You might forget at this point that of all the other 90-plus games reviewed in 2023, Diablo 4 was among them. At least I did First time with this result, although it dropped to 86 on PC over time. On Xbox it keeps 91.
Part of the reason it does so well is its excellent campaign, easily the best in the series' history, and some fun character sets that were launched without a Diablo 3 Error 37-like disaster.
However, it's not enough just to launch well these days, as a game like Diablo 4 has always leaned heavily towards being a live service. Now, we're in the third season of this process and I wanted to try to deduce whether or not this actually works. I'm not sure about that. If not from a content perspective, I really wonder what the revenue would be like here given the model.
Diablo 4, for its part, hasn't covered any of its content behind a paywall, nor is it a selling force. You can buy a battle pass with cosmetics for $10, which isn't bad, but you get access to seasonal characters and the season itself for free. Furthermore it. Diablo 4 runs huge A cash shop is full of cosmetics with armor sets ranging from $20-$35 for the full set, and more seem to be added daily, compared to almost zero new skins “earned” in the game itself.
I don't think this is…a very good model for this type of game. Even with Diablo 3, I wondered how and how the game would attempt to jump on the monetization trend in the future Do Would you do that as an ARPG thieves? The auction house almost ruined the entire game, so you have to move on to cosmetics. But here, you're selling expensive armor sets in a game where the game scales down by 500% almost all the time, and you only see yourself in the menu and loading screens. It's not the first game to have this problem, but it's the same problem. So I really wonder what level of revenue this monetization format generates, which is more important than ever with Blizzard's declining game roster. Hell, Diablo 4 is probably the most popular game at the moment with no real indication of what's to come elsewhere amid layoffs and canceled projects.
As for season content, I'd say we're now at about 1 versus 3. Season 1 was barebones since it was developed alongside the main game itself. Season 2 was actually quite good thanks to its interesting vampire powers and chaotic general events. Season 3 has been quite a weird one, with Blizzard essentially erasing the bad “trap” mechanic during the first week, allowing players to completely ignore it, and instead focus on upgrading their little spider friend that's easy to forget during combat in most games. time. It's not a good season.
There are additions to the game beyond the seasons. Diablo did something powerful when they opened up Uber-unique farming for an end-game boss like Duriel, though players have long since grown tired of having to farm or buy materials to even summon him in the first place, as it just doesn't seem worth the effort. Additional things like stairs have been delayed, and it's unclear how these will shape interaction.
My gameplay here was to log in, go through the seasonal “story” that might take an hour or two, and then extract the character to somewhere between 80-100. Then I stop and continue this process, which may take 1-2 weeks of casual play. Others may stay longer in Uber or multiple personalities, I don't have to.
Considering that Diablo 3's seasons lasted so long, it makes sense for Diablo 4 to continue as well. I don't know if this prints money the way Blizzard needs it given its weird model, and I don't know how addicted non-hardcore players have been to only one good season out of three so far. I think things might change once we finally get a real expansion for the game later this year, but as far as it being a live game? It's truly hit or miss, and mostly something it's safe to ignore among the more interesting games on the landscape.
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