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Diablo IV Beta Preview & First Impressions

Diablo IV's highly anticipated Closed Beta has gone live, giving a select few the first look at what's to come on launch day.
Diablo 4 Image
Image: Blizzard

Diablo IV has begun its highly anticipated beta today, giving certain players a sneak peek of what’s to come when the game finally launches.

What is undoubtedly going to be one of the most popular betas of the year, the Diablo IV beta is unsurprisingly seeing huge player numbers. Fans who have waited the long ten years since the last Diablo are excitedly rushing to get their first glimpse of the newest title, and Blizzard’s servers are buckling under the weight of the hype.

The first boss you’re going to have to face when trying to get into Diablo IV’s beta is the login queue. The queue is a wait unseen since Final Fantasy XIV’s infamous Endwalker launch, putting players who wish to get into the game into hour+ long waits to get their highly sought-after server space. At the moment of writing, I have been in the queue for 20 minutes with 60 left to go.

D4 Beta Queue Image
Image: Blizzard

Blizzard’s servers are going through hell – pun intended – as the influx of players looking to try the beta apparently overwhelmed both expectations and the servers. Not only are long queue times plaguing the beta, but a host of server bugs are occasionally kicking players who beat the queue back into the line for seemingly no reason.

While the game is not in the best of shapes, its hard to complain about it. This is, after all, a beta test and exists specifically to root out these bugs before the game’s launch.

Blizzard has posted a list of known bugs on the official Diablo Twitter to hopefully help players avoid some of the game-breaking issues.

Something else that’ll also undoubtedly draw your attention is the unorthodox way players are getting their hands on the Diablo IV Beta.

Before today, to get into the beta all you had to do was pre-order Diablo IV. Doing so came with a special key alongside the base game that allowed players the chance to try it out before the June 6 release.

However, as of the beta’s launch today, you can no longer get access to the beta simply by preordering Diablo IV. Instead, a highly controversial promotion with Kentucky Fried Chicken is the only way for players to get their hands on the beta, though they may be a bit greasy when they do.

Players on the Diablo SubReddit are lamenting the promotion being their only way to get into the beta. The promotion, which requires players to buy the new KFC Double-Down sandwich, is being lamented as a “Dystopian Nightmare” by many who want to play the game without eating chicken. Personally, I don’t have a problem with the promotion, but the complaints from vegan fans who hoped to get their hands on Diablo IV’s beta did strike me as valid.

But how was the actual beta?

As someone who only recently got into Diablo III and thought the graphics still held up, the first thing I have to say about Diablo IV is that it is visually stunning. Everything from the textures, to the lighting, to the visual flair of spells and enemy attacks is beautiful. Blizzard has certainly outdone itself on the graphics for Diablo IV.

D4 Beta Bossfight Image
Image: Blizzard

The inclusion of character customization is also a big improvement over Diablo III. My biggest problem in the last game was attempting to relate to my characters; Often I found myself not playing the class I really wanted to play, but the one with the best default appearance.

While not a problem everyone faces, as a long-time RPG player it was certainly a hurdle to get over for me and I appreciate Blizzard’s inclusion of customization in the new title.

D4 Beta Customization Image
Image: Blizzard

It’s worth noting however that progression does not cross over from the Diablo IV Beta to the live version of the game. When the game launches, you will have to start over again with a new character.

Diablo IV’s beta gives you the chance to play through the game’s first zone and up to level 25. Once you hit 25 you can keep playing, but you won’t be able to level up any higher. The game does a great job of introducing you to the story of Diablo IV and giving you a little taste of the gameplay you can expect in the full release.

Said gameplay is absolutely solid. The classic Diablo formula is alive and well in the beta, and old fans of the series will feel instantly at home with the three playable classes available to them pre-launch.

While we don’t have access to them in the beta, the former DLC class Necromancer and new class Druid are included in the class selection screen. Witch Doctor, Monk, and Crusader are currently not included in the game.

While still offering increasing difficulty options for fans of the classic Diablo Hellfest, the Diablo IV beta also gives a look at how the game lends itself to players new to the series. A slightly easier mode and an intuitive UI help those who aren’t familiar with the series get into Diablo IV without dumbing down the experience for veterans.

Diablo IV really just feels like the classic, iconic Diablo formula given a modern facelift, and that’s all I really wanted from the game. While we still have a few months until the official release, my impressions from the Diablo IV beta give me high expectations for the full game.

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