It was hotter than the Burning Hells this past weekend in Phoenix, AZ. Nevertheless, a multitude of gamers converged on Phoenix Fan Fusion 2023 to satisfy their lust for more Diablo 4 content. Fans attended multiple presentations and discussion forums, which covered a variety of topics ranging from Diablo lore and leveling guides to game mechanics, itemization, endgame strategies, and lots more.
The rest of the story
Last week began with a plethora of overwhelmingly positive pre-release reviews from pro gamers and Content Creators. However, it is obviously just as important to solicit sponsor-free and unedited feedback from players like you and me. Therefore, I was delighted to have the opportunity to chat in person with fellow Diablo enthusiasts, and they were more than happy to share their thoughts about the newest game in the series.
The most apparent theme permeating all of the sessions was passion. Apart from an assortment of truly insightful questions, the audiences were always thoroughly engrossed. Similarly, the level of interest was also very high, as evidenced by the fact that attendees had anywhere from fifteen to twenty different events from which they could choose at any given time. Despite having so many other choices, all of the Diablo presentations were very well attended, and the audience feedback declared that they were a resounding success.
It was no surprise, then, to learn that the Diablo series has struck a deep chord with longtime gamers, such as Bini and ZerO Spectre, both of whom described Diablo as being a memorable part of their childhood. It’s the in-depth nature of these games that keeps players coming back for more. Others mentioned that the Diablo games have always been their main ARPG series, which speaks to the ground-breaking nature of Diablo 1 and its long-lasting impact on the gaming world.
The attendees who were interviewed ranged in age from those in their teens to a few over fifty. More than half have been playing for twenty years or more, and several of the newer fans had gone back to play Diablo 1 and 2 after getting hooked on Diablo 3. At the same time, it’s also true that Diablo 4 has reinvigorated interest within the community. For example, gamer Flexmannan said that Diablo 4 will be his first full playthrough for any of the games thus far.
The majority of this group indicated they play both solo and multi-player. Teaming up with friends and couch co-op with family members ranked high among the reasons why they enjoy the games so much. Gamer CapMMX shared his appreciation for how the game offers a healthy balance between casual and invested play styles. Nearly everyone had extensive experience in the Diablo 2 and/or Diablo 3 endgame, including Seasons, and they like the opportunity to experience new game mechanics. To that end, gamer Xycer voiced his approval of the good developer response from the recent Diablo 4 betas.
There’s no doubt about it, these folks are captivated with game lore. The most frequent comment made in the interviews was how the story is just as important as everything else, and it’s been the most highly anticipated aspect of Diablo 4. Gamer Joker explained in detail how vital lore is to creating a new style of play, and that the depth of character backstories contributes directly to a more meaningful gaming experience. Gamer Aly is the producer for the Horror genre for Phoenix Fan Fusion, and she also likes how well-developed Diablo characters are compared to most other games in the category.
Another prevailing theme among the attendees was casual gameplay. Approximately eighty percent of the audience had not played in the betas and were quite content with the idea of starting the game on, or after, its June 6th release. The hype from Content Creators with goals of blasting through the campaign, winning races, and being world first, was not, in any way, representative of the fans who were at the convention. Nobody I spoke to was at all concerned about the Battlepass, either. Gamer Peter said that he would go for the Premium option simply because it’s well worth the price for good entertainment.
To our fellow fans
There were some comments that the Fan Fusion crowd wanted to share with the PureDiablo community, including the fact that Diablo 4 has more campaign and endgame content than you may realize, so be sure to dive in deep and enjoy absolutely all of it.
They also wanted to give a call out to Blizzard for greater recognition of the vast majority of Diablo gamers who are casual players. There was lots of press involving Content Creators leading up to release, but they’d like to hear more feedback that is specifically intended for them and inclusive of them.
There was also a reminder for everyone to be well aware of the new Dodge mechanic. Combat in Diablo 4 has now been designed around this, so it’s important to remember that you have it and to use it effectively.
Last, but not least, I would like to thank everyone who attended the Diablo panels and for making this year’s event a great way to launch Diablo 4. Thanks also to my producer Aly for her ongoing support and enthusiasm.
If you have any more thoughts about the Diablo 4 panel presentations, please leave them in the Comments section below. I hope all of you thoroughly enjoy the game and I’m already looking forward to seeing all of you again next year.