‘Diablo 4’ Interview: Bigger Future Seasons, Platinum Earn, Uber Unique Discount Rate

Diablo 4’s Evil is out on July 20, and Blizzard just revealed its plot and central mechanics last week. Players will cultivate Evil Hearts to attach to armor for unique builds, while also trying to clear the plague from the land.

Before next week, I got a chance to chat with Game Director Joe Shely and franchise GM Rod Fergusson about the season, during which we looked at some of the lingering questions.

In terms of the seasonal scale, one thing that has been made clear is that this season may be slightly smaller than future seasons. This is the first season of the game, and they not only learned from it, but developed concurrently when Diablo 4 came out.

“From an expectations management perspective,” said Fergusson, “when we talk about the Diablo 4 launch being the beginning, not the end, because we have live service, that’s also one of the things people do. should think with the seasons. …In fact, this is the first season we built while Shipping in progress [Diablo 4] at the same time…This is the beginning of our seasonal journey of where we can go from here.”

This installment won’t feature timed quests or the rhythm of the story (though they don’t completely rule that out in the future). All will be available in the first week, but it’s not a main storyline and what they call just a «quest line» to provide context for the central heart farming mechanic. Much of the season will be honing those new builds.

“It helps describe what the Malignant is doing here, but it won’t be a structure like the Act,” Shely said. «In the 3rd week of the season, the main stuff you’ll be focusing on is doing Malignant Tunnels, taking those Wicked Hearts and locking them up, and optimizing your build.»

Here are other key pieces of information about the season that popped up in our chat. Some may be repetition, some may be new:

  • For players of other live games, one big difference is all Content of Diablo 4 season is free. Plot, mechanics, the ability to create seasonal characters, a free part of the battle. The only one The payoff is $10 for the Premium Battle Pass with cosmetics only, plus any new store items added separately.
  • There’s a more expensive «speed up» battle card that comes with an exclusive cosmetic, but it’s just an emoji, not like a horse or cool armor or something like that .
  • As some players may be mistaken, in order to reach rank 100 in battle, your character does not have to be near level 100 by the end of the season. “We wanted to make sure that players playing at different intensities could still finish the battle,” Shely said. That even if you’re only playing a few hours a week, if you’re working on the challenges, you’ll be able to finish the entire battle by the end of the 12-week season.
  • The Battle Pass will be the first place where you can earn Platinum, the game’s premium currency, in-game alongside purchasing it outright in a bundle. It’s like Fortnite putting V-bucks in its battle but it won’t be enough to full buy battle cards of the next season. Or, over time, you can save up to buy an expensive set of armor. But there is at least some of it.
  • I’m still waiting for a final answer to this, but it means there are several class-specific heart abilities out of the 32 coming out in the season. The new (permanently added) Legendary Aspects and Traits are also said to be a mix of class-neutral and specific.
  • Heart Pitches are separate from Gems Vaults so both can be used, with the exception of the Heart Pit only jewelry (which will be converted to a normal Vault after the season). There are no new Gems ratings on Royal this season to merge more.
  • There’s actually going to be a new Nightmare Dungeon spin this season and every season, as previously said.
  • Unlike the previous mid-season patch which was 99% buff, there will indeed be nerfs at the start of the season here. Shely doesn’t go into specifics, but gives a familiar answer «sometimes we have to nerf some things, we can’t always buff everything else» that most Games like this all have to settle at some point.
  • There are no new Uber Uniques coming this season. This season, they pointed out. I hit them on absolutely insane drop rates. «It’s easy to add additional opportunities to get that thing, it’s hard to go the other way when you have something popular,» says Shely. They point out that in the future, the drop rate or path to acquisition may not be as rare as one in a million as it is now (don’t yell at me when this happens).
  • I asked about why many Uniques feel weaker than their Legendary counterparts and they said that Uniques are not necessarily the «last» equipment level on Legendary combined with Aspect, they are supposed to be slide along with certain builds to make them unique rather than outright better than anything else. It’s not the «you have to have every single thing to get every possible build option» system we’ve seen in the past.
  • Finally, I ask why the campaign is required for seasonal play, since in video games in general, only a fraction of the players actually complete the campaigns, much less than the players. in Diablo 4. They say that A) they think the campaign is good and everyone should experience it (agree!) but B) the campaign is a good start for all the game’s systems and just get everyone into World Tier 3 and all the late game activities will be too confusing. But if you want to jump straight to the part before beating the campaign (you only need to defeat a character once), you can join a friend who has already done so.

So a lot of interesting stuff in there. Thanks guys for talking to me, as always. Season of the Malignant premieres on July 20.

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