Hello, and welcome once again to a new Diablo IV Quarterly Update! We hope you enjoyed the Rogue class announcement during BlizzConline. We had a blast creating the Rogue and open-world video segments, sharing them with you, and seeing your reactions. It was especially cool to share our updates as part of the larger Diablo family alongside Diablo: Immortal and the all-new Diablo II: Resurrected (both of which I personally can’t wait to play with you all).
As we transition back to a blog format, we will continue to spotlight different aspects of development. Today we’re going to be focusing on Diablo IV character art—player characters, monsters, and allies.
Art is a critical part of what makes Diablo, well... Diablo. Our signature randomized dungeons would not feel like Diablo without the ominous lighting setting the mood as players uncover horrifying details around every dark corner. Combat only feels visceral thanks to carefully crafted animations and visual effects that make spells and abilities sing. And while stats might make or break an item, we often can’t wait to get our hands on a piece of gear purely because of how incredible it looks.
Character art is equally important as it encompasses two of Diablo’s key elements: classes and monsters. The look and feel of the classes has always been one of Diablo’s secret ingredients, each class instantly recognizable and imbued with a strong and unique personality. Diablo IV offers players more customization options than ever in a Diablo game, which makes achieving that result more challenging, but the outcome is well worth it. Your Barbarian is different from anyone else’s but still feels undeniably like a Barbarian. With monsters, the focus has been on creating new foes and updating classics drawn from the pantheon of atrocities in our previous games, while using new processes and technology to their fullest.
To give us a better look at everything involved in this process, I now leave the rest of the update in the hands of our very own Art Director, John Mueller, and his team.
We hope you enjoy it and look forward to your thoughts and reactions! As always, let us know what topics you want to hear about in the future. Be sure to stay tuned, as we’re planning to delve deeper into the topics of sound design and endgame systems later this year.
Thank you, and until next time!
-Luis Barriga, Game Director, Diablo IV
John Mueller, Art Director
We are excited to do a deep dive on the character art for Diablo IV! This is a pretty exciting topic for our team, because so damn much has changed from Diablo III! You will get to hear from our Lead Character Artist, Arnaud Kotelnikof, and Nick Chilano, our Associate Character Art Director. They will be sharing a lot of cool visuals from our ongoing development related to character art that we’re revealing here for the first time. There’s a lot of ‘work in progress’ here; our goal is to give you an early look at content to get a sense of the direction we are taking. I don’t have a lot of caveats, though, as at this point the work is a very good representation of what you will see when the game is in your hands.
When it comes to the topic of character art, I can say we've had an epic journey during development, so let's pull back the curtain and take a look! First, I need to give a big shout-out to our amazing character art team, engineering team, animators, lighting artists, and technical artists—without them, none of this would be possible!
When I think back to the beginning, I think at the highest level, our goal was to make the characters in Diablo IV look as artistic and as hand-crafted as possible using the latest tools and techniques. Over time, our ambitions around what we thought we could achieve evolved and really solidified into what you see today. We wanted to use the latest tools and techniques, but we did have a concern about leaning into ‘realism’ in a way that wouldn’t have that hand-crafted feeling we felt was fundamental to a Blizzard game. We didn’t want the characters to feel procedural or generic because of these processes. We also embraced realism in terms of materials and character appearance. I think the touchpoint being the amazing pre-rendered look from the Diablo III cinematics. We loved those and it felt like a strong foundation to build upon in regards to the characters and achieving that warm quality that came through in the cinematics but in a real-time game environment. We thought it was ambitious, but possible. This of course is a simplified summary of the thousands of conversations it took to achieve the results we have today, but what's meaningful is that during the journey nobody was arguing for our limitations. Nobody ever said we shouldn't, we couldn't, or we can't...everyone said yes, even when it meant starting over or throwing out work, everyone really pushed and brought their best to this work. I think this is one of the truly unique aspects of Blizzard...we all said 'Yes, and...' instead of 'No, because...' it's a wonderful aspect of working here.
That singular focus and commitment to quality led us down a very long, winding, and challenging path to where we are today. The challenges required us to completely rebuild our rendering engine and authoring tools. We needed to assemble a world-class character team comprised of artists, tools engineers, rigging specialists, lighting and surfacing experts. This was a complete overhaul.
We made massive improvements to the level of detail, the surfacing of complex materials like skin, cloth simulation, hair, fur, metal, even down to the details of the highlights of the eyes and rivulets of perspiration. We built a robust character customization system that is entirely new to Diablo and it was a daunting amount of technical character work. These solutions had to work not just for a single character, but for hundreds of componentized armor sets, different body types, dozens of unique personas, and completely unique art for five distinct classes (to start). This was an entirely new challenge for our team to tackle.
I can say now (with the hard work behind us and the comforting steady hum of our pipeline) that it was all worth it. We hope you agree (when you play it) that it really enhances the overall experience of the character's journey exploring the world of Sanctuary and makes the story, the gear, and the ways you see the characters of Sanctuary that much more enjoyable.
Most importantly, we hope you feel the love and care we've put into creating the gear and characters you will see in the game. Beyond just living out my most awesome Barbarian fantasy, we're honored to bring this work to you!
One of the benefits of the investments we've made in our character art development pipeline is that now most of our story cutscenes will be rendered in our engine using the game models. In previous Diablo games, the high fidelity cinematic story moments were all pre-rendered. We will still have those amazing cinematic moments from Blizzard Animation, but now we also have cinematic moments that feature your character up close, rendered in our game engine. We have been working closely with the legendary Blizzard Animation team to bring as much of their knowledge into our process as possible. The Rogue Announce trailer was a really fantastic collaboration where we were able to push the limits of our tech and tools.
The Diablo Immortal closed alpha has officially ended. Our team thoroughly enjoyed our time with the Closed Alpha, and look forward to seeing how the game is shaping up once the next phase of testing begins!
Battle.net Summer Sale
The Summer Sale for Battle.net brings some discounts to several Blizzard Titles, including the Diablo III Eternal Collection; however, we suggest not purchasing the Eternal Collection if you don't already have it. The reason is that the Prime Evil Collection is a better deal since it comes with Diablo II: Resurrected and the Mephisto Pet / Wings for Diablo III.
This year, make your summer legendary with the Battle.net Summer Sale. We took an ordinary sale, slapped on some demonic wings, giant shoulder pads, just rows and rows of chitinous spikes, and then we stuffed it like a treasure goblin’s sack with deep discounts and once-a-year savings on your favorite games on Battle.net.
If you’re on a quest for discounts on all things World of Warcraft or looking for deals on (but hopefully not with) Diablo, we’ve got you covered. If heroic savings on Overwatch sound great to you, then check this sale. Now through July 11, we’re airdropping Call of Duty discounts, we’re decimating prices on StarCraft, and much, much more.
Still not feeling the summertime spirit? Then check out the full list below.
Call of Duty
25% off Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War Ultimate Edition
25% off Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Campaign Remastered
40% off Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War
50% off Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
67% off Call of Duty: Black Ops 4
World of Warcraft
25% off Shadowlands
30% off certain Game Services (Race Change, Faction Change, etc.)
50% off Sprite Darter’s Wings, select mounts, pets, digital deluxe bundles, and toys
NEW: 6-Month Subscription Phoenix Bundle
NEW: Radiant Bundle
21% off Eternal Collection
15% off all editions of The Celebration Collection
On the Xbox Bethesda E3 press conference, it was announced that Diablo II: Resurrected will be releasing on 9/23! In addition to this, the Multiplayer Beta will start in August, and those who pre-order will get early access to the open beta.
The call to arms has been issued—who will stand ready at the gates of Hell to face the Lord of Terror? Diablo II: Resurrected™ is coming soon, a definitive remastering of Diablo II alongside its Lord of Destruction® expansion! On September 23, veteran and new players alike can save Sanctuary from the Burning Hells on Windows® PC, and for the first time on Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PlayStation®5, PlayStation®4, and Nintendo Switch™.
Experience the timeless classic, now with high-resolution visuals (with support for up to 4K resolution) and remastered 7.1 Dolby Surround audio bringing the world of Sanctuary to life in a whole new way. Prepare to witness the original game’s cinematics, 27-minutes of epic storytelling, faithfully recreated to capture the dark ambiance so fondly remembered.
While Diablo II: Resurrected takes full advantage of today’s modern gaming hardware, it preserves the engaging hack-and-slash gameplay that is as engrossing today as it was twenty years ago—but with a handful of quality-of-life changes, such as a larger stash for players to store more of their loot and automatic gold pickup for ease. Above all else, Diablo II: Resurrected remains true to the original, and with a touch of a button, players can transport themselves into the nostalgic past, playing the game in the original 800x600 experience.
Players who wish to get their hands on the game will soon have a chance to do so. The Diablo II: Resurrected multiplayer open beta will kick-off in August and will feature five of the final game’s seven highly customizable character classes for players to choose from—the Amazon, Barbarian, Paladin, and Sorceress from the core game, as well as the Druid from the included Lord of Destruction expansion. The Necromancer and Assassin will be available when the game officially launches on September 23. Players who preorder the game will also gain early access to the open beta test taking place in August on supporting platforms.
Since our announcement, the community’s enthusiasm and support has been staggering. We can’t wait to begin this adventure and share more details with you on our upcoming beta test. So, rally your friends and stay tuned! Learn more from our website here, or for real-time updates, follow the Dark Lord on Twitter @Diablo!
The testing period for patch 2.7.1 in Diablo III will be starting on June 17th! The Season 24 theme will add new Ethereal weapons that will drop with a random class legendary weapon power and random class passive!
Our two-week PTR testing period for the 2.7.1 update begins June 17 and we're asking for your help to quell the tides of surging demons. Take a look at the preliminary patch notes below and start theorycrafting how you'll make the most of the Ethereals and new balance changes; Patch 2.7.1 will be arriving soon.
Please note that this is a preview for PTR content, which is subject to change.
PTR Focus & Details
We’ll be conducting the Patch 2.7.1 PTR over the course of two weeks, starting Thursday, June 17. During this time there may be periodic maintenances, outages, hotfixes, or minor patches.
There will be three PTR-unique buffs active to help you on your journey: increased Legendary drop rate, increased experience gains, and double Blood Shard drops. You can also buy new gear for testing from the special PTR vendor, Djank Mi'em, who will exchange Blood Shards for class-specific bags full of Legendary items and Ethereals that we'd love for you to test!
Class and Balance Changes: To ensure that the most significant class changes receive an ample amount of attention, we'd love for you to focus testing and feedback on the set changes to the Monk's Inna's Mantra set, Crusader's Aegis of Valor set and the Necromancer's Masquerade of the Burning Carnival set.
New Season Theme Testing: We're looking to gather feedback on the seasonal theme content featuring Ethereals.
As with our previous PTRs, this testing period is short, so it's best to hit the ground running. Whether you’re a PTR veteran or newcomer, we thought we’d pass along a few tips to get you started.
Because of the limited duration of this PTR, we ask that participants pick a particular portion of this update to focus on testing.
For example, if you’re primarily a Wizard player, consider what changes impact the Wizard specifically. What you like best, what you think may still need adjustment, and what you’d want to see in the future (even if that may be beyond the scope of this patch) are all good questions to ask yourself.
Prior to the start of PTR, consider stocking up on items like Puzzle Rings and Bovine Bardiches. Having these available after you import your character can make any necessary PTR farming much faster!
Try to break things! Just tell us when you do so we can make sure that the patch launch is as smooth as possible.
When providing feedback, focus less on a solution and more on your experience. How did the changes make you feel? Was there something “off” that you noticed? Did something seem wrong or insufficient? Suggestions are always welcome but identifying the issues themselves is most important.
Below you will find the patch notes for the upcoming update for Diablo III, Patch 2.7.1.
Note: All changes apply to all versions of Diablo III, including PS4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC unless otherwise indicated.
Developer's Note: Diablo II left us with fond memories when it released more than 20 years ago, and with Diablo® II: ResurrectedTM coming soon, we’d like to introduce a feature to honor that legacy. For this seasonal theme, our inspiration took shape by reimagining how Ethereal items could manifest in Diablo III. In Season 24, Ethereals are rare, powerful, and fleeting items, with 21 iconic weapons from Diablo II making a return.
New Season Theme: Season 24 introduces Ethereals, a new weapon-type that players will be able to acquire and hunt for in their upcoming seasonal journey. Ethereals will roll a powerful set of affixes, a random Class Weapon Legendary Power and a random Class Passive Power. Ethereals will have unique icons, names, item types, and sounds originally found in Diablo II. For additional details on Ethereals, check out the list below:
Ethereals are account bound and can only be dropped by monsters, chests, and destructibles, but do not require your character to be level 70 to drop. Ethereals cannot be acquired through Kanai's Cube or from Kadala.
Ethereal rarity drop rate is set between Ancient and Primal items.
There are 3 unique Ethereals per class. Each Ethereal has fixed affixes and rolls one random Legendary Weapon power and one random Class Passive Skill.
Only one Ethereal can be equipped at a time.
Ethereals ignore item durability loss.
Legendary Powers and Class Passive Skills rolled on Ethereals do not stack with the same power equipped through Kanai's Cube, Items or Skills.
Ethereals cannot be Enchanted, Transmogrified, Dyed, Reforged, or traded.
Ethereals can be augmented.
Collecting all 21 Ethereals during Season 24 will reward players with the Feat of Strength, Ethereal Recollection. Players who accomplish this will have all Ethereal transmogrify options available for future seasonal and non-seasonal play.
Ethereals only drop in Seasonal play, and will not transfer to your non-seasonal character when the season ends.
Season Rewards: Two unique new rewards, a portrait frame, and a pet will be granted to players who complete the Season 24 Guardian Journey. Please note that the reward content will not be available during PTR 2.7.1.
Monk | Skill Change:
Mystic Ally - Fire Ally: Now splits into 2 splits instead of 5, but now all Fire Allies can split. Damage radius slightly increased and damage increased from 480% to 1920% weapon damage.
Mystic Ally - Earth Ally: Damage increased from 380% to 4500% weapon damage.
Wizard | Skill Change:
Mirror Image: Mirror Image icon now displays a counter to display how many Mirror Images are active.
Inna's Mantra 4-Piece Set: Gain the base effect of all four Mantras at all times. You gain 5% damage reduction for each Mystic Ally you have out. Your Mystic Allies no longer take damage.
Inna's Mantra 6-Piece Set: Gain the passive abilities of the five runed Mystic Allies at all times. Attacking enemies creates your chosen Mystic Ally that lasts 15 seconds, up to 10 Mystic Allies. The damage of your Mystic Allies is increased by 950% for each Mystic Ally you have out.
The Crudest Boots: Mystic Ally summons two Mystic Allies that fight by your side. They deal 300% to 400% increased damage and are able to attack with their active forms longer.
Bindings of the Lesser Gods: Enemies hit by your Cyclone Strike take 300% to 400% increased damage from your Mystic Ally for 5 seconds. Split Fire Allies gain 5 times this bonus.
Developer's Note: Inna's Mantra played similarly to other Monk sets and didn't have a strong identity. We want to see the Mystic Ally play a more important role, rather than simply providing a passive power boost.
Aegis of Valor 2-Piece Set: Attacking with Fists of the Heavens empowers you, allowing Heaven's Fury to deal 125% increased damage for 5 seconds. Stacks up to 3 times.
Masquerade of the Burning Carnival 6-Piece Set: Bone Spear cast by you and your Simulacrums deals 6000% increased damage.
Developer's Note: Aegis of Valor and Masquerade of the Burning Carnival have been overperforming for several seasons. We're adjusting these sets in the interest of competitive variety.
Step 2: Navigate to the Diablo III tab on the left-hand menu.
Step 3: On the Diablo III screen, there is a drop-down menu right above the "Play" button (note that this may say "Install" if you do not have Diablo III currently installed). Select "PTR: Diablo III" from this drop-down menu before proceeding.
Step 4: Click Install to begin the installation process.
Your PTR account will be created automatically if you do not already have one. The PTR is available in all supported languages, and accounts from all regions are eligible to participate. For additional assistance with installing and launching the PTR, click here.
PTR Character Copy
The option to copy your existing Diablo III characters from your live account to the PTR will be available and can be done directly through the PTR client. However, only one region per account can be copied at a time. So, if you choose to copy characters from your account in a different region, any previously copied PTR characters will be lost.
Step 1: Log into the live game and then log out.
Step 2: Log into PTR client and create a level 1 character. After you're done, return to the main character screen.
Step 3: Click on the "PTR Copy" button located in the upper right-hand corner. (The PTR Copy button will not appear in-game until you have created a new level 1 character.)
Step 4: Select your region.
Step 5: Click "Copy." This will copy all characters on your account from the selected region.
Step 6: You will be disconnected from the PTR client.
Step 7: Log back in. Your copied characters will be available for play.
Please note that you can only copy characters from one gameplay region at a time. If you choose to copy characters from a different region, any previously copied PTR characters will be lost. In addition, you can only copy characters over to your PTR account once every 24 hours. Attempting to copy characters before this cooldown is up will result in an error.
As this is a test server, please anticipate uneven game performance, and note that restarts and downtime may occur without warning. Thank you, and we look forward to your feedback!