I could play it on a standard platform rather than hunching over my phone and clumsily mucking about with virtual controls and big chonky touch buttons.