PlayStation 4 Diablo III Previewed at PAX East

New features for the PS4 edition includes a side-kick Apprentice Mode

Diablo III Console Developers at PAX East 2014
The console group of the Diablo III team has been hard at work on Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition for the PlayStation 4. This past weekend at PAX East 2014 in Boston, they showed off the PS4 version of the game, and detailed new features that aren't in any other edition of the game. These include social features with item trading via a mail system, a side-kick Apprentice Mode, and other interesting ideas.

Diablo III console senior producer Julia Humphreys and senior level designer Matthew Berger, seen above, talked about the development of Diablo III on the next-generation console. In a video with GameSpot they showed off the game in 1080p resolution at 60fps.

Here's a list of the features discussed in the video, for Diablo III on the PS4.

  • Apprentice Mode allows two characters at different levels to level up easily with each other. Using a side-kick type of system, the lower level character is temporarily boosted up to the higher level for that play session. Both characters get experience and gear according to their base level, as they level together. The lower level character gets a bit of an extra experience boost, to help them level up even faster.
  • Player Mail will be available, to let players send items to an ingame mailbox of other players on their friends list. It isn't explicitly stated, but it appears that Legendary items won't be bind-on-account to the same degree that they are now in the PC version of Diablo III.
  • When a Legendary drops for a player, there is a chance for an extra Player Gift to drop, specifically for someone on the friends list. It can be opened by any character on the friend's account, and the item will roll a Rare or Legendary appropriate to that character.
  • A fun feature is the Nemesis system, which was previously called Avenger Kills in the previous developer discussion at BlizzCon 2013. If a monster kills your character, there is a chance that it can level up, turn into a different creature, gain new abilities and jump into a portal (and out of your game). Later on that same monster can show up with ominous music in your friend's game, with a name making it clear that it was the monster that killed your character. If the monster kills your friend's character, it gets even more powerful, and can go on to someone else on their friends list! If the monster is killed, there are Player Gifts that can be sent back to the character who it originally killed.
  • Some parts of Diablo III haven't had a big impact so far, and are being boosted for this edition to give the game a more "arcadey" feel. Massacre bonuses are being boosted to give more experience and prominence in the display, and each new level reached of the Massacre bonus (10, 20, 30 monsters killed, etc.) provides a chance of dropping a Nephalem Glory globe. The Destruction bonus from destroying 5 or more pieces of furniture or barrels, now provides a little speed boost. Killing enemies with traps like chandeliers is being experimented with, to possibly provide a resource boost.
  • One of the areas that was a little tedious on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 editions of Diablo III was dealing with loot in a local multiplayer game, where only one person could have their inventory open at once. To help with this further in the PS4 edition, loot in a local multiplayer game will automatically be assigned to a character who can use it. When it shows up on the ground, it's marked for Player 1, Player 2, Player 3, or Player 4. For example, if a Demon Hunter picks up an item with Strength, it will automatically go to the Barbarian in the group, since that's who it was really dropped for.
  • The PS4 edition is being tuned specifically for the console. It will include all of the Reaper of Souls Expansion features, as well as the base game content and recent patches. This includes the Crusader class, Acts 1-5, Adventure Mode, and all the other expansion content.
Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition is scheduled to be released sometime in 2014. Any characters from the previous PlayStation 3 edition of the game can be transferred and upgraded into the PS4 edition. Blizzard also has Diablo III in Development for the Xbox One, but they have yet to announce if or when the game will be released for that console.
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