Diablo IV will have “recurring” expansions, free seasons, and paid battle passes

Diablo IV arrives next summer, and while early impressions have been good, there’s an understandable concern about how the game will be monetized. After all, Blizzard recently released a very Diablo Immortal is aggressively monetized, with players literally able to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a single character if they wanted to. Going back even further, Diablo III had its own monetization problems, including the much-mocked real money auction house.

Well, in a new interview with Eurogamer, Diablo IV director Joe Shelley outlined Blizzard’s plans to monetize the game. In the long and short term, while they won’t get caught up in some free-to-play gameplay scheme, they’ll take advantage of all the tools of the modern AAA industry to get a little extra cash from players. That means a real in-game cash store, that means paid battle passes (or season tickets as they’re called), that means premium expansions.

“The launch of Diablo 4 is just the beginning. The team building Diablo 4 will move from building Diablo 4 to working on the live service, working on our own expansions for the game. [release] Frequent expansions that contain new stories, new missions, new chapters — those kinds of things; And our live service, which will show seasons every quarter that includes major new seasonal features on a much larger scale than what we’ve seen with things like Diablo 3, because again, all the people who build the game will be working on the seasons, working on the expansions. And yes, it will contain a season pass that will serve as a companion to each season and its seasonal features.

The Season Pass is the companion to the Season itself. […] All seasonal features and the seasonal experience that you will get are completely free, and everyone who plays, who has Diablo 4, will have access to them. Moreover, the season pass gives access to additional cosmetics and other cool things that you can get. But it is not at all [required] – You don’t have to buy it to participate in the seasons.

On the subject of the shop and season tickets, Blizzard reiterated that the things they offer will be purely cosmetic — not “pay for power.” Obviously, this won’t be the case for many of the things added with the expansions.

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Moving on to another concern – will Diablo IV, like every recent Blizzard release, suffer from long queues and other online issues at launch? Shely swears it won’t be a problem this time around, and Blizzard is in fact overly poised to crush players at launch.

“We’ve worked hard on our network infrastructure, on our server infrastructure, and we’ve learned lessons from other launches, because of course at Blizzard we have other titles.” […] So we’re taking lessons from other launches we’ve done recently, and our server architecture is very robust. We’re getting ready to host more players than we think there will actually be, and we’re very committed to a smooth launch and getting people to play on day one.”

Activision Blizzard has faced a series of lawsuits and other legal actions in the wake of a lawsuit brought by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) alleging widespread gender discrimination and sexual harassment at the Call of Duty publisher. You can get more details about that unfolding story here.

Diablo IV launches on PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, and PS5 on June 6, 2023.

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