Diablo 4 Early Beta Impressions

What have we learned from the recent beta? Is Diablo 4 'Worth it'?

Diablo 4 Early Beta Impressions
The queue was an instant hit for Diablo 4 beta participants

The General Bits

Recently, those who pre-purchased Diablo 4 had the opportunity to participate in the early beta, which ran from Friday March 17th through Monday March 20th. Included in this beta were three of the five available launch classes, Rogue, Sorcerer, and Barbarian. Next weekend’s beta adds in the ability to play as Necromancer and Druid, which will round out the game’s starting lineup.

Kicking things off, the game has two levels of tutorial preference to choose from, one a very noob friendly option, and a second that promises only to tell you about features new to Diablo 4. The second promises to be helpful for those who are experienced in ARPGs, or rolling new characters.

Next up, you are given a selection between the two world tier difficulties available in the beta, with five planned to start in the full release. These operate similar to Diablo 3, with taking on the higher world tiers granting additional rewards and experience.

World Tier 1 & 2 in beta

The World

The map, as one would hope for with the game’s new open world direction, feels appropriately expansive. In the beta there is one zone available, and despite it only making up a small fraction of the whole map, it was enough to keep testers busy throughout the weekend.

As a plus for the introverts in the crowd, the game feels very solo friendly. Open world events are drop-in and have a similar feel to events in Guild Wars 2, if perhaps lacking the same level of depth and complexity.

After a bit of a delay, Blizzard threw the first world boss at testers. The encounter was specifically designed to provide a challenge for both ranged and melee builds, with a set of legendaries dropping for those who completed the challenge in the allotted time. I was unfortunately was not part of any successful instances, with my only dubious reward being a set of fully broken gear. It likely didn’t help that in each of my two attempts, there were a plethora of people severely underleveled for the event.

Spawn Location of beta world boss


Levels are capped at 25 during the beta weekends, with full release featuring a cap of 100, and the Paragon Board unlocking at level 50. For those not familiar with the Paragon levels in D3, they are essentially a form of end game meta-progression which carries over across all of your characters.

A new addition to progression in the series comes in the form of permanent stat boosts you can acquire by tagging Altars of Lilith scattered around the map. These serve to encourage and reward exploration, and like Paragon points, apply permanently across all of your characters.

Overall gear progression feels good straight out of the gate. Around level 10, I started getting legendary drops, adding a bit of orange-flavored thrill to the experience. Gems and items with gem slots began to drop around level 16.

First Legendary at level 10

Skill trees offer a basic level of customization, but lack the expansiveness of other games like Path of Exile. This will be welcome news for those who find PoE’s skill paths to be roughly akin to being trapped in a Cthulian nightmare. On the flip side, for those who find it limiting, there are multiple methods of making alterations to your class’s gameplay:

  • Specializations that are unlocked by class quests
  • Unlocking nodes on the Paragon Board
  • Aspects, which can be extracted from legendary items, or collected from dungeons
Aspect Extraction


You will find a large number of dungeons scattered across the world. While they can be goals of quests or run at your leisure for loot and exploration, each dungeon also contains an Aspect, which allows you to unlock a specific class ability. Thankfully, these Aspects are listed visibly on the overworld map.

One critique I’ve seen floating around is that dungeons feel a little 'samey'. Given the quantity of them, this is almost certain to be a valid criticism, much as you see in Elden Ring.

A dungeon, much like the others


From what’s available in beta, the game’s colors are substantially muted in comparison to D3 (which a lot of people will like).  Essentially there are 5 colors in the playable portion of the game:

  • Snow
  • Dirt
  • Rock
  • Blood
  • Poison

Color pallet aside, the graphics feel significantly more modern and detailed. That said, they felt a little ‘muddy’ at first to my eyes, almost like there was a small blur effect over the screen.

With a little experimentation, I was able to clean this up and get a little more color and detail. To start with, I enabled HDR. This can be hit or miss based on any given game’s implementation, bit it worked well for D4, providing more color depth without taking a dump on the overall brightness and saturation. Moving Resolution Percentage (though it doesn’t call it out specifically, this is clearly supersampling) up to 125% increased base detail, with the final addition of moving the Sharpen Image slider from 6 to 9 providing very clean color and detail, without over-sharpening.

Updated graphic options


Control-wise, mouse and keyboard feels tight and precise, with the evade function giving a much needed piece of mobility to all classes right out of the gate. This is a change from D3 where you might find yourself starting out with no mobility skills, presenting you with some tough situations before you can acquire one.

While I used mouse and keyboard exclusively, I did speak to multiple people who used controllers throughout the beta, all of whom stated it felt completely natural, and they experienced no issues.


Is Diablo 4 worth it? Will the endgame avoid the same pitfalls as D3 on launch? Can Blizzard be trusted to keep the battle pass cosmetic only?

These are answers only time can reveal. Or perhaps tarot cards.

Right now, the best you can do if you won’t be playing the beta yourself is to check out some content on Twitch and YouTube and see whether the overall package resonates with you.