Shivering, I climbed up a cliff overlooking the ruins of a sprawling fortress. The winds howled and stung my cheeks, but through the blizzard I could make out shadowy figures dancing amid the ruins. Hundreds, thousands, of cackling demons eagerly waiting to shred me like pulled pork. And they did. They shredded me on my couch, on my bed, in a café, and even once while I was waiting for a bus. Installing Diablo IV on your Steam Deck is a game changer.
Frenemies to Lovers
I’ve had a Steam Deck for a few months now, but it’s mostly gathered dust. I just hadn’t found the right games for it, and I even started thinking about putting it on eBay. But after grinding out a stronghold (unsuccessfully) for the nth time, I decided I’d rather become a giant spider’s next meal while I was cozy on my couch, not sitting at my desk. Since then, the Steam Deck has been my constant companion. I’m talking Nintendo Switch launch day with Breath of the Wild-level obsessed—like Pokemon Go in July 2016 level all-I-can-think-about-hooked.
Diablo IV feels purpose-built for being scaled down for the Steam Deck. The isometric top-down camera angle puts some distance between you and the finer details of the game world, which means you have some flexibility in scaling back those graphics settings.
AMD’s FidelityFX really comes in handy here, because what it does is scale down the resolution when you need a boost to your frame rate—like when you’re fighting hundreds of little demons onscreen at once. In the heat of combat, the extra frames are a welcome addition, and the momentary dip in resolution is almost imperceptible. Because FidelityFX kicks in as a response to a heavy graphical load, you get to keep all those close-up details during in-game cutscenes.
OK, that’s enough about why Diablo IV is sickening on the Steam Deck.
How to Install Diablo IV on Steam Deck
If you search around, you’re going to run into a few different ways to get this working. I’ve tested most of them, but with my Steam Deck I’ve found the manual install method to be the most reliable.
If you’ve ever installed a game on a PC before, both methods should be pretty familiar. My first time doing the manual install took me about 10 or 15 minutes (not counting how long it might take to download Diablo IV).
Step Zero: Install a Web Browser
If you already have a browser on your Steam Deck you can skip this step! If not, read on!
First things first, turn on your Steam Deck, press the Steam button, and scroll down to Power, press A, and then select Switch to Desktop.
From here, click on the little blue shopping bag icon on your taskbar. This will open the Discover menu, which is where you’ll find shortcuts to installers for all kinds of apps. Right now, we’re here for a web browser. So click on Internet, then Web Browsers, and scroll down till you find Google Chrome or Firefox and install whichever one you like more. Once it’s installed, click Launch up in the top right corner.
Step 1: Install Battle.net Launcher
Using your favorite Steam Deck web browser, in the search bar type download.battle.net, and download the Battle.Net Installer. Make sure you put it somewhere you can find it easily, like Downloads or your Desktop. Next, open Dolphin (Steam Deck’s file explorer) and navigate to wherever you downloaded the Battle.Net Installer to. Using the touchpad, move your cursor over the Battle.Net Installer and then pull the left trigger on your Steam Deck (this functions as a right-click), then move your cursor down to Add to Steam and pull the right trigger (this functions as a left-click).
Step 2: Set Up Compatibility Mode
Now open up Steam from your Desktop, navigate to the Battle.net Installer, and give it a click. From the Play menu, mouse over to the little gear icon and give that a click, then go down to Properties. Here we want to go to Compatibility, and click the check mark for Force Compatibility. Then from the drop-down box select Proton Experimental. Then X out of this menu, back to the Battle.net Installer’s play menu, and hit play!
Step 3: Install Diablo IV
From here, just sign into Battle.net, and download Diablo IV just like you would on a desktop. Once it’s installed, switch back into Steam Deck Mode, and launch your Battle.net Launcher. (It’ll still say Battle.net Installer, but this functions just like the Battle.net Launcher does on a desktop PC), select Diablo IV, and go save the day!
Or do what I’ve been doing and kinda wander around, avoiding the main story at all costs and take in the sights (blood) and sounds (blood) of Sanctuary!