Diablo 4 - Monetization Model - Stories and Seasons

If seasons exist, just release multiple patches each season, if the patches are ready. Tying patches and seasons it’s mistake imo. Both new content and balance changes during a season is completely fine.

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You know what would be better “monetization” for the players?

You buy the game once and you get the complete experience. Nothing more.

Why are so many people helping giant corporations come up with ways to rip people off?


Next time you have an idea like this I want you to write it all down on a piece of paper, then tear it up, and throw it in the trash where it belongs.

Players expect a game that lasts many years, with new content added regularly.

It is very important in a company to ensure games are self-sufficient in terms of revenue generation, or else the projects, and furthermore the attached products, get pruned (terminated).

When you pay the game (aka “upfront costs”), you pay the cost to produce the game.

But after that, if the company wishes to maintain the game and add new content, the project incurs additional costs.

One interesting model is “elastic costs” paid by “elastic demand”, meaning given the customer demand.

Trading few bucks for stories and cosmetics seems a fair model to allow the game to keep an operational and substantial team of developers, given the median salary of a developer in the US is around $110K.


Example : If 1 million players pay $5, you can keep operational a team of 5 000 000 / 110 000 = 45 developers

Imagine how much great content you could have for several years by allowing Diablo 4 to maintain active such a team. It would be Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings every month !

I prefer to pay one-time $5 for great content, every time there is great content, rather than having to pay each month with no guaranty.


It is one way to do it for sure, but definitely not the only way. Just release a finished product and sell it.

Yes, and if you sell an expansion for $40 to 1 million (which would be quite low for a Blizzard game) you are also able to have quite a few people developing that content.

This is personally my main problem with these monetization models.
I bet you will get MUCH better content through a $40 expansion every 1-2 year, than through either ten $4 mini-DLCs, or through selling pretty dresses for our avatar dolls. GaaS delivering great content very much seems like the exception.
The focus becomes quantity over quality.

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I wonder how game companies survived before all this monetization garbage came to be?

People still play the original Mario and Zelda games to this day. DI servers will be shut down rendering the game unplayable within 3 years.


I might be wrong, but It seems these games are not GaaS (Game as a Service).

Diablo requires servers for security reasons.

Servers ensures no one cheats.

But servers incurs cost overtime.

Interesting debate.

1-2 years is a long way to go.
It might fit for creating a new class.
Creating a new class indeed requires lots of brain juice.

The trend in IT projects is short delivery cycles (aka “Agile methodology”, aka “Scrum” / “Kanban”), opposed to long tunnels (aka “V Cycle”).

Long tunnels have statistically increased failure rates because:

  • Planning going wild and taking 6 years instead of 2 (x3 is very common in IT projects).
  • High drift between objective and what has been developped
  • It’s hard to keep a team motivated on such lengths
  • Turnover: people leave the company because better offers
  • You don’t get money regularly so financials worry and start to fire people

In that case, I would suggest a mixed model:

  • Regular revenues to keep the dev team operational and cover long term expenses
  • Yearly revenues to mark a significative milestone in the game

A mixed model would be:

  • $1 for seasonal content (every 3 months)
  • $1 to $5 for stories (every 1 month)
  • $20 for expansion / new class (1-2 years)


Now you sound like someone who teaches a boring entry level linkedin learning class on project management but never actually had a job where they did the production and the actual work. Except you didn’t use all the buzzwords.

Maybe not worrying about everything other than making the game fun and something people want to play without abusing them is too abstract of a concept?

I’m a

  • Certified PMP (Project Management Professionnal - V Cycle)
  • Certified Scrum Master (Agile)

17 years of IT XP, in start-ups and big companies.

So I know one or two things about what works and what fails in IT project management.

Making the game fun is the basis.
Keeping the game fun over the years is the real challenge.

I think this is a really well thought out, well written improvement to micro transactions.

Cosmetic micro transactions are considered a necessary evil, despite games like Elden Ring completely smashing this misconception. They’re very low effort for how much revenue they bring in and can be churned out by game companies if they wish.

Why not push for more. Have cosmetics that we earn from a story quest and mini expansion content every 3 months or so. At least the cosmetics would be cool because they would feel like they have a sense of place and story. They were earned from a new quest, you heard some dialogue and got a mini story all for your money. Travelled to a few places on the map and enjoyed some new content and a new boss perhaps.

Anyone shooting this down or saying your ideas are too much or however they articulate it, perhaps don’t have the capacity to come up with and articulate good ideas of their own. We could do with more posts like this on the forum.

Great ideas :100:

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Seasons are very big from marketing pov since players peak at start of each Season. Players knowing a new story comes at that time will be motivated even further to participate in the Season.

Players peak at that point because there is something new. If you just release a patch, player numbers will also peak.

Btw, Isend, do you think of the season themes the same way as Blizzard do in D3? Where the so-called season themes are just various versions of I-Win buffs. Since if they do it that way, the game instantly turns P2W.

I’ve said many times a fixed Seasonal schedule like in HS is the best since people look forward to Season start to play with their friends besides what’s new.

I wouldn’t mind a fixed season length as long as

  1. Patches/themes/whatever is not restricted to those seasons in any way. Any and all content is available in season and non-season at the same time. The seasons are ONLY for the fresh start. It can have achievements tied to it, but nothing else.
  2. Patch schedule does not align with the season resets. Since having patches that must be out on specific days is going to result in worse content and more bugs. Release patches when they are ready.
  3. Seasons should be long. 6+ months minimum. One issue with the short seasons is that people reasonably expect to be able to “finish” the game within a season, leading to increasingly sped up gameplay. 6+ months seasons allows the character progression, gear progression, endgame, PvP etc. time to breath and evolve naturally instead of the absurd speed running D3 turned into.

I do agree that there is some value in a fresh start, for giving friends an occasion to play together again. A lot value even. As such, it is perfectly fine that those fresh starts exist. Just dont have anything else in the game revolve around it.

If the D4 team know their stuff fixed Seasonal length should not be a problem - for example 3 months. 6 months is an overkill, especially if you can’t restart the competitive ladder during these times, like for example enter 4 ladders during the 6 months experiencing 4 fresh starts.

ARNGs are going to raise the cap on this - one month fixed Seasonal length.

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They released a game and never updated it or added new content.

Guaranteeing this as well? Your last one didn’t hold up well.

Probably yeah. The lower the quality the shorter seasons.

my prediction is that they will sell the game buy2play, but add seasonal stuff that can only be accessed through a seasonal pass of $14.99, with additional “cosmetics” for say $29.99. With every season becoming more pay2win each time and more pay2win options.

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And yet people still play it, Nintendo never went out of business and instead created several iconic video game franchises that have been around like 25 years.

Can you imagine if the original Zelda game was managed by a guy like Mr linkedin learning (OP)? The game would be just awful.

Instead of “it’s dangerous to go alone take this” it becomes “it’s dangerous to go alone buy this”

Important items from the dungeons would only have a very small % chance to drop. And you can only play the dungeons once a day. Didn’t get that bow and arrow that’s required to advance the game? Oh well. You can buy additional attempts though.

Access to each future dungeon would be released each month, as paid content of course. Or a subscription.

Things like bombs and rupees would barely drop, but players could always purchase random loot boxes and they might what they need.

There would be a hidden mechanic to the Ganon fight where you can stab at the air all you want, you’ll never hit him. Unless you’ve spent enough money, that is. At least $1k.

Do we really want gaming to be like this? Pretty much all of the best games ever created never had to be “monetized” to death. Why do we think this is needed now?