Diablo 4 is going to be different from Diablo 3 in a number of very important ways, but perhaps most important is the vast amount of testing that’s going into Diablo 4 at every level. And, for the first time, that testing includes Diablo 4’s end-game.
In an interview with IGN, game director Joe Shely and Diablo franchise general manager Rod Fergusson talked about Diablo 4's extensive testing, its end-game content, and its live-service ambitions. Fergusson called Diablo 4 "the game that I felt like has been more holistically tested any other game I've been a part of," noting that the game has been handed out to all of Activision Blizzard and even friends and family to ensure its quality (even though that friends and family test resulted in a 40-minute leak).
But it was for end-game that Shely said was most important to test as many players "enjoy playing Diablo way past the campaign."
"This is one of the first times that we've tested … specifically for the end game," noted Shely, with Fergusson adding: "After they complete the campaign, you're unleashing players into a game that hopefully will entertain them for thousands of hours."
Fergusson said that end-game testing is underway in closed beta tests where players are asked to play for up to 100 hours–far more than other Blizzard titles. This end-game content includes PvP, Nightmare Dungeons, Whispers of the Dead, and Helltide, with more end-game content on the way with seasonal updates. Fergusson didn't want to get too specific about Diablo 4's seasons as the transition from shipping a game to live-service is one of the toughest in the industry, but he did say that the goal is to release a new season quarterly. He wants "a little leeway" in the schedule for now just to make sure Diablo 4 launches in a good place.
Part of the reason why Diablo 4's testing has been sent out to the rest of Activision Blizzard might be due to the recent unionization effort of Blizzard Albany's QA team, which is fighting for better wages, work conditions, and job security at the embattled publisher.
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