Diablo 4 will take place in a shared open world. You won’t have a choice in that, although you won’t see other players in your game all the time, such as during big story quests (I wrote about how the shared world works a year ago). You also won’t have to participate in PvP if you don’t want to. The main parts of Diablo 4’s world will be safe, give or take an endless war between angels and demons, and free-for-all PvP will be contained within clearly marked zones.
You might just be tempted to cross that border, though. There’s loot to get.
Prior to the start of BlizzCon this week, Diablo 4 game director Luis Barriga and art director John Mueller gave me a brief overview of how this PvP system will work. The PvP zones are called Fields of Hatred. In them, any player can attack any other. They aren’t arenas where all there is to do is fight each other, though. There are PvE activities in the Fields, including events and bosses, that players can tackle together so long as they aren’t turning on each other.
One of the primary activities will be “gathering Shards of Hatred and cleansing them at altars,” says Barriga. He didn’t have time to explain the system to me in depth, but it’s clear that these Shards are the primary resource players will be looking for in Fields of Hatred, and can be spent on items.
Mueller says he likes the items Shards can buy, but prefers to avoid PvP, so he sneaks into Fields of Hatred, does PvE fights, and then sneaks out before he encounters any other players. It sounds similar to The Division 2’s Dark Zone.
There’s also a king of the hill-type system called Vessel of Hatred, which advertises the location of the most infamous player killer in a PvP area, challenging them to stay on top while a target’s painted on them.
If you get killed in a Field of Hatred, you’ll lose any Shards of Hatred you were holding—which isn’t too harsh of a penalty, since all you’ve lost is the resource you went into the zone to gather.
“It’s actually quite casual-friendly in normal mode,” says Barriga. “Although we’ve found that it is a point of pride, like losing your ear in Diablo 2. There’s something that stings about it, and you get that desire for revenge in you, even though you didn’t lose any major items.” (If you weren’t aware, ears could be collected as PvP trophies in Diablo 2.)
Open world PvP in Diablo 4 won’t be an enormous risk, then, although there are two exceptions. One is if you die right after winning a big haul of Shards.
“The Shard losses can get pretty high,” says Barriga, “like if you get lucky and kill someone who’s been the Vessel of Hatred for a while, you might get 1,000 of these, and then if his buddy gets you, you might suffer quite a big loss there.”
The other exception is if you’re playing a Hardcore character. If your Hardcore character dies in a PvP zone or anywhere else in Diablo 4, they are dead and gone forever. Diablo 4’s permadeath mode makes no exceptions.
We expect to hear more about Diablo 4’s PvP system, as well as other details, during the various BlizzCon deep dives happening now. During the opening ceremony, Blizzard also announced that the Rogue class will be one of those available at launch, joining the Barbarian, Druid, and Sorceress. We’ll be updating our guide to everything we know about Diablo 4 with the latest info throughout the event.
Diablo 4 was announced at BlizzCon 2019 and doesn’t have a release date right now. Back then, Blizzard said it could be a while before it’s ready.
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