Diablo Immortal Interview: Chatting with Joe Grubb and Rod Ferguson before launch

It’s been a little over three years since Diablo Immortal was first announced during the opening ceremonies of Blizzcon 2018. Since then, it has gone through many changes, and Immortal is finally launching this week on June 2n/a. In preparation for the launch, I took part in an interview with the game’s lead designer, Joe Grubb, and the general manager of the Diablo Franchise, Rod Fergusson. We covered a lot of ground in the interview; here are some of the most essential things we’ve covered.

Conflict cycle

For anyone who didn’t participate in the beta and never heard of the Cycle of Strife system before, this is a full-scale endgame PvP system. Grubb explained that initially they thought this system would be something the mainstream audience would enjoy, but most gamers wouldn’t participate. They found that the majority of endgame beta players opted into Cycle of Strife and actively participated in it, which is great not only because it was popular, but also because the team was able to collect a considerable amount of information regarding the cycle and improve. this. Grubb went on to explain two significant changes to the system due to what was seen during the beta.

He originally explained that players “had to choose to become a Shadow, join a dark house, a completely separate structure from the clans, and then go through the cycle and try to knock down the Immortals. Eventually, when they were knocked down, all the dark houses were disbanded and we destroyed them all and then the players had to reform again It was a painful social experience for the players they got attached to their dark house and they started to form clans as if they were dark houses…one big change we considered from the beta was to mix the Cycle of Strife and the clan system so now in the global launch there is no more From the Dark Houses concept, you’ll turn your entire clan into a Dark Clan. This feels like a big overall change and will likely go a long way towards improving the overall health of the long-term conflict cycle.

The second major change relates to how players are selected to participate at the end of the week. During the beta, only the top 10 Shadow Dark Houses could fight the Immortals, while everyone else continued to do their dark duties and wait to see how everything went. This unfortunately had the effect of keeping the majority of players away from the competition. Grub explained that Shadow Wars will be part of Immortal at launch, and “now, over the course of the week, a sort of tournament-like bracket, Shadows will compete to really elevate who their top 10 are, and for the competition to happen from the very beginning.” It’s a huge change, but it could also make the whole system more enjoyable in the long run.

Added PC Play

One of the biggest points of contention regarding Immortal was that it was planned as a mobile-only game. When discussing adding a PC version, Grubb reiterated that Immortal is still a mobile game. The vast majority of their time and effort has gone into making sure the mobile experience is completely solid and fun. This is also why the PC version launches as a beta instead of having a full launch alongside. Immortal.

Fergusson further explained that “some of what is important to Diablo and the Immortal franchise is to reach as many players as possible. And so that was part of it, when you look at the three billion gamers out there, and how many rely on mobile as the only platform to play and bring the game to where everyone else is playing. Which is a very fair assessment of a Even though some segments of the gaming community tend to look down on mobile gaming, it’s one of the fastest growing markets overall, it It is therefore logical to want to be interested in it. That’s why they decided to go with a free-to-play model, as it removes another barrier to increasing the number of players in the game.

Fergusson also mentioned that the average gaming session during the beta was 45 minutes, multiple times per day. This data to see how long players were playing Immortal in the one-on-one sessions was a big driver of the conversation around maybe they should work on providing a PC version as well. As he put it, “if you’re going to sit there for an hour and play the game, having the option to sit at your desk or sit in front of a PC would be a great way to do that… And then we have looked at what’s all the other good stuff…the fact that you have a bigger screen and remappable controls also makes it much more accessible for some players, so there was really a lot of reason to do that.

Change course

Although the ability to change class is not available Immortal at launch I wanted to talk about it because it’s an intriguing option to have. When it comes to MMOs, I suck at alt because I don’t like having to repeat things I’ve done before just to see what another class looks like. As for the class change, I was concerned that this seemed like an obvious point where they could make it a paid service. However, Grub was quick to point out that it would be free, but there would be an associated cooldown. They haven’t decided what exactly the cooldown will be, but they also don’t want players constantly switching classes every time they want to do a different type of content.

Less about worries about the monetization side and more about the logistics of how class switching would work, I was concerned about how it would directly affect our characters. For example, the body types of a monk and a barbarian are very different, and I imagined the monk suddenly becoming super bulky when class switching was used. Grub clarified that the first time you upgrade to a class, character customization will open up and you can change everything about your character’s appearance as if you were creating a new character. Of course, you will maintain your progress on this character (including legendary gems). Additionally, all Paragon Points will be refunded, so you have the option to spend them differently in your new class.

Grubb also mentioned an aspect of this system that I hadn’t even considered, “the interesting part about that too is that everything is then remembered, because as I mentioned part of the purpose of this is the permanence of I want to be the monk but we remember who you were as a barbarian. So when you say “I tried the monk but it’s just not what I thought it would be, I really want to get back to the barbarian” your items and how you built yourself as is still there. So you’re just gonna go back to how you were before. That’s a HUGE deal. I know I’d be really hesitant to try a new class if I knew going back would be a real pain. This information is what made me want to try this feature when it becomes available.

The future of the immortal

One of my biggest disappointments with Diablo 3 was when I reached the end of the story; it just ended. There was no follow up with my companions or anything to do after finishing the main storyline, which as a Diablo game, is not unusual. However, as someone with a long history not only in MMOs but also in RPGs where there is always a ton to do after completing the main story, this was disappointing. With Immortal Being positioned as an MMO, having plenty of engaging endgame content at launch is essential. I was thrilled to hear Fergusson specifically mention endgame content as something they’ve put a lot of time and attention into. Grubb explained it this way:

“We’re really excited to finally bring launch and send players into the realm of Damnation and finally face Skarn there; but launch is really only the beginning. It’s exciting to have built these systems for Immortal, as we mentioned, the Helliquary, the Cycle of Conflicts, the main storyline itself, all are very well structured to develop in the mind and in the future. Immortal for even a year from now, two years, five years, you know in the future that we can build on. The Helliquary system, for the beta, was our first step to testing if we could drop a new Helliquary boss for players to challenge. We’ve had pretty good success with that and will continue in the future. The Battlepass transforms month after month into new seasons. I mentioned the main storyline, we’ll be adding new areas, new dungeons, to push that forward. Skarn is at the beginning of the story for Immortaland all of this content is set up for a free roadmap in the future. »

Diablo Immortal Barbarian Mobile Game

After going through so many game launches where it seems like future content hasn’t been thought out with much precision, it’s really refreshing to hear that they already have plans for the sequel. Hopefully, with a smooth launch and a fun game to start Immortal will hit the ground running and continue from there.

That’s about all we’ve covered. Diablo: Immortal will be launched on June 2n/a. To find the specific time for your time zone, please click here.