The writers over at Blizzard Watch have unearthed information that may point to plans for Diablo III to go free-to-play on PC. Earlier this week, the normal option to buy the game for $19.99 on the Blizzard store was temporarily replaced by a broken link with a price of “Free to level 70.” Blizzard’s official response on twitter claimed that the price change was “just a display bug,” and that it was accidentally pointing to the Chinese beta version of the game, which currently has a free-to-play level cap of 70.
Fans have continued to speculate on how this business model could could apply to the western market. Diablo III already has a free trial that limits players to Act 1 zones and a maximum level of 12, and that could easily be increased to level 70. The interesting thing is that level 70 is the current level cap for the Reaper of Souls expansion, not the base game. Some believe this hints that at some point in the future, Blizzard may make the base game and RoS free-to-play in the west too if a new expansion raises the level cap. Other supporting information for this hypothesis includes the fact that Blizzard has been hiring new art staff for an undisclosed Diablo-based product that could be an expansion.