Diablo IV Open Beta Impressions: Diablo 3.75


Diablo IV

By: Jason Siu



8 min read

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Diablo IV Open Beta Impressions

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The Diablo franchise has always been really special to me. I grew up playing the very first Diablo on my IBM PS/1 386 Pentium-90 computer with 16 MB of RAM. I have Diablo II on my list of the best games I’ve ever played and I have nearly 1,400 hours invested into a single character on Diablo III, with my total play time across all my characters clocking in over 2,250 hours. I have tried all sorts of other action RPGs in my lifetime, but Diablo’s core gameplay has always won me over. That’s not to say there aren’t plenty of flaws in Diablo II and Diablo III, but when it comes to pure gameplay loop, it’s pretty tough to beat.

Grimmy Diablo 3 Demon Hunter

With nearly 1,400 hours on a single Demon Hunter, can you guess which class I’m going to play when Diablo IV launches?

Leading up to Diablo IV’s “Open Beta Early Access” — which is totally a misnomer, because it’s a Closed Beta for those who preordered — I cleared Greater Rift 150 in Diablo III Season 28, and spent over 30 hours checking out Last Epoch’s new multiplayer update. With a lot of ARPGs on my mind, I was excited to jump into Diablo IV to see what the new entry in the series will bring. I’ve followed some of the bits and pieces from those who participated in the Closed Beta but nothing tells you more about a game than… well, playing it.

I’m not going to bother talking about the server issues and queue times, I want to spend time talking about what I’ve seen so far. I haven’t cleared what the beta has to offer yet, and I’m just a lowly level 15 Rogue, but this is a first impressions post after all. And my first impressions are, well, Diablo IV feels like Diablo 3.75. While Diablo III felt revolutionary compared to Diablo II, Diablo IV feels evolutionary when compared to Diablo III. Quite honestly, it feels very much like Diablo III with a fresh coat of paint and I don’t know if it’s a good thing or a bad thing.

Diablo IV Open Beta Impressions

Yes, there’s a skill tree, but I would temper your expectations.

Skill Tree

Diablo IV does have a skill tree, but it’s a bit of a façade when compared to skill trees in other ARPGs. If you really break it down, it’s not that much drastically different than what Diablo III has to offer, except now you get to invest points into the skills. The branches for each skill are pretty disappointing and it definitely doesn’t have any real layers of complexity. And maybe this is by design, because Blizzard Entertainment has always been about making games that appeal to the masses. But perhaps this is a little too basic. I personally find Path of Exile a bit overwhelming to play, but Last Epoch’s system is a really good compromise. Diablo IV is better than what Diablo III has to offer, but it feels like a far cry from the build diversity you can get in Diablo II. My biggest issue with the skill tree is that there isn’t a skill where I’m saying to myself, “Oh man, I can’t wait to unlock that, it sounds awesome!” Everything just feels so vanilla as a Diablo veteran. It doesn’t help that a lot of the skills are ripped straight out of Diablo III.


To balance that negative, I’ll talk about a positive and that’s the environments. Diablo III didn’t exactly strike the mood that Diablo I and Diablo II established. Whimsyshire pretty much sums up the issues with Diablo III’s environments and Diablo IV flips that on its head. The zones that we are able to experience so far in the open beta are beautifully crafted, highly detailed, and true to Diablo form. They’re eerie, dark, creepy, and in some cases, pretty disgusting. I love it! It’s what Diablo should be and some of the areas look fantastic. And the sound design pretty much matches the quality of the art, and you’ll hear plenty of familiar sounds pulled straight from Diablo III.

Diablo IV Open Beta Impressions

I love the way some of the environments in Diablo IV look — it’s creepy and dark, the way it should be.


Now let’s talk about the UI. I know the Blizzard Entertainment of today isn’t the same Blizzard Entertainment I grew up with. And I’m pretty confident everyone over the age of 30 would agree with me. For my generation, Blizzard was known to only release completely polished games when they were ready to be played. One could argue Diablo III marked the beginning of the end of that era, although I’d say Overwatch’s launch was pretty damn good. So while I do have lowered expectations in terms of polish and overall game design, I am really disappointed with the overall UI of Diablo IV. It feels incomplete and almost amateur, with certain tabs and design elements feeling like a complete afterthought. I actually feel like some of the elements were ripped straight out of a mobile game — and that’s not a good thing at all.

For every beautifully crafted component of the UI that is polished, there’s one that just leaves me completely befuddled. Let’s start with this: there’s no map overlay — WHY? It’s been around since the very first Diablo and I can’t think of a single damn good reason to remove it. It’s absurd. And the mini-map in the corner lacks the controls to zoom. These are pretty basic things to include in a Diablo game and yet they’re intentionally removed in Diablo IV. You’re telling me, after spending thousands of hours hitting Tab to scan my map while navigating in Diablo games, Diablo IV just isn’t going to allow that. I feel like this is one of those situations where a Blizzard developer is telling me “You think you know what you want, but you really don’t.” No, I’m pretty sure I want a map overlay and so do millions of other players.

Diablo IV Open Beta Impressions

Uh yeah, the map just sucks. Sorry.

Open World

So what’s another positive point to balance out the UI’s massive flaws? The world itself. I know we’re only seeing a small part of what Diablo IV has to offer, but everything feels massive so far. The zones feel huge and the dungeons are equally as impressive, but then again, I’m not zooming around everywhere going from quest destination to quest destination. Diablo IV is going to have mounts however, and I understand why since there is a lot of ground to cover. I’m excited to see how “alive” it will all feel when the game launches, because the open beta so far feels very sparse. The events I’ve seen have been very underpopulated, and I’m not exactly sure how they’re going to address channels when the game is live.

Speaking of open world events, I was a bit concerned about the whole “random people in my Diablo game” aspect. And it didn’t take long to prove myself correct. As I was outside in the open world, a random player trained a bunch of mobs over to me and I ended up dying. It was pretty much the toxic crap you’d expect in an MMORPG and here it is, in a Diablo game. I think stuff like this is going to be an issue if we have zero option to play on our own. And for the love of Tyrael, why can we only track one quest at a time Blizzard?!

Diablo IV Open Beta Impressions

I literally laughed out loud. Blizzard isn’t even trying to shy away from the microtransaction nightmare that is heading to Diablo IV.

Emote Quests… in Diablo?

And now for my final complaint and arguably the biggest one. We all know how many times Blizzard has told us that the microtransactions in Diablo IV will be cosmetic only. But the first real tutorial pop-up I received in the open beta was instructions on how to find my purchases. There were multiple tabs to this pop-up! And this is the “open beta early access!”

But what was probably the most depressing and disappointing to me were the multiple emote quests I’ve already ran into. If you don’t know what an emote quest is, it’s basically having to do an emote in order to complete a quest. I first experienced this in Final Fantasy XIV, where it makes a lot of sense to exist since that’s an actual MMORPG, but even then I found it to be a bit silly. The idea of having to find an emote, put it on my wheel, and use it at a shrine to get an item in Diablo IV is borderline absurd. I know it sounds like a pointless complaint, but what if Blizzard decides one day that there’s a chest that will only open if you have a paid emote? I mean, technically the emote is a “cosmetic” item — it just so happens to grant you access to loot. Years ago I wouldn’t say that’s a possibility. But Blizzard Entertainment of 2023? Yeah, I wouldn’t put it past them.

Diablo IV Open Beta Impressions

If you’re looking for thoughts on itemization, I don’t have any… yet.


Finally, let’s talk about itemization. I don’t have any real thoughts on it just yet, because I think it would be unfair to judge it based on what I’ve seen. I do think it’s a bit clever how the stats affect your character. Here’s how each stat affects the Rogue class (it can be different for the other classes):

  • Strength – Increases Resource Generation, Increases Armor
  • Intelligence – Increases Critical Strike Chance, Increases Resistance to All Elements
  • Willpower – Improves Healing Received, Increases Overpower Damage
  • Dexterity – Increases Skill Damage, Increases Dodge Chance

I think compared to Diablo III, this system is a massive improvement. But it remains to be seen just how important those stats will be weighed on your final stat sheet. I’ll have more to say about itemization in the future, when I have access to items that are higher than level 15. But yeah, sure, some of the Legendaries I’ve gotten are pretty neat.

Final Thoughts

Someone asked me earlier today, knowing that I’ve spent thousands of hours playing Diablo games over my lifetime, what I thought of Diablo IV. And the only thing I could think of saying was, “It’s… fine?” It feels like a Diablo game, it finally looks like a proper Diablo game, and it sure as hell plays like a Diablo game. But I guess I was just expecting more from a Diablo game after all these years. And maybe my mind will change with the finished product and I get to see what end game is all about, because after all, that’s where the true Diablo experience lies. For now, I’ll remain cautiously optimistic about Diablo IV, but I’m not walking away from this beta weekend all that excited about its release.

Diablo IV box art

Buy Diablo IV

Platform: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PC

Release date: June 6, 2023

Recent Updates

March 30, 2023: Added pre-order links for Diablo IV.

March 23, 2023: I apparently misremembered what computer I used to play the original Diablo game. It’s been a long time, alright?

Diablo IV Open Beta Impressions Gallery

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With over 20 years of online publishing experience, Jason Siu is currently the Content Director at VerticalScope and used to spend most of his time writing about cars. His work can be seen on websites such as AutoGuide, EV Pulse, FlatSixes, Tire Authority, and more. As the former co-founder of Tunerzine.com and West Coast Editor of Modified Magazine, he has also authored two books for CarTech Books. In his spare time, he founded FullCleared to indulge in his passion for writing about games. Although Jason is a variety gamer, he generally prefers RPGs.

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