On Thursday, Blizzard announced plans to launch Diablo Immortal’s “technical alpha” test in certain areas of the world — namely Australia, at first. This announcement comes two years after Blizzard debuted Immortal, the Diablo game for phones, at BlizzCon 2018. With its imminent release, Blizzard published a series of blog posts about the game and how it works.
Based on the blogs and a preview event with Blizzard on Monday, Diablo Immortal looks to be a mix between Diablo 3 and a free-to-play massive multiplayer online game. It’s still all about killing monsters, upgrading skills, and equipping the best loot you can.
During the alpha test, players will have access to the Monk, Wizard, Barbarian, and Demon Hunter classes, with the Necromancer and Crusader coming at the game’s full release. Each of these classes have familiar abilities — rebuilt for phones — as well as some new ones. Blizzard said it also has potential plans for more classes at a later date.
In terms of gameplay, Diablo Immortal uses touch controls on your phone, with a joystick on the left and buttons to cast abilities and attack on the right. Players hack and slash through large hordes of monsters, completing quests to propel the story forward or entering Rifts.
Rifts are random dungeon romps where players need to kill enemies to fill a progress bar and then fight a final boss; they’re seemingly identical to the Nephalem Rifts in Diablo 3. Immortal will also have Challenge Rifts, which are more difficult, but will offer bonus rewards on a first completion, as well as weekly leaderboard placements.
Unlike Diablo 3, Diablo Immortal has more of an MMO-feel to it. Players can group up in parties to do Rifts, dungeons, and quests, but there are also random players running around the world. Players can bump into other players who are fighting monsters or battling a massive world boss.
The alpha test restricts access to the first 45 levels of Diablo Immortal — Blizzard told us in a Q&A that they’re still determining the game’s final maximum level, but at max level, players will start earning Paragon ranks. Instead of points that players can place into stats, Paragon in Immortal lets players spec into unique ability trees.
Diablo Immortal will be free to play. Blizzard says that all gear can be earned by playing the game, but that Diablo Immortal will also offer in-app purchases.
Players will have the option to buy items like Crests to modify Rifts with positive and negative effects. Those Crests will increase rewards in Rifts and potentially guarantee certain types of items to drop, like Legendary Gems. Players can also earn Crests in-game, although Blizzard hasn’t specified how.
Blizzard will also sell what it calls Reforging Stones, which players can use to refine pieces of their gear in specific ways — whereas free players would rely more on luck to get a perfectly rolled item. Diablo Immortal will also include a Battle Pass system, which will have both a free and paid track.
Content like quests, gear, classes, and stories will all be free, Blizzard says.
Diablo Immortal’s technical alpha should start rolling out soon in Australia, with priority going to Android players who pre-registered months ago. This first alpha test will be limited, and will only last a few weeks. Blizzard still hasn’t announced a final release date for Diablo Immortal.