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I recall a while ago now when Diablo IV announced they would have battle passes people were a bit concerned. The developers, however, at the time, assured the Diablo community the premium pass would not be paid to win. After looking at it so far, I'm rather pleased with what I see.
I rather like how Diablo IV kept up the Diablo III season chapters in some ways. They just spiced things up a bit and added a premium battle pass with some extra cosmetic items for the most part. Along with an added twist but even as a free player, you get to enjoy the extra bit at the end.
As you run around the game of Diablo IV the activities you are doing will earn you small or large amounts of progress along the battle pass. I noticed when I was just out killing creatures, running side quests, and doing dungeons my progress bar toward completing the next tier was slowly creeping along.
There is, however, a much faster way to get a huge chunk of progress all at once. That is completing the season journey objectives and chapters. You must complete enough progress in a single chapter before the next one opens up and you get flooded with completions of anything you have already done up till that point. Till that next chapter is unlocked you don’t get credit early for things other than it possibly getting checked off for most of the stuff just without collecting the reward yet.
I rather like the idea you don’t have to finish off every single objective in each chapter before progressing along. You, however, do need to finish enough of them to do so. Chapter one requires you to finish only 7 of the total 9 objectives.
This was a bit of a relief since some of the objectives in the chapters require that you either have skipped the campaign or have finished it. They are asking you to do things that pertain to the season mechanics that are not unlocked till the campaign is out of the way for you.
As you can see in Chapter 1 a lot of the objectives are things you should have already done while in-between doing other things or giving you an idea of what you should be doing. This looks like a system in a way to give players who skip over the campaign something to work towards while they are leveling up.
It has you doing things like running your first dungeon, event, and collecting gallowvine. From there it moves you into doing a couple of dungeons in the fractured peaks region, side questing, and even running a cellar.
All of this is just things you should be doing anyway. I think at this point most of us move through the world of this game with such a mindset as soon as we see many of these activities at least early game we are already working on them without a second thought.
As you complete each objective you get one small favor which unlocks a tier on the battle pass. For the most part, the cosmetic rewards in the battle pass are for those who are paying for premium.
There are different packs for premium ranging from $9.99 to $24.99. I don’t feel the cosmetics for the most part are something I'd be willing to spend $10 for the privilege of unlocking if I made it far enough along for what I wanted. For the most part, it just feels like the extra rewards you are paying.
It is at least a way for players to support the game further than the base piece. I hope in the future they don’t change the cosmetic rewards to something greater for people spending the amount of money they are. I’m sure on occasion a player might see something they just have to have and that will end up being the premium battle pass they end up spending money on for a look they want to have season after season.
The cool thing is once you complete each chapter it’s almost like Diablo III, just not as rewarding. You get to unlock some extra favors to advance your progress along the battle pass even further. You also get some aspects. Along with a reward crate. All of this even if you are not paying extra.
I found the reward crate to be quite a disappointment. If there is one thing, I'm missing from Diablo III is armor sets which were the rewards. Here I just got some worthless rings and some crafting materials. It ended up being like this as I advanced along and completed each chapter.
For the most part, I just find the entire system a little something extra fun. I don’t know how many times I'll just be running around and after finishing something I get a pop-up informing me I've completed yet another objective that I might not have known was one of them.
The first couple of chapters are also rather basic. They seem to be in a way having the player discover different elements of the game. I never thought I'd get rewarded in a game for using fast travel ten times but here we are.
I even ended up making a trip to the wardrobe which I never cared to use in the first place as it was an objective in chapter II. Just so I could get another objective completed. This also brings me up to another point, the system getting you to do things you don’t care for just to get a reward.
Things do, however, get far more interesting later in the chapters. There are many things in the last chapter I feel many players might not get around to doing in a given season. Reaching level 100 and killing Echo of Lilith in torment are not easy things everyone will be doing.
For the most part, the entire system is more geared toward casual players. It is at least great to see them toss some stuff in there for those who will invest quite a lot of time and energy into a given season to get there. It also gives the player some truly end-game goals to try and accomplish.
This, however, does not cover everything that can be earned in the battle pass. One interesting thing they did was level lock, a special kind of reward called smoldering ash. I can only assume the level requirement was placed on there to keep those from paying $19.99 to automatically get some ash from skipping a few tiers which is what they are paying extra for mostly for. This ensures that paying money is not getting someone the early benefit of smoldering ash.
Smoldering ash itself can be spent on buying seasonal blessings. You can get everything from an increase in gold to experience and a few other things as well. Since I'm a bit behind starting so late this season went for a 5% experience boot with the first ash I got.
For those that make it to tier 90 of the battle pass and are paying for premium, you get this cosmetic skin for your horse. While it’s cool looking that seems like a lot of work for a skin. Granted I do expect many players will want to have it. It also just gives long-term players something to reach for.
On top of that along the way players who are paying extra are getting special emotes and titles. It’s even possible for players to earn a bit of the platinum they spent back if they make it far enough along. This for a rather active player would reduce their overall cost every season to keep getting the premium battle pass.
While the players not paying extra will not get things like platinum. This season if you make it to tier 78 you can get the title Monster for free. I can see a few players grinding things out just to get that as something to show off to world bosses. As many players seem to take a certain level of pride in the title they choose to display.
Overall, I'm thrilled to see anyone spending extra for the premium portion of the battle pass is just getting extra cosmetic skins. While nothing in this one tempted me enough to want to spend $10 and put in all the effort to unlock. You never know what next season's skins will look like and if you just have an impulse to need it.
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