The quarterly update is here for Diablo 4 and it goes into detail on a number of features in Diablo 4. At the forefront is the season pass design and how Blizzard is approaching live-service delivery of content. Let’s dive into all of the details.
There is a lot of content in the quarterly update so we encourage you to visit Blizzard’s Diablo site directly to consume all of the information. Of note, and especially after the criticism leveled at Diablo Immortal, one of the largest concerns for players is how Diablo 4 is monetized. Here is what Blizzard had to say on those aspects:
Hey everyone, I’m Kegan Clark, director of product for Diablo IV here to talk about our approach to live service monetization in Diablo IV. As we’ve discussed previously, Diablo IV will be a full-price game with a Cosmetics Shop and Season Pass—none of which provide any pay-for-power options. Our goal in designing our in-game purchases is that we want to create beautiful things which add value to players’ experience of the game.
The scale of Diablo IV Seasons is much more ambitious than what we’ve done in the past on Diablo III, with a large development team dedicated to Seasons after launch. Diablo IV will be supported by an army of developers for years to come. With all the exciting plans we have for Seasons, we want them to be enjoyed by everyone, regardless of whether they buy anything from the shop. I’m grateful for the opportunity to finally share more with the community about our live service model.
Seasons will add all-new gameplay, quests, challenges, meta changes, and quality-of-life improvements. The Season Pass recognizes players’ dedication, with greater rewards unlocking as you play more throughout the Season. There will be a single track of rewards with Free Tiers that are unlocked just by playing the game and leveling, and Premium Tiers which provide no in-game power or advantage over other players. The Free Tiers of the pass will provide gameplay boosts to all players—things which make the journey of leveling up a fresh seasonal character faster and more streamlined. In contrast, the Premium Tier rewards are focused on aesthetics, providing a huge value in the form of cosmetics and Premium Currency. Many of the rewards embody the seasonal theme, helping players show off their participation in that Season.
Let’s talk more about what players can expect:
The Season Pass has Free Tiers and Premium Tiers. Throughout the pass players can earn a variety of rewards for free, just by playing. At any point during the Season, players can purchase the Premium Pass to unlock the ability to earn Premium rewards tiers containing seasonally themed Cosmetics and Premium Currency.
The Season Pass awards cosmetics. Like the Shop, these don’t affect gameplay. Additionally, certain cosmetic types are exclusive to the Season Pass.
The Season Pass awards Premium Currency. Players can spend this currency on cosmetics offered in the shop.
The Season Pass awards free Season Boosts. Boosts accelerate players’ progress for the duration of the Season. For example, a Season Boost might accelerate XP earned to make leveling multiple characters within a season faster. Because they affect gameplay, Season Boosts are free rewards for all players. We want to be clear that players can’t unlock Season Boosts more quickly through purchases–there is no way to unlock more boosts, or boosts at a faster pace, by spending money.
Players can purchase Tiers-but they won’t speed up getting Season Boosts. Players can’t upgrade Season Boosts just by purchasing Tiers, because they’ll also have to earn level milestones to apply them. All other Tier rewards can be unlocked instantly by purchasing Tiers. In other words, there’s no way to shortcut getting Season Boosts by buying Tiers; they must be earned.
The Season Journey accelerates Season Pass progression. While any play style can progress through the Season Pass, min-maxers can focus on Season Journey objectives to advance more quickly.
The way we approached designing the Shop and the cosmetics within it was by thinking about the experience we want players to have. We want buying things to feel good–before, during, and after purchase. So, if players choose to buy something, it should be because they want to, not because they feel like they have to. It should also be clear to players exactly what they are getting before they choose to buy, with no unpleasant surprises.
The Shop’s cosmetics build on top of the foundation of a huge variety of transmogs from weapons and armors players will find in-game. It’s also important to us that the Shop is grounded within Diablo’s world, so our cosmetics are holistic fantasies, the individual components of which can be mixed and matched with transmogs from armors acquired in-game for endless customization options.
Let’s talk more about what players can expect:
The Shop sells cosmetics for Premium Currency. Cosmetics give players even more options to customize the visual appearance of their characters. Nothing offered in the Shop grants a direct or indirect gameplay advantage. So, while many of these may look like powerful pieces of gear, they have no in-game stats.
The Shop is optional. Players can experience all core and seasonal gameplay features without spending money. Our goal is for players to enjoy going to the Shop, buy something when it catches their fancy, and walk away happy with what they bought.
The Shop is transparent. It’s important that players know exactly what to expect before making a purchase. We’ve built preview functionality that enables players to closely examine every detail of the cosmetic on their own characters before deciding to make a purchase.
The best-looking cosmetics aren’t exclusive to the Shop. Diablo IV will ship with hundreds of transmogs unlockable from drops in-game, including dozens of armor sets of the highest visual quality. There are incredible pieces—Unique and Legendary quality items—for players to find without ever going to the Shop. The Shop offers more diversity of choices, not systematically better choices.
Armor Transmogs in the Shop are usable on all characters of that class. Many of the cosmetics in the Shop are class-specific fantasies, which wouldn’t necessarily make sense visually on other classes. Once you unlock a cosmetic from the Shop for a given class, you can use it on every character of that class on your account. There are special cosmetics exclusive to the Season Pass which celebrate the theme of the Season and look similar across all the classes.
The most important guiding principle behind the Shop and Season Pass is to create something players love, look forward to, and appreciate being part of the game. Cosmetics in Diablo IV create new ways for players to express themselves and never provide advantages in-game. Players will experience all the fun of Seasons, whether they spend anything or not. We intend to continue our dialog with players about Shop and Season Pass, and we’ll always listen and seek out the community’s feedback about it. It is our sincerest belief that we can work together with the community to keep Diablo IV a living, evolving world for many years to come! Thanks for reading, we’ll be sharing more soon!
Diablo 4 is shaping up to be an incredible experience and one we are very excited for. That said, we would be lying if we said we didn’t have concerns with an approach that includes a season pass and paid cosmetics on top of a full-priced game. We truly hope Blizzard finds an agreeable path forward here for everyone.
We’d love to hear from the community on what you think so leave a comment or tag us on Twitter!