The Diablo 4 campaign is set to take players across a range of desolate and danger-filled lands, encountering everything from poison swamps and coastlines packed with the undead to draconian religions with a penchant for ritual burnings. But, as it gives a deeper look at the five regions you’ll explore in the RPG game ahead of the Diablo 4 beta, Blizzard emphasises that it wants to ensure players have something worthwhile to fight for.
There are five key regions that you’ll explore as you cross Sanctuary in your fight against Lilith. These are the arid deserts of Kehjistan, the rolling highlands of Scosglen, the grim marshlands of Hawezar, the frosty Fractured Peaks, and the Dry Steppes, a grassland full of rocky cliffs and lava rivers. Blizzard says, however, that it wants to ensure that the zones don’t feel like one-note biomes, so they’re more diverse than previous entries.
Speaking to Game Informer, several senior Blizzard designers give a little insight into what we can expect from each region. Kehjistan, for example, draws inspiration from the Middle East and the Mojave desert, but will also see players check in with its capital city Caldeum – a location that will be very familiar to fans of Diablo 3, where it was a major hub. It will also see you encounter Truine cultists, marking the first in-game appearance of the long-established faction.
Scosglen takes its inspiration from the Scottish highlands, and you’ll be exploring plenty of coastline packed with undead people that died out at sea – culminating in a giant creature called the Sea Hag. Quest designer Madeleine James says this queen-like figure is “three times as big as all the other drowned and just this bloated mass of body parts, so that’s really fun.”
There’s more to Scosglen than coastline, however – it’s also home to the druid college, and will see a storyline that ties into one of the Diablo 4 strongholds, one of the new co-op focused activities that provide a great way to earn gear and help restore civilisation to previously overrun zones. You’ll also get to revisit Diablo 3’s Shrouded Moors, although they’ve (somewhat worryingly) since been rebranded as the Blood Moors.
Hawezar gives us those delightful poisonous marshlands that we all crave – which Blizzard says come from a blend of Florida and Europe. You’ll have to tackle snake-like foes called the Nangari along with soldiers from the holy Order of Zakarum, the latter of whom inhabit dishevelled forts that are sinking into the soft earth they were built on. Sounds delightful.
The Cathedral of Light is your primary concern in the Fractured Peaks. This draconian religious authority loves to burn sinners: “That’s totally normal and okay for them,” game designer Harrison Pink explains. It’s not all frigid climate, however – the melted snow of lower areas create waterfalls that flood down into the swamps of Hawezar. You’ll also have to make a pilgrimage to the Alabaster Monastery, a heavily guarded fort in the mountains, while fighting off the series’ familiar Khazra goatmen.
The Dry Steppes might not have the most evocative name, but this geothermal hotspot inspired by Yellowstone National Park features everything from sandy beaches, salt flats, and rocky cliff faces to lava rivers and multicoloured geothermal pools. Art director John Mueller adds that people have been digging deep into the flats, and hints that this might not have been a particularly smart course of action.
While this all sounds quite grim and Pink says, “It can be really easy to fall into that doom and gloom hole of darkness,” the team wants to emphasise “some glimmers of life, some glimmers of hope and characters that you can actually care about.” After all, why would you go to all this trouble to save Sanctuary if it’s already falling apart? Isn’t the allure of Lilith’s power tempting enough already? “Giving you some real sparks of humanity is super important to us as a team,” Pink concludes.
Game director Joe Shely previously hinted that the Diablo 4 campaign length is likely to fall around the 35 hour mark, though this is of course just the beginning of your adventures. You’ll travel on a story that takes you across the many regions, but Blizzard notes that sidequests are mostly contained to their individual zones. Diablo general manager Rod Fergusson adds that players are free to choose which order to tackle Diablo 4 campaign acts in.
Make sure you’re ready for the beta by checking the Diablo 4 system requirements, and brush up on all the Diablo 4 classes ahead of the Diablo 4 release date. Thankfully, it sounds like Diablo 4 damage numbers are stripped back from the overblown highs of its predecessor.
Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment and Game Informer.