The ‘Diablo 4’ Beta Does Not Inspire Hope For A Smooth Launch

Across two beta weekends now, I’ve been dealing with a good amount of technical frustration with Diablo 4, a game I otherwise very much like.

While I know “it’s a beta,” and Blizzard has said outright that there will be long lines and disconnects as they try to gather data for a smooth launch…I am not convinced this is going to be a smooth launch. It’s less than three months away now, and I very much don’t believe that Blizzard will be able to keep up with the tidal wave of players who arrive at launch, and that we will endure a fairly long period of problems. I think the best case scenario right now is to avoid something utterly devastating like Diablo 3’s Error 37 launch, but I still don’t think it’s going to go great.

What’s been happening? For large chunks of the weekends, particularly during peak times, login queues have been extraordinarily long, usually 30-60 minutes, but sometimes as long as two hours. But it’s not just that the login times are bad, it’s that once you’re playing, if you suffer a disconnect, you won’t just go back to the menu. The entire game essentially soft locks and you have to quit out, again being put back in another lengthy queue. My strategy for this test period has been watching Netflix shows during the long queues in between disconnects.

I know that this is not a universal experience. I have heard this is better on console instead of PC. And better in say, Europe as opposed to the US. But it’s been pretty bad for me and a number of others, and if the game launches like this, it will be a problem.

It’s not just this, however. During gameplay my characters are subject to frequent rubberbanding, or in some instances, failing to progress into new areas at all, simply running in place because the zones won’t load, and I have to quit out of the session to fix it (which again, can crash the whole game). Then there’s the issue that Diablo 4 is such a memory hog on PC it’s crashing because of that at times, or degrading performance heavily.

The other problem with all of these issues is how the game is structured. While your progression and loot might be saved after disconnects and crashes, you can be fighting a boss in a dungeon, then when you load back in, you’re in town, meaning you have to trek all the way back to the dungeon, run all the way back through it and re-fight the boss. I suppose this isn’t the only online-only game to do this, but there is a severe lack of checkpointing in many quests here that does not mix well with the technical issues.

While some of this stuff may be fixed by launch, I am not confident that Diablo 4 will have a smooth release in June. I would prepare for some pretty serious issues, especially on PC, unless Blizzard has some magic wand they can wave to fix all this. Which I seriously doubt is the case.

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