Why PvP Could Ruin Diablo 4 for Some Players

Gonna need some balance here

Key Takeaways

  • Diablo 4’s always-online world will feature various PvP zones for players to explore.
  • Without proper balancing, players will be able to farm PvE content, then overpower others in PvP areas.
  • An unbalanced PvP could lead to players becoming frustrated or avoiding the content altogether.
Diablo IV Rogue concept art
Activision Blizzard

Diablo 4 will feature PvP zones, but most players will probably avoid them.

Blizzard recently revealed a ton of new details about its upcoming action RPG, Diablo 4, including the fact that it will feature zones designed with player-vs.-player (PvP) content in mind. While the idea might sound appealing at first, a closer look at what we currently know about it could lead to more frustration from players.

"Diablo 3 missed the mark for a lot of players since Diablo 2 PvP was such a core aspect. Unfortunately, PvP in Diablo 2 led to some negative experiences for some since there was a lot of griefing involved," Bill Elafros, co-founder of the BEAT Invitational, told Lifewire via email. "I believe Diablo 4 is looking to be a middle ground between the two with some contained PvP rather than anywhere and everywhere."

Always Online, Always Connected

This isn’t the first time the Diablo series has heavily featured multiplayer—2000’s Diablo 2 also had it—but it’s more notable this time as the game will feature always-online components and will be locked to specific areas instead of special-made matches.

“I believe Diablo 4 is looking to be a middle ground between the two with some contained PvP rather than anywhere and everywhere.”

Unlike past Diablo games, which had single-player instances you could open to others, the entirety of Diablo 4’s world and story will be within a shared world. You’ll be able to see other players roaming around and completing quests, similar to how you might see them in massive multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) like World of Warcraft. It also means you’ll be able to run into PvP zones at any point without having to enter specific game modes.

Borrowing From Others

In Diablo 4, players will be able to enter Fields of Hatred, areas where any player can attack another. Go into these areas under-leveled or underprepared, and you’re sure to pay. It’s a system that’s very similar to the Dark Zones found in Ubisoft’s The Division and The Division 2, and it even seems to borrow some of the less desirable traits of the system, too—like collecting Shards of Hatred you can cleanse in a ritual that marks you for every other player in the zone.

Diablo IV character inventory screen
Activision Blizzard

While The Division has seen some controversy over the game forcing players into the Dark Zone to progress, Diablo 4’s PvP won’t be tied to progression at all. Instead, the Shards of Hatred that you cleanse will only be used to unlock cosmetic items. This is a step in the right direction, especially for those who still want to enjoy all the player-vs.-environment (PvE) aspects of the game.

But despite not following fully in The Division’s footsteps, there are still some concerns with Diablo 4’s PvP mode, most notably the balancing of gear between PvE and PvP encounters.

Finding the Balance

Since PvP won’t be tied to any specific progression or special gear for players to unlock, PvE armor and weapons will be used to fuel the various player-against-player encounters that occur in the Fields of Hatred. This leaves a lot of room for balancing issues, something that Blizzard doesn’t seem to care about changing.

Joseph Piepiora, lead systems designer on Diablo 4, told Windows Central that the team wants to get rid of the idea that PvP should be fair, instead focusing on the idea of "high risk equals high reward." At any point during your traversal of the Fields of Hatred, you could find yourself up against a team that is much stronger and better geared than you, essentially forcing you into a fight you don’t stand a chance of winning.

This could be frustrating for players, especially if any of them accidentally walk into the PvP areas. If you have no experience with PvP in games like Diablo 4, then it’s unlikely you’ll be happy with getting absolutely destroyed by far more powerful players. Yes, you could argue it’s a risk players are taking, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to like it, and it could lead to some players abandoning it altogether unless the developers address it.

"The biggest challenge I see is how they will balance PvP skills and PvE," Elafros said. "Perhaps it'll be similar to WoW with different gear sets."

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