Diablo 4: Keyboard and Mouse vs. Controller

The latest entry in the Diablo series is out now, but the question is, should you play Diablo 4 with a mouse and keyboard or controller?

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Diablo 4 on PC is playable with a keyboard and mouse, though it’s also playable with a controller as it is also available on consoles. But which control option should you pick? Here’s what we think.

The latest entry in the Diablo series is now being enjoyed by millions around the world as for the first time in the franchise’s history, the game is no longer a PC exclusive at launch and has been released on multiple platforms all at the same time. The question is: should you play Diablo 4 with a mouse and keyboard or controller? Here’s what we think. 

The Diablo franchise has solidified itself as one of the pinnacle gaming experiences you can have on PC since the original’s release back in 1996. It wasn’t until a little over a year of Diablo 3 that a console version was released for Xbox 360 and PS3. This marked the first time that a Diablo game was running on a console. It was also the moment the world realized that it controlled remarkably well on a controller. It became so successful that Blizzard released Diablo 3: Eternal Collection, a package that contains the base game and the Reaper of Souls expansion, on PS4 and Xbox One consoles. 

And now, Diablo 4 is playable on Windows PC, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, and PlayStation 4. What makes all of this infinitely better is that the game features crossplay and cross-progression across all platforms. 

We’ve been keeping ourselves busy with Diablo 4 ever since the first beta started. We’ve spent a significant amount of time exploring both mouse and keyboard and controller as gameplay options. While there are no right or wrong answers as to which one is the best, we do have our opinions and preferences. If you’re undecided as to which one you should use, allow us to help you out. 

Diablo 4 on mouse and keyboard

Let’s first talk about where Diablo started it all. If you’ve played an ARPG on PC before, you’ll instantly feel at home with Diablo 4. The left click is your movement but if you click on an enemy, you’ll start attacking it. The right-click is dedicated to your core ability or normal attacks. The numbers 1-4 on the keyboard will serve as the different skills you choose for your class. You can open your inventory with either the “I” or “C” buttons. If you leveled up and want to spend your skill points, you can press “A” to open up the skill tree. The Escape or Tab buttons are used to open up your map. Pretty standard stuff. All of these are also customizable if you have your own preference. 

However, there are a few *very minor* things about using a mouse and keyboard in Diablo 4 that may negatively affect your gameplay. There is no default keybinding for force movement. It’s almost always recommended that if you’re playing Diablo 4 on mouse and keyboard, you bind a button (preferably the extra ones on your mouse if you have a gaming one or use the mouse wheel). Why is this important? There are certain scenarios where you would just like to move somewhere but you’ll end up attacking because you accidentally left-clicked on an enemy. There is a particular boss in Diablo 4 where one of the best strategies is to go between its legs. If you don’t set a specific bind for force movement, you’ll just end up attacking the boss rather than going under it. 

There are also some issues with regard to the precision of the mouse. For example, if you’re using a Necromancer and you want to blow up the corpses on the floor, sometimes you may think that you’re already clicking on them but you’re slightly off to the side. You end up just clicking away at nothing. This can be more problematic if more enemies are on screen and it just gets too chaotic. 

There is also a current minor bug wherein the prompts to skip or advance the dialogue don’t appear if you’re playing Diablo 4 on mouse and keyboard. The current solution for this is to Tab out of your game and come back. It doesn’t happen too often and it’s far from a game breaking experience but it’s there. 

Diablo 4 on controller

It’s important to remember that while Diablo 3 played phenomenally on a controller, it wasn’t the intended input when the game was initially developed. That’s why some UI issues were present in the console release. Diablo 4 is the first time that Blizzard develops a Diablo game with a controller as one of the main gameplay options. And it shows. 

Diablo 4 is absolutely fantastic with a controller. When I was testing out the game on the beta, I was initially using mouse and keyboard. Once the server slam weekend happened, I got curious and tried plugging in an Xbox controller. Within just a second or two, the UI changed to accommodate the controller prompts and I just played on with a buttery smooth experience.

Now with the full release, I’m kicking back and relaxing as I play the game on PS5 in all of the DualSense’s glory. It’s actually dang near flawless to play Diablo 4 on a controller. Inputs feel smooth and natural. Never at any point did I think that this was originally a PC game. Diablo 4 is built from the ground up to be both console and PC experiences and it is incredible how easy it is to switch from one input to another. 

If basing it off of a PS5 DualSense controller, Left stick is for movement and targeting certain skills and the Right stick is for target locking. The buttons for the rest of your skills are Square, Triangle, R1, L2, and R2. Up D-pad opens up a wheel where you can choose emotes, quick access to potions, and certain actions. Down D-pad activates the town portal. The L1 button is for your health potions. The options button is for your character and abilities menu. And finally, the Touch Pad activates your map. Similar to mouse and keyboard, these are also customizable based on your preferences. 

Diablo 4 with a mouse and keyboard or controller – The Verdict

Honestly? Both control options are equally excellent. If you’re a PC purist then you’ll undoubtedly go for mouse and keyboard. The minor complaints I mentioned above are easily negligible to even notice.

Additionally, using a controller, as weird as it may sound, feels so natural in a Diablo game and especially here in Diablo 4. 

Look at it this way: if you want an intense and more engaged gaming session, then go for mouse and keyboard. If you prefer to just sit back and relax while slaying hordes of demons, then a controller is an excellent choice. 

It’s truly impressive how Diablo 4 plays well on either input method. It really just comes down to how you want to play it yourself. Switching between mouse and keyboard and a controller is such a smooth experience that you shouldn’t take for granted. Just try both and see what works best for you.