One of the problems with the current “everything is a live service now” model of the gaming industry is that there are quickly becoming too many games to keep up. One of my fears has always been wracking my brain trying to juggle two major games now, Destiny 2 and Diablo 4, both live-action services, as well as this year’s big standalone releases, Jedi Survivor, Tears of the Kingdom, Final Fantasy XVI, Starfield, etc. I’ve already had to finish other ongoing games and leave several titles unfinished in my attempt to make this work.
Fortunately, it feels like Diablo is a rare game that will make its seasonal grind…not that bad, actually. From speaking with the developers and everything they’ve said publicly, this sounds like a seasonal model that you can take at any pace you want, and still finish comfortably by the time it expires.
Speaking with Director Joe Shelley last week, he assured me that ending a rank 100 battle pass isn’t going anywhere. Close To force players to reach level 100 on a seasonal character, something that could take over 100 hours of gameplay alone. He said the team’s immediate goal was that if people wanted to grind nuts, they could, but they also wanted to design a system where if someone could only play a few hours a week because of their schedule, they could still comfortably finish playing battle passes in the time they had. The three-month season ends.
In the first season, the basic story is supposed to be rather short. While Diablo has said that future seasons will become more expansive, for Malevolent season at least, the initial story is mostly to provide context for the central mechanic of Malevolent cultivating and stabilizing Hearts for extra powers. But the actual story isn’t time bound, and you don’t need to come back every week to play or grind on certain things to unlock new story beats.
The goal of a season is simply to enjoy leveling up a new character while using a unique seasonal mechanic not found in the base game. I know some people will be disappointed that they can’t use their existing characters (I’ve been over this many times before), but the whole point is for everyone to start on the same playing field, and then you can try out a class or build you haven’t tried.
A big benefit of Diablo 4 seasons is that you’re not losing Your seasonal character that you’ve been grinding towards at the end. So if you finish the battle pass and you’ve had enough of the central mech, you can just… stop. If you want to return to that character down the road, or keep leveling them up after the season ends, you can do so in the eternal world. The time invested still leaves you with a lasting result.
All of this feeds into the idea that the Diablo 4 team isn’t particularly interested in endless engagement like other live action games. In a recent developer livestream, Diablo’s Joe Piepiora gave a widely circulated quote about how it’s OK to stop, take a break from a game and come back later when there’s new stuff you want to play.
“When you hit all the goals and do the things that you think are really important, and you want to take a break to play something else for a little while, that’s okay. And we do the same.” Piepiroa said. “When the season starts and there’s new stuff to come out, that’s the time to come back, especially if you had a good time playing it before. This is exactly when you should go back and check out Diablo 4 Fresh.”
It’s… refreshing, having come out of a never-ending treadmill where you always feel left behind in other live games. Yes, I’m talking about Destiny, but also Genshin Impact, The Division, a lot of different games that are structured similarly. I’m looking forward to seeing how Diablo 4 does it differently.
“Typical beer trailblazer. Hipster-friendly web buff. Certified alcohol fanatic. Internetaholic. Infuriatingly humble zombie lover.”