Player versus player dueling has been a part of the Diablo franchise since the very beginning but each game has taken a different approach to it. With Diablo 4, Blizzard is implementing the most in-depth system we’ve seen yet in the franchise.
During the Diablo 4 BlizzCon virtual presentation, Blizzard offered a deep look into how PvP in Diablo 4 will be conducted. And for anyone familiar with PvP in The Division, it seems very much inspired by the Dark Zone.
The lore behind PvP in Diablo 4 was explained as the Hatred of Mephisto “bubbling up from hell” and created specific areas within the open world that “kind of consumes you and makes you turn against your fellow players.”
As Blizzard explained, however, PvP isn’t mandatory. These areas are completely optional for players to walk into, but there is some incentive. These designated areas are the only places players can collect Shards of Hatred, a type of currency that can be spent on gear, trophies and other content in small encampments found across the Fields of Hatred.
Killing other players isn’t the only way to collect these Shards of Hatred. You can get them from killing monsters, completing quests or opening chests in these areas. So it’s entirely possible to venture into these areas for this special currency and not have to fight other players.
But (there’s always a but), there’s a catch. When you collect these Shards of Hatred, they’re in an un-purified state. In order to turn them into a currency that you can use, you need to bring them a Purification event.
And here’s the other twist, that you may not like. When you begin this Purification event, everybody that’s nearby finds out. So while you’re conducting this Purification ritual, it’s entirely possible that other players can come and try to kill you to steal these shards. The good news is that once you purify these shards, you can’t lose them.
Simply walking into these PvP areas won’t make you hostile to other players. So you can freely explore them and complete quests without the worry of being attacked by someone else. The only time you become hostile is when you start the Purification event.
As you can tell, this system is very much inspired by the Dark Zone in The Division and Division 2. Similarly, Ubisoft’s RPG shooter has designated areas called the Dark Zone. In the Dark Zone, you can also complete quests and kill NPCs for special gear. The catch here is that you can’t use this gear as it’s “contaminated” and must first be extracted (a public event very similar to Diablo 4’s Purification ritual). When you begin extraction in the Division, it also notifies other players within the Dark Zone who can come and steal your loot.
Going hostile in Diablo 4 has other perks as well. The more players you kill, the more you build the Curse of Mephisto and you slowly become a “Vessel of Hatred.”
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While you’re marked as a Vessel of Hatred, everyone within a large radius of you will see you on the map and can get a bonus for killing you. If you survive for a set amount of time without running away or dying, you’ll get a “big bonus.”
Again, this system is similar to The Division’s Rogue Status. Doing certain activities in the Dark Zone turns you into a Rogue and makes you wanted by other players for a period of time. Surviving this period also rewards you.
The Division’s Dark Zone has been heavily criticized but not so much about the system itself. It’s actually a pretty cool system but players have taken issue with PvP balance in general. I think this type of system can flourish in Diablo 4, especially since it’s totally optional.
What do you think of Diablo 4’s PvP system?