Blizzard has said it’s feeling “really confident” Diablo 4 will enjoy a smooth launch following a series of server stress tests.
The developer held a “Server Slam” event over the weekend to test the upcoming action role-playing game’s servers one final time ahead of launch in June. The event seemed to go smoothly, with most players reporting little to no queue time and, when in-game, improved performance compared to that seen in previous tests.
Speaking to Eurogamer in an interview in London today, Diablo 4 art director John Mueller and associate game director Joe Piepiora said Blizzard is feeling good about the launch because it had learned so much from the various tests.
“Every one of these betas has been transformational in terms of our understanding of our own technical capacity and what we need to do to make that a smoother launch experience in general,” Piepiora said.
“So it’s been great.”
Piepiora revealed Blizzard has run internal testing on Diablo 4 for well over a year, spinning up servers with millions of automated accounts creating basic actions such as finding a piece of gear and equipping it, to killing a monster and starting a party with another robot.
While Blizzard has learned a great deal from these internal tests, there’s no substitute for live player tests, Piepiora said.
“When you have people coming through different ISPs and coming in through different servers around the world, there’s so much more data you get from that. And with each of those we found lots of little things that happen, like this happens with clan invitations, this happens when you join a party in a certain way – lots of little things like that across the board.”
Reiterating comments Diablo development chief Rod Fergusson made to Eurogamer in March, Piepiora said these tests are designed to help Blizzard prepare Diablo 4 for launch, and should not be considered marketing betas.
“These are not marketing betas,” Piepiora said. “None of them were. Everything has been about, we need data to make sure the launch goes smooth. That’s entirely the purpose of the betas we did.
“And we learned a tonne. Even this last one where it was really smooth – people didn’t have long queues leading into getting into the experience – we still found things happening in the back end that if left unresolved, would have resulted in some issues during the launch experience. We caught those only because we did this extra weekend.”
Blizzard will be particularly keen to ensure a smooth launch for Diablo 4 after the disastrous launch of Diablo 3 and its infamous Error 37 message. Even the more recently-released Diablo 2: Resurrected launched with a number of issues.
Like its predecessor, Diablo 4 is always-online, which means any server issues could prevent people from playing a game they’ve paid full-price for.
Even if they do manage to log in, players are concerned about lag and other performance issues potentially ruining the launch experience.
Art director John Mueller told Eurogamer it took a lot of effort to run each Diablo 4 test, but insisted they’ve been worth it.
“Each one, it’s a tonne of work to put them on,” Mueller said. “It’s not a trivial thing for us to do. But we see the value as being worth it. And again, it’s not a marketing thing. It’s really about getting that information so we know day one is going to be as good as we can possibly make it, and that we just feel confident going in.
“So, currently right now we feel really confident.”