Blizzard released the third Diablo IV Quarterly Update for 2022. Unlike the last one, which focused on the Necromancer class, today’s is all about seasonal content and the team’s post-launch plans.
The studio says it’s aware fans loved Seasons in Diablo II: Resurrected and Diablo III and have asked for even more seasonal support. Diablo IV will feature Seasons, and the first will be available soon after launch. Plus, Blizzard will have a team dedicated to Seasons that will bring players 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,” the blog reads. “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 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.”
Let’s break down each section of the blog:
Blizzard says each new season of Diablo IV will be released with a “fresh new gameplay feature and questline that introduces new challenges, mysteries, and possibilities into the level-up experience.” Each questline will reveal more of the world of Sanctuary and your character’s place in it. These questlines are also where Blizzard gets the opportunity to introduce new characters or revisit old ones.
Refreshing The Meta
Blizzard says it “will always be evaluating the state of the game to regularly revitalize older stomping grounds.” An example of this is the 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 squashes creativity,” the blog reads. “We will also be constantly adding new legendary and unique items, paragon boards, and glyphs, and more that will continually refresh the meta and create new build opportunities.”
Improving The Game
The team says it will identify quality-of-life features and polish work that can be done to improve the overall game experience, and it invites the community to vote upon their priority. Blizzard says the team can’t always switch to tackle problems immediately, but that “you can rest asured that we will be active in improving the quality of the game experience for years to come.”
New live events will crop up with each season of Diablo IV. One example of an event like this might be the warning of an impending invasion of the Drowned, and this may last an entire weekend. Or, maybe a strange peddler will arrive amidst the crags of the Dry Steppes. Blizzard says these live events “provide gateways to new adventures and unique rewards.”
“Alongside our major season releases, we see the return of the Season Journey,” the blog reads. “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. Like Diablo III, the Season Journey is free for all players. Completing Season Journey objectives also grants progress toward the Season Pass, a battle pass-style progression system that advances 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).
Blizzard says the game’s seasonal passes will recognize player dedication, with greater rewards unlocking as you play more throughout a given season. There will be a single track of rewards with the Free Tiers that are unlocked just for playing the game and leveling up, and there will be 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 fresh seasonal characters faster and more streamlined,” the blog reads. “In contract, 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 season theme, helping players show off their participation in that Season.”
Here’s more of what Blizzard has to say about the Season Pass:
- 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 cna’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.
Blizzard writes in the blog post that its primary design goal for the shop was making sure that buying items felt good, before, during, and after the purchase. It also wants purchases to feel like ones that players want to do rather than ones players need to do. The team wants players to know exactly what they’re 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,” the blog reads. “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.”
Here’s more on what Blizzard has to say about The Shop:
- 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 states.
- 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 in-game drops, 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. (Editor’s Note: while we’ll have to wait and see, cosmetics are subjective so you could end up thinking the best ones require that you spend money)
- 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 classes.
The gallery below shows screenshots of Legendary armors earned from playing the game (left) and armor cosmetics from The Shop (right):
“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,” the blog post reads. “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 Season, whether they spend anything or not. We intend to continue our dialog with players about The 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.”
And that wraps up this Diablo IV Quarterly Update.
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