Although Diablo Immortal (DI) was announced back at Blizzcon 2018, it is readily apparent that the PC port was a last-minute decision. Built from the ground up as a mobile title, NetEase and Blizzard have spent the last four years tailoring every aspect of the hack and slash ARPG to run on a small touch screen device (you can check out our review in progress to see how they did). So it was a bit of a surprise when Blizzard announced Diablo Immortal would be available on PC the same day it was released on iOS and Android.
Although the PC port was released as an Open Beta, Blizzard has already made some adjustments to the title to make it better suited to PC play. Keyboard and mouse control have already been implemented. And along with the classic Diablo click-to-move style, Blizzard added WASD movement to facilitate better the charged abilities that function seamlessly through touch controls.
Even with the tweaks already implemented for PC, Diablo Immortal still provides a smoother experience on a mobile device, with the screen size currently is the only reason to give it a go on PC. If Blizzard wants me to keep playing DI, that needs to change. I not expecting them to go back and completely revamp the entire game. Still, I do have 6 devilishly easy improvements that will keep me playing - and possibly even paying for - Diablo Immortal.
1 - Allow Adjustments To The Screen Resolution
This should be a no-brainer for anyone playing on PC. Since we have so much more screen space than a mobile device, we really need to be able to adjust the screen resolution. Currently, there are only three options: Windowed, Windowed Fullscreen, and Fullscreen. Windowed defaults to 1920x1080, and there isn’t an option to resize the window. Windowed Fullscreen works as you’d expect, but it doesn’t always center the window on the screen. And on my 21:9 monitor, fullscreen comes close to filling the entire screen but leaves small black bars on the left and right sides of the screen. At least it doesn’t distort the image by stretching it to the edges of the screen. Really though, what we need is the whole gamut of standard screen sizes. DI looks great on my phone and I just want to be able to recreate that on my ultrawide monitor.
While they are at it, Blizzard needs to add in more graphics options. Individual depth of field and bloom controls, for example, would be a welcome addition. So would more shadow and texture controls, and evens would HDR support. The list of modern graphics options is a long one, and although I wouldn’t expect Blizzard to take the time to add ray tracing (we’ll save that for Diablo 4), adding in a few more of the basics would go a long way in making Diablo Immortal shine on a larger screen.
2 - Continue Work On The User Controls
It’s really hard to complain about the user controls since Blizzard had the foresight to add WASD movement on PC. Still, there are still a few things they could do that would make controlling your character even smoother. And before I get into some of the less important things, one issue that needs immediate attention is the PC version’s tendency to reset my keybindings back to the default settings.
Beyond that annoying bug, I have two more ‘must haves’ for Blizzard to look at. First, if I hit the ESC button one more time expecting any open windows to close, only to have the main menu pop up, I’m going to scream! Yeah, it’s nitpicky since they added hotkeys to open and close individual windows, but it should be super simple to make the ESC key a universal window closer.
Second, they need to make a slight change to how the Hold To Aim skills work with the keyboard. Many of the skills allow you to continue moving while you aim, and that’s a nice touch. However, the skill automatically faces towards wherever the mouse pointer is located on-screen and I’m required to adjust the direction I wish the skill to fire. Many times, though, I just want to fire the skill directly in front of my character, so I’d like the option to do so by quickly pressing and releasing the skill button. Simple changes like this would make combat just as fluid on PC as it is on mobile.
3 - Add User Interface Customization
At this point, almost every modern MMO gives its players the flexibility to adjust their User Interface, and although Blizzard says they already adjusted the size of the HUD, there’s still more work to be done in this area.
Since we only have a main attack, three abilities, and a healing potion to contend with, I don’t mind having the mobile skill layout positioned in the bottom right corner of the screen. However, I’m sure there are many Diablo veterans out there that would like to have the classic action bar centered at the bottom of their screen. And regardless of what action bar style you prefer, the old health orb is much easier to spot than the little red bar located in the top left of my screen.
An oldie but a goodie.
I also don’t think Blizzard has gone far enough in adjusting the size of the HUD either. All of the HUD elements are still too chunky, especially the chat box. I’d like to be able to resize each element as I see fit, and there should also be an option to move or hide any components that I find visually unacceptable.
4 - Put The Camera Under My Control
Diablo Immortal’s camera control is very restrictive, even for a mobile game. In fact, there isn’t any camera control at all. Mobile or PC, you’re stuck with a non-rotating, close to the character isometric view.
There are plenty of ARPGs on mobile that have the option to zoom in and out as a minimum, so it should be a non-negotiable for a PC port. That’s what mouse wheels were made for, right? There is PvP in Diablo Immortal, so asking for camera rotation and horizontal angle control is probably out of the question. Maybe they could add it just for PvE? I’d be fine with that.
5 - Improve Controller Support
Hey, I’m a mouse and keyboard guy, but I do hear that some PC players like to use a controller when gaming. So I tried it out and I have to say that it’s not great. The major problem is the amount of input latency. There is a noticeable delay from when I move the thumbstick to the time my character starts moving. The same goes for button presses translating into attack animations.
There is a workaround to solve this - turning off Vertical Sync and setting your framerate cap to Unlimited eliminates the lag - so this should be relatively easy for Blizzard to hunt down and eradicate. While they are at it, maybe they could do a quick pass on UI navigation with a controller. I’ve never been one for having to use a thumbstick to simulate mouse movement in a menu. I would prefer to use the D-pad to quickly move from item to item. It would be a simple quality of life upgrade that would make using a controller tolerable.
6 - Inventory Management Needs Some QoL Updates
I saved the most frustrating issue for last. Regardless of your input method of choice, it’s obvious that inventory management is intended to be done using a touch screen. It will only take a few improvements to get this very important screen (this is an ARPG loot fest, after all) up to PC standards.
Currently, a single click pulls up a description window, and a second click on the equip button is needed to move the item to your equipped slots; not the most optimal method for a mouse user. Going with the tried and true method of double-clicking on an item to equip it would be a good start to fixing this. Some people still like the old drag and drop method of equipping items, so let’s go ahead and throw that option in, too. As for the item description window, a right-click would be fine; a mouse hover popup window would be even better.
We don’t want to stop there, though. We need a scroll bar or mouse wheel scrolling of the main inventory window, but let’s keep the click and drag for flexibility. Finally, a search bar and more filter options would round out the package quite nicely.