Dungeons are one of the most essential parts of the Diablo experience, so it’s no surprise that Blizzard spent a fair bit of time today talking about how the dungeons would work in Diablo IV. What they’ve showcased thus far looks very promising, with a significant focus on replayability.
Diablo IV: First Look at Dungeons
Dungeons, first and foremost, are private. No random player interactions here like sometimes happens in the overworld, you (and sometimes your party, if you’re playing with friends) and the monsters with the loot they fountain out when they die. This means for those who don’t wish to engage with the open-world elements, you can go your entire playthrough without ever seeing another soul so long as you spend your time doing dungeons.
This time around, dungeons are seamless, with no loading screens between any of the levels. This not only makes the experience smoother and faster, but it also allows the team to make dungeons that feel diegetic rather than removed from the world as a whole. You might walk into a forest to explore some area for the campaign and realize that forest is the first level of an enormous, sprawling dungeon that descends through multiple levels and even changing tilesets along the way. You may start in the forest but enter a forgotten temple, only for that eventually to fade into an unworked cave four levels down, as an example.
Dungeons are not just going to be based around getting to the end, looting chests, and killing monsters; each dungeon is designed to have its own unique objective. This may be as simple as killing all the monsters inside, or slightly more complicated, like finding hidden shrines to some evil being and destroying them. In either case, the further you progress in each dungeon’s objective, the more dangerous it gets. The average danger level of enemies increases, but not only that: powerful Elites will spawn that will hunt you down wherever you are – no matter if you are wandering the dungeon or doing a random event or fighting the dungeon boss. They don’t care, they have come to gank you, and nothing can stop them.
If that’s not spicy enough for you, there are now Dungeon Keys that drop as loot (fairly commonly by what the design team said). They can be scrapped for materials, but more importantly, can be used to modify dungeons with specific affixes. One, for example, creates an unbreakable, unstoppable relic that radiates lightning, which will pursue you through the dungeon.
This allows for the endgame grind to have a fair amount of variability, especially as within each dungeon, the same affix could be very different. In a dungeon with narrow corridors which calls on you to kill all enemies, it is a considerable threat and spurs you to speedily clear everything or perish; in a more wide-open area where your objective is to destroy some objects, it may be less threatening.
Everything I saw looks insanely fun, and so far, the dungeon design and ideas look to be the strongest and most well fleshed out of the things we’ve seen about Diablo IV so far.