What you need to know
- Diablo 4 is currently having a closed early access beta, ahead of its wider open beta.
- The beta is already plagued with errors and network problems, as servers struggle to meet demand.
- Blizzard reminds users that testers will experience pre-release bugs naturally, and that its working on a fix for the game's authentication servers.
In what will undoubtedly be one of the most popular beta tests of the year, Diablo IV is already gearing up for unprecedented demand.
Those who have preordered are eligible to join this weekend's early access Diablo 4 beta. The action RPG is the latest entry in the series that remains one of the industry's most influential, spawning an entire genre of games that remain popular to this day. It's also a response to accusations that Diablo 3 was too "cartoony" and colorful, tripling down on gothic horror designs and more hardcore gameplay.
Speaking of Diablo 3, veterans will recall the game's launch day, which was plagued with a notorious "Error 37," as the servers struggled to meet demand. Combined with the pay-to-win mobile version Diablo Immortal, many core fans are skeptical that the game will have a stable, controversy-free launch. This is why it's a good thing that Blizzard is stress-testing the servers now rather than on launch day.
A quick glance on Twitter and in my own experience, the game is already struggling with various types of errors. Some simply can't get past the game's long queue times. Others are finding their characters spontaneously deleted. Some get stuck at the character creation screen. And others are just getting random disconnects.
Error code 316719 @Diablo @BlizzardCS pic.twitter.com/hisNMc5ihqMarch 17, 2023
Blizzard acknowledged the issues, reminding people that this is exactly what beta tests are for. Blizzard also said that it's investigating an issue with its authentication servers, which could be impacting queue times and creating instability.
"As you play the Diablo IV Beta, keep in mind the experience is not finalized and you may encounter bugs and outages along the way. After the beta test concludes, we’ll evaluate all feedback we’ve received and will make changes as needed."
Diablo 4 promises to take the franchise to the next level, with a more fully fleshed-out endgame and ongoing seasonal content to take on the likes of Path of Exile and other Diablo-likes that have gained popularity on mobile and other platforms.
Game director Rod Fergusson recently stated that there are no plans to bring Diablo 4 to Xbox Game Pass at this time, but should Microsoft complete its acquisition of Activision-Blizzard by the summer as planned, it stands to reason that Diablo 4 could end up in the service. Few other games seem like such a strong candidate to promote Xbox Cloud Gaming, owing to Diablo's fixed camera perspective and potentially touch-friendly gameplay.
Finally struggling through the errors, I've found myself utterly ensorcelled by the game's art direction and visual quality. If you're experiencing errors, I urge you to simply keep trying to get in. Eventually, it should let you join the queues correctly, and then you'll be able to enter the world, create a character, and experience the game's first act. Based on what little I've seen so far, if Blizzard can ensure a smooth launch come June, I fully expect Diablo 4 to rank high on this year's best PC games and best Xbox games lists.
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Jez Corden a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!