Diablo 4's Fields of Hatred aren't "designed to be fair"

One of Diablo 4's Rogues creeps towards the screen with a dimly lit wall in the background
(Image credit: Blizzard)

Diablo 4's PvP endgame activity, the Fields of Hatred, does have systems in place to ensure relative parity regarding power level on the battlefield, but make no mistake, "it's not designed to be fair".

Asked what the developers are doing to ensure Diablo 4 devotees don't club lower-level players during a recent roundtable interview attended by GamesRadar+, lead game producer Kayleigh Calder explains that, while there isn't matchmaking, you won't find another player too far beyond your item and power level. There will be "some variation", though not enough to see a group of experienced players gang up on someone entering the fields for the first time.

As for the combat itself, associate game director Joseph Piepiora says dominating another player comes down to your PvP build rather than your class winning against theirs in a game of rock paper scissors. That said, getting the drop on someone when they're not looking is even more advantageous than that.

"As players go through the system, it's not designed to be fair," Piepiora explains. "This is not a duelling system. That's not what Fields of Hatred are, you know? Fields of Hatred are murder grounds; this is not a place for honour. 

"Outplaying your opponent, evading attacks at the right time, using your potion, and outlasting your opponent and their potion count make a big difference. Getting a drop on an opponent makes a big difference, too - while they're fighting in an event or trying to deal with a boss. Those all make big differences. This is the nature of living and dying inside the other Fields of Hatred."

Regarding how Blizzard plans to balance PvP, the Diablo 4 team has little doubt players will discover potent skill and item combinations that'll likely need tuning. That said, no one wants to nerf the fun.

"What we don't want to do is balance the fun out of the situation or make you feel significantly less powerful when you go into these environments," Piepiora says. "So we are careful to ensure that if you are overpowered in the PvP environment, you are fighting other overpowered PvE or PvP enemies as part of this."

Piepiora goes on to explain that the team isn't "trying to design PvP as a balanced experience in the Fields of Hatred in particular". That's because it's not a traditional matchmade activity where you face off against multiple other players, with bosses and other demons to consider.

If PvP isn't your thing, don't feel like you have to get involved. Calder says that the activity is opt-in, so you won't accidentally stumble into an open field before being taken out by someone else. The rewards unique to the activity are also entirely cosmetic, so whatever is on offer that brings power value should be found in another Diablo 4 endgame activity.

Alongside Fields of Hatred, Piepiora and Calder also discussed the community's concerns around respeccing your character. The prices everyone noticed in the recent endgame deep dive are final, though you'll get enough gold to ensure they don't appear as scary when Diablo 4 releases.

You can find the Diablo 4 launch times here if you're planning for the big day.

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.