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Starym

Diablo 4 Will Feature Cosmetic Microtransactions

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While Blizzard have been somewhat cagey about this topic in various interviews, it did slip out that they are in fact planning on having microtransactions in the game. We have separate information from a few sources, beginning with Quin69's original interview with lead designer Joe Shely:

Quote

Diablo 4 will be available as a base game, we’re going to have expansions. You will also be able to acquire cosmetics in the game. It’s very early… but yes.

Now, we didn't really need this confirmation to know there will be MTXes in the game, as the horse customization system shown off at the Diablo 4: Unveiled panel was a pretty definitive sign, and a game like Diablo is a pretty solid fit for cosmetics.

Shely also reiterated what we heard in several different interviews and panels as well, where it was very definitively stated that you will not be able to buy power in the game. With the auction house also being confirmed as not returning, and the most powerful items in the game being non-tradeable, it seems we really will have to get the very top gear ourselves. He continued to clarify that they don't know what form these cosmetic MTXes will take, although again, considering the horse armor and customization, we'd say they have at least some idea.

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A lot of people are very opposed to any form of MTX in a Diablo game, but as always it all comes down to execution. Will the purchasable cosmetics be the best looking gear in the game? Will they overshadow the endgame and most powerful gear you have to work hard to get? Or will it just be different options and perhaps weird concepts that don't fit with actual gear in the game. We can safely eliminate the Asian MMO route where a fantasy RPG suddenly gets modern day cop outfits and other completely immersion-breaking cosmetics, at least.

Another way that's really worked well in the past is the Destiny model... or, well, the OLD Destiny model - where you could get a lot/a majority of the cosmetics just by playing the game enough, with 2 separate currencies for buying cosmetics - one for real money and one you can earn in-game. The point being that while everyone (rightly) recoils at the mere mention of microtransactions, they can actually be beneficial to a game if done correctly - Diablo 3 would have been updated and improved much more if it had a steady revenue stream coming in, perhaps even getting a second expansion, and would it really have been that horrible if players were able to just buy the seasonal wings, portraits etc from the conquests?

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As for Diablo 4, aside from the clearly already planned horse cosmetics, there are plenty of avenues they could go with the MTXes, avoiding the inevitable trouble that would come from selling really cool looking armor set visuals. There are plenty of things they could add that wouldn't really impact the game at all, like additional head customization like scars, tattoos etc, banner additions (if they return), portrait frames, UI customization, and a lot more. Now sure, the more cynical among us might think that one of the big reasons Blizzard went the shared world route this time around is to make cosmetics more valuable, as you'll be showing off to random people all the time as you pass them by in the world, but even if that were the case as long as they don't go overboard with what they sell, it should be fine.

In any case, there is a way to do MTXes well, and considering how much attention Blizzard are paying to the community's wishes, Diablo 4 may get out of the MTX quagmire relatively intact, or perhaps even be better for it.

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Other Diablo 4 articles:

Check out our BlizzCon 2019 Content Hub for more interviews and info!

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I mean, microtransactions are fine in a free to play game; Dota 2 is probably the best example.     It's free to play, and none of the transactions can actually give you more power (They're entirely cosmetic).     Moreover all of them can also be gotten through playing the game long enough.

Diablo 4 though is almost certainly going to come with a $59.99 retail price, and some $29-39 expansions.    Adding microtransactions for cosmetics is already fairly scummy with those figures in place.    If they go "full Bethesda" and start selling Horse Armor that gives more bag space or something, I may actually be done with them.     Haven't bought an EA game in over a decade now.

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1 hour ago, Migol said:

Diablo 4 though is almost certainly going to come with a $59.99 retail price, and some $29-39 expansions.    Adding microtransactions for cosmetics is already fairly scummy with those figures in place.    If they go "full Bethesda" and start selling Horse Armor that gives more bag space or something, I may actually be done with them.

I'm not well versed on Bethesda games because IMO they aren't even as fun as watching snails race, but if horse armor were to give more bag space, then it would no longer be purely cosmetic. I don't see how something totally non-essential and purely aesthetic is "scummy" - but to each his own?

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22 minutes ago, darkinchworm said:

I'm not well versed on Bethesda games because IMO they aren't even as fun as watching snails race, but if horse armor were to give more bag space, then it would no longer be purely cosmetic. I don't see how something totally non-essential and purely aesthetic is "scummy" - but to each his own?

This is correct, bag space = power and they specifically said they wouldnt be selling that (because if they did they would instantly lose basically their entire player base).

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30 minutes ago, darkinchworm said:

I'm not well versed on Bethesda games because IMO they aren't even as fun as watching snails race, but if horse armor were to give more bag space, then it would no longer be purely cosmetic. I don't see how something totally non-essential and purely aesthetic is "scummy" - but to each his own?

Because you are going to be paying a full price premium for the game already, they should be unlockables....not just another means to squeeze more money out of the player base, aesthetic or not.

Edited by Granis

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So long as it ensures frequent gameplay updates and won't affect gameplay, I'm down for it.

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D4 is not a F2P game, it's B2P game, meaning the MTX can knick right off. Cosmetic or not, I don't give a flying fruitbat about that, if you're paying sticker price then the only extra should involve expansions, nothing else.

But of course gaming companies aren't about making money anymore, they are about making ALL the money. Gotta milk that last drop.

 

4 hours ago, Stan said:

So long as it ensures frequent gameplay updates and won't affect gameplay, I'm down for it.

That system already existed, it was called expansion packs. It worked well for a long time, but oh no, why bother putting out 12-18 hours of extra gameplay when you can charge the same price for a bit of bling that no-one is even paying attention to.

Edited by tkioz
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1 hour ago, tkioz said:

But of course gaming companies aren't about making money anymore, they are about making ALL the money. Gotta milk that last drop.

Having microtransactions in a full price game is bad enough, but I also wonder what form these cosmetics are going to take. D4 is supposed to be way darker than D3 (still looks familiar enough to me, a little closer to D3 than D2, imo), but if they are going overboard with cosmetics, it's going to take some of that serious, dark tone away. Seeing people running around with mini Diablos, Azmodans etc., while wearing colorful wings... Unless they will only introduce something more mundane, but I doubt about that.

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Hmm, I dunno. I really don't believe micro-transactions really improve updates and the like. I believe it will end up like the D3 auction house. Nobody really wants to pay for something in game that they would much rather earn. Even if blizzard were to make it obtainable in game there is a high chance they would make it really grindy. Just to encourage players to buy it. It always starts with cosmetics then it goes to gear boxes. We as their fans should never give them an inch.

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11 hours ago, Migol said:

Diablo 4 though is almost certainly going to come with a $59.99 retail price, and some $29-39 expansions.    Adding microtransactions for cosmetics is already fairly scummy with those figures in place. 

Yea, I don't understand the whole underlining goal of selling cosmetics... sure it's to make money. But they will probably make plenty of money from the base game + the expansions they release. They should have gone the Borderlands 3 route, that game practically HANDS you cosmetics for free, and you can buy them with the ingame currency it has.

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9 hours ago, Gozzreal said:

Hmm, I dunno. I really don't believe micro-transactions really improve updates and the like. I believe it will end up like the D3 auction house. Nobody really wants to pay for something in game that they would much rather earn. Even if blizzard were to make it obtainable in game there is a high chance they would make it really grindy. Just to encourage players to buy it. It always starts with cosmetics then it goes to gear boxes. We as their fans should never give them an inch.

Um what game started with cosmetic MTX and then moved on to paying for actual gear?

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12 hours ago, tkioz said:

D4 is not a F2P game, it's B2P game, meaning the MTX can knick right off. Cosmetic or not, I don't give a flying fruitbat about that, if you're paying sticker price then the only extra should involve expansions, nothing else.

But of course gaming companies aren't about making money anymore, they are about making ALL the money. Gotta milk that last drop.

 

That system already existed, it was called expansion packs. It worked well for a long time, but oh no, why bother putting out 12-18 hours of extra gameplay when you can charge the same price for a bit of bling that no-one is even paying attention to.

It's almost like games have only marginally become more expensive (10$ for now) and game development costs have skyrocketed with constant support and updates (before when you bough a game MAYBE you get some bug fixes in the expansion). Why would the EVIL corporations want a steady income stream to actually be able to pay those devs that support the game.

Now of course they also want to make more money and profit, but to simplify and villanize microtransactions completely is just small-minded. Reality changes and games have also changed. Now loot boxes we can all get behind removing them forever.

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18 hours ago, Starym said:

This is correct, bag space = power and they specifically said they wouldnt be selling that (because if they did they would instantly lose basically their entire player base).

"Full Bethesda" refers to Bethesda and their promise in Fallout 76 to not sell power, IE only sell cosmetics.     They've wholly reneged on that one.

Also the "need Microtransactions to support the game and content" is regularly a big crock.    The only places it might be true are the little Indie companies barely staying afloat.     If they want to make that claim, have them disclose profits and how much is funneled up to their parent company.      WoW alone has millions of people paying $15 a month (Still!) for a subscription, Blizzard is hardly hurting for money to feed the stockholders.

Edited by Migol

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23 hours ago, Migol said:

"Full Bethesda" refers to Bethesda and their promise in Fallout 76 to not sell power, IE only sell cosmetics.     They've wholly reneged on that one.

Also the "need Microtransactions to support the game and content" is regularly a big crock.    The only places it might be true are the little Indie companies barely staying afloat.     If they want to make that claim, have them disclose profits and how much is funneled up to their parent company.      WoW alone has millions of people paying $15 a month (Still!) for a subscription, Blizzard is hardly hurting for money to feed the stockholders.

Yea but your math is off. No one is saying they aren't making big profits, but that has nothing to do with the devs. See the business guys decide what chunk of the profits from game sales go to further development (whether it's for the next game in the series, an entirely different game, or an expansion etc) and then that's it. If the game only has income for sales of the base copy that's not a very sustainable model. If it has microtransactions there's a steady income which can support constant updates, bug fixes and maintenance, and if there's enough of it even new content.

This is the mistake most people make when talking about microtransactions IMO - corporations WILL be greedy always, that's literally what they're made for, so you have to take that as a given and as a player who wants more and better content, you add that into the equation. In this case it means if there's a steady stream of money coming from diablo and not just the occasional game sale after launch the corps greed is filled, they take a piece of the MTXes as well but then the rest goes to further development. I'm 100% sure that if D3 sold those shitty wings and portrait frames (and whatever other cosmetic crap crazy people buy) in addition to being able to earn them we'd have gotten either anohter class or even a full new expansion as well.

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2 hours ago, Starym said:

This is the mistake most people make when talking about microtransactions IMO - corporations WILL be greedy always, that's literally what they're made for, so you have to take that as a given and as a player who wants more and better content, you add that into the equation. In this case it means if there's a steady stream of money coming from diablo and not just the occasional game sale after launch the corps greed is filled, they take a piece of the MTXes as well but then the rest goes to further development. I'm 100% sure that if D3 sold those shitty wings and portrait frames (and whatever other cosmetic crap crazy people buy) in addition to being able to earn them we'd have gotten either anohter class or even a full new expansion as well.

This is how League is able to have such a strong development team, the fact that League makes money purely on cosmetics from the game itself, allowed them to funnel those funds into multiple games that they announced this year. People have proven time and time again that if something appeals to them, they will buy it. I am a culprit of this and can attest, if I see a great skin for one of my favorite champions, I'll straight up buy it!

I can understand the theory behind paying cosmetics, but does Diablo 4 really need it? Considering if they are going to make multiple expansions? I can understand why Diablo 3 suffered after ROS because of how many years that have passed without any other expansion (outside of the Necro pack). But if they plan to release expansions within a substantial time frame (between 1 to 2 years) consistently I don't see how the game can't go unsupported. Like I said in my previous post, Borderlands 3 is a big title that has very little MTX's. They practically hand you cosmetics left and right for free! 

Edited by Rhondis

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On 11/9/2019 at 1:48 AM, Granis said:

Because you are going to be paying a full price premium for the game already, they should be unlockables....not just another means to squeeze more money out of the player base, aesthetic or not.

Agree to disagree, I guess. I don't typically associate playing dress-up with having fun in a game, and I don't feel like I'm missing out when that type of content is paywalled. Though I will go through every seasonal objective in Diablo III for a dumb pair of wings... haha

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15 minutes ago, darkinchworm said:

Agree to disagree, I guess. I don't typically associate playing dress-up with having fun in a game, and I don't feel like I'm missing out when that type of content is paywalled. Though I will go through every seasonal objective in Diablo III for a dumb pair of wings... haha

Eh I guess, I just like to feel I'm getting my money's worth. It also probably has something to do with my age since I remember gaming before it went full on corporate and started charging for things you normally got in a game.

It also rubs me the wrong way that the horse is basically added to the game solely for cosmetic monetization because really....what purpose does it serve in an ARPG?

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10 hours ago, darkinchworm said:

Agree to disagree, I guess. I don't typically associate playing dress-up with having fun in a game, and I don't feel like I'm missing out when that type of content is paywalled. Though I will go through every seasonal objective in Diablo III for a dumb pair of wings... haha

See I'm the same - the wings for the season conquests (and achievements and similar reward incentives) give me an additional reason to play a game i enjoy. Unfortunately the nature of Diablo-likes is that you need that motivation, whether it's gear or cosmetics or achievements, to push you to play more, since the gameplay, as awesome as it may be, gets repetitive. So if I have a goal in mind I will enjoy playing the game - some people just have different goals.

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Y'all please.. Overwatch is B2P and has tons of cosmetics, and no one bats an eye then. But when they want to do the exact same in Diablo 4 you guys freak the **** out? 

Cosmetics = Steady income = $ to continue support

The initial sale figures will probably only cover for the development costs and some profit to satisfy the investors, they need extra dough to continue supporting the game. 

If you say you don't want paid cosmetics, you're basically saying you don't want continued support and wish to see another dead diablo like D3. 

This aint rocket science.

Edited by sebastiantho

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      Open World
      One of the main new features we are bringing to the Diablo series is the open world of Sanctuary. So, while you can concentrate on the story campaign and work through that, we have a variety of open world systems and pieces of content that you are also discovering along the way. If you want to take a break from the main campaign and go exploring, crafting, or PvPing, you are free to do so.
      During the playtest, we saw this variability in action quite a bit. On an average playthrough, team members took several hours to complete the campaign content for the region, but those who focused only on the story finished the arc in less than half the average time (and were, of course able to do side content after that). We think the ability to approach the game with a different mix of story and side content tailored to your own appetite will make playing (and re-playing) the campaign more enjoyable than it has been in previous ARPGs.
       

      Playtests like this one allow us to collect and aggregate data to help guide our design.
      This distribution heatmap indicates areas in the Dry Steppes that saw the most traffic.
        While we have many open world activities, such as crafting, events, world PvP, and side quests, perhaps the most popular open world feature was Camps. These are locations of importance that have been overrun by enemies, which once cleansed turn into friendly outposts with NPCs and a waypoint location. While there is a backstory to each camp, most of the storytelling is visual and quests don’t directly send you to them. For example, one of the camps in the zone was a town afflicted by a curse that turned villagers into piles of salt. Another was a crypt, haunted by a spirit that possesses the bodies of various undead—jumping from skeleton to skeleton until you defeat him.
      We really dug the impact of seeing the world change as you reclaim a small piece of Sanctuary and bring hope back to its common folk. We look forward to the Open World designers showing you more about this feature in the future!



      Camps start out as hostile and turn into small hubs with a waypoint and vendors after being completed
      Finally, mounts were another thing you could obtain during the playthrough. We really liked how the open world interacts with mounts—you could get to your objectives more quickly without trivializing travel or combat. Itemization for mounts also opened up a new axis of progression.
      One of my favorite things about mounts was customizing it by attaching a trophy to the saddle to signal to other players an obscure challenge in the zone that I had completed. Of course, there is more work to be done on mounts. For example, on navigation and tuning, it is currently too easy to get stuck on stray pieces of collision or to get dismounted by a random enemy projectile. These are all things that are just going to get better the more we play and tune the feature.
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      Multiplayer
      Fine tuning the right approach to multiplayer in Diablo IV has been challenging. Our goal has always been to incorporate elements from shared world games without the game ever feeling like it’s veering into massively multiplayer territory. To be clear, this is a philosophy rather than a tech limitation. We find that the game stops feeling like Diablo and the world feels less dangerous when you see other players too often or in too high numbers.

      Towns become social hubs where you can run into other players once key segments in the story are completed
      I’ll break down our experiences during the playtest with some examples. Dungeons and key story moments are always private—just the player and their party. Once story moments are complete and towns turned into social hubs, you’d run into a few people in town. While on the road, you’d sometimes run into a player here and there. And then finally, if you went to a location where a world event was happening, you would see a larger congregation of players trying to defend against an attack by a cannibal horde or trying to take down Ashava, the demonic world boss we showed at BlizzCon.
      It’s worth calling out that while some coordination is helpful during these events, you are never forced to join a party. Solo players can walk in, help complete the event, and claim a reward. We think this seamless approach to multiplayer is working well and look forward to sharing more about this approach with you. In our tests so far, the world feels alive and dynamic without compromising the feel of Diablo. And for players that do want to party up against the minions of Hell, we have new tools available to find a group, whether by activity or proximity in the game world.

      The World Boss Ashava shown during Blizzcon 2019 in Scosglen can spawn in the Dry Steppes as well
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      Items and Progression
      One of the things that was very useful about our two-day playtest was that we could get better feedback on progression as there was a sense of permanence. Gear and skill choices you make on day one have an impact on day two (though some people chose to roll alts as we had multiple classes to test). A friend of mine used to say that Diablo is the game that you keep playing inside your head and Diablo IV is no different. In addition to the official play time allotted to the team during the playtest, I could feel the game lingering in my mind, thinking about the items that could possibly drop for my build, and talents I could finally unlock to get me those key skill interactions.
      You might have already read the developer blog by David Kim shortly after last BlizzCon. In it, he describes new affixes and itemization philosophies. We’ll have a beefier update on items later in the year, but in the meantime, here are some items that dropped during the playtest to whet your appetite!


      Various items from the playtest utilizing the new attribute system. Note that the item icons are not final art
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      Other Thoughts
      The overall feedback from the team was that even at these early stages, Diablo IV is very fun to play. The classes especially are going down a promising path that we’re excited about. We’re taking cues from what makes the Barbarian’s Arsenal system or the Druid’s shapeshifting feel special and looking for ways to apply similar innovations to all classes (more on this in a future update).
      The playtest was also a really good way to put our tech through its paces. Since we played at home, we got to test the game on a lot of different setups—from graphics cards, to screen aspect ratios, to network speeds. We also had the opportunity to exercise our client-server technology, including deploying builds with fixes to bugs during the playtest.
      Of course, we still have a lot of work ahead of us and to be clear, we are not at an Alpha or Beta stage yet. We don’t typically discuss our early milestones publicly during the course of development, but we think it’s especially important to continue to share our progress during a year without a BlizzCon. Also, this was an important milestone for the team as we feel it corroborated that we have all the key ingredients for a great Diablo IV (of course, we’ll continue to seek feedback and iterate as we drive to completion).
      We hope you’ve enjoyed this update and, as always, we welcome you to share your thoughts on the platform of your choice—whether it’s our own forums, other sites, or social media, we read and appreciate your comments and feedback. We were happy to see lots of great discussion after our last blog (which seeded a bunch of conversations on our end as well).
      We are also excited to see the range of topics you want to hear about. Based on your response so far, we think talent trees are by far what you’re the most eager to discuss, so we’ll make sure to queue that up for our very next blog. Items continue to be a popular topic and there was also a lot of interest in music. We are shooting to have more updates around those topics later in the year. Let us know how that sounds.
      Thank you for taking the time to read this update. We can’t wait to share more of Sanctuary with you!
       

      Development is well underway outside the Dry Steppes. More of Sanctuary awaits in coming updates!
       
      -Luis Barriga-
      Game Director, Diablo IV Team
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      Have a question, comment, or feedback about the information we shared today? Join the conversation here on our General Forum. We can’t wait to hear from you!
      The Q2 Diablo 4 update is here!
    • By Starym
      We have some news on the second Diablo 4 quarterly update, in the form of a very short reply from Community Manager Lead PezRadar, confirming that it's still planned for this month, with a note that things can change. But we do now know it's at least written (in some form), so that's something. You can check out the previous quarterly update from back in February here, which focuses on the UI, controllers and co-op and the Cannibal monster family.
      We also recently took a look at whether D4's release could be closer than anticipated, a cool Assassin fan concept, a hate/excitement meter on some D4 features from reddit and discussed whether local co-op was in the cards for PC players as well.
      2nd Quarterly Update (source)
      One simple question, is the D4 Q update still on track for this month?
      Yes but will caveat that things can always change. But I have read it/gone through it.

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