With a seasonal approach, Diablo 4 will follow Diablo 3's footsteps, although with some modern conveniences. The concept for Diablo 4 seasons, outlined in a new quarterly development blog, sounds much more ambitious than what it did for Diablo 3, giving the player more to do than restart the game with a new character every few months.
According to Diablo 4 game director Joe Shely and associate game director Joe Piepiora, players will begin each season by constructing a new character from scratch. Players will then level up their character as usual, performing various Diablo 4s activities, increasing gear, and becoming stronger. When the season comes to an end, seasonal characters will be moved to the Eternal Realm, where they may continue leveling up and becoming stronger, although outside the seasonal pool.
Players in Diablo 4 will receive up to four seasons a year, each of which will not only update the meta as in Diablo 3, but also add new content. Each season will include new features and quest lines, which players should be able to experience within an hour of playtime. The quest lines will also reveal new information about the world of Sanctuary.
The new content is a significant departure from Diablo 3, which has been operating on a seasonal basis since 2014. Blizzard rarely adds new features or maps in Diablo 3's seasonal updates, instead focusing on balance changes and gear reworks to keep the game fresh. Diablo 4 is a more contemporary game, like Destiny 2 or the Diablo series indie contemporary, Path of Exile. Those games change up class balance season-to-season while also giving players new story beats and activities to engage with
Diablo franchise general manager Rod Ferguson announced in June that there would be periodic full-story driven expansions. In addition to the Crusader class, the Necromancer was also added in a non-expansion character pack three years later.
Blizzard is taking an unusual stance with Diablo 4s seasons, combining what has worked for nearly a decade with some modern innovations developed by its predecessors. But while it's unclear how successful the studio will be able to merge past and present, it's clear that Diablo fans will have plenty to do each year once Diablo 4 is released sometime in 2023.