It’s no coincidence that Diablo 4 is the fastest-selling game in Blizzard’s history. Given the long wait, the series’ greater appeal compared to Warcraft, Overwatch, and Hearthstone – a record-breaking release was inevitable.
However, each big release introduces a large number of new players, many of whom have never played a Diablo game before and may not be familiar with what the series is about. Even for longtime fans, seasonal content is always the realm of the most hardcore players, and the type that never stops playing.
When Blizzard announced that Diablo 4 would introduce a battle pass for the first time in the series with each new season. Suddenly, everyone is paying close attention to the seasons. This is where the problem lies.
Diablo 4 launches in an atmosphere where battle passes are expected for every game pretending to promise a live service. They are in free games as well as paid/premium games. The lack of a battle pass in major releases these days would be news.
This also means that the Battle Pass model has become fairly standardized. How you earn tiers varies from game to game and is often debatable, but the structure (free and paid tiers), content (cosmetics and XP boosts), and even runtime are all similar across many games. Games with Battle Pass.
The Battle Pass usually releases with a new season every quarter. A new season means new content that varies depending on the game. But you can expect new maps (if it’s a shooter game), new in-game items, new characters, new skins, camouflages, and more.
The idea of seasons in Diablo games is almost as old as the franchise itself, but in the case of the Battle Pass, it’s quite the opposite. Blizzard decided to combine the Battle Pass with their existing seasonal structure, and here’s the problem.
Diablo 4 is, for better or worse, late to the battle pass party. That is, players are expected to play by rules that have already been established. To stand out, you have to offer something the traditional Battle Pass doesn’t. While Call of Duty’s Battle Pass contains enough currency to pay for, Halo Infinite doesn’t expire once purchased.
Diablo 4’s battle pass offers nothing out of the ordinary, so it makes sense for players to expect it to work just as it does in Fortnite, Apex Legends, Call of Duty, and more. Of course not. By combining the old Diablo season style with the Battle Pass, players now have to play by Blizzard’s rules.
Diablo Seasons requires you to create a new character and race with other players to the maximum level to earn the rewards of the new season. Existing characters cannot participate in the new content, so you will have to start from scratch. This is one reason why seasons of Diablo are only events for the game’s most die-hard fans, while everyone else simply continues to level up their existing characters.
In a recent livestream, Blizzard confirmed that this structure will return in Diablo 4. every Players will need to start a new character to participate in the new season content. Unfortunately, this means that Battle Pass progression can only be made by characters created for this season or for that season.
This is where the backlash begins. Given that Diablo 4 has attracted a large audience so far, the idea of having to start fresh every season is unreasonable to many. First of all, Diablo 4’s grind is incredibly slow, especially once you get to levels 80-85 and above.
There’s no question to learn that players need to park a character they’ve effectively invested dozens of hours into to progress with a new character in each new season. It’s also worth bearing in mind that many existing Diablo players, like myself, never bothered to participate in seasons of past games. Now you have to to experience new quests and earn Battle Pass rewards (which you have already paid for).
This sentiment is evident in most of the replies to this tweet, in which Diablo General Manager Rod Fergusson responded to a question from journalist Paul Tassi.
Paul, yes you need to create a new season character to participate in season quest lines, mechanics, season journeys and battle passes. Playing through the campaign as a seasonal character (if you want or need to complete it) also advances the Season Journey and Battle Pass.
— Rod Ferguson (@RodFergusson) June 19, 2023
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Campaigns for season characters can be skipped (if completed once) and new characters will still exist after the season ends, but may still be too much for the player. But are there good reasons for concern?
I say we need to see it unfold before we panic. There’s still a lot we don’t know about how far Diablo 4’s battle pass will evolve. Also, you haven’t seen the rewards yet, or you really don’t know how meaningful the new content is.
Diablo 4’s battle pass lasts a bit longer than most modern games, which can end up being an easier pill to swallow. Since this special season and battle pass mishmash is new to Diablo, there’s good reason to believe that Blizzard can change direction, or at least make some concessions, for future seasons.
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