In a new livestream and developer blog, Blizzard has detailed its plans for the post-launch Diablo 4 experience, focusing on seasons, battle passes (including pricing), and the shop. The takeaway is that it all sounds pretty standard for a live service game, with one exception: there’s a heavy emphasis on seasonal content that, in the tradition of Diablo, can only be accessed by starting a new seasonal character. Blizzard, oddly, does not go out of its way to explain this, perhaps assuming that the Diablo community will take it as read, but it has been confirmed in previous interviews.
Seasons in Diablo 4 will be released quarterly, with the first arriving “mid to late July” — just a few weeks after the game’s June 22 launch. Before accessing it, you must complete the game’s campaign on one of the characters. The season will introduce new questlines that are distinct from the campaign narrative, as well as new gameplay features that will alter the experience of leveling and developing your new character — all of which will be season-exclusive and will be retired at the end of the three months.
Seasonal Character Will Be Transferred To The Eternal Realm
Your seasonal character, on the other hand, will be transferred to the Eternal Realm at the end of the season and will remain playable. Every season will also include standard patch content, such as balance changes and quality-of-life enhancements. A Season Journey, similar to Diablo 3, will guide you through each season, consisting of a series of achievement-style objectives to complete and organized into chapters. One difference is that you will no longer be required to complete every single objective in a chapter in order to progress to the next one, allowing you to pick and choose based on your playstyle.
Wowhead posted a Tweet about Diablo 4’s Battle Pass. You can see the Tweet below.
Objectives grant you crafting materials and legendary aspects for the Codex of Power (which boost your character’s skills in the same way that legendary loot items do) — as well as Favor, the resource that levels up Diablo 4’s battle pass. Battle passes will also be refreshed every three months to coincide with the start of new seasons. While Favor can be earned in other ways — completing quests, grinding monsters, participating in world events — making it a reward for Season Journey objectives appears to put the seasonal play style of repeatedly starting new characters (as opposed to grinding the endgame) at the heart of the game’s long-term post-launch reward structure and the optimal way to play.
The Three Flavours Of Battle Pass
The battle pass will come in three flavors: free, premium, and accelerated. The free version has 27 tiers and rewards players with cosmetic items and Smoldering Ashes, which can be spent on XP, gold boosts, and other seasonal character bonuses. These boosts have level requirements and can only be obtained through the free battle pass. The premium battle pass has 63 additional tiers that reward you with season-specific cosmetics and platinum currency that can be spent in the game’s shop.
The accelerated pass is the same as the regular pass, but it allows you to skip ahead 20 tiers and comes with a special cosmetic. The platinum equivalent of $9.99 and $24.99 will be charged for the premium and accelerated passes, respectively. The shop only sells cosmetic items for customizing your character’s appearance. These are all grounded in Diablo 4’s dark fantasy aesthetic. Unlike the battle passes cosmetic rewards, they are frequently class-specific, allowing you to “reinforce the fantasy of your choice for your character,” as Blizzard put it. Blizzard demonstrated purchased armor cosmetics that had a different vibe than legendary armor earned through gameplay but were not necessarily more (or less) impressive.
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The shop’s inventory will rotate regularly, and your purchases will be available for any character of that class on your account and across multiple platforms. I’m not upset that Blizzard appears to be encouraging players to create new seasonal characters by emphasizing them in the game’s post-launch content and battle pass rewards — creating new characters to experiment with different classes and builds is one of the most enjoyable ways to play Diablo. However, with the emphasis elsewhere on an MMO-style persistent world and a meaty endgame, there appears to be tension between the two playstyles here. It will be fascinating to see how the Diablo 4 developers handle this conflict.
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