Long gone are the days of the cartridge you purchased was the game you got. Now we've got digital downloads, games as a service, day 1 patches, and for most AAA titles - lengthy post-launch plans to keep players invested and returning throughout the game's lifecycle. It is a service to the consumer and way to stay engage with a gameplay loop you love, but it's also something for the developer and publisher's bottom line to keep the micro-transactions coming in after the base game dollars are secured. Everybody wins, so long as the content is good.
Blizzard has big plans to this effect for Diablo IV, and they've detailed them in a recent blog post. Most of this centers around seasons, the season journey, battle passes, and the shop:
- Seasons in Diablo IV will arrive in the weeks following launch, starting with Season 1. Each season will include a new gameplay feature and questline that introduces new characters, challenges, legendary aspects, meta changes, and quality of life improvements.
- Each season is supported by its own Season Journey. As players progress through the Season Journey, players can earn rewards and gain progress toward the Battle Pass, however, you cannot accelerate the Season Journey.
- The Battle Pass is a way to earn rewards and contains both Free Tier and Premium Tier that can be unlocked by progressing in the game.
- Free Tiers provide gameplay boosts unlocked by simply playing the game, allowing seasonal characters to level faster.
- Premium Tiers are unlocked by purchasing the Premium Pass. With the Premium Pass, playing through the game will allow players to unlock Premium Currency for the Shop used to purchase seasonally themed cosmetics. Players will not be able to buy power with the Premium Tiers.
- Building on top of the hundreds of armor and weapon styles players can unlock in the game, the Shop serves to offer players even more diverse cosmetic options. Nothing offered in the Shop grants a direct or indirect gameplay advantage, only cosmetics that will be on rotation periodically
So Blizzard is very clear there that power will not be associated with transactions. No pay-to-win. The only way to get stronger is to invest your time and play. That's always a good thing. Diablo IV releases June 6th for PS4 and PS5, Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One, and PC.