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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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      Nick Chilano,
      Associate Art Director, Characters
      Hello everyone,
      I'm excited to share with you our vision and our process for making monsters in Diablo IV.
      With monsters, success requires that many different things come together, but it starts with the player feeling satisfied in killing it. That means the monster needs to visually match its gameplay and have a gory/demonic twist to it. They should look like something you have not seen before as well as taking something visually familiar and brushing it with a Diablo paint brush. That Diablo brush applies a level of detail, an understanding of gameplay needs, a level of artistry, and the demonic Diablo theme to all our monsters.
      Visual Design and Gameplay Intent
      For me, everything starts with a goal. Typically, it's a goal from design on what this monster needs to do and what the player experience should be. Making games is a collaboration. Sometimes a visual concept helps drive an idea, while in others a paper design is enough.
      The Blood Bishop
      Our game design goal for the Blood Bishop was to make a caster who would cast direct damage and create AOE bombs for area of denial. As for the visual notes, we wanted a high-level boss based on vampiric blood and magic. We knew we wanted to double down on the notion of a heart shape for the function of the blood magic. That naturally led to the notion of arteries creating these blood clots that explode to cast the AOE effect design needs. An exposed beating heart was the natural visual choice. So, the organic pulsing we see, the flowing arteries, and the blood-based VFX all combined to reach an aligned goal the team could get behind. The success here is when the game design needs were met visually in a true Diablo way.
      The Skeleton Lord
      This process was similar, but this time we had a visual concept to work from.
      This undead Skeleton Lord is made of fused skeleton and body parts, with sinew and blood connecting it together—something we felt fit our game visually. That led to a Design Lead wanting to create a fight based on this character. The Design team was able to create a unique fight based on bone visuals, summoning skeletons, bone walls to restrict pathing, and leveraging the giant staff—one attack has the Skeleton Lord smashing the staff into the ground and creating a shower of exploding bone shards. Even though the art was created first, the Design team leveraged its look to help theme a fun and interesting fight we all enjoy.
      The Right Artistic Detail for the Game
      We also need to look at our assets from two main focal points. Our game camera and a closer full body size camera. This means we need to understand what is important and what is supporting these elements in terms of overall shape language and finer secondary and tertiary details.
      Level of artistic detail is always a challenge. Details need to be readable for the game, colors need to group well, silhouettes need to stand out, as well as being built for performance and movement. Understanding this is key to allowing our monsters to look great from our isometric camera while also delivering stunning details up close.
      This Spider feeding upon and birthing spider spawn from a bloated corpse has a great visual design.
      The spindly legs and back thorax instantly tell you what it is. That thin look of the legs as it moves down to a thicker body give it a nice balance to settle the shape language from top to bottom. The saturated red of the spider, on top of the cooler and more subdued body, help pop the spider visually so your eye catches it as soon as they show up on screen. When we look closer, you can see the spectacular highlights on the bloated body, the torn and pulled flesh, and the bulging pustules. So, up close gruesome details are visible from the game camera because of the clear shape and color grouping.
      This succubus is another great example of an interesting and clear visual read from gameplay, with finer details that don't get in the way of the game camera but really raise the visual bar.
      At the game camera we see a familiar silhouette. A winged demon hovering to seduce its prey and attack with magic from a distance. As you look closer, you see intricate details in the cloths, translucent skin on the wings, as well as materials like gold clasps, stitching, and embroidery on the outfit. We also see the wings are attached at the base of the head. A detail that needs a closer look to see but doesn’t complicate the look from different cameras.
      A Modern Pipeline
      In order to achieve this, we needed a process and technology to realize these amazing and, honestly, disturbing creations. To do that we have built a world class team creating monsters and demons at a level of quality that raises the bar for the Diablo series.
      PBR gives us the ability to create surfaces and materials that look realistic and accurately react to lighting in the world. Leather can look like leather, metals like metals, and organic surfaces can feel appropriately squishy and fleshy by comparison.
      This Knight is covered head to toe in metal and fabric that reacts differently based on lighting. You can see nice details and material breaks on the hard surfaces that your eye expects to see. This detail grounds us in a world we all visually know and understand. The difference from a scale pattern of finer metal to large, hammered iron next to gold trim is readily apparent.
      Organic surfaces also are represented accurately in our engine. Fur, bone, flesh, and blood are all visible and react to light correctly. This is a Diablo game, after all, and we know these materials will be important.
      So that is a brief rundown of some of the things we look at and value when it comes to monsters in Diablo IV. We really enjoy creating enemies, monsters, and demonic creatures that bring out an emotional response from our players, from fear or revulsion to the excitement of slaying them in true Diablo fashion.
      In closing, I'd like to say that there are moments as a developer where you are just making the game, day-in and day-out, and you don't always take time to appreciate the craft on display that you are privileged to see every day. I love that we are doing these blogs to give you all some insight into our progress and process. It's a great opportunity for us to reflect on the journey, share our art, and appreciate the craft of our teammates. We hope you like what you see, and please share your comments on your platform of choice. We love to hear community feedback—it's really been a labor of love and an honor to create for you, and we can't wait for you to play it!
      Thank you for joining us and keep an eye out for our upcoming blog update next quarter!
      -The Diablo IV Team
       
    • By Staff
      During an interview on all things Diablo, Rod Ferguson, Executive Producer for the franchise, mentioned the next Diablo 4 quarterly update (which should be coming by the end of this month) will be focusing on characters and character art. Diablo community manager PezRadar also confirmed that in a reddit thread:
      D4 Quarterly Update (Source)
      Edit: Upon closer inspection he said "Character Art". I blame the cheap headset mic for the error on my end ?
       
      Correct, Character Art. It will be asset heavy. The art team have put in a good amount of work on the blog.
    • By Staff
      We've covered all the BlizzConline news and changes to D4 as it happened, but now it's time to take a look at some of the direct gameplay footage as well! 
      We have two videos to take a look at, one focusing on pure Rogue class gameplay exclusively (with in-game sounds etc.) and the other just highlights/clips used in the various announcements and panels. The first video goes over basically all the bacground footage used and is also very Rogue-focused, but it's mostly the clips strung together into one longer video:
      The second is an actual gameplay session with in-game sounds, which gives us a much better idea of what the class will play like:
      And finally, the Rogue announce cinematic one more time!
    • By Staff
      We're getting a lot of additional information during this Diablo 4 panel, and we'll be summarizing it all here.
      We're starting with the Rogue, as we get another look at the video. Also, apparently ears will actually come into play in the game as well. Ears factor into the World PvP aspect An emphasis on the adaptability of the Rogue. Swords and daggers, bows and corssbows usable as weapons. A lot of character customization. Combo points, Shadow Realm and Exploit Weakness are the Rogues specializations. Class specific quests, depending on your specializations. You work with different Rogue factions. Weapon Imbues - you can add poison, ice, etc. to your weapons. Rogue seems to be the current PvP top choice. Mount customizations, hoof plates, trophies, armor. You can change the speed of the horse with horseshoes etc. Rogue rains down arrows as her dismount ability. Mount can't get damaged, but you will be dismounted if you get hit. Camps are strongholds of evil and are permanent - when you defeat the camp you get a new waypoint and it unlocks for everyone else in the world as well. New quests, vendors, dungeons etc. appear after you take over a camp. There's climbing, jumping across caverns etc, much more verticality. Mephisto's hatred is coming up into the world, creating fields for PvP! You can earn Shards of Hatred, not only from killing players, and then you can turn them into currency you can use around the Fields of Hatred. The purification spots will be PvP hotspots as others try to stop you and take your Shards. You can collect Shards in PvE, but when you cleanse them you are marked for PvP. Unique cosmetics, mounts etc from the PvP currency. As you collect the Shards you become a Vessel of Hatred, becoming marked on the map and players will come after you. If you survive, you get a big bonus. For now ears are just cool trophies, with character names of the players you killed. And here's the full panel:
       
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