Diablo 4 - Monetization Model - Stories and Seasons

Universe

Diablo is a universe, like Star Wars or Marvel.
Each product must add value to the universe.

1. Stories ($1 to $5) - Every month

  • Expand lore and main storyline, through a series of quests (4 to 20 chapters) forming a story.
  • Completing a chapter of a story unlocks, forever:
    • Achievements
    • The possibility to loot Story Cosmetics or Story Equipment
  • Examples:
    • “The One Who Is Forever, Part 1” => Trag’Oul’s Avatar Pet
    • “The One Who Is Forever, Part 2” => Trag’Oul’s Avatar Wings
    • “The One Who Is Forever, Part 3” => Trag’Oul’s Avatar Helm
    • “The Priests of Rathma, Part 1” => Skeletal Pet
    • “The Priests of Rathma, Part 2” => Skeletal Wings
    • “The Priests of Rathma, Part 3” => Bones of Rathma Boots
    • “Deep Sleep, Part 1” => Nightmarish Pet
    • “Deep Sleep, Part 10” => Legacy of Nighmares
    • “Deep Sleep, Part 20” => Legacy of Dreams
  • Lore is narrated, and played as a memory
    • https://diablo.fandom.com/wiki/Trag%27Oul
    • https://diablo.fandom.com/wiki/Rathma
    • https://diablo.fandom.com/wiki/Diablo_series#Novels
  • Summary
    • Players pay for a Story
    • Players are rewarded with Story items added to the pool of loot

2. Seasons ($1) - Every 3 months

  • Seasonal Gameplay, with different rules
  • Like a parallel universe, aka Marvel’s “What If”
  • Like an iframe or a worker, if you like HTML
  • Completing a season unlocks, forever:
    • Achievements
    • The possibility to loot Seasonal Cosmetics
  • Pay 2 Play
    • Objectives of season completion are ajusted to the seasonal advantage
    • Players of a given season still need to play a lot to unlock rewards.
  • Isolated
    • Seasonal Characters are locked into the season
    • They are never transfered out of season
    • They never compete with non-seasonal characters
  • Ephemeral fingerprint
    • Regularly, Characters are deleted
    • Regularly, Leaderboards are reset
  • Forever Live
    • Players can anytime create a character for Season X
    • Fun to play in group:
      • Player 1: Remember the Season 16 (Ring of Royal Grandeur) ?
      • Player 2: Oh yeah, that was cool and unique. Let’s do this tonight !
      • Player 3: I missed it last time. Give me just the time to unlock it !
    • Leaderboards can be challenged, even after 10 years
    • Completion rewards can be unlocked, even after 10 years
  • Summary
    • Players pay for a different gameplay
    • Players are rewarded with Seasonal cosmetics added to the pool of loot

3. Expansion ($20) - Every 1-2 years

  • New Continent
    • With new stories that are coherent together and cannot be released separately
    • With a new major boss to defeat
  • New Class
    • Creating new classes requires time
    • Diablo 3 Necromancer is a good example

Q/A

Why Monetization matters ?

To keep a Dev Team operational and produce great content over the next 15 years. https://us.forums.blizzard.com/en/d3/en/d3/t/diablo-4-monetization-model-stories-and-seasons/52351/24

Seasons: Pay 2 Win or Pay 2 Play ?

Season completion objectives are adjusted to the seasonal advantage. Season is an isolated realm and players fingerprint is ephemeral (regularly, characters are deleted and leaderbords are reset) https://us.forums.blizzard.com/en/d3/en/d3/t/diablo-4-monetization-model-stories-and-seasons/52351/53

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Me and my 20 characters say nope

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How about don’t quit your day job.

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Nope.

Ehh Isend… You and your silly ideas.

A hard No.

20 characters

No 4k poster? I’m disappointed.

And no.

I don’t think that a season is enough time to make new stories and areas to the game. That is expansion type content imo.

Other companies manage adding new real content between expansions (heck, WoW does too, but of course, they have money to do it)
It isnt like a video game “season” has to last a specific amount of time either. Each season could be 12 months long. Should be even.

No, how about just making a “buy2play” game, and add expansions… maybe a DLC here and there and call it a day?

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If they are to do that it would be very similar to WoW and would in Blizzards eyes need to generate as much income so i can see a monthly subscription being introduced too.

The idea is to have a modular game.
Core quest + tiny paid quests aside (tiny DLC).
Each DLC would cost $1 to $5.
If you don’t like it, you don’t pay the full price.
Developers must produce quality content to be able to get Return On Investment.
This is a balanced approach, as Players can sanction bad content by not buying it.
In addition, success stories give analytics to developers to guide them to what players like, so they can improve the quality of the next stories they produce.

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When you develop for a GaaS, you have a pipeline dedicated for that. That is why games like PoE, WoW, FF14, and the like can provide content like that relatively quickly.

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MMOs are also GaaS’s designed to produce constant content.

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Sadly D4 will likely be the same.
Probably wouldnt have seasons otherwise (Please dont!)

Don’t be a GaaS? I mean if you want continued support with content outside of just an expansion or two, they need to be. It isn’t necessarily a bad thing. While most of the BL games DLC is meh, they were all, outside of the first one possibly, designed as GaaS titles. That is just how you need to operate a title with constant content updates.

Or please don’t have seasons?

This!

Id also prefer if it wasnt GaaS in the sense of a constant stream of regularly scheduled content. At least BL while I dont like what they are doing, is selling the new content, and it releases when it releases. Not every X week. Such as what they are planning with Overwatch 2.

BL is basically every 3-4 months for the initial 4.

OW 2 is a bit different as most of the content is cosmetic stufs and easier to produce.

It’s very likely they do monetize story Seasonal content in D4 and I am all for it. Give those players that are after the story something new each Season. It would be extra income besides the MTXs that we know are coming.

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Releasing new stories with each season also works.

My initial thought was that stories and seasonal content were not necessarily tied together, so developers could release a story without waiting for a season to start.