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Diablo 4: Details On Season, Battle Pass Shop & More - Developer Update Livestream Summary (May 2023)

Posted: May 11, 2023

As anticipated, Blizzard and the team behind Diablo 4 showered us with quite a reasonable chunk of information for well over an hour in a jam-packed livestream. This digital downpour covered everything from post-launch content and battle passes to the tantalizing topic of cosmetics.

Intro

Admittedly, much of this might have seemed like the usual marketing spiel, with a good portion of it serving as blatant advertising for the fantastic cosmetics available in the in-game shop.

And of course, we were also repeatedly reminded that in Diablo 4, power is not something one can simply purchase with real money. However, tacked within these details were quite a few gems of truly interesting and some pretty cool information.

In this article, I will delve into the riveting topics that piqued my interest throughout the stream, providing you with a concise summary of the key points. I’ll be combing through additional details to serve you an even more comprehensive understanding ending of what’s in store.

Diablo 4 Developer Update Livestream Summary (May 2023)

Pre-Season

The first big revelation came right at the start of the stream. Season 1 will only commence approximately six weeks after the game’s launch.

So, after the official launch on June 6th, we will enter a six-week pre-season phase. During this period, we can create regular eternal characters, level them up to 100, and take our time to explore, test and check out everything that Diablo 4 has to offer before the first season officially kicks off.

During this time, there won’t be any battle pass available. But thankfully, we can still splash our cash in the item shop. I was really worried that I wouldn’t be able to spend my 200 Euros Blizzard balance, which I saved a bit on by purchasing gift cards from my partner instant gaming. So, if you also want to browse the shop at the game’s launch, save a bit.

Anyway, I had already anticipated the six week pre-season as the Diablo 4.cc website had already datamined this information during the beta phase, but I haven’t reported on it yet since the information wasn’t officially confirmed.

According to the developers, we can expect the first season to start between mid and late July, right around six weeks after the launch. Diablo 4 will feature four seasons per year with a new season rolling out every three months.

Post Launch Content

With the beginning of the first season, the so-called post-launch content support will commence, which consists of six different pillars: the seasonal questline, new gameplay and mechanics, long-term character progress, quality of life updates, new cosmetic customizations and challenging endgame content. Let’s take a closer look at some interesting information about these individual points.

Diablo 4 Content Overview

The seasonal questline will not not be an extension of the main quest of the base game. The base game’s main quest is to remain untouched by the seasons and will only be expanded upon through large paid expansions, which will come at some point in the future.

For example, the questline might be a brief side story designed to explain and introduce the new gameplay mechanics that the season spring. Each season will revolve around a particular theme and introduce unique gameplay elements. For instance, one season could focus on spirits or spectral entities. Everything related to that season, such as new activities introduced the seasonal questline, Season Journey, Battle Pass, and Cosmetics would then revolve around the theme of the spirit.

However, I want to stress that this is just an example I chose to illustrate the basic idea of seasonal themes. Initially, the team has planned that all mechanics and quests introduced within a season will disappear once the season concludes. However, this certainly does not imply that they cannot be reintroduced at a later point or if they prove to be immensely popular, they might even stay in the game for a longer period.

The developers are keen on making these decisions heavily dependent on our feedback. They want to experiment with what works, what we enjoy, and what doesn’t.

Season Journey

The Season Journey is an integral part of this long-term motivation. You can participate in the Season Journey by creating a new seasonal character and accomplishing various tasks with this character effectively playing through the chapters of the journey.

Diablo 4 Season Journey

Unlike in Diablo 3, you do not have to complete every single task to finish the respective chapter, but can selectively tackle things that are more fun for you. Upon completing a chapter, you receive crafting materials, gear, and even Legendary Aspects introduced in that season obtainable only through the Season Journey. Although you can find the corresponding legendary affixes on items, the aspects are exclusively available through the Journey.

Remember: seasons are absolutely free for all players. Moreover, you earn Grim Favors for completing tasks and chapters of the Season Journey. Grim Favors are essentially the currency with which you can unlock Battle Pass levels. So, gather Grim Favors to earn stuff in the Battle Pass.

Another way to earn Grim Favors is by leveling your seasonal character. From what I understand, however, you will only be able to level the Battle Pass if you participate in the season. So, if you create a new character in the respective season, level this character and ideally also take part in the Season Journey.

Also Read: Diablo 4: 5 Tips For Beating Ashava During Server Slam!

Battle Pass & In-Game Shop

Now, let’s move on to the Battle Pass.

The pass comes with two tracks: a free track and a premium track that will cost ten dollars. You can also purchase a premium variant for 25 dollars where you get the premium track plus 20 level skips. Of course, you can also purchase level skips with real money.

The pass includes 27 free tiers and 63 premium tiers, making it a total of 90 tiers. In the free track, you mainly get Smoldering Ashes along with a few Cosmetics.

With the ashes, you can unlock seasonal Blessings, which are a specific season-bound bonuses or essential character boosts that you can choose freely. For instance, XP boost for killing monsters, more Diablo 4 Gold for sales to Merchants, more rare resources when dismantling items, and elixir duration extension or a Top Secret boost that would probably reveal too much about the upcoming season.

Although you can, of course, earn the ashes through the Battle Pass, you can also purchase it with real money through tier skips and thus unlock it. However, you can only use it once your seasonal character has reached a certain character level threshold.

In this example, you get Smoldering Ashes on the Battle Pass Tier 15, but your seasonal character has to be level 10 in order to use it and at Tier 20, your character also has to have reached level 20. So, you can’t just purchase the boosts without playing and leveling up.

Diablo 4 Battle Pass Shop

In contrast to the free track, the premium track is exclusively composed of cosmetic items. Each season, the Battle Pass holds two cosmetic character sets that harmoniously blend with the season’s theme. The pass also offers emotes, mount cosmetics, and a myriad of other fun visually enticing elements.

Interestingly, I’ve also spotted the presence of Palladium, the real world currency equivalent for the in-game shop. Although not confirmed, this suggests the possibility that the pass could essentially pay for itself. Either way, you get your money back, then just be able to spend it in the in-game shop for even more cosmetics.

One striking difference between the Battle Pass and the shop is that the cosmetic sets found in the former are not class dependent. Thus, they can be used by any class. This is a welcome variation from the usual shop skins, which are largely class specific.

The shop items are on a weekly rotation, moreover the Shop’s AI is programmed to suggest items based on your class preferences and previous shopping behavior. Isn’t that quite convenient?

Though, I suppose it was to be expected. Each season will naturally introduce a new Battle Pass along with an array of fresh items for the shop, providing you with ample opportunities to bring your wildest in-game fantasies to life. But the improvements aren’t just about new items and challenges.

QoL Updates

Quality of Life adjustments are also high on the agenda for these seasons.

In line with the live service model, the game is intended to be continuously enhanced and adjusted. Regular balance tweaks are expected with the goal of making all classes feel equally or at least similarly powerful valuable and enjoyable to play. The developers are aware, however that, this will be an ongoing process and that there will always be a best in slot and a meta. The journey, then, is truly the destination here.

Endgame Content

Lastly, let’s talk about the aspirational challenges, the grand endgame feeds.

A few of these are already present at the game’s launch, such as the Capstone Dungeons or the level 100 Boss Endgame Content, which is likely to be the biggest challenge in the base game.

Diablo 4 Endgame Content

But with each new season, new, even bigger challenges are introduced for us to test our medal against and strive to overcome. One point the developers have made clear, however, is that they don’t want the game to keep expanding indefinitely. They don’t want players to feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of activities. This is exactly the problem that new players in games like Path of Exile often face.

Unfortunately, they haven’t clarified exactly how they plan to avoid this. And then there is also some rather disappointing news for those who enjoy competing against others. Despite the community’s strong desire for them, leaderboards won’t be introduced in Season 1 and probably not in Season 2, either. The developers are aware of the high demand for leaderboards and are working on it, but will probably have to wait about until 6 months after launch for them.

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