Diablo 4, the preview of BlizzConline 2021: Cutthroat arrives

Diablo 4, the preview of BlizzConline 2021: Cutthroat arrives

Diablo 4, the preview of BlizzConline 2021

In the economy of a BlizzCon that could never have been like the previous ones, the moment reserved for the highly anticipated Diablo 4 had to be one of the most exciting. And in part it was, thanks above all to the announcement of Diablo II: Resurrected which, in the course of 2021, will fill the many months that still keep us away from the new chapter of the historic franchise. Predictably, the guys from Irvine didn't have any dates for us, but deep down we already knew Diablo IV wouldn't be out until next year. The presentation, more contained than in the past as for every other game of the well-known software house, has therefore focused entirely on the new class that will be added to the other three already announced, namely the Barbarian, the Druid and the Enchantress: we are speaking of the Cutthroat, or Rogue in English, which Blizzard has unveiled with a short but intense cinematic trailer.

The Cutthroat

The trailer - which uses the engine instead of the usual computer graphics of the real game - immediately brings us back down to earth, in an increasingly dark and grotesque Sanctuary. A woman enters a church in Akarat and mocks the priest. She wants to go to confession, she says, and in doing so gives the holy man three severed ears. We see her at work in a series of flashbacks that portray her not only as a thief, but also as an infallible fighter. In the end, we discover that it was the priest who commissioned those murders: the victims were allegedly criminals or threats to the faithful. In return, the man gives her a mysterious name; then, as Tagliagole goes on her way, the priest places her ears in a much larger and bloody secret collection. Just to remind us what a nice little place Sanctuarium is: did the players want it less colorful and cartoonish than Diablo III? Well, here we are.

A scene from Diablo IV. What then, on this lap, Diablo IV still seemed a bit more lively than the last time we saw it, when it was perhaps too gray and oppressive. After the presentation of the Cutthroat in the opening ceremony of BlizzConline, developers John Mueller and Luis Barriga returned to talk about it more in depth in the Deep Dive dedicated to the game. They also showed us the creation of the character, which will be much more customizable than in the past: we will be able to choose clothing, scars and tattoos, in addition to the color of the eyes and hair. Inspired by the Cutthroat from the very first Diablo, this new addition to the Diablo IV cast reflects in all respects the stereotype of the fighter who kills enemies with agility and elegance. In this sense, the Cutthroat's paraphernalia is limited to daggers, swords, bows and crossbows: at first sight it is very reminiscent of the Demon Hunter played in Diablo III, with the necessary differences.

A scene from Diablo IV . The Cutthroat will be able to specialize in three branches: Combo Point, Shadow Realm and Exploit Weakness. As it is easy to guess, each of them will improve a specific combat ability. The abilities of the Shadow Realm, for example, guarantee greater control over enemies: Blizzard has shown one with which the Cutthroat can temporarily transport up to three enemies to another plane of existence, so as to reduce the number of opponents to be killed. Exploit Weakness, on the other hand, is a branch for the most skilled and fast players, because icons will appear briefly above the enemies that represent a very small window in which it will be possible to inflict more damage: Mueller has rightly defined it as a "surgical" specialization, given that it is necessary to have a total awareness of the situation to react quickly and with the utmost precision. The Combo Points specialization, however, seems to be inspired by the Thief from World of Warcraft, as the Cutthroat accumulates points with normal attacks which he can then download to use more powerful abilities.

A scene from Diablo IV. Specializations will not only serve to unlock new skills, but will also affect progression and content in general. The Cutthroats who travel to the Kehjistan or Hawazar regions, for example, will discover exclusive missions that NPCs belonging to the same order will entrust only and only to them. From this point of view, Blizzard would seem to have taken care of every little detail. The same weapon collected in Kehjistan, for example a sword, will have the appearance of a sinuous scimitar, but in the northern Scosglen it will take on a rougher form. The same concept applies to armor, and will serve to build a more cohesive and sensible world. Weapons, among other things, will be an integral part of the Cutthroat skillset, in the sense that we can poison them or infuse them with mystical or elemental energy, a bit like the mercenaries did in Diablo II. The ability to combine the Cutthroat's abilities with the various specializations and elemental properties of weapons should provide an enormous variety of options for those who choose this class.

A scene from Diablo IV. The Cutthroat will be an extremely mobile class, able to move between groups of enemies at high speed, slicing them up close or filling them with arrows from a distance. The ability to infuse the different elements into the weapons opens the door to numerous strategies: the Rain of Arrows ability changes drastically if we poison the bow or attribute the element of ice to it. In this regard, Barriga took the opportunity to explain how the freezing effect works. In practice, each attack builds up the freezing property on the same target, slowing it down until it is completely immobilized. If multiple players use the same property, the value accumulates faster, so it makes sense to find synergy between different classes as well, for example by combining the aforementioned Rain of arrows from a Cutthroat who has infused his bow with the element of ice with the classic Enchantress's Blizzard spell.

The world of Diablo IV

A scene from Diablo IV. Having closed the parenthesis on Tagliagole, with the promise that another class will soon be added around that campfire, Mueller and Barriga passed the ball to Careena Kingdom and Joe Piepiora, who told us a little about the open world of Diablo 4. Just to clarify, it's not that Diablo IV has suddenly become another genre: simply, this version of Sanctuary is the largest and most complex Blizzard has ever designed. It will be possible to ride a horse and move from one region to another in continuity, and there will be plenty of mounts: not only horses, but also other creatures, living and not, that we can collect by defeating the most powerful enemies or solving puzzles scattered around the world. This collectible aspect - already very dear to World of Warcraft players, so to speak - should be an additional incentive to explore every corner of the game world.

A scene from Diablo IV. We will also find equipment that will be used to customize our horses, for example saddles and trophies to be exhibited, or horseshoes that will change the speed of movement. You won't be able to fight on horseback - it's not Diablo style, Kingdom is keen to remember - but each class will have an engagement skill that they can use to dismount and attack enemies on the fly, like ... literally. . The Cutthroat, specifically, can leap from the saddle and shoot a spectacular forest of arrows in slow motion. Also because the enemies will only need to hit us once to unseat us, so it will take a minimum of timing and skill to start the fight with the advantage.

Another interesting feature of the world of Diablo IV is the camps. This feature has a narrative basis that dates back to Diablo III: Reaper of Souls. During those events, the reapers of Malthael had made a real massacre of the inhabitants of Sanctuarium; after many years, the monsters have conquered the abandoned outposts and holed up there. It is up to us now to clear them.

A scene from Diablo IV. Camps are not just missions. The latter appear randomly around the world, while the camps arise in fixed, predefined areas, characterized by specific storylines. By clearing them out, we will unlock a new teleportation portal for all players in the match, and a hub featuring NPCs offering specific services such as the blacksmith, various vendors and so on will arise on the spot. Piepiora gave a practical example with the village of Qara-Yisu, conquered by a sect of violent cannibals: to get rid of it, the inhabitants of the neighboring regions have made a pact with a demon and the result is that we will have to deal with each other. . If we succeed, we will gain a new transport point and the entrance to a specific dungeon that hides additional challenges, missions and rewards.

Our actions, in short, will permanently change a part of the game world: it is a good compromise between the procedural solution, which however will characterize some maps, and the idea of ​​a predefined world, always recognizable. While playing with the idea of ​​camps, the developers realized the potential of a much more varied and layered world than in the past. Intending to make it more realistic and fun to explore, they have implemented greater verticality complete with rock walls to climb or chasms to jump by pressing a simple button. These differences in height do not particularly affect the gameplay, but they make the exploration more interactive and engaging, especially when you come across real environmental puzzles.


A scene of Diablo IV. Finally, Piopiora and Kingdom have put a little more weight on the PvP component of the game, which will be limited to spaces called Fields of Hate: in these regions, Mephisto's influence charges players with an anger that puts them one against the other and ... yes, in short, it is a supercazzola that justifies the desire to lead a holy reason in these limited areas. In reality, it is not mandatory to venture into the Fields of Hate, and even then it is nowhere written that another player should be attacked, but every defeated enemy or mission completed in these areas rewards players with Fragments of Hate , a currency that will be of no use anyway until it is purified at specific altars. Only then can we exchange the purified Shards of Hatred for weapons, armor and other collectibles.

A scene from Diablo IV. The problem is that all players in the area will be notified of a cleansing ritual in progress and will be able to catapult you in place to tear you apart and steal all the fragments you have collected. If you manage to repel the attack and survive until the completion of the ritual ... it will be done: the purified Shards will bind to your character and no one will be able to steal them from you anymore. In short, in the Fields of hate, you can enter even with the intention of accumulating Fragments without engaging in battle with the other players, but to use them at a certain point you will have to deal with PvP and this will force you to choose whether stay out of these areas totally or will team up to survive as long as possible without throwing away your efforts. Piopiora has specified that the items for sale for Shards of Hate will not be more powerful than what you can get outside of PvP, but will be a source of pride for those who explore this aspect of the game.

A scene from Diablo IV. To make things even more sparkling, the guys at Blizzard have also implemented an additional mechanic that in a sense falls under the "high risk, high reward" philosophy. Let's say that you are real PvP aces and also a bit foolish, maybe you are the ones who team up with the other players and then turn your back at the last moment, take them out and collect their Fragments. You're there gloating about how good you are, but Diablo IV keeps track of your PvP kills and at some point marks you on the map with some kind of bounty for every other player in the Fields of Hate. If they manage to kill you, they will earn a major bonus in your face, but if you manage to survive for any length of time without leaving the area or using a transport point, you will be the one to receive an even richer reward.

In this way, the tension in the Fields of Hate will always be very high and the best players will also have the satisfaction of collecting the ears of the defeated enemies: they are small trophies that recall those of Diablo II and that are of no use , although it will be enough to move the cursor over them to read the name of the players we killed. A funny detail that suggests that the Irvine developers are taking these small aspects of Diablo 4 to heart as well.

BlizzConline's Diablo 4 overview was short but intense. The new cutthroat class seems very hectic and fun, but it was above all the excursus on the game world and all the news that await us at Sanctuarium to remind us that there is still a long, too much time left for the release of the Blizzard title. We still don't have any official date even for a hypothetical beta, but we know that Diablo IV in all likelihood will not see the light before 2022: it will be a very long wait that we hope Blizzard will help us overcome by updating us more often on the status of the work. br>


The new class looks really fun Blizzard has hugely curated the game world DOUBT There are still so many aspects of gameplay to show Will we see it at least in 2022?

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