Diablo 3 didn’t have the best time with its always-online functionality at launch. Blizzard was woefully unprepared for what was a relatively new way to play a game and the resulting errors and server overloads became somewhat legendary for how terrible they were. It highlighted the real danger of having your game rely on an internet connection, but back then nobody really knew how to go about doing it. Hopefully hindsight works in our favour this time around with Diablo 4 because they’re definitely not ditching always-online functionality.
Responding to a fan question during a BlizzCon 2019 panel on Diablo 4, Angela Del Priore, lead designer of the game, was asked if the game can be played offline. He responded with, “We are not going to support an offline mode. But as I said before, nothing in Diablo 4 is going to require partying up. You can play solo and dungeons are private. Campaign quest areas will [also] remain private.”
This comes as no real surprise since the PC version already went this route, but it was possible to play offline on consoles. A Blizzard representative confirmed with Gamespot that the game will also require an online connection on consoles.
In other news, the actual release window of Diablo 4 is yet to be announced, but game director Luis Barriga said the following during the Diablo 4 Unveiled panel, “A game of this scope takes time. This is a very, very early first step. We’re not coming out soon… not even Blizzard soon” News like that is certain to temper expectations a bit since even though the game is fully revealed at the moment, it’s still quite a ways off. I’m thinking that it’ll aim for a release on the next-gen consoles, but even that is merely a year away, so more realistically we’ll probably see Diablo 4 a couple of years down the line.