You might forget at this point that of all the other games ranked 90+ in 2023, Diablo 4 was one of them. It at least debuted with this score, although it dropped to 86 on PC over time. On Xbox, it maintains a 91.
Part of the reason it worked so well was its excellent campaign, easily the best in the series’ history, and some fun character kits that launched without a Diablo 3 Error 37 type disaster.
However, it’s not enough to simply launch well these days, as a game like Diablo 4 was always going to rely heavily on being a live service. We are now on the third season of this process and I wanted to try to infer whether it actually worked or not. I’m not so sure. If not from a content perspective, I really wonder how revenue could be generated given the model.
Diablo 4, for its part, has not protected any of its content behind a paywall nor does it sell power. You can buy a battle pass with cosmetics for $10, which isn’t bad, but you get access to seasonal characters and the season itself for free. On top of that. Diablo 4 runs a huge a store full of cosmetics with armor sets ranging from $20-35 for a full kit, and it feels like more are being added daily, compared to almost zero new looks “earned” in the game him -even.
I don’t think it’s… a very good model for this type of game. Even in Diablo 3, I wondered how the game was going to try to adapt to the monetization trend in the future. TO DO are you doing this as an ARPG looter? The auction house almost crashed the whole game, so you move on to cosmetics. But here you are selling extremely expensive armor sets in a game where you zoom out 500% almost at all times, and you only really see yourself in the menu and loading screens. This isn’t the first game to have this problem, but it’s still a problem. So I really wonder what level of revenue this monetization format brings in, which is more important than ever with Blizzard’s declining game roster. Hell, Diablo 4 is probably its most hyped game right now, with no real indication of what will happen elsewhere amid layoffs and canceled projects.
As for season content, I’d say we’re at about 1 for 3 right now. The initial season was simple since it was developed alongside the main game itself. Season 2 was actually pretty good with its interesting vampire powers and chaotic public events. Season 3 has been downright weird, with Blizzard essentially erasing its poor “trap” mechanic in the first week, allowing players to completely ignore it and instead focus on leveling up their little spider buddy who is easy to forget in combat most of the time. time. It’s not a good season.
There are additions to the game that go beyond seasons. Diablo did something solid by opening up Uber Unique farming to a late-game boss like Duriel, although players have long been exhausted from having to farm or purchase materials to even summon him in the first place , because it doesn’t seem worth it. Additional elements, such as scales, have been delayed, and it is unclear how these will shape engagement.
My pattern of play here has been to log in, go through the seasonal “storyline” which takes maybe an hour or two, then create a character between 80 and 100. Then I stop and continue this process which takes maybe 1-2 weeks of casual play. Others may stay longer for the Uber grind or multiple characters, I just don’t have to.
Given that Diablo 3’s seasons lasted for ages, it stands to reason that Diablo 4’s will as well. I just don’t know if it prints money like Blizzard needs given its weird model, and I don’t know how hooked non-hardcore players have been with only one good season out of three so far. ‘now. I think things might change once we finally get a proper expansion for the game later this year, but in terms of live play? It’s been really hit or miss, and especially something that’s safe to ignore among the more interesting games out there.
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