"I've loved watching the Game Pass players coming in and experiencing the story for the first time." Diablo 4 lead chats Xbox Game Pass launch and high hopes for Season 4

Inarius holding flaming Xbox icon
(Image credit: Blizzard/Xbox/Jennifer Young - Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Rod Fergusson joined Xbox On live on Twitch today to discuss Diablo 4's upcoming Season 4 and improvements.
  • Fergusson has enjoyed the reception of the game as it's arrived on Xbox Game Pass, and watching players experience it for the first time. 
  • Fergusson is positive about the changes with Season 4, but while feedback from the PTR has been valuable, he mused at the learnings from Seasons 1 to 3. 

It's a busy time in the worlds of both Diablo 4 and Xbox. Blizzard's huge aRPG landed on Xbox Game Pass on March 28, reportedly making Xbox the biggest platform for Diablo 4. Season 4 has also been delayed until May 14 pending monumental changes coming to the game, effectively making it Diablo 4 version 2.0.

Rod Fergusson (General Manager of Diablo) and John Mueller (Art Director) appeared on the Xbox On show in a live Twitch stream to chat about all of this. It was a short, laidback stream where Fergusson Mueller played some Diablo 4 with the hosts but provided a bit of insight into Fergusson's hopes for Season 4 and his thoughts on the Xbox Game Pass launch. 

Diablo 4 has a raft of new players on Xbox Game Pass

(Image credit: Xbox On)

Diablo 4 is the first of the Activision Blizzard titles added to the Xbox Game Pass library, meaning that from March 28, many subscribers could experience the game for the first time. "I've always loved the shared library idea [of Game Pass]," Rob says as the group discusses the launch.

At Windows Central, we already know that the Xbox Game Pass launch has been a remarkable success for the game, as Sarah Bond divulged in an email to colleagues which was exclusively reported by Jez Corden. "we launched Diablo IV into Game Pass, and Xbox has quickly become the #1 platform for D4 players." In today's stream, Rod touched on this from a more personal angle, sharing that "I've loved watching the Game Pass players coming in and experiencing the story for the first time." and how the upcoming changes in May will make the game even more approachable for new players. 

Season 4 couldn't exist without without the teachings of previous seasons, and the PTR

The new tempering system adds a new level of crafting for your gear in Diablo 4 (Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment)

"It's been great to have a PTR". Diablo 4 has just finished its first-ever Public Test Realm ahead of the game changing forever in Season 4. Fergusson seemed overwhelmingly positive about the changes to come and the journey the game has been on to get there. "With each season, we've been learning a lot about how people want to play." Fergusson said, discussing how players want rewards, and refining the gameplay loop of slaying monsters, looting, and empowering your character. "Season 4 couldn't exist without Seasons 1, 2, and 3," Fergusson continues, but "Season 4 represents a foundational change about how loot works."

"It allows you to invest in your equipment, in the way you invest in your characters".
Rod Fergusson is referring to the huge patch coming to Diablo 4 Season 4 that will dramatically change how the loot and itemization system works in the game. The patch will add new crafting and customization systems like Tempering and Masterworking, as well as brand new end-game activities like The Pit to earn the materials you need for these new mechanics. "It's less about what you can find but more about what you can make."

Making Diablo 4 better for old and new players

You'll be able to summon a Bloodmaiden in the new Helltide (Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment)

When asked about his favorite change coming with Season 4, Fergusson answered that while the itemization changes such as simplifying the stats on loot will make the game better for new comers, he's personally looking forward to the new Helltide activities and watching new and old players enjoy this, "the real fun is in the power fantasy and the Helltide is a great realization of this fantasy". Helltides were previously an activity only available to players in World Tiers 3 and 4 and an essential part of the leveling journey from character level 50 to maximum level 100. With Season 4, the Helltide will be accessible with its higher density and difficult enemies from World Tier 1 and 2, adding much more variety to the leveling process in both Seasonal and Eternal realms.

For returning players, it will also feel considerably different to previous Helltides, with a new 'Threat tiers' mechanic which ends in the player being 'Hell-marked' and ambushed with a high density of enemies. This and the new summonable Blood Maiden boss has made the Hell Tides significantly better. 

Looking forward to starting anew

Finishing off the stream, the question was posed to both Fergusson and Mueller on their class choice for Diablo 4. Fergusson is well known in the community as a Necromancer main, going as far as to have a Necromancer tattoo in the crazy Diablo 4 Hell's Ink marketing campaign prior to the launch, so his answer of Necromancer wasn't a surprise to most. Mueller, however, chose a Rogue, explaining how he thought that most people will be playing their mains in Season 4 owing to how the changes will open up builds that weren't previously viable.

I'm going to do exactly as predicted and play my main too, the Rogue, what will you choose for the Diablo 4 rebirth? 

Jennifer Young

Jen is a News Writer for Windows Central, focused on all things gaming and Microsoft. Anything slaying monsters with magical weapons will get a thumbs up such as Dark Souls, Dragon Age, Diablo, and Monster Hunter. When not playing games, she'll be watching a horror or trash reality TV show, she hasn't decided which of those categories the Kardashians fit into. You can follow Jen on Twitter @Jenbox360 for more Diablo fangirling and general moaning about British weather.