BlizzCon will be IRL once again this year at the Anaheim Convention Center, and there will undoubtedly be one or two major reveals concerning Diablo 4. In an interview last month with Dexerto, Rod Fergusson, General Manager for the Diablo franchise, confirmed that the game will be receiving annual expansions. Considering that Diablo 4 will reach its one-year mark prior to BlizzCon 2024, the Devs are bound to be announcing some of the initial details about the first paid expansion at this year’s event.
Leaks and rumors about the expansion have already appeared online as a result of Blizzard uploading a Technical Alpha build of Version 2.0 to its private testing branch. Datamining from that version has reportedly revealed that the first expansion will be called Vessel of Hatred. Some folks with industry experience have responded by saying that a leak such as this is a standard tactic designed to entice fans by giving them a sense that additional content is actively being developed. Therefore, data like this should always be taken with a pinch of salt. Nevertheless, we’d like to dive a little deeper into what has been uncovered thus far from the mining.
Lord of hatred
Following the Sin War, which culminated in Lilith being banished to the Void and Inarius being imprisoned in the Burning Hells, Diablo and his brothers Baal and Mephisto hatched a plan to regain control of Sanctuary. That plan resulted in them being expelled from the Burning Hells to the realm of Sanctuary in a saga known as the Dark Exile.
Tyrael, in response to this, formed a group of powerful mages called the Horadrim, who succeeded in capturing Diablo and his brothers within soul stones. Mephisto’s soul stone was ensconced beneath a Zakarum church, which was located near Kurast in the town of Travincal. Over time, Mephisto, from within his corrupted soul stone, succeeded in corrupting the senior members of the Zakarum faith. The only holdout was Khalim, the leader of the High Council, who was famously dispatched by the other members. His successor, Sankekur, ultimately served as the mortal host for Mephisto.
Of course, Mephisto was defeated by our Hero in Diablo 2, and, by Act 4 of Diablo 3, we discovered that his soul had been captured by Adria in the Black Soul Stone. The destruction of Malthael at the end of Act 5 in Diablo 3 resulted in the Black Soul Stone being obliterated, thus releasing the souls of all seven Greater Evils, including that of Mephisto.
Having the first expansion focus more on Mephisto isn’t much of a surprise given the degree to which his spirit or essence was present throughout the main campaign in Diablo 4, including its final cinematic. Taking the form of an undead wolf familiar, Mephisto guides the Wanderer along a journey, which ends in Lilith’s defeat. We discovered that Mephisto’s willingness to assist the Wanderer in this way was based on his desire to thwart Lilith’s lifelong plan to assume control over Sanctuary. He assured us that Lilith was the greater threat to humanity, despite her claims of wanting to free her children from the influences of the Burning Hells and the High Heavens.
However, nothing is ever that simple when dealing with any of the Greater Evils. Had Mephisto intended to pick up where Lilith left off by further corrupting her followers in Sanctuary in service of his own agenda? Unfortunately, by the end of the main campaign in Diablo 4, we were still unable to learn the true motivation for Mephisto’s involvement. Before we could choose to trust either Mephisto or Lilith, our companion, Neyrelle, along with Lorath, had traveled to the Throne of Hatred, where the essence of Mephisto’s emerging physical form was again captured within a soul stone.
Neyrelle, with the soul stone in hand, then left Lorath and the Wanderer behind and traveled across the frozen north to the deserts of Khejistan, where she boarded a boat and set off across the Twin Seas, presumably to the western continent. Although her exact purpose was unknown to us, her personal mission was to discover a means of dealing with the coming terror to be brought by the Prime Evils. One thing we do know for certain, however, is that every mortal who has been in possession of a soul stone has been eventually corrupted by it. Neyrelle’s ultimate fate in the West remains a mystery, perhaps to be revealed in the next chapter of this ongoing saga.
The datamined files from the Technical Alpha contain numerous references to Kurast. Considering Mephisto’s prior association with Zakarum church, it’s pretty safe to say that Kurast will be the principal location of a new region, along with a new Act, that will be added to the game at some point. Is it possible that there are still remnants of Mephisto’s corruption in Kurast, which the Wanderer may have to confront and eliminate?
Kurast is located immediately southeast of Gea Kul (Khejistan), so it would naturally be a part of the region that is already present, but undefined, at the bottom of the current Diablo 4 world map. The presence of this undefined region suggests that this addition to the game had already been engineered when the game launched in June of this year.
The file names also include tags for the entrance to the Kurast sewers (part of which was already explored in Diablo 2), as well as including several physical features within the sewers. The town will offer the full assortment of service NPCs found in all of the other major hubs currently in the game.
This is believed to be the newest region to be added to the game with the next expansion. The region is located to the south of Khejistan, it is similar in size to the other five zones, its focal point is Kurast (located in the north-central area of the region), and it contains an abundance of untamed wilderness and ancient secrets.
The geography of the land is quite varied, from the thick flora and fauna of the Torajan Jungles (think Flayer Jungle in Diablo 2) to the barren expanse of the Teganze Plateau. It is also home to the Field of Giants as well as the dark, dank depths of the Kurast Sewers.
The region will be populated with multiple zones, as usual, which will offer several new side quests. Players will be taken on a journey through Nahantu’s many dungeons, including the Forge of Malice, Sleepless Hollow, Forgotten Remains, and Ruined Wild.
The campaign is expected to eventually lead players through the Durance of Hate (Mephisto’s stronghold under Travincal), to the Gates of the Necropolis, then into the ethereal Spirit Realm, and finally to the Five Hills and the tomb of Akarat (founder of the Zakarum faith).
The main quest may also feature a type of fortuneteller, known as the Diviners, that will reintroduce rune stones into the game.
“The Torajan Jungles, also referred to as Toraja, are located in the southern part of Sanctuary (southwest of Kurast). Toraja’s vast jungles span across the southern part of Sanctuary, all the way up to Kehjistan’s borders.
This exotic land is filled with vibrant and dangerous flora and fauna that are unique to this region of Sanctuary. Many civilizations that called the jungles their home were lost to time. Today, the region is home to the Umbaru tribes (Witch Doctors), Opaya, and Tusked Lords (a clan of Druids). Creatures from the Burning Hells were also sighted in the Torajan Jungles after the destruction of the Worldstone.
Interestingly, the Tusked Lords were first mentioned through the flavor text of a Druid shop cosmetic in Diablo 4:
Deep in the jungles of Torajan lie the domains of the Tusked Lords. Known for their great strength, these Druids array themselves in the tusks of their animal ancestors.”
“Teganze is a region of the Torajan Jungles and is split into an upper and lower region. It was a battlefield during the Mage Clan Wars, where the Umbaru of the upper region became Khazra (goat men) in order to drive the Vizjerei mage clan out of Teganze. It worked, but receiving the gift of becoming a Khazra made them serve the demon Zagraal forever. The Witch Doctors of lower Teganze defeated Zagraal and the Khazra. Today, only lower Teganze is still inhabited by the Umbaru tribe.”
Regional boss battles (raids)
The next expansion is expected to introduce a new endgame mechanic called Raids. These are instanced events that are common in MMO-style games where players can join lobbies to link up with party members and/or other players present in the open world. This new feature will address the desire already expressed by many players for a more convenient and effective mechanism to group up with other players.
The Khazra Raid will likely involve five levels that increase in difficulty, each of which would need to be completed prior to progressing to the next. An analogous scenario would be if the current five endgame boss battles were strung together in one combined event. In this example, when a player succeeds in defeating Varshan with their Raid party, they would then be eligible to enter the lobby to proceed forward to the Grigoire boss battle, and so on. Each successive level would offer greater rewards, better gear, etc.
“The Khazra were once thought to be natural inhabitants of Sanctuary. However, ancient carvings discovered by Abd al-Hazir tell the tale of the origins of the Khazra. These were originally human, part of the Umbaru race found in the thick Torajan Jungles in the Teganze region (now possibly referred to as Nahantu) of Sanctuary’s eastern continent.
At some point in the distant past, the five clans that would come to be known as the Khazra migrated to higher elevations and began developing along different lines than the clansmen they left behind. They lived in relative peace and began the transition from a hunter-gatherer society to a farming one.
This state of affairs changed dramatically when they encountered the Vizjerei during the Mage Clan Wars. At the height of the conflict, the faction of the Vizjerei resolved to construct an army using demon-possessed victims, and the peaceful Umbaru clans seemed to fit the Vizjerei’s needs. Within the span of a decade after making contact with the Vizjerei, some of the future Khazra clans had turned from their peaceful existence to all-out warfare with the Vizjerei. al-Hazir speculated that this was the result of their brothers being transformed into goat-like creatures by the Vizjerei.”
The information datamined from the Technical Alpha provided the following description of a new class. It’s very important to note here that a large portion of the Diablo community is expecting some type of holy warrior (Fighter, Paladin, Crusader, Cleric) as the next class. Considering that the Spiritborn are being presented as more Druid-like, this fact, perhaps more than any other, suggests that the datamined files may belong to a future expansion to be added sometime after the first one. Hopefully, the big Diablo 4 reveal in store during BlizzCon next weekend will set the record straight on this issue. For now, though, let’s have a more thorough look at one of the potential new classes.
The release of the Spiritborn class opens up a whole new way to experience Diablo 4. Their unique abilities and playstyle offer fresh strategies for tackling Nahantu’s challenges. Whether you’re navigating through the Restless Canopy or battling in the depths of Kurast Sewers, playing as a Spiritborn in Nahantu promises an adventure like no other.
The Spiritborn, a class deeply rooted in the elements of nature and the spiritual realm. They are the children of the wild, born from the spirit of the plains, sky, soil, and forest. Their souls are intertwined with the world around them, drawing strength from the very essence of life and nature.
Their weapon of choice is the glaive, a symbol of their connection to both the physical and spiritual realms. The glaive is more than just a weapon to a Spiritborn; it is an extension of their spirit, a conduit through which they channel their power.
The Spiritborn’s power comes from two resources: Vigor and Allegiance. Vigor represents their physical vitality and endurance, gained from their bond with the earth and sky. It fuels their physical abilities and allows them to perform feats of agility and strength beyond normal capabilities.
Allegiance, on the other hand, represents their spiritual connection to nature and its creatures. It is through Allegiance that they can call upon the spirits of nature for aid, summoning ethereal allies or invoking powerful elemental spells.
The Spiritborn are not merely fighters; they are guardians of balance. They stand on the boundary between the physical world and the spiritual realm, ensuring harmony between the two. Their mission is not just to defeat their enemies but to preserve the natural order of things.
In battle, a Spiritborn is a sight to behold. They move with the grace of the wind, their glaives dancing like leaves in a storm. Their attacks are fluid and relentless, like a river carving its path through stone. And when they call upon their spiritual powers, the air around them crackles with raw elemental energy.
Whether you’re drawn to their unique blend of physical prowess and spiritual power or their noble mission to preserve balance in the world, playing as a Spiritborn offers a truly unique experience in Sanctuary.
Similar to the familiar followers we met in Diablo 2, it appears that Mercenaries will be returning to the game at some point in the future with a variety of new and different skill packages (Berserker Crone, Bounty Hunter, Cursed Child, Maiden, Mongrel, Scholar, Shield Bearer) to aid the player. It’s been said that they will have their own dedicated skill tree (like the followers in Diablo 3), so hopefully they won’t keep dying so often like they did in Diablo 2 because resurrecting them all the time can get rather expensive.
As alluded to earlier, [corrupted] Rune Stones will eventually be returning to the game, which will be crafted via NPCs known as Diviners. Some time ago it was suggested that Runes would be a part of Diablo 4. This included Condition Runes that would yield a specific consequence, such as triggering the next socketed rune, when a certain condition is met in the game. There were also Effect Runes that would, upon being triggered, reward the player with an Effect, such as a damage buff.
The initial plan to add runes was abandoned, either because it was decided that the system was too complicated or due to the lack of sufficient manpower to implement it. However, it now seems they are finally due to make their first appearance.
The increase in stash space that has been requested by every single person who has played Diablo 4 should finally become a reality with the first expansion, if not by Season 3.
New Battle Pass and Shop Cosmetics will likely include additional variations for town portals and gravestones as well as new mounts, including more horses and perhaps even some type of feline mount or mount trophy. We’ll see!
Disclaimer on Expansion Speculation
We would love to hear your opinions on the matter, so please sound off in the comments section below. Also, keep an eye on the news feed here at PureDiablo so you’ll have all the most up-to-date info you need to get the most out of your game.
If you believe that any of the information shared above is inaccurate in any way, please let us know, along with a reference for the correct information, so we can update this document accordingly. All of this is of course speculation right now based on datamined game data so anything could change or br simply scrapped.