Although we know that Diablo 4 tended to be a live-action service more than its predecessors, and that it actually had more than one expansion planned, now they’re making that clear. Blizzard has confirmed that Diablo 4 is doing exactly the same model as Destiny 2, not only having new seasons every three months, but also an annual expansion in perpetuity.

This comes from Diablo GM Rod Fergusson in an interview with Dextero:

“When you look at the game launch and this first season, we see that as building a foundation that we can build on for the future. So, when we look at our quarterly seasons, we look at our annual expansions, those are the things that we really focus on in our live service.

I’ve been wondering a little bit what exactly Blizzard is doing from here, post-acquisitioning Microsoft, as the company now primarily supports Overwatch 2, and now supports Diablo 4 as endless live shows. But they have a lot riding on Diablo 4 specifically if they want to turn it into a giant Destiny-style live-action service.

This is a break from the previous Diablo games, where Diablo 2 only had one expansion, Lord of Destruction, and so does Diablo 3, Reaper of Souls. For reasons that are still somewhat incomprehensible to me, Diablo 3’s second expansion has been canceled and parts of it have been released separately, such as some new areas and the Necromancer class.

Here, with annual expansions, these are the ones that are supposed to push the main narrative of the series forward after the events of Lilith/Inarius in the main game. This contrasts with seasons that Blizzard says are stand-alone stories, such as this season’s man having to kill his former master as the basis for the seasonal Heart of Evil mechanic. The next season is all about hunting vampires.

For at least the first season here, Diablo has struggled to put “Live” on “Live Service.” It was easy to erase the entire story content and the entire Battle Pass in a week or two. The rest leveled as usual with three extra hearts added for extra skills. There is no reason to keep coming back. Monetization is also poor, as the game continues to rely heavily on the expensive cosmetic shop armor sets, while the game itself has not received any new armor or weapon cosmetics for season play.

As for expansions, there is no doubt that their prices will be higher, and at the very least, the quality and volume standards of LoD or RoS must be adhered to, even if they are annual now. Without a doubt, we should get a new character class in every expansion, and everyone expects Paladin/Crusader to be probably the first.

If that’s the schedule, we should see Diablo 4’s first expansion next summer, a year after the game’s launch. Before that, there are more seasons, though I’m still not entirely clear on whether a season and an expansion will launch at the same time, as Blizzard hasn’t answered that yet.

Diablo 4 has a lot of work to do to engage players for the long term, and I don’t think they’re there yet. Destiny model is difficultBecause the pace is grueling, and we’ll see if they can keep up.

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(tags for translation)Diablo 4

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