The very first iteration of Battle.net let players connect and team up in the original Diablo. Without that game and service, Blizzard might not have gained the foothold it did in the multiplayer gaming landscape. Given that tradition, It’s no surprise that Diablo 4 supports multiplayer. However, the game’s full multiplayer options are so much more substantial than anything we’ve seen in previous Diablo games.
Like its predecessors, Diablo 4 is a dungeon crawler. The goal of the game is to wander around areas infested with the undead and demons, slay everything in your path, and loot their corpses for, well, loot. Dungeon crawlers usually abide by a simple rule: more players equal more monsters, and more monsters equal more loot. If you want to get the most out of Diablo 4, you’re going to have to team up.
For better or for worse, Diablo 4 is an always-online live-service game. Yes, this means you need to connect to servers via an internet connection. Without the connection or servers, you don’t have a game. The silver lining is that Diablo 4 is technically an MMO, so you are always playing alongside friends and strangers. No matter where you go in Sanctuary, you will probably bump into other players completing their own missions and participating in world events. Some of these activities, such as world bosses, are designed for multiple players, and you can help by joining in whenever you like. In fact, Diablo 4 encourages gamers to randomly crash events because merely being near other players provides a 5% XP boost (plus the better you do in world events, the better loot you earn).
While you can wander Sanctuary alone and lend a helping hand whenever you wish, Diablo 4 also has a proper multiplayer system that lets you join friends and strangers. Simply hover your cursor over the player you want to team up with (or get close to them on console), bring up the action wheel, and select “Invite to Party.” If they accept, and will be well on your way to creating a full party. Likewise, if someone invited you, just accept their invitation. You can also invite friends on the other side of the game map by opening Diablo 4’s menu and navigating to the Social tab. Pick the friend you want to invite and select “Invite to Party” (or “Request to Join Party” if you want to join their party instead).
It’s a pretty simple system, but there are a few rules and restrictions. In order to start multiplayer, you need to complete Diablo 4’s prologue and reach the city of Kyovashad. Moreover, you can only team up with three other players, and only one player can serve as its leader. This last part is crucial because every party member syncs up with the leader’s world progress. If you completed a certain enemy Stronghold and another player didn’t, the player who didn’t will see the Stronghold as you do. On the bright side, everyone receives a 10% XP bonus if they fight in a group, so leveling that way will still be quicker for most players.
In previous Diablo games, every player needed their own copy to play as a team, but Diablo 4 is changing the rules. Yes, Diablo 4 will include couch co-op at launch. You and a friend can conquer the forces of Hell on the same screen so long as you both have Battle.net accounts and controllers. Just know that Diablo 4 only supports couch co-op functionality for up to two players rather than the four players that Diablo 3‘s local co-op supported. It seems that the nature of Diablo 4‘s design prohibited proper four-player local multiplayer options.
Of course, couch co-op is only available for console versions. Even then, Diablo 4 doesn’t technically support split-screen play. That is to say that players will not be able to “break” from each other and go on their own adventures as they share half a screen. You will need to stick fairly close together through the adventure, though you have a fair bit of room to roam in that shared area.
To initiate a couch co-op session, launch Diablo 4, activate the second player’s controller, have the second player accept the prompt that appears, allow them to log-in to their account (which must be connected to Blizzard), and wait for the log-in to load. From there, they should be able to select their character and join your game.
Since Diablo 4 dives heavily into the multiplayer experience, it also includes the MMO ability to create Clans. To create a clan in Diablo 4, you’ll first need to open the “Clan” tab from the social menu. From there, you can either search for (and join) a public clan or choose to “Create Clan.” Choosing to create a clan will require you to enter some basic information (Clan name, Clan tag, and a description of your Clan’s goals) but the process is free and is not bound to any level requirements. Furthermore, you can have up to 150 members in your clan (including your own characters).
Clan leaders (aka the person who creates the Clan) also have quite a bit of control over the Clan itself. They can control invites to the Clan, promote and demote members, and even ban members. They can also change the Clan’s labels, logos, and other visual marks. It’s all pretty standard so far as MMOs go, though it’s the most expansive example of that function we’ve seen in a Diablo game. If you find (or create) the right Clan, it can be a great way to ensure you have fairly consistent access to the game’s multiplayer options.