Blizzard Entertainment has revealed that while the game does in fact feature a season pass and live-service content, Diablo IV will allegedly have no loot boxes or pay-to-win elements
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Speaking as to “some of what’s coming to Diablo IV after the game ships”, the developer explained in their latest Diablo IV Quarterly Update that in addition to “the rich endgame features you expect at launch, and regular expansions that continue the story”, the game would also feature a prominent offering of “live service” content.
For those unfamiliar, the concept of ‘live service’ support, also known as Games as a Service (GaaS), typically refers to a business model where the game continues to be provide players with new content after launch, typically in exchange for more purchases from the players.
Rather than DLC expansion packs, the content can be drip-fed to players by requiring them to reach certain in-game milestones within a certain time period to unlock them.
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Noting that many players “have asked for more extensive season support,” Diablo IV director Joe Shely announced that the first of these GaaS content additions would be “available soon after launch” in the form of the game’s first Season Pass.
“[We’re] building a dedicated team to bring you up to four Seasons a year, each with major new features, questlines, enemies, legendary items, and more,” said Shely.
The director then explained that “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,” Shely assured. “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.”
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This system, he detailed, “along with capping paragon points in Diablo IV,” was done in order to ensure that a player’s “effort and skill—measured by both dexterity and theorycrafting” would be the sole determinant of how powerful their character becomes.
“It also allows players who missed the last season to participate,” Shely asserted, before shocking players with the revelation that, “This season design requires that all sources of character power come from playing the game, so you will not be able to pay for power in Diablo IV.”
In other words, Diablo IV will not have lootboxes or any other pay-to-win offerings.
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Later in the blog post, the game’s associate game director Joe Piepiora and director of product Kegan Clark elaborated on the differences between the game’s free-to-all-players Season Journey system and its two-tiered Season Pass.
“[In the Season Journey] players are pushed to explore Sanctuary anew, earning limited-time rewards with each chapter of the Season Journey that is completed,” said Piepiora. “Completing the Season Journey is quite a feat, with the final step demanding the character overcome an extremely difficult encounter with an especially deadly foe.
“With future Season Journeys, we are regularly adding pinnacle-level difficulty challenges for players to complete, proving their worth and earning unique cosmetic rewards besides,” he added. “Completing Season Journey objectives also grants progress toward the Season Pass, a new feature with a battle pass-style progression that advances alongside the Season Journey, enabling players to earn even more rewards just by playing.”
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Affirming that “Diablo IV will be a full-price game with a Cosmetics Shop and Season Pass—none of which provide any pay-for-power options”, Clark then detailed how each Season Pass will reward players in both its free and paid premium tiers with “cosmetics”, “premium currency”, and “free Season Boosts”, a power-up which “accelerate players’ progress for the duration of the Season” and cannot be purchased from any of the in-game stores.
Further, he disclosed that the while “Players can purchase [Season Pass] Tiers”, doing so “won’t speed up getting Season Boosts.”
“In other words, there’s no way to shortcut getting Season Boosts by buying Tiers,” declared Clark. “They must be earned.”
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Drawing his overview of the system to a close, the director of product noted that “the Season Journey accelerates Season Pass progression,” and thus “while any play style can progress through the Season Pass, min-maxers can focus on Season Journey objectives to advance more quickly.”
Briefly turning next to the game’s cosmetic shop, Clark asserted that not only would its offerings be “optional”, but that it would be transparent in its transactions.
“It’s important that players know exactly what to expect before making a purchase,” he said. “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.”
Diablo IV is set to hit the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC platforms sometime in 2023.
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