In an update today, Blizzard said that Diablo 4 will be backed by an “army of developers” who will be working on new seasonal content over the next few years. quarterly update (opens in new tab)including updates and new content, from Polish and Quality of Life features to major new features, quests, enemies, items, live events, and of course, the Season Pass.
Seasons of Diablo 4 will be modeled after Diablo 3: players will start each new season with a brand new character (existing characters will still be accessible in Eternal Realm), items from the previous season or Gold coins are not inherited.
“We think it’s important for players to see that the game is changing in meaningful ways,” wrote associate game director Joe Piola. “Each season will release new game features and questlines, bringing new challenges, mysteries and possibilities to the level-up experience.”
Seasonal live events may include weekend invasions of drownings (warning in advance, so players are prepared) or the arrival of new (possibly deceased) merchants. Diablo 3’s Season Journey is also returning, offering limited-time rewards for players who can complete certain missions. Season Journeys are separate from the Season Pass and are free to all players, but completing journey objectives will earn Season Pass progress.
The Season Pass will offer cosmetic items and premium currency on both free and paid bonus tracks. Boosters that speed up the progression of the season will also be available in the pass, but since they affect the gameplay, they will only appear on the free track – while players can purchase season pass levels directly, doing so will not speed up the season pass Access speeds are improved as they are also related to progress milestones. “In other words, there’s no quick way to get a season boost by buying tiers,” said Kegan Clark, Diablo 4 Product Director. “They have to earn it.”
Premium currency earned in the Season Pass can be spent in the Diablo IV Item Shop, but Blizzard reiterates that all items sold are cosmetic only. It also promises that the best-looking merchandise — admittedly, a subjective opinion — won’t be exclusive to the store, though some themed items will be exclusive to specific season passes.
“Diablo IV will ship with hundreds of transmog that can be unlocked from in-game drops, including dozens of armor sets of the highest visual quality,” Clark wrote. “There are incredible creations — unique and legendary quality items — for players to find without going to the store. The store offers a more diverse selection than a systematically better selection.”
Diablo 4 is still a good option, but it’s understandable that Blizzard wants to address concerns about monetization plans sooner rather than later.Diablo 3 Memories of the Infamous Real Money Auction House (opens in new tab) Still lingering like the smell of old cat food at the bottom of kitchen trash, Blizzard has faced a nasty backlash lately (opens in new tab) About microtransactions in Diablo Immortal.But the game is free and largely focused on mobile platforms where aggressive monetization is more common and widely accepted (and has been a huge success) (opens in new tab) therefore). However, Diablo 4 will be a pricier version on PC and consoles, and audiences are more sensitive (and less forgiving) to that practice.
In fact, Blizzard had previously promised that Diablo 4 wouldn’t be like Diablo Immortal: when news of the in-game store first leaked in June (opens in new tab)Diablo boss Rod Ferguson quickly jumped on Twitter, assuring agitated fans that the paid content it offers will be “centered around optional cosmetics and a full story-driven expansion.”
“We intend to continue our conversation with players about the store and season pass, and we will always be listening and seeking feedback from the community on this,” Clark wrote. “Our most sincere belief is that we can work with the community to make Diablo IV a living, growing world for many years to come.”
Diablo 4 is expected to arrive sometime in 2023.