Saturday 15 July 2023

Blizzard's Bold Move: New Characters Required for Diablo 4's Season 1


Blizzard Entertainment, the renowned developer behind the Diablo franchise, has recently shed light on a controversial decision regarding the upcoming Season 1 of Diablo 4, titled "Season Of The Malignant". Joe Piepiora, the associate game director for Diablo 4, explained in an interview with NME why players will need to create new characters to experience the season's fresh content.

In a move that has sparked debate among the Diablo community, Blizzard announced in June that existing Diablo characters will be transferred to the Eternal Realm when Season 1 launches on July 20. This means that only newly created characters will be able to access the majority of the season's new additions.

Piepiora addressed the concerns of players who wish to continue their journey with their existing characters. He explained that the decision was made to recapture the thrill of leveling a character from scratch and developing their build. "We think that moment of elation, of a drop occurring that you’ve been hunting for, is such a huge deal," Piepiora said. "It’s difficult to replicate that feeling endlessly with a character."

The associate game director also highlighted the benefits of tying seasons to new characters. This approach, he said, allows players to take breaks from Diablo and return without feeling like they have missed too much. "We don’t want to have this feeling where you feel you need to play endlessly to stay abreast and afloat of everything that’s happening in the game," he explained. "We don’t want you to feel like you’re being really left behind."

Piepiora emphasized that these seasonal releases provide opportunities for players to rejoin at a fresh starting point with friends, to experience new content, and to enjoy the journey of creating a new character and trying a different playthrough. He added that this format enables Blizzard to introduce "new mechanics, story, characters and threats" early on, and that Season 1 will "shake up the experience" of leveling up.

In the same interview, Piepiora and Michelle PiƱa, a game designer for Diablo 4's dungeons, also discussed the "self-contained story" and the Malignant Tunnels arriving in Season 1.

While the decision to require new characters for Season 1 of Diablo 4 has been met with mixed reactions, Blizzard's rationale behind the move offers a fresh perspective. It remains to be seen how this bold strategy will impact the player experience and the overall success of the upcoming season.