Blizzard is set to expand the game for years both with free and paid content.
One of the first things Blizzard had to talk about after unveiling Diablo IV was microtransactions, battle passes and such. Unfortunately, the game was still years away then, so the studio couldn't go into much detail. We're now just a bit more than three weeks away from launch, and that means it's time for specifics.
This in the form of both a livestream and blog where the developers talk about their post-launch plans for Diablo IV. The game will obviously have seasons, and all of them will add new questlines, gameplay features, legendary items, battle passes and make class balance changes. That also means you'll have to complete the campaign to take part in each season, which is why Season 1 will begin in mid to late July.
The new questlines will be separate from the main narrative because only paid expansions will continue the story. Expansions aren't the only thing you'll have to pay for either.
Blizzard reiterates that each season's battle pass contains 27 free and 63 premium tiers. The free ones rewards you with cosmetics and what's called Smoldering Ashes. This is a the resource used to purchase Season Blessings - basically boosts for XP, gold or Obols. You can have several of these active at the same time, and they last until that season ends. Got your "pay-to-win alarm" going? It's not as bad as it might sound, since you must meet certain requirements to claim the Smoldering Ashes needed for boosts.
Then there's the premium tiers. Getting access to these will cost you the equivalent of $9.99, and allow you to unlock cosmetics unique to that season and the platinum currency that can be spent in the shop to acquire even cooler cosmetics or purchase future battle passes. It doesn't stop there though, because Blizzard won't follow the trend of letting us earn rewards for battle passes indefinitely. Players who don't have time to work their way through the battle pass by spending hours playing can purchase what's appropriately called accelerated battle pass for the the equivalent of $24.99. This gives you 20 tier skips and the Wings of the Creator emote. None of the premium passes will, as stated months ago, give you additional Smoldering Ashes - just cosmetics and platinum currency. To give you a short and simple overview:
Battle Pass (free)
Cosmetics and Smoldering Ashes
Premium Pass ($9.99)
63 additional tiers without Smoldering Ashes
2 cosmetic armour sets for each class
A seasonal mount and mount armour
Accelerated Pass ($24.99)
Everything in the previously detailed versions
20 tier skips
Wings of the Creator emote
None of this will be a part of this weekend's last open beta, so the cool-looking players you meet there have definitely not paid anything for it.