Diablo 4's dungeons are intentionally similar, but "don't be too quick to judge"

Diablo 4 screenshot
(Image credit: Blizzard)

Blizzard promises there's more to come from Diablo 4's dungeons. While they are "intentionally" designed to have continuity with each other, game director Joe Shely says there's plenty outwith the beta players are yet to see.

To get you up to speed, many who played the early access beta found the dungeons repetitive in design. Progressing through many requires finding items, such as a door key. Backtracking for one you missed feels inevitable, then, though the lull in action it creates can feel tedious - the maps are large, so it can take a good few minutes, and each room stays empty once you clear them of enemies. Others, meanwhile, found the dungeon layouts too linear, pining for something labyrinth-like instead.

Speaking to GamesRadar+, Shely says that the beta only covers one of Diablo 4's five zones, Fractured Peaks. That's roughly 20% of the overworld, so there's plenty yet to see.

"So, when you think about the whole world, you've got over 100 dungeons, vastly more than you're seeing within Fractured Peaks," he says. "When we designed the dungeons for Diablo 4, we intentionally wanted each dungeon to have some continuity with itself. Meaning that you're not just going into a portal and finding a big pile of building blocks that we're putting together.

"That can be very fun to do. If you look back at Diablo 3's Greater Rifts, that's what we were doing, and Diablo is very well suited to that. But, we wanted [Diablo 4's] open world to have dungeons that existed in a place with some identity to them."

Shely goes on to explain that the way you interact with dungeons changes as you progress through the game. During the early game, you'll have the Renown system to show you what dungeons you can engage with for experience points, whereas the Codex of Power system will point you towards a specific one to gain a certain power for your class.

"In the early game, we anticipate players will engage with each dungeon up to once," Shely says. "They'll have some personality to them and might have different objectives than another dungeon."

Once you complete the campaign, Shely says the replayability system kicks in with Nightmare Dungeons, which feature modifications to change the difficulty and how you approach each level.

"We've heard the feedback," Diablo general manager Rod Fergusson says. "Part of it is that it's a subset of all the dungeons, so don't be too quick to judge. But the notion is that this is setting a baseline for Nightmare Dungeons because they will really mess with the dungeons from all the different things that it can do from a property standpoint. 

"And then, from a live service perspective, we're going to be continuing to add not only more dungeons but more types of dungeons. And so you'll see that variety change as well."

Also relating to the beta, Blizzard says that its rough opening will ensure a smoother launch and that Barbarian feeling weaker in the early game hasn't gone unnoticed. The throughline is that each issue should be remedied for launch.

Here's how to access the Diablo 4 beta to prepare you for this weekend.

Deputy News Editor

Iain joins the GamesRadar team as Deputy News Editor following stints at PCGamesN and PocketGamer.Biz, with some freelance for Kotaku UK, RockPaperShotgun, and VG24/7 thrown in for good measure. When not helping Ali run the news team, he can be found digging into communities for stories – the sillier the better. When he isn’t pillaging the depths of Final Fantasy 14 for a swanky new hat, you’ll find him amassing an army of Pokemon plushies.