Diablo IV talks live-service content, seasonal structure, and monetization strategy

    
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Blizzard’s latest Diablo IV dev blog has arrived this afternoon as the studio promises “ambitious” plans for the post-launch live-service game – and that includes a season structure with “up to four Seasons a year, each with major new features, questlines, enemies, legendary items, and more.”

“Diablo IV’s Seasons are modeled after those of Diablo III. When a new season begins, all the characters from the prior season are moved to the Eternal Realm, where you can keep playing, leveling up, and collecting loot. To play in the new season, you’ll create a fresh character and experience the new seasonal features and content while leveling up alongside other players. This, along with capping paragon points in Diablo IV, ensures that your effort and skill—measured by both dexterity and theorycrafting —determine how powerful your character becomes. It also allows players who missed the last season to participate.”

Blizzard is also adamant that players “will not be able to pay for power in Diablo IV.” The game is still on track to be a “full-price game with a Cosmetics Shop and Season Pass” with seasons that will “be enjoyed by everyone.” That’s because the pass will have both free and paid tiers, with the premium version focused on “seasonally themed Cosmetics and Premium Currency.” Moreover, the free pass will include free season boosts: “There is no way to unlock more boosts, or boosts at a faster pace, by spending money.” It also sounds as if Blizzard is avoiding lockboxes.

“We want buying things to feel good–before, during, and after purchase,” the studio writes. “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.”

Activision-Blizzard is considered a controversial gaming company owing to a long string of scandals over the last few years, including the Blitzchung boycott, mass layoffs, labor disputes, and executive pay fiasco. In 2021, the company was sued by California for fostering a work environment rife with sexual harassment and discrimination, the disastrous corporate response to which compounded Blizzard’s ongoing pipeline issues and the widespread perception that its online games are in decline. Multiple state and federal agencies are investigating the company as employees unionize and call for Bobby Kotick’s resignation. As of 2022, the company is being acquired by no less than Microsoft.
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