Categories: Games News

Diablo 4 monetization will not have pay-to-win microtransactions


Blizzard’s highly-anticipated upcoming game “Diablo IV,” slated for release sometime in 2023, will have no pay-to-win mechanics, and only cosmetic items will be available in its in-game store, the company announced Thursday. The development team went into more detail about the planned monetization model of “Diablo IV” along with the season pass system, design philosophy and live events in its third quarterly update “Diablo IV” of 2022.

The in-game store for “Diablo IV,” simply called the store, will feature a variety of alternate skins (or transfigurations) for armor and weapons. Players will be able to use individual transmogrification pieces from an armor set to create a custom look for their characters, similar to the “World of Warcraft” transmogrification system. Transfigurations can be purchased with “Diablo IV” premium currency, which can be purchased with real-world dollars or earned by grinding the game’s Season Pass for rewards.

Blizzard Entertainment Senior Director of Global PR, Christy Um, confirmed that all purchasable in-game items are purely superficial and will not provide any gameplay benefits.

“Items purchased are cosmetic only,” Um wrote in an email to The Washington Post. “Cosmetics do not affect the game. Therefore, players cannot pay for the power.”

Activision Blizzard is using “Diablo IV” to argue against unions

“Diablo IV” product manager Kegan Clark described the store as optional, stressing that the game’s most interesting transformations won’t be locked behind a paywall. The gear players earn through in-game drops will be “of the highest visual quality.”

“The nicest cosmetics aren’t exclusive to the store,” Clark wrote in the quarterly “Diablo IV” update. “There are amazing pieces, unique quality items and legendary items, that players can find without ever going to the store. The store offers more variety of options, not systematically better options.

Clark also mentioned that the “Diablo IV” team will continuously interact with players to get feedback on the store and season pass.

All in all, this is a markedly different monetization model than the last Diablo title, the mobile game “Diablo Immortal.” Players have criticized “Diablo Immortal” for its microtransaction system, which some have criticized as exploitative. The endgame of all Diablo titles has always been about optimizing your character as much as possible by finding the best gear. “Diablo Immortal” continues this tradition, but unlike previous Diablo titles, maxing out your character will require some very expensive microtransactions.

A breakdown by gaming news channel Rock, Paper, Shotgun estimates the cost of decking out a character with the best gear at around $51,000. A “Diablo Immortal” player lost $100,000 on a character and was subsequently locked out of the game’s PvP queue (Blizzard responded to the player that it is being fixed). The monetization of “Diablo Immortal” has been a black eye on what is otherwise a fun game and has raised concerns about what to expect from the next entry in the franchise.

That approach with “Diablo IV” appears to be a course correction and an olive branch for fans, even though parent company Activision Blizzard used the game to argue against a unionization vote at its Blizzard studio Albany. During a hearing with the National Labor Relations Board, lawyers representing Activision Blizzard presented extensive documentation and assets from the development of “Diablo IV,” a move Blizzard Albany workers opposed as the same workers cannot update their own portfolios for a job search until a game is finished and submitted. The lawyers also shared the names of quality assurance testers working on “Diablo IV” along with their respective cover letters, social media accounts and LinkedIn profiles, which workers feared could invite harassment from the public For reasons that are unclear, Activision Blizzard’s lawyers argued that Blizzard Albany employees who work on “World of Warcraft” or “Overwatch” should not vote in union elections, while acknowledging that employees who work on games of Diablo have the right to vote.


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