At the beginning of this week, the Diablo Immortal team over at Blizzard shared some exciting news, that the game’s closed alpha test would be starting soon.
To add to the excitement, Game Director Wyatt Cheng and Principle Game Designer Scott Shicoff confirmed that the Diablo Immortal closed alpha isn’t just starting soon, it starts today. Now we know what you’re thinking. “Where can I get access? Is my region included?”
The answer to the former, is that you’d have had to pre-register to be considered. As for the latter, the closed alpha is limited to Australia just as the technical alpha was. If you can’t be part of the test, it’s not all bad news. Because the closed alpha introduces players to some exciting new features that will make for the most fun you’ve ever had slaying demons when the game finally launches.
The Diablo Immortal closed alpha introduces a new faction system
One of the big parts of this test is to introduce the players to a new faction wars system for the game. In these faction wars, officially called The Cycle of Strife, players will go through a period of one to three months in which they can choose to side with one of two different factions. The Immortals, and the Shadows. There is also a third faction known as Adventurers which is where all players start.
Those who don’t choose a side and instead remain neutral will stay adventurers throughout each Cycle of Strife. Immortals have been charged with the task of keeping Sanctuary safe as the elite frontline defense against the burning hells, Shadows are there to keep the Immortals in check.
Their one and only job is to ensure that Immortals continue to stay the course and never stray from their charge. The Cycle of Strife is a server-wide endgame PvP system. So players shouldn’t expect to see it before reaching the later levels of the game.
Blizzard was also clear that it includes both PvE and PvP activities. Though it sounds like it leans a little more heavily towards PvP.
The Crusader class joins the fray
During the technical alpha last year, Diablo Immortal included four of the game’s eventual six classes. The monk, the demon hunter, the barbarian, and the wizard. Now players will get their first crack at the Crusader, the shield that guards the realm against an ever-growing onslaught of demons.
Much like the other four classes, the Crusader will have many familiar abilities that players who dove deep into Diablo III will recognize. But it will also employ some new abilities unique to this game, and augment existing ones with more powerful, charged up versions.
Though each class has its strengths, the Crusader may just shape up to be the strongest class yet. During a special press briefing, Game Director Wyatt Cheng stated that many of the people on the team are “really excited about the Crusader” and that for many of them it’s now their favorite class. Adding that maybe it’s because it’s “genuinely OP, or maybe it’s because it’s the new hotness.”
Whatever the case, the Crusader sounds like it’s going to be extremely fun to play.
The level cap will be 55 and take you through two new zones
There was a lot of content to go through in the technical alpha, but there’s even more this time around. The level cap has been raised from 45 to 55. And in that extra ten levels players will go through two new zones that weren’t available during the first test. Mount Zavain and The Frozen Tundra.
There’s also a new dungeon called the Cavern of Echoes. In this dungeon players will need to face off against a destructive new boss. All the while searching for a powerful artifact called the Iceburn Tear hidden somewhere in the dungeon.
Players not strong enough to engage with some of Diablo Immortal’s endgame content will want to check out the Helliquary. The new PvE-based system that lets players defeat powerful enemies to earn better gear. Or, test their mettle against other players in the new 8v8 PvP ‘Battleground’ activity.
Just like with the previous test, this one will not last forever. But it will be longer than the first one with Cheng stating that “it will last at least a month,” as the team really wants to see a group of players become the Immortals. They also want to see the Immortals be overthrown by a group of Shadows, and this process will take at least a month to play out.
What this means for the release in terms of a timeframe, is that Diablo Immortal is still very likely not coming anytime soon. The team plans for at least one more test after this one. With the potential for one or more after that. One thing is certain, though. Diablo Immortal is coming along quite nicely. Fans should be very excited for what’s to come.