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Diablo 4 previews its frantic family of cannibal monsters

We’ve not heard a heck of a lot about Diablo 4 since it was officially announced at BlizzCon last year. Blizzard have now published a development update—which they’re hoping to do quarterly going forward—responding to feedback from the BlizzCon demo and introducing a nasty family of melee monsters. The update also gives a pretty in-depth look at a few pieces of Diablo 4’s interface.

Unlike Diablo 3’s classification system, senior encounter designer Candace Thomas explains that Diablo 4’s baddies are categorized as “families” that each have their own combat style. The Drowned, which Blizzard showed off last year, have five enemies each with an archetype—ranged, melee, fast, slow, you know.

The cannibals have four types: two-handed melee, halberd melee, bruisers, and swarmers. By design, cannibals have no ranged units, Thomas says. They come at a player fast, “and give the player less time to make thoughtful positioning decisions, thus making combat with these flesh-eaters feel frenetic.” I’ll make sure I’ve got some fire-based AOE skills available for that particular problem.

The update also includes a lot of interface info from lead UI designer Angela Del Priore. Blizzard originally showed off Diablo 4 with the action bar in the bottom left corner of the screen. It’ll stay there for console players who sit further away from their screens, but PC players will by default see the action bar in the bottom center with an option to move it to bottom left if they choose.

Del Priore also says that a ‘surprising number” of players asked for the ability to rebind their primary attack button to something other than the left mouse click to separate attacking from movement. “In addition to giving players the freedom to assign any skill to any slot from the get-go, all skill slots can now have their keys rebound,” Del Priore says. “We’re committed to supporting skill rebinding for controllers as well.” I play a bunch of games with a controller on PC but the hack-n-slashers I’ve always stuck to keyboard for, so for once I’m not too bothered worrying over controller support.

The development update also has information on how Blizzard are designing a unified UI to support both keyboard and controller input on PC, details about inventory arrangement, and UI for couch co-op.

That’s probably all we’ll get from Blizzard on Diablo until the next quarterly update since they’ve already said quite clearly that the game’s not coming any time soon. In the meantime, RPS sent Jay Castello to play at BlizzCon last year and you can read that Diablo 4 preview to catch up.

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Lauren Morton

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