Blizzard has released a highly anticipated update on its monetization plans for Diablo IV. The short version of the blog post is that: Diablo IV will be a full-priced title with an in-game store and optional season passes. The only way to make your characters more powerful is to play the game. Here’s how monetization works.
Blizzard plans to structure Diablo IVs endgame around seasons. The game will run for up to four seasons a year, with the first launching shortly after the game’s release. Each new season brings additional features, balance changes and quality of life improvements, as well as new missions to complete and items to collect. As in Diablo II and III, you need to create a new character to participate in the final season. That said, your previous ones will live on in the game’s ‘Eternal Realm’ where you can continue to play them.
A by-product of that schedule is that there will be fewer season passes for players to buy in Diablo IV than in Diablo Immortal and Overwatch 2, where new ones go on sale every four and nine weeks. Each season pass will include both free and paid songs. As you progress through the first, you’ll earn rewards that make it easier to level up your characters. In particular, the free tier will award “Season Boosts”, which Blizzard says will speed up your progress for the duration of that season. You cannot spend money to buy additional Season Boosts or unlock faster.
The paid track, on the other hand, awards cosmetic items and the game’s premium currency. You can use the latter to buy cosmetic items through Diablo IVs in game store. “Nothing offered in the store gives a direct or indirect game advantage,” says Kegan Clark, Diablo IV product director. “So, while many of these may look like powerful gear, they don’t have in-game stats.”
Additionally, Blizzard claims that some of the best looking armor, weapons, and transmorgs – items you can use to change the look of a piece of gear – are found by playing the game. “The Shop offers more diversity of choices, not systematically better choices,” Clark added.
While you could argue that purchased cosmetics go against the spirit of an action RPG series like Diablo, the system gave Blizzard’s example for Diablo IV looks much better than his Diablo Immortal counterpart, as it allows you to mix and match individual items to create your own sets. Additionally, once you purchase a premium set for a specific class, you can use the included items for any character of that class in your account.
Apart from the battle pass system, there is a progression mechanism called the Season Journey (pictured above). As if it Diablo III counterpart, the Season Journey allows you to earn items and cosmetics by completing chapter tasks. The Season Journey is included in the base game, and completing the pages will also progress to the current Season Pass.
Today’s blog post follows weeks of bad press around Diablo Immortal’s aggressive monetize. In early August, YouTuber Jtisallbusiness posted a video complaining that he couldn’t participate in the endgame PVP after spending $100,000 to max out his character. Blizzard later said it would address the issue, but not before JT’s story added to the negative discourse surrounding the game. But for all the vocal complaining around Immortals monetization, it does not appear to have affected Blizzard’s profits. Eight weeks after release, the game surpassed $100 million in lifetime revenue, making it one of the fastest mobile titles to achieve that feat.
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