Blizzard's mobile-focused and free-to-play game Diablo Immortal was widely liked when it launched in 2022, but its intrusive pay-to-win microtransactions destroyed the integrity of its endgame and ultimately limited the game's potential. Because of this, many fans are worried about Diablo 4 and its own monetization schemes. Will it, like Immortal, allow players to skip the grind and buy their way to better equipment?
To address these concerns and give players a complete idea of what to expect, developer Blizzard has revealed full details about Diablo 4's monetization ahead of launch. This includes everything you need to know about the game's Battle Pass, its microtransactions Shop, and ultimately, whether or not the game is pay-to-win.
Diablo 4 Battle Pass tiers and rewards, explained
Blizzard is taking a live service approach with Diablo 4, with plans to update the game with new gameplay offerings, quests, balance changes, and (you guessed it) a new Battle Pass at the start of each season. Like the passes you'll find in other live service titles, Diablo 4's encourages you to earn XP by playing, progress through its tiers, and earn various rewards. You can also make some Battle Pass progress by completing each season's Season Journey, which is a series of gameplay objectives divided between multiple "chapters" (think Destiny 2 Seasonal Challenges, if you've played that game).
The Diablo 4 Battle Pass features both Free and Premium Tiers, with the rewards of the former available to everyone and the items from the latter exclusively available to fans that pay for the Premium Pass. Most of the rewards on the Battle Pass are cosmetic, but Season Boosts — unlocks that accelerate your leveling progress for the duration of the season — can also be obtained from it. Blizzard says these Season Boosts will only ever be on the Battle Pass' Free Tier reward track, so all players will be able to take advantage of them.
"Because they affect gameplay, Season Boosts are free rewards for all players," wrote Diablo 4 Director of Product Kegan Clark. "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."
Note that in addition to getting cosmetics that Free Tier users can't obtain, Premium Pass owners will also be able to earn Diablo 4's Premium Currency. This currency can be used to purchase items from the game's Shop, which we'll go over in the section below.
While Diablo 4 does allow players to purchase tiers to speed up their progression through the Battle Pass, fans that do this won't be able to unlock its Season Boosts faster than everyone else. This is because Season Boosts have level requirements that you have to meet before applying them.
Diablo 4 Shop cosmetics and currency
Diablo 4 also has an in-game microtransaction Shop, which players can browse and purchase cosmetic items from. As previously mentioned, this shop uses Diablo 4's Premium Currency, which can either be earned from the Premium Battle Pass or bought directly. Blizzard has stressed that the Shop is completely optional and transparent, so players don't have to engage with it if they don't want to and will be able to thoroughly inspect each item before purchasing.
The developers have also said that "the best-looking cosmetics aren't exclusive to the Shop," assuaging fan concerns that this store would be the only good source of cool looking gear transmogs.
"There are incredible pieces — Unique and Legendary quality items — for players to find without ever going to the Shop," wrote Kegan Clark. "The Shop offers more diversity of choices, not systematically better choices."
Fans should also expect most Shop items to fit in with the rest of the armor and weapon cosmetics that can be earned through regular gameplay, as Blizzard has designed them as "holistic fantasies."
At the moment, it's unclear how often the Shop will refresh, though in-game stores like this typically do so weekly. Something we do know, though, is that you'll be able to use purchased class-specific cosmetics across multiple characters in the event that you have multiple of the same class in your roster.
Is Diablo 4 pay-to-win?
Players will be relieved to know that, unlike Diablo Immortal's microtransactions, none of Diablo 4's monetization systems are pay-to-win in nature. It's impossible to buy your way to faster gameplay progression thanks to the level requirements on Battle Pass Season Boosts, and all of the unlocks from the Battle Pass' Premium Tiers and the in-game Shop are purely cosmetic.
"Nothing offered in the Shop grants a direct or indirect gameplay advantage," explained Kegan Clark. "So, while many of these may look like powerful pieces of gear, they have no in-game stats."
With that said, it's always possible that Blizzard could tweak Diablo 4's live service model in the future. If post-launch changes are made that make it possible for players to buy some kind of gameplay advantage, we'll update this article with the relevant information.
Diablo 4 is slated to fully launch on June 6, 2023 on Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One consoles, Windows PC, PS5, and PS4, with June 1 Early Access coming to fans that preorder the Digital Deluxe or Ultimate Edition. It has the potential to be one of the best Xbox games for fans of dungeon crawlers and hack-and-slash combat, and we can't wait to jump in when it arrives.
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