One of the ways in which Diablo 4 goes against series tradition is by setting its action in an open world. During BlizzConline, Blizzard has shared more details about the features we can expect while adventuring across Sanctuary, including horse customization, monster camps, and PvP.
You'll find different horse breeds as you explore, uncover secrets, and slay monsters. Since you'll be spending quite a bit of time on top of your steed, traversing Diablo 4's open world, you also get to customize it. Trophies show off your accomplishments, horse armor makes your mount look more badass, and horseshoes actually alter its movement speed.
Horse combat was never part of the vision Blizzard had for Diablo 4 but dismount attacks enable characters to leap into battle with a devastating initial blow. Horse armor could be entirely cosmetic, since mounts cannot take damage. If a monster does, however, land a blow while you're riding, you will be forced to dismount and fight your assailants.
Monster camps were described as "strongholds of evil" resulting from the power vacuum created by Malthael killing "9 out of 10 people" during Diablo 3's Reaper of Souls expansion. Players get to reclaim them for the people of Sanctuary. Better yet, each camp has its own story and fixed place in the world.
Once you clear the monsters, the camp becomes a new waypoint in the world. People move in, new vendors appear, and there might even be new quests and dungeons. This is one way in which players leave a more permanent mark upon the lands they visit, since keeping the gallons of spilled blood on screen at all times would likely drown everyone's hardware.
Diablo 4's open world will feature more verticality and Blizzard is looking at an option to jump across chasms as means of unlocking new paths. The goal is to provide players with more movement options than previous entries in the series.
PvP in Diablo 4 is triggered by entering areas of the open world in which the hatred of Mephisto makes its presence known. These "fields of hatred" are optional areas that allow you to turn against other players. While inside, you can earn Shards of Hatred from other activities as well like simply killing monsters or completing events.
The shards need to be purified before they can be used as currency, but initiating the process draws the attention of nearby players. They can take your shards if they successfully kill you. Otherwise, once purified, the currency is yours and can be spent in nearby encampments to purchase "gear, trophies, and other content" that "speaks to your desires as a PvP player" without being more powerful than equipment gained elsewhere.
Going hostile and chasing as many Shards of Hatred as possible infuses you with Mephisto's curse, turning you into a Vessel of Hatred. Players in a large area are alerted to your location and, if you survive for long enough without running away, you receive a "big bonus" as well as trophies in the shape of ears.
Diablo 4 doesn't yet have a release date but you can delve into its past updates on itemization and skills to get a better sense of how the ARPG is shaping up. BlizzConline takes place between February 19 and February 20.
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