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Diablo 4: How the 'always-online' system will work

Diablo Iv Barbarian Artwork
Diablo Iv Barbarian Artwork (Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment)

While there's still a lot left to learn about the world of Blizzard Entertainment's hack-and-slash RPG Diablo 4, one of the more controversial elements is the confirmation that Diablo 4 uses an always-online world. The five regions that make up the game are always going to require an internet connection however, that doesn't mean you have to play with others. Here's what we know so far.

Diablo 4 is always online

When PC Gamer asked lead designer Joe Shely if it was possible to play Diablo 4 offline, he responded "There's a large, seamless, connected, and shared space in the world, going down into dungeons, being able to group with your friends, trading and PvP. We feel that the best way to experience that is in a world that is online."

PvP seems to be opt-in, based on some comments from Blizzard so far. When it comes to PvE, we do know there are world bosses that require multiple players to defeat. Aside from these world bosses however, you can set the dungeons to private and you don't need to worry about other players wandering in your campaign mission areas. As such, Diablo 4 isn't quite an MMO.

If you do choose to play the campaign with others, progress will be synced to the party host. This means you'll be able to assist your friends in their campaign before going back to your own, or you can just play all the way through together. This could all add up to being one of the best Xbox RPGs available, if everything works.

Many Diablo players undoubtedly remember the disastrous launch of Diablo 3 and the infamous Error 37 screen. Hopefully Blizzard can avoid a repeat of that situation when Diablo 4 arrives.

Diablo 4 won't release anytime soon

Source: Blizzard Entertainment (Image credit: Source: Blizzard Entertainment)

Diablo 4 does not have a release window, much less a release date, although Activision Blizzard has confirmed it won't be released in 2021. As new updates are released, we'll continue to cover them. Whenever Diablo 4 does eventually release, it'll be available on Xbox One, PC, and PlayStation 4. No mention has been made yet of any next-generation console support but I'd be shocked if there weren't enhancements for Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S and PS5.

For information on the known classes in Diablo 4, you can check out the Druid Skill tree, Sorceress skill tree and Barbarian skill tree. We'll be sure to provide updates if anything changes, as well as make skill tree guides for the two remaining classes when they are revealed.

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Samuel Tolbert is a freelance writer covering gaming news, previews, reviews, interviews and different aspects of the gaming industry, specifically focusing on Xbox and PC gaming on Windows Central. You can find him on Twitter @SamuelTolbert.

7 Comments
  • As long as we get cross platform so I can play on Xbox with my k&m.
  • You should be able to play even if Live goes down or Internet goes down.
    Though not with others obviously.
  • People: we want to be able to play solo offline
    Blizzard: people want to play with others, so you can't play solo offline, but it's no problem because you can play solo online.
    Repeat until people get bored about complaining and not being listened to.
  • they have game metrics showing 100% of people playing are online. So they must all love playing online.
    Of course all the people offline they can't detect...
  • Unable to connect to the server. Please check your network connection and try again.
  • only three characters....great. That means we can pay again for the same content but through another character.
    Didn't D3 start as online only? Then it supported offline - what lesson was learned here?
    Are rares going to be the new legendary again?
    PVP is going to be promised after launch then slowly cycled out.
    Is ACT 2 going to be desert themed again?
    Day 1 is going to be congested so nobody can log in. Can't wait to see that, "Oh we didn't expect that volume" crap yet again.
    The mobile game still hasn't released - so they are currently recycling content into this game since the audience dismissed its support during its unveil.
  • If they're going to make me team up with other players in order to play the game then I ain't playing it. Most gamers tend to not enjoy being forced to play multiplayer. They can produce this kinda crap, but that don't mean I have to play it😁