Diablo 4 is due to launch on June 2nd, but it’ll be playable before that during two beta periods in March. Those who pre-order the game will be able to play during an early access beta between March 17th and 19th, while everyone else can access an open beta between March 24th and 26th.
The dates were announced by game director Joe Shely as part of IGN’s FanFest event. They also showed Diablo 4’s opening cinematic:
The beta will include both the prologue and first act from Diablo 4 and all main and side quests within. Characters will be able to reach level 25, and progress will carry over between the two betas but not between the betas and the final game.
Diablo 4’s released date was announced in December of last year, the same day as a report in which current and former staff alleged mismanagement and crunch conditions on the development team making the game.
QA testers working on Diablo games at Blizzard Albany voted to unionise the week before. Publisher Activision Blizzard remain the subject of a number of legal actions, labour disputes and allegations of workplace harassment. Some of these disputes relate specifically to alleged conditions within Activision Blizzard subsidiary Blizzard Entertainment.
Microsoft are also in the process of trying to buy Activision Blizzard for $69 billion. The US Federal Trade Commission have filed suit to block the proposed acquisition, and both Microsoft and Activision Blizzard have pledged to fight their corner. An evidentiary hearing is scheduled for August 2023.
While Diablo 4 looks promising so far, the previous Diablo game released on PC was last year’s Diablo Immortal, which was shot through with gross, predatory microtransactions.
At this point writing about Blizzard games is like the voiceover for a US drug commercial, where the last 75% is always a list of disturbing side effects. Ask your doctor of Diablo 4 is right for you.