Most Diablo II veterans can remember the first time they stepped into Hell difficulty in Lord of Destruction: Every monster had some kind of immunity, your resistances plummeted into the negatives, and you were dead if you so much as looked at a lightning enchanted creature the wrong way. Apparently, Blizzard doesn’t think that was quite challenging enough. Enter Inferno, a new fourth difficulty level that’ll make Hell look like a refreshing stroll.
Speaking with Kotaku, game director Jay Wilson spilled the details of this new challenge. Inferno is designed for players who have reached the game’s experience cap, which has been reduced from Diablo II’s level 99 down to level 60. Once a player has achieved this feat and defeated Hell, Inferno becomes their new personal playground.
The minimum monster level on Inferno is 61, meaning that every single enemy is of a higher level than the player. Monsters on Inferno are buffed up with extra resistances, hit points, damage, and even Inferno-exclusive abilities.
Inferno mode was born out of a desire to create a more even playing experience at the highest level. “The idea was that we wanted a difficulty mode where the entire game was viable,” said Wilson about the difficulty. Players of Diablo II will remember that in the very end game, only certain high-level monsters on Hell were worth fighting for loot. By making every monster higher level than the character, it becomes more likely that more of the content will remain useful.
Of course, this is Diablo, so it all comes back to the loot, and Inferno mode will not disappoint. Obviously, the most powerful of items will be available to Inferno difficulty players, but Blizzard has made sure that this gear is visually distinct from lesser equipment. In Diablo II, exceptional and elite gear recycled old art assets, but in Diablo III, you’ll quickly be able to tell if someone is donning Inferno-exclusive swag.
Diablo III still has no release date, but many are expecting it before the year’s end.