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Diablo Immortal moves into closed alpha with the Crusader class and 48-player raids

Hell or high mana.

Diablo Immortal has moved into closed alpha, and added a raft of new features in the process.

The free-to-play mobile game has now upped its level cap from 45 to 55, added the Crusader class, new zones, a new dungeon, and faction-based PvP.

Cover image for YouTube videoDiablo Immortal | Closed Alpha Developer Update

The Crusader class returns from Diablo 3 (Diablo Immortal is set between Diablo 2 and 3). It's a mid-range hybrid caster/melee class who wears strong armour and wields a flail and holy magic.

The Crusader in action.

Blizzard revealed the Helliquary, a PvE system through which very difficult bosses are introduced into the game about once a month. It unlocks around level 41-45. From there you prepare to face marquee bosses that act as a benchmark for your character's power. Beat a boss and you get a trophy from that monster you can place inside your Helliquary for special bonuses for your character.

A Helliquary boss fight.

The developer also revealed Diablo Immortal's endgame, dubbed The Cycle of Strife. It's a server-wide faction-based PvP system with new activities that can lead to permanent glory for players for the life of a server.

Here, you can join one of two factions: the Immortals (hence the name of the game), or the Shadows. The Immortals are an elite group who defend Sanctuary against the demons. The Shadows are a group set up to keep the Immortals on their toes so they never grow complacent. If you decide not to join one of the factions, you're dubbed an Adventurer.

The Shadows faction hub.

The idea is the Shadows players contribute to their faction so that when it's strong enough, the top groups (known as Dark Houses) can try to overthrow the sitting Immortals. If they succeed, new Immortals replace the old ones and a new cycle begins.

In practice, the Cycle of Strife is a seasonal tug of war between the Shadows and the Immortals. A "cycle" in the game is a season, which is expected to last between one and three months.

There can be only one group of Immortals during a cycle, and it can contain up to 500 players on the server. The Shadows, however, do not have a cap on the number of players who can join this faction (Blizzard has gates in place to control how frequently a new Shadow can be created).

The Immortals faction hub.

As an Immortal, your ultimate goal is to hold on to your position for as long as you can. As a Shadow, your ultimate goal is to overthrow the current Immortals and become the elite on the server yourself. Along the way, you have access to activities and rewards specific to the faction you've chosen to join.

The Immortals have access to the Wall of Honor, which all players can view in Westmarch. This preserves the accomplishments of all of the Immortal leaders and their four lieutenants, along with their banner.

One of the main Immortal activities is Kion's Ordeal, a 48-person PvE raid that, if completed, offers faction-wide buffs as well as rewards for the players. This raid splits people into four groups of 12. Completing it increases the Immortals' dominance over the faction progression system.

A Kion's Ordeal boss fight.

Raid the Vault is the equivalent activity for the Shadows. Four Shadows can play co-op to attempt to steal what the Immortals have stashed in their vault. This starts out as a PvE event against NPC guardians, but if Immortals should be alerted to your presence, they can enter the vault and defend it, turning Raid the Vault into a PvP battle. If you defeat the Immortals, you can continue to raid the vault with no new Immortals players defending for a while.

Shadows take on Raid the Vault.

Meanwhile, once a week, the top 10 Dark Houses can each send their eight strongest members to battle a group of Immortals in a multi-stage PvP event. These are 10 separate, simultaneous 8v8 battles collectively called the Rite of Exile. Each battle is independently judged, and if at least half of these battles are won by the Immortals, nothing changes for the weak and the Immortals remain in power.

If at least half of these battles are won by the Shadows, then the current Immortals' reign comes to an end and the cycle will turn once again. (For closed alpha specifically, the top ranked Dark House will ascend to become the new Immortals for the new cycle.)

Immortals vs Shadows in Rite of Exile.

Diablo Immortal is still without a release date.