Skip to main content

I play Diablo 4 and I feel nothing. I think this is good?

Brain smooth

Diablo 4's Lilith looks onward in anger.
Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun/Blizzard Entertainment

Now that Diablo 4's new season has arrived, I thought I'd give the game another shot. So, in an evening spare of stuff to do, I booted the game up and created a druid called ANIMALS. After a few hours of pressing 1,3,2,4, in either the same pattern or different patterns, I've come to realise the game doesn't make me feel anything. I bash some skeletons, I equip a staff, I exit to Windows, I couldn't care less. Maybe, though, it's not such a bad thing?

I know I said I'd like Diablo 4 to channel Vampire Survivors and give me an auto-attack switch, so I could just steer my character through encounters without having to think at all. I still stand by my stubbornness! But having obliterated more packs of rabid wolves and legions of demons, I've come to develop what I think is ARPG muscle memory.

Where before I had to sort of think about the 1,3,2,4 button presses, now I… don't. The Openreach lads in my brain have finally set up a full fibre network to my fingers, so whenever I stroll into a horde of snarling pus spiders or gnarled ents I don't even register the little rubber domes compressing underneath my skin pads.

Watch on YouTube

I'd liken the sensation of playing Diablo 4 to when you're driving and there's a significant portion of the journey that's impossible to recall. If you don't drive, another example would be when you're preparing a sandwich and you open the fridge and you simply can't locate the butter. Turns out you'd already opened the fridge and popped it on the kitchen top without any conscious thought. From one quest to another, spending time with Diablo 4 is finding this pocket of oblivion and, dare I say it, I'm weirdly into it.

I can't say I enjoy Diablo 4 and I can't say I dislike it. I just know I can play it and slip into the pocket of nothing, like it's a numbing agent for my brain. Occasionally, if I want to bring myself out of a gormless stare, I can stick on a podcast about Emma Radacanu's tennis agent defending her decision to swap coaches on the reg, or the impact of Barbenheimer on cinema. Then Diablo 4 turns into the equivalent of those Subway Surfers clips that run underneath the priority sludge, an outlet to discharge my unreliable attention span.

If anything, Diablo 4 is more of a tool for me to either actively disengage from stress or keep me focused on some other form of media. My druid ANIMALS is doing well, I think, as they can turn into a bear and I just poison everything so things die without me needing to really do a whole lot. Here's to many more hours of unfeeling.

Read this next