It’s time for the next Diabo 4 development quarterly update and there’s a lot to cover in this installment, notably, the shop, Seasons, Season Pass, and more.
Don’t forget to check The Diablo 4 Wiki for more information as we’ve been adding to that continuously this week.
Diablo 4 Development Update – August 2022
Hello and welcome to our third Diablo IV Quarterly Update of 2022. We hope you enjoyed last quarter’s dive into the playstyles of our final launch class, the Necromancer. That blog and our previous updates can be read here if you missed out.
Today we’ll be talking about some of what’s coming to Diablo IV after the game ships. This is often referred to as a live service, and we have ambitious plans here. Our associate game director for live service, Joseph Piepiora, and our director of product, Kegan Clark, are here to talk details. Everything they describe is in addition to delivering the complete Diablo IV experience, the rich endgame features you expect at launch, and regular expansions that continue the story.
Many of you enjoy the Seasons in Diablo II: Resurrected and Diablo III and have asked for more extensive season support. We agree one of the most fun ways to play Diablo is through Seasons, so we’re making the first one available soon after launch and building a dedicated team to bring you 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. 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.
You can read about our monetization philosophy below, along with details on how the Cosmetics Shop and optional Season Pass support and enhance Seasons.
We hope you enjoy this update and look forward to your thoughts and reactions. Later this year, we’ll be testing our endgame systems. We’ll also be testing features that enable players who have completed the game’s campaign to flag it as completed for new characters they create and allow characters on the eternal realm to contribute to seasonal progress. Finally, stay tuned for a winter blog.
We’re grateful to have you with us on this journey. Thank you for playing the games we make.
Game Director, Diablo IV
Hello, Heroes of Sanctuary! My name is Joe Piepiora, the associate game director responsible for game systems and our live service. Today I finally get to talk about our high-level plans for Diablo IV’s seasonal content updates. We are in the exciting position of delivering the high-quality, quarterly releases Diablo IV deserves.
As our game director Joe Shely noted earlier, we are pursuing a seasonal reset structure for our live game—Diablo is a game about choice and possibility! We feel it is at its best when you get a clean slate to start from in a season, picking a class, customizing your build, and chasing down items that support it along the way. This affords us several advantages and chief among them is that we can really shake the box of Diablo IV with each season, creating unique experiences with each of our quarterly releases.
We think it is important that players see that the game is changing in meaningful ways. Each season will be released with a fresh new gameplay feature and questline that introduces new challenges, mysteries, and possibilities into the level-up experience. This is something players should begin to experience before the end of their first hour of play. One of the benefits of our seasonal direction is that it enables fun, new ways to play throughout your character’s progression.
Each Season’s new questline will reveal more of the world of Sanctuary and your character’s place in it. Here, we get an opportunity to introduce new characters or revisit old ones while exploring the lore and content of the season.
REFRESHING THE META
Diablo IV is a vast game—we want to ensure that we are keeping existing content and features in a place where they remain fun and challenging to participate in. To that end, we will always be evaluating the state of the game to regularly revitalize older stomping grounds.
One clear example here is looking at the relative balance between classes, builds, and powers. Diablo is a game that is about creating exciting, overpowered builds, and while we don’t want to balance the fun out of the experience, we don’t want to create situations in which imprecise tuning squash creativity.
We will also be constantly adding new legendary and unique items, paragon boards, glyphs, and more that will continually refresh the meta and create new build opportunities.
IMPROVING THE GAME
With each season we’ll be looking into ways to simply improve the player experience. As a live product, we intend to hold Diablo IV to an exceedingly high standard. We are here to build a live game that we can be proud of, and the best way to do that is by engaging our players directly.
Based on feedback that we receive, the team will identify quality-of-life features and polish work that can be done to improve the overall game experience and invite the community to vote upon their priority. While we cannot always flip a switch to tackle something immediately, you can rest assured that we will be active in improving the quality of the game experience for years to come.
Sanctuary is a living world filled with people, creatures, and factions striving to meet their own ends. Attentive players should be on the lookout for new live events that will crop up each season. An example of a live event might be the warning of an impending invasion of the Drowned, which may last a weekend, or the arrival of a strange peddler amidst the crags of the Dry Steppes. These events provide gateways to new adventures and unique rewards.
Alongside our major season releases, we see the return of the Season Journey. Players are pushed to explore Sanctuary anew, earning limited-time rewards with each chapter of the Season Journey that is completed. 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.
Like Diablo III, the Season Journey is free for all players. 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. The Season Pass has both free rewards (cosmetics, premium currency, and gameplay boosts) and paid rewards (cosmetics and premium currency only).
Hey everyone, I’m Kegan Clark, director of product for Diablo IV here to talk about our approach to live service monetization in Diablo IV. As we’ve discussed previously, Diablo IV will be a full-price game with a Cosmetics Shop and Season Pass—none of which provide any pay-for-power options. Our goal in designing our in-game purchases is that we want to create beautiful things which add value to players’ experience of the game.
The scale of Diablo IV Seasons is much more ambitious than what we’ve done in the past on Diablo III, with a large development team dedicated to Seasons after launch. Diablo IV will be supported by an army of developers for years to come. With all the exciting plans we have for Seasons, we want them to be enjoyed by everyone, regardless of whether they buy anything from the shop. I’m grateful for the opportunity to finally share more with the community about our live service model.
Seasons will add all-new gameplay, quests, challenges, meta changes, and quality-of-life improvements. The Season Pass recognizes players’ dedication, with greater rewards unlocking as you play more throughout the Season. There will be a single track of rewards with Free Tiers that are unlocked just by playing the game and leveling, and Premium Tiers which provide no in-game power or advantage over other players. The Free Tiers of the pass will provide gameplay boosts to all players—things which make the journey of leveling up a fresh seasonal character faster and more streamlined. In contrast, the Premium Tier rewards are focused on aesthetics, providing a huge value in the form of cosmetics and Premium Currency. Many of the rewards embody the seasonal theme, helping players show off their participation in that Season.
Let’s talk more about what players can expect:
The Season Pass has Free Tiers and Premium Tiers. Throughout the pass players can earn a variety of rewards for free, just by playing. At any point during the Season, players can purchase the Premium Pass to unlock the ability to earn Premium rewards tiers containing seasonally themed Cosmetics and Premium Currency.
The Season Pass awards cosmetics. Like the Shop, these don’t affect gameplay. Additionally, certain cosmetic types are exclusive to the Season Pass.
The Season Pass awards Premium Currency. Players can spend this currency on cosmetics offered in the shop.
The Season Pass awards free Season Boosts. Boosts accelerate players’ progress for the duration of the Season. For example, a Season Boost might accelerate XP earned to make leveling multiple characters within a season faster. Because they affect gameplay, Season Boosts are free rewards for all players. We want to be clear that players can’t unlock Season Boosts more quickly through purchases–there is no way to unlock more boosts, or boosts at a faster pace, by spending money.
Players can purchase Tiers-but they won’t speed up getting Season Boosts. Players can’t upgrade Season Boosts just by purchasing Tiers, because they’ll also have to earn level milestones to apply them. All other Tier rewards can be unlocked instantly by purchasing Tiers. In other words, there’s no way to shortcut getting Season Boosts by buying Tiers; they must be earned.
The Season Journey accelerates Season Pass progression. While any play style can progress through the Season Pass, min-maxers can focus on Season Journey objectives to advance more quickly.
The way we approached designing the Shop and the cosmetics within it was by thinking about the experience we want players to have. We want buying things to feel good–before, during, and after purchase. 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.
The Shop’s cosmetics build on top of the foundation of a huge variety of transmogs from weapons and armors players will find in-game. It’s also important to us that the Shop is grounded within Diablo’s world, so our cosmetics are holistic fantasies, the individual components of which can be mixed and matched with transmogs from armors acquired in-game for endless customization options.
Let’s talk more about what players can expect:
The Shop sells cosmetics for Premium Currency. Cosmetics give players even more options to customize the visual appearance of their characters. Nothing offered in the Shop grants a direct or indirect gameplay advantage. So, while many of these may look like powerful pieces of gear, they have no in-game stats.
The Shop is optional. Players can experience all core and seasonal gameplay features without spending money. Our goal is for players to enjoy going to the Shop, buy something when it catches their fancy, and walk away happy with what they bought.
The Shop is transparent. It’s important that players know exactly what to expect before making a purchase. 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.
The best-looking cosmetics aren’t exclusive to the Shop. Diablo IV will ship with hundreds of transmogs unlockable from drops in-game, including dozens of armor sets of the highest visual quality. There are incredible pieces—Unique and Legendary quality items—for players to find without ever going to the Shop. The Shop offers more diversity of choices, not systematically better choices.
Armor Transmogs in the Shop are usable on all characters of that class. Many of the cosmetics in the Shop are class-specific fantasies, which wouldn’t necessarily make sense visually on other classes. Once you unlock a cosmetic from the Shop for a given class, you can use it on every character of that class on your account. There are special cosmetics exclusive to the Season Pass which celebrate the theme of the Season and look similar across all the classes.
The most important guiding principle behind the Shop and Season Pass is to create something players love, look forward to, and appreciate being part of the game. Cosmetics in Diablo IV create new ways for players to express themselves and never provide advantages in-game. Players will experience all the fun of Seasons, whether they spend anything or not. We intend to continue our dialog with players about Shop and Season Pass, and we’ll always listen and seek out the community’s feedback about it. It is our sincerest belief that we can work together with the community to keep Diablo IV a living, evolving world for many years to come! Thanks for reading, we’ll be sharing more soon!
Wrapping up this Quarterly Update blog, we want players to take comfort in knowing Diablo IV will continue to evolve its offerings post-launch. The introduction of new Seasons, alongside live events, and a returning Season Journey will work in tandem to breathe variety into the game, while also reinforcing its core principle: empowering players to experience Sanctuary as they see fit. We cannot wait for you to explore these systems in the future!