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Blizzard Says Diablo 4 Microtransactions Won't 'Affect Gameplay'

Cosmetics will give characters new looks but won't make them more powerful.

Necromancer character customization menu
Players will have the option to pay for a more unique looking character. 
Blizzard; screenshot by CNET

Diablo IV is set to launch sometime in 2023. On Thursday, developer Blizzard Entertainment unveiled its plans for the game's microtransactions.

The upcoming dungeon-crawling action RPG (or role-playing game) will have a wealth of cosmetics available for purchase using real money, but Blizzard said in its Diablo IV Quarterly Update that this content won't impact gameplay.   

"Our goal in designing our in-game purchases is that we want to create beautiful things which add value to players' experience of the game," said Kegan Clark, director of product for Diablo IV. 

Diablo Immortal, Blizzard's first mobile game for the franchise, released earlier this year, received waves of negative feedback over its microtransactions strategy, which has made the company more than $100 million in sales. In that game, players who spent money could make their character's equipment more powerful and outmatch others

Diablo IV will have seasons, and with each season there'll be a season pass. Players who purchase the pass will unlock new content as they play, such as cosmetics. Along with rewards that let players change the appearance of a character, the pass also awards what Blizzard refers to as premium currency, which can be used to purchase additional cosmetics. There'll also be season boosts that speed up the unlocking process for players subscribed to the season pass. 

Those who don't want to pay for a season pass can partake in what Blizzard refers to as the season journey. These challenges will have players take on difficult enemies to earn unique cosmetic rewards. Season pass owners will also be able to progress through the season journey to access more rewards.

For anyone who doesn't want to progress through the season pass or season journey to unlock cosmetics, the shop will be available for buying these items directly using premium currency. This is an option for players, and Blizzard says the shop will be transparent by allowing an option to preview how the cosmetics look on a character before purchasing. 

Blizzard didn't provide specifics on how much the season pass or cosmetics would cost in real money. 

Along with details about its plans for microtransactions, Blizzard also revealed the inclusion of live events for Diablo IV. These events will occur during a season and could be an invasion of enemies that could last a week or new merchants selling unique items for a limited period of time. The developer said these events will lead to new adventures and unique rewards.

Diablo IV is scheduled to come out in 2023 on PC, Xbox and PlayStation consoles. Blizzard said it'll be a "full-priced game" but has yet to reveal how much the game will cost.