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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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      We're grateful to have you with us on this journey. Thank you for playing the games we make.
      -Joe Shely,
      Game Director, Diablo IV
      Table of Contents
      Seasons New Content Refreshing the Meta Improving the Game Live Events Season Journey Season Pass The Shop Closing Thoughts Seasons
      Hello, Heroes of Sanctuary! My name is Joe Piepiora, the associate game director responsible for game systems and our live service. Today I finally get to talk about our high-level plans for Diablo IV’s seasonal content updates. We are in the exciting position of delivering the high-quality, quarterly releases Diablo IV deserves.
      As our game director Joe Shely noted earlier, we are pursuing a seasonal reset structure for our live game—Diablo is a game about choice and possibility! We feel it is at its best when you get a clean slate to start from in a season, picking a class, customizing your build, and chasing down items that support it along the way. This affords us several advantages and chief among them is that we can really shake the box of Diablo IV with each season, creating unique experiences with each of our quarterly releases.
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      New Content

      We think it is important that players see that the game is changing in meaningful ways. Each season will be released with a fresh new gameplay feature and questline that introduces new challenges, mysteries, and possibilities into the level-up experience. This is something players should begin to experience before the end of their first hour of play. One of the benefits of our seasonal direction is that it enables fun, new ways to play throughout your character’s progression.
      Each Season's new questline will reveal more of the world of Sanctuary and your character’s place in it. Here, we get an opportunity to introduce new characters or revisit old ones while exploring the lore and content of the season.
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      Refreshing the Meta

      Diablo IV is a vast game—we want to ensure that we are keeping existing content and features in a place where they remain fun and challenging to participate in. To that end, we will always be evaluating the state of the game to regularly revitalize older stomping grounds.
      One clear example here is looking at the relative balance between classes, builds, and powers. Diablo is a game that is about creating exciting, overpowered builds, and while we don’t want to balance the fun out of the experience, we don’t want to create situations in which imprecise tuning squash creativity.
      We will also be constantly adding new legendary and unique items, paragon boards, glyphs, and more that will continually refresh the meta and create new build opportunities.
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      Improving the Game
      With each season we’ll be looking into ways to simply improve the player experience. As a live product, we intend to hold Diablo IV to an exceedingly high standard. We are here to build a live game that we can be proud of, and the best way to do that is by engaging our players directly.
      Based on feedback that we receive, the team will identify quality-of-life features and polish work that can be done to improve the overall game experience and invite the community to vote upon their priority. While we cannot always flip a switch to tackle something immediately, you can rest assured that we will be active in improving the quality of the game experience for years to come.
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      Live Events
      Sanctuary is a living world filled with people, creatures, and factions striving to meet their own ends. Attentive players should be on the lookout for new live events that will crop up each season. An example of a live event might be the warning of an impending invasion of the Drowned, which may last a weekend, or the arrival of a strange peddler amidst the crags of the Dry Steppes. These events provide gateways to new adventures and unique rewards.
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      Season Journey
      Alongside our major season releases, we see the return of the Season Journey. Players are pushed to explore Sanctuary anew, earning limited-time rewards with each chapter of the Season Journey that is completed. Completing the Season Journey is quite a feat, with the final step demanding the character overcome an extremely difficult encounter with an especially deadly foe. With future Season Journeys, we are regularly adding pinnacle-level difficulty challenges for players to complete, proving their worth and earning unique cosmetic rewards besides.
      Like Diablo III, the Season Journey is free for all players. Completing Season Journey objectives also grants progress toward the Season Pass, a new feature with a battle pass-style progression that advances alongside the Season Journey, enabling players to earn even more rewards just by playing. The Season Pass has both free rewards (cosmetics, premium currency, and gameplay boosts) and paid rewards (cosmetics and premium currency only).
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      Season Pass
      Hey everyone, I’m Kegan Clark, director of product for Diablo IV here to talk about our approach to live service monetization in Diablo IV. As we’ve discussed previously, Diablo IV will be a full-price game with a Cosmetics Shop and Season Pass—none of which provide any pay-for-power options. Our goal in designing our in-game purchases is that we want to create beautiful things which add value to players’ experience of the game.
      The scale of Diablo IV Seasons is much more ambitious than what we've done in the past on Diablo III, with a large development team dedicated to Seasons after launch. Diablo IV will be supported by an army of developers for years to come. With all the exciting plans we have for Seasons, we want them to be enjoyed by everyone, regardless of whether they buy anything from the shop. I’m grateful for the opportunity to finally share more with the community about our live service model.
      Seasons will add all-new gameplay, quests, challenges, meta changes, and quality-of-life improvements. The Season Pass recognizes players’ dedication, with greater rewards unlocking as you play more throughout the Season. There will be a single track of rewards with Free Tiers that are unlocked just by playing the game and leveling, and Premium Tiers which provide no in-game power or advantage over other players. The Free Tiers of the pass will provide gameplay boosts to all players—things which make the journey of leveling up a fresh seasonal character faster and more streamlined. In contrast, the Premium Tier rewards are focused on aesthetics, providing a huge value in the form of cosmetics and Premium Currency. Many of the rewards embody the seasonal theme, helping players show off their participation in that Season.
      Let’s talk more about what players can expect:
      The Season Pass has Free Tiers and Premium Tiers. Throughout the pass players can earn a variety of rewards for free, just by playing. At any point during the Season, players can purchase the Premium Pass to unlock the ability to earn Premium rewards tiers containing seasonally themed Cosmetics and Premium Currency.
      The Season Pass awards cosmetics. Like the Shop, these don’t affect gameplay. Additionally, certain cosmetic types are exclusive to the Season Pass.
      The Season Pass awards Premium Currency. Players can spend this currency on cosmetics offered in the shop.
      The Season Pass awards free Season Boosts. Boosts accelerate players’ progress for the duration of the Season. For example, a Season Boost might accelerate XP earned to make leveling multiple characters within a season faster. Because they affect gameplay, Season Boosts are free rewards for all players. We want to be clear that players can’t unlock Season Boosts more quickly through purchases--there is no way to unlock more boosts, or boosts at a faster pace, by spending money.
      Players can purchase Tiers-but they won’t speed up getting Season Boosts. Players can’t upgrade Season Boosts just by purchasing Tiers, because they’ll also have to earn level milestones to apply them. All other Tier rewards can be unlocked instantly by purchasing Tiers. In other words, there’s no way to shortcut getting Season Boosts by buying Tiers; they must be earned.
      The Season Journey accelerates Season Pass progression. While any play style can progress through the Season Pass, min-maxers can focus on Season Journey objectives to advance more quickly.
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      The Shop
      The way we approached designing the Shop and the cosmetics within it was by thinking about the experience we want players to have. We want buying things to feel good--before, during, and after purchase. So, if players choose to buy something, it should be because they want to, not because they feel like they have to. It should also be clear to players exactly what they are getting before they choose to buy, with no unpleasant surprises.
      The Shop’s cosmetics build on top of the foundation of a huge variety of transmogs from weapons and armors players will find in-game. It’s also important to us that the Shop is grounded within Diablo’s world, so our cosmetics are holistic fantasies, the individual components of which can be mixed and matched with transmogs from armors acquired in-game for endless customization options.
      A screen capture of the Shop’s internal beta.
      Let’s talk more about what players can expect:
      The Shop sells cosmetics for Premium Currency. Cosmetics give players even more options to customize the visual appearance of their characters. Nothing offered in the Shop grants a direct or indirect gameplay advantage. So, while many of these may look like powerful pieces of gear, they have no in-game stats.
      A screen capture of the Shop’s internal beta.
      The Shop is optional. Players can experience all core and seasonal gameplay features without spending money. Our goal is for players to enjoy going to the Shop, buy something when it catches their fancy, and walk away happy with what they bought.
      The Shop is transparent. It’s important that players know exactly what to expect before making a purchase. We’ve built preview functionality that enables players to closely examine every detail of the cosmetic on their own characters before deciding to make a purchase.
      A screen capture of the Shop’s internal beta.
      The best-looking cosmetics aren’t exclusive to the Shop. Diablo IV will ship with hundreds of transmogs unlockable from drops in-game, including dozens of armor sets of the highest visual quality. There are incredible pieces—Unique and Legendary quality items—for players to find without ever going to the Shop. The Shop offers more diversity of choices, not systematically better choices.


      Screen captures of Legendary Armors earned through the game (left) versus Armor Cosmetics in the Shop (right).
      Armor Transmogs in the Shop are usable on all characters of that class. Many of the cosmetics in the Shop are class-specific fantasies, which wouldn’t necessarily make sense visually on other classes. Once you unlock a cosmetic from the Shop for a given class, you can use it on every character of that class on your account. There are special cosmetics exclusive to the Season Pass which celebrate the theme of the Season and look similar across all the classes.
      The most important guiding principle behind the Shop and Season Pass is to create something players love, look forward to, and appreciate being part of the game. Cosmetics in Diablo IV create new ways for players to express themselves and never provide advantages in-game. Players will experience all the fun of Seasons, whether they spend anything or not. We intend to continue our dialog with players about Shop and Season Pass, and we’ll always listen and seek out the community's feedback about it. It is our sincerest belief that we can work together with the community to keep Diablo IV a living, evolving world for many years to come! Thanks for reading, we’ll be sharing more soon!
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      Closing Thoughts
      Wrapping up this Quarterly Update blog, we want players to take comfort in knowing Diablo IV will continue to evolve its offerings post-launch. The introduction of new Seasons, alongside live events, and a returning Season Journey will work in tandem to breathe variety into the game, while also reinforcing its core principle: empowering players to experience Sanctuary as they see fit. We cannot wait for you to explore these systems in the future!
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    • By Staff
      A few days ago, Diablo 4 Beta appeared in the Battle.net Catalog. However, Rod Fergusson dispelled all rumors about the Beta in just one tweet claiming it was just an internal only test.
      We've got some sad news for everyone who expected an early Diablo 4 Beta. Senior Vice President of the Diablo franchise commented on Twitter that the Diablo 4 Beta showing up on Battle.net was intended only for internal testing.
      Placeholder for tweet 1550524852699861000
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