Diablo 4 Won’t Have An Offline Mode But Can Be Played Solo
Blizzard has confirmed that Diablo 4 will not have an offline mode. Speaking during a panel held at BlizzCon 2019, lead designer Angela Del Priore addressed a question about whether the game can be played solo and whether it will support “a full offline mode.”
“We are not going to support an offline mode,” Del Priore replied. “But as I said before, nothing in DIablo 4 is going to require partying up. You can play solo and dungeons are private. Campain quest areas will [also] remain private.”
This shouldn’t be much of a surprise to Diablo players on PC, especially those that played Diablo 3, which has required an internet connection to function since its launch. This is also the case for the majority of Blizzard’s other major franchises, such as World of Warcraft, Overwatch, and StarCraft.
The “shared open world” essentially gives Diablo 4 the form of an MMO, so it’s not surprising that it will require an always-on internet connection in order to populate the world with other players. You’ll be able to play solo, but not offline.
Detailed during the Diablo 4 Unveiled panel, Diablo 4 will feature world events, towns that act as social hubs, PvP zones, and a persistently populated open world. The decision makes sense for a more social Diablo 4, and has become the norm in the years since Diablo 3’s release, which was one of the first games to adopt the then-controversial always-online approach.
Blizzard also said that Diablo 4’s release is a long ways off. “We are not coming out soon. Not even ‘Blizzard soon’,” said director Luis Barriga.
As one ponders an always-on Diablo, one can’t help but remember the legendarily bad connection issues Diablo 3 experienced when it debuted in March 2012. Even so many years later, the specter of “Error 37” hangs over the series: Diablo 3 was inaccessible to some players for days following launch, after which Blizzard implemented a login queue system. Another much-criticized element of Diablo 3, the real money auction house, closed in 2014 and does not yet show signs of being revived for the sequel.
We’re thinking the open-world part sounds a bit like a scaled-down Marvel Heroes and Path of Exile not a bad thing at all for fans of MMOARPGs except in that you can choose to play the campaign fully solo if you like.
Here’s a bit more from the Q&A:
On monetization: Blizzard will sell a base game and expansions – plural – but “we will not sell power,” so they’re saying they won’t do pay-to-win.
On customization: There will be more options beyond legendaries. As you put points into different skills, the power goes up and new “parts of the skill” and components are unlocked. Two players with lightning builds can still be pretty different.
On soloing and offline: No, there’s no offline mode, but nothing requires partying. Dungeons and campaign quest areas are private.
On trading: The goal is to make the main thrust getting loot from monsters, while also allowing trading. There are three types of tradeable items: freely tradeable items, one-time tradeable items, and soulbound items that can never be traded. Pretty typical for MMOs. (They are asking for more feedback on this.)
On PvP balance: The same skills and talents and items are in both modes, but Blizz thinks the best stuff for PvE will be different from the best stuff for PvP. They think they’ll have “enough tuning knobs” to keep it balanced.
On legendaries: They will not rain from the sky. There won’t be modification to legendary drop rates as you get further into endgame.
On combat speed: They’re expecting timing and evasion to matter a lot more as you level up and combat feels more intentional.
On item stat randomization: Affix effects are randomized within a range.
On seasons: There will be stuff beyond seasons, but yes there will be seasons with new legendaries and new and different content. (It’s a pretty vague answer.)
On hardcore mode: Yep, it’s happening.
During the panel, Blizzard also said that Diablo 4’s release is a long ways off. “We are not coming out soon. Not even ‘Blizzard soon’,” said director Luis Barriga.