Diablo IV Seems Like It’s Dead

A passionless husk of a game

Alex Rowe

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An empty town hub in Diablo IV.
These town hubs used to be full of other players. PS5 screenshot taken by the author.

Diablo IV had a huge launch out of the gate just a few months ago, with Blizzard proudly touting it as their biggest release of all time, and big plans for a heavily monetized future.

Now, it seems like a ghost town. The always-online nature of the game means that, on a good day, you’ll see dozens of other players running around in the game’s world trading items and completing quests. But stand in any one of its major town hubs now and you’ll probably be the only person there. I used to run into people constantly during my adventures, now I’m lucky if I see even one other player in a three-hour session.

Online stream numbers have shown a similar decline, with the game lucky to draw just 600 viewers on Twitch — a far cry from the tens of thousands it had back at launch.

Player drop-off is a normal phenomenon, even for big games, but it’s not usually something that happens so dramatically in what’s supposed to be an ongoing live service…let alone for the next game in a franchise that’s one of the most popular of all time.

It sure does seem like Diablo IV is dead. And Blizzard has no one to blame for this but themselves. Here are some of the many reasons why I personally think that this game is in huge trouble, and why I uninstalled my copy after taking the screens for this article.

Bland World Design

Diablo has traditionally used random level generation to help keep things fun on your hundredth playthrough. You never know quite what to expect from its dungeons and worlds, and the little changes to the maps each time help fend off the tedium of doing the same things over and over again.

Diablo IV largely stepped away from random worlds, with the bulk of its land instead consisting of a huge bespoke open map. This map features a couple dozen zones to explore, and several large settlements offering the usual collection of vendors and services.

Unfortunately, this map isn’t very fun to run around in. The technical execution and the art assets are both exceptional — but it’s all just kind of shoved together as a bland collection of corridors. There’s nothing meaningful to separate each zone from every other location aside from a…

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