It's that joyous time of year where there are big reveals for Blizzard Entertainment games.
Diablo fans got some news out of BlizzCon 2023, where Blizzard Entertainment shared updates on where the story of Diablo 4 is headed next. Information is scarce for now, but we've got a great idea of what to look forward to.
Diablo 4: Vessel of Hatred announced, coming in 2024
The main Diablo news out of BlizzCon 2023 was the reveal of the game's first expansion, Vessel of Hatred. As the name so heavily implies, Vessel of Hatred is focused on the return of Mephisto, the Prime Evil of Hatred. You can check out the reveal trailer below:
While it's mainly just a teaser for the setting, there's a fair bit that can be gleaned from this trailer. We know that Vessel of Hatred will be taking players back to the Teganze Plains and Torajan Jungle, lands that have previously been explored during the events of Diablo 2's story. As a proper story expansion, players will have more to explore, with new quests to undertake as this dark tale continues.
Before the launch of Diablo 4, Blizzard Entertainment shared that there would be two main story expansions in the works, in addition to seasonal updates that bring smaller, more regular content for players to enjoy.
Blizzard Entertainment also shared that we'll be getting a new class in addition to existing five classes of Barbarian, Druid, Necromancer, Rogue, and Sorceress. Don't spend time thinking about just who we already know that this class could be however, as it won't be a returning class from an older game like the Witch Doctor or Amazon. Instead, Blizzard says this will be an entirely new class never before featured in a Diablo game.
There's no exact release date right now, but Blizzard indicates that we can look forward to Diablo 4: Vessel of Hatred at some point in late 2024.
During a Campfire Chat for Diablo 4 at BlizzCon 2023, production director Tiffany Wat explained that players jumping into Vessel of Hatred don't have to finish the main campaign first, but can instead watch a recap video and then dive into the expansion if they choose.
Brent Gibson, associate game director on Diablo 4, explained that because the Torajan people are a real tribe, Blizzard wants to be respectful and while outsiders in Sanctuary know the dense jungle as the Torajan Jungle, the native inhabitants refer to it as Nahantu. Wat added that it's been 72 years since the events of Diablo 2, meaning that a lot will be the same but a lot has also changed in these lands as well.
Game director Joe Shely added that the team was very proud of delivering five classic classes at the launch of Diablo 4, and was at a "crossroads" for what to do in the future. Eventually, the team decided that at least for the Vessel of Hatred expansion, the next class will be entirely new, adding that despite speculation, it's definitely not the Witch Doctor.
This expansion's launch will also not mean the end of the seasonal model, as the Diablo 4 development team is keenly aware that there are both seasonal players and Eternal Realm players, and intends on continuing to provide additional content for both groups.
Diablo 4: Season of Blood gets mid-season updates
Right now, Diablo 4's second season, Season of Blood, is underway, having brought well-received changes like making gems no longer take up inventory space. There's a big series of mid-season updates planned as well, with a whole host of features including:
Patch 1.2.2 - coming November 7
Class-specific unique "Malignant" rings
Patch 1.2.3 - coming December 5
Enchanting preview window
Abattoir of Zir
Midwinter Blight - coming December 12
New quests & activities
Midwinter Blight's holiday event kicks off in the city of Kyovashad, where a wandering bard is trying to spread holiday cheer. From there, players will be hunting down the Red-Cloaked Horror, an especially dangerous Goatman in the Fractured Peaks, one that uses the fierce winter storms as cover.
Players lure out the Red-Cloaked Horror by taking part in special holiday events scattered across the peaks. This will unlike some unique holiday rewards, including special cosmetics.
Season 3 looms
Moving ahead, we're still extremely light on Season 3 details, and will be for some time, but Blizzard has confirmed that improvements are coming to how leaderboards are handled. There'll also be a new weekly challenge dungeon called The Gauntlet. While the leaderboards for The Gauntlet will be reset weekly, the absolute best players will be permanently recorded in the Hall of Ancients.
Looking ahead, the Diablo team is also keenly aware of the community's desire for improved itemization, new sources of Living Steel, and for an in-game group finder tool, though there's no specific details to share right now.
What else are you hoping for?
More to come
We'll be updating this with additional coverage as we learn more about what's next for Diablo at BlizzCon. Be sure to stay tuned into our BlizzCon 2023 live blog, where you'll be getting the fastest updates on just what is coming, not only for Diablo but for other Blizzard Entertainment franchises like Overwatch and World of Warcraft.