Diablo IV - Open Beta Gameplay Trailer and Boss Design Deep Dive
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Following a weekend of early access, Blizzard Entertainment is getting ready to invite us all to join the open beta for Diablo IV on March 24-26. And as such, we're now treated to an atmospheric trailer featuring a few cinematic bits and some quick gameplay snippets.
Here it is:
If you're looking to join this upcoming beta, you might want to check out this detailed beta guide over at EIP Gaming.
You might also be interested in this PlayStation Blog post where Blizzard's lead encounter designer Jason Bentley sheds some light on his team's core philosophy when it comes to designing the game's world bosses. One of them - Ashava - you'll be able to face during the upcoming beta.
More on that:
Today we’ll be exploring a totally new addition to the Diablo universe; World Bosses. These unique battles in Diablo IV give a taste of what it’s like to play with a large group of players engaging with a monster that is massive in scale, ferocity, and impact.
Each World Boss extends from four core player experience pillars. These pillars allow for alignment on the kind of gameplay that is our standard, even as we attempt to create wildly different monsters and challenges.
Everyone can contribute and be part of the solution
This is an activity for players of all classes, so no match-up feels favored towards one class and playstyle. There are no required actions to bring down a boss, so the “fun” can’t be monopolized or prevented.
Players should feel grateful for other players joining in
This content is for all players, from those who are learning the game, all the way up to masters. The activity is built so that each extra player means the World Boss will be conquered a little bit quicker. Don’t worry if you don’t know every attack; getting in and playing is the best way to learn.
We put heavy emphasis on mechanics that remain interesting time-after-time and feel larger-than-life. Experiencing the same Boss with a different class will present different challenges.
Stagger must be interesting and helpful but never required
Players who stagger or break the guard of a boss are rewarded with a high-impact adjustment to the fight flow. We spend a lot of time making these stagger moments significant without them being required.
World bosses are high-intensity fights filled with new to Diablo experiences, terrifying challenges, and joyous triumphs. It’s a lot of pressure to get them right!
From the Ashava concept art, you can see that even though we had a strong idea for the overall shape and claws, her head and overall texture went through multiple passes to find what told the clearest story about who she is and worked best with our top-down camera.
Once we’re aligned on what we think our new horror will look like from a high level, we move into building it in the engine. At this stage the monster is extremely basic because making amazing character models takes a lot of time! The team can’t always wait for a finished model, so we start with something a little rough around the edges.
The process now becomes playtest-playtest-playtest. The team refines attack tells, damage payloads, timings, and assesses whole attacks for how well they’re working. Bespoke spawn animations are created to tell a story of who this monster is and where it’s coming from. Stagger mechanics are reviewed to make sure that the player has interesting choices and it’s a rewarding experience.
Boss deaths are often given special focus; it’s an impactful moment that showcases the last gasp of a horrific monster in Sanctuary and each World Boss wants to leave a lasting impression.
As you’ve likely noticed, these titanic combatants are meant to be engaged with as a group. Going up against one without a sizable collection of fellow players would be a mistake until you’ve learned what’s in each World Boss’ bag of tricks.
Our first task was to make sure our World Bosses cover large portions of the field with each attack. To accomplish this, we built some of our biggest attacks first; spectacle abilities that clear out huge spaces with massive damage.
We can’t only have giant attacks though! Our teams work incredibly hard to challenge players that tend to move quickly, adapt to attack patterns, and are always looking for the easiest way to complete a boss. We address this by mapping out many different attacks, utilizing dangerous locations, and making sure we’re creating interesting challenges for all player styles.
Our next step is to make large portions of the map dangerous and blocked off, thereby preventing players from trying to stay super far away in safety. Ashava accomplishes this by spreading her poison and doing leap attacks. Other World Bosses will solve this problem in different ways to keep players on their toes.
Challenge Ashava early
The team is extremely excited to release our World Bosses out into Sanctuary, and hopefully now you know more about the dedication the team is putting into bringing them to you. If you want to challenge Ashava yourself during the Open Beta and Early Access weekends, you can do so on March 18 and March 25 at 10 a.m., 12 p.m., 10 p.m. and midnight PDT.