The time to experience a new hell is really short now. Blizzard Entertainment‘s new game, Diablo Immortal, held a press conference to celebrate the release.
This meeting was the last place to answer questions about Diablo Immortal ahead of its launch on June 3, and Blizzard Entertainment Korea President Jeon Dong-jin made an announcement and a video Q&A with the Diablo Immortal development team was held.
The Q&A was attended by Rod Ferguson, Diablo Franchise General Manager, and Joe Grubb, General Game Designer, on behalf of the Diablo Immortal development team. Rod Ferguson, Diablo Franchise General Manager, oversees all Diablo related tasks, including Diablo Immortal and Diablo 4, and Joe Grubb, Executive Game Designer, helps design games that meet Blizzard’s standards.
Diablo Immortal is an MMO game where you can experience the depth and action unique to the series on mobile and PC, and you can play the game anytime, anywhere through cross-play and progress sharing. The PC version will be available as an open beta at launch, during which time you will also be able to access cross-play and progress sharing, including all content.
■ Jeon Dong-jin, CEO of Blizzard Entertainment Korea
Jeon Dong-jin, CEO of Blizzard Entertainment Korea, said, “It is not an exaggeration to say that the Diablo franchise, celebrating its 25th anniversary, occupies a part in the lives of gamers around the world.” He then introduced Diablo Immortal and explained the Korean service plan that Blizzard Entertainment Korea will focus on and strengthen.
Diablo Immortal is the first game in the history of the Diablo franchise to be designed for mobile from the early stages of development. The story tells the story between Diablo 2 and 3, and players can interact with other players through various social features within the game. Of course, you can also boldly carve your own path to Sanctuary.
The Immortal development team has listened to the voices of players around the world for a long time to provide an AAA-grade mobile experience. Many people who played the game through technical alpha and beta tests released their videos to the community, which naturally raised the expectations of the market. In response to such high expectations, CEO Jeon Dong-jin said, “Once again, thank you for your passionate interest in Diablo Immortal.”
CEO Jeon said that the domestic mobile game market is very competitive, and many new games are released every year, and many companies are working hard to get players’ attention, especially in the MMORPG market. In this regard, Blizzard Entertainment Korea announced that it plans to differentiate itself by strengthening the player experience, benefits, and community communication in addition to the gameability and proven IP power of Diablo Immortal.
First, in order to enhance the player experience, various YouTube contents and guide videos such as Bulpa’s Night will be introduced. The Chamber of Secrets series, which will be revealed at launch, will deliver news about Diablo Immortals in the form of a talk show. After the launch of Diablo Immortal, Blizzard Entertainment Korea plans to reach Korean players with more useful and fun content.
CEO Jeon Dong-jin said that Diablo Immortal has faithfully reflected feedback through numerous tests and community sites, and asked for sound feedback even after the official launch. Blizzard Korea and the Diablo Immortal development team also talked about their commitment to listening to the voices of users through various channels and making efforts to provide a better gameplay experience. Finally, in 2022, the 25th anniversary of the franchise, he asked fans for unstinting support and support, saying that it is a new feeling to introduce an Immortal that will provide a new experience of Diablo.
In addition, various events and benefits are provided to enhance player benefits. You can get the Horadream Set wherever you play, such as Google, iOS, or the One Store, and the One Store provides a variety of exclusive benefits. In addition, various news and events can be checked through the Naver Lounge, and various products will be introduced through the Goods Week program, which provides about 20,000 Diablo goods, and collaborations with various partners. Premium PC room benefits are also provided with the launch for users who play on PC rooms.
■ Diablo Immortal Developer Interview
Q. This is the first Blizzard game designed for mobile from the beginning. Although it is an open beta, what is the reason for releasing it on PC?
First of all, in the case of mobile, it is released as a complete version rather than an open beta, and I want to make sure that only the PC version is released as an open beta. Immortal was developed for mobile first, mobile. However, the PC version was released because we heard from many players who wanted to play on PC during the beta period. In addition, it was chosen to provide users with the play itself in a more complete form. During the beta period, it was observed that each player played an average of 45 minutes per episode, and played multiple times a day. That is, each player played about 1.5 hours per day.
Mobile is a great platform that many players love, but there are also a lot of players who prefer PC. In order to increase accessibility and introduce the game, we chose a cross-platform method. On a PC, it has the advantage of being able to play on a larger screen or use the preferred play method conveniently through key mapping. However, the decision to release the PC version itself was made later in development. That’s why the PC comes out with the label of Open Beta.
However, the overall game experience itself is exactly the same as that of mobile, and even if you connect through mobile, you can play in a party with PC users. The difference from mobile is the UI and controls. Direct operation through W, A, S, D is introduced so that the method of direct control, which is one of the best aspects of mobile, can be used on PC while taking the method that was loved much among the controls provided in the previous franchise.
Through these things, I think you will be able to fully enjoy the experience similar to the control on mobile on PC. You’ll be able to map multiple controls to your preferred keyboard keys at the same time, making playing more convenient.
Q. I am curious about how the job change function works in detail. What continues and where do we need to start over?
First of all, the job change function is not provided immediately after release, but is provided sequentially after release.
When using job change, growth and items that are not limited to each class can be taken continuously. For example, gems that have been farmed by investing a lot of time are maintained and you can play as a new job in that state. In the case of customization, it can be set again, and basic items can also be used.
The basic item contains several sockets, so special abilities are not granted from the beginning, but you can power up your character with basic stats and various gems you own. The conqueror tree and points can be returned as all progress points are initialized. In that situation, you can play the game you want again.
However, the job change system has a cooldown. It can be said that there is a delay between changing one job and changing to the next. The change itself is provided free of charge and without restrictions, but the addition of a cooldown is a choice that the user wants to properly play and enjoy the chosen job. I want you to avoid frequent job changes and feel the identity of each class.
Diablo Immortal is the most ambitious Diablo title ever released. As such, there is a lot of content and the paths of growth are very diverse. As a part of the job change system, it is designed so that you can experience various jobs together while taking full advantage of the invested effort.
I think the biggest advantage of the job change feature is that users can try different jobs while maintaining the progress of the character they put a lot of affection and effort into.
Q. I am also curious about when the new job will be introduced, and if there are any jobs that will only be shown at Immortal.
At the time of launch, the idea was to show familiar occupation groups first. As a result, we selected 6 iconic occupations with mobile’s unique control called direct control. These 6 occupations make Immortal feel a little more Diablo-like, but also give you a unique experience of Immortal. At the start, I plan to focus more on these six familiar occupations.
In the case of Immortal, it was developed as a game that will last for many years. Therefore, we plan to continuously introduce new content and functions. Also, like the basic part of the game that is the base, you can enjoy the content to be added for free. New areas, dungeons, bosses, classes, and more, all content will continue to be available for free.
Q. I think the conqueror system was pretty effective. I think it will be developed. I wonder what your plan is.
We have added new changes to the World Conqueror system, and the development team is also looking forward to it. It is still in the works, but the biggest change is that the previously applied restrictions on material acquisition have been lifted.
When there are restrictions, users rather play without gaining stats. For this purpose, restrictions have been lifted. Nevertheless, some of them did what they intended, so they thought about how to take it, and how to alleviate those with a higher level of conqueror compared to other users.
As a result, I thought of approaching it from the speed of upgrading the item grade. Rather than limiting the acquisition of materials, I set a new direction to focus and put more effort into raising the level. I think this will be a good opportunity for players to continuously raise their conqueror level.
The most important function of the Conqueror system is to help players who are relatively slow to catch up better. One of the goals of the World Conqueror system is to function as a system that can catch up with average users without falling behind.
The intended devices during the beta period seem to work well, but after launch, the system itself will be fine-tuned. If the user’s current Conqueror level is far behind, he will be able to receive detailed help proportionally. It is designed to catch up with users who enjoy end content.
I personally think the world conqueror system is similar to the rest system. This is a system that is often found in other games, and it is a system that makes it easier for players to keep up with overall progress when they return to the game after taking a break for some time.
Q. In the previous test, Blessing of Abundance was not well-received, so you said that you would improve it. I am curious about the direction of improvement.
We got a lot of feedback during the beta. In beta testing, we play everything we intended, and sometimes feel differently. So, through the beta, you’ll hear a lot of feedback and see what you’ve achieved. Blessings of Abundance will also apply detailed changes.
Some of the changes are to differentiate it from the Battle Pass. In addition to the daily rewards that users receive, they will also be able to obtain legendary emblems and jewels from Grace. It is designed so that the number of rewards you receive every day increases with each passing day.
One of the things I felt during the beta was that the value of the rare sentence was not enough. The value of rare sentences was judged as a separate issue, and I wanted to solve it a bit more. After launch, changes to these rare sentences will also be applied.
The need for platinum coins to make a legendary crest has been removed, so it will be easier to create and enjoy a legendary crest. Changes will be added to each Legendary Gem to make it easier to use. We plan to apply changes to the attribution system so that the system can be used with higher accessibility when sold or used after production. Several of these changes will take effect at launch.
Q. Could you please explain what was the most difficult thing during development or what you overcame well?
Creating the largest and most ambitious Diablo of all time naturally entailed many difficulties. Nevertheless, I am proud and happy to finally present Diablo Immortal in front of users. From the Diablo franchise point of view, Immortal is the first complete MMO game in history and the first mobile game in the franchise, so we put a lot of effort into keeping it alive.
Diablo Immortal also includes a massive social system never seen in Diablo before. Among them, the combat unit went through a beta and a lot of changes were made. At the time of launch, it was expanded to make it more enjoyable. Various improvements were made to the bridle of struggle, which was first introduced during the beta period.
The bridle of struggle was applied with a balance based on the feedback obtained during the beta period. Among them, I want to talk about two big changes. First of all, the bridle of struggle was originally a dark faction system. In this case, there were users who were disappointed in the dissolution of each dark faction after the overthrow.
There were many cases of using their clan as a dark faction. So, I decided to combine these two systems. At launch, the clan itself becomes part of the bridle of struggle system. Each clan can overthrow the current Immortals by joining the Shadows through choice. Even after one cycle has passed, the social part can be taken as it is.
Also, during the beta period, only some dark factions were involved in the yoke of struggle. We thought that many people did not enjoy it, so we tried to integrate it with the clan system so that more people could enjoy the content of The Ring of Strife. It is hoped that this will allow more people to participate and compete.
Q. Diablo is a game with considerable ripple effect in Korea. There must have been internal expectations for the Korean market. Please explain your expectations for the launch of Immortal.
I am really hoping that it will go well. As for how much Korean fans love Diablo, I realized a lot after the launch of Diablo 2 Resurrection. The love that Korean players give to the Diablo franchise is also inspiring us a lot.
And one more thing, I’m also very happy to be able to present Diablo on a mobile platform that many people enjoy. Isn’t that a game that is easy to access? We expect to be able to show Korean fans an authentic, Diablo-like game through Immortal. It was really fun while developing the game, and I want fans to feel that pleasure through playing.
Q. I am curious about the update cycle after release. I wonder if they plan to release a large-scale content that can be called an expansion pack.
Diablo Immortal will already have a lot of content available at launch, but this is just the beginning. It’s going to be a game that showcases a very wide range of content over the years. There are various systems that you can enjoy at the time of launch, but we plan to continuously introduce new things such as stories, regions, and jobs.
New bosses and difficulties for the Fel Reliquary will also be applied. In the case of the cycle of struggle, since it is a content designed on a cycle basis, I am hoping that it will become a system that can show a lot of things over a longer period of time. Various jobs will be added continuously in the future. Also, all new content will be provided free of charge.
Diablo Immortal has a system that can be expanded based on a really diverse cycle. However, there will be no concept like the expansion pack of the previous series. But separately, you can meet new content at different cycles. We plan to keep the game fresh and enjoyable through continuous updates.
Q. Can cosmetic items be purchased individually in addition to the Battle Pass?
You can purchase individually. We are very happy to be able to showcase cosmetic items at Immortal, and we will present a variety of AAA-level Blizzard-style items. In addition to the Battle Pass, it can also be obtained from the shop. Please expect a lot.
Also, you can receive new decoration items for free from the moment you play the game. They said that they would provide a Horadrim decoration set if 30 million players worldwide participate in the pre-registration, but a total of 35 million players have pre-registered. You will be able to enjoy Horadrim decoration items right from the moment you start the game.