Let’s not start Seasons off on the wrong foot
I consider myself a pretty big fan of action-RPG games. Therefore, like many others, I have been cautiously optimistic about the longevity Diablo 4 can provide with its content releases. And right now, Season 1 of Diablo 4 has the potential to bring ARPG fans together, or drive them even further apart.
When D4 finally got announced, it didn’t take long to start hearing two claims from ARPG fans. It was common to hear either “Diablo 4 will kill Path of Exile!” or “Diablo 4 won’t have good enough content to compete with Path of Exile!”. With over 100 hours in D4 so far, and almost 1,500 hours in PoE over the years, let me tell you: the two games can certainly co-exist in the ARPG genre. While both games are ARPGs, their end-game systems—and therefore seasonal content loops—are very different. This is amazing for ARPG fans.
Imagine a scenario in which two games you love are getting new content, features, and Seasons in a rotational basis. D4 releases a new update, and by the time you’re feeling done with it, a new PoE expansion is almost here. And when you’re just about done with the new PoE expansion? Yup, you guessed it. A new D4 Season!
Blizzard recently confirmed an upcoming livestream on July 6th in which we’ll get more details—and a release date—for Season 1. However, based on previous information from the developers, ARPG fans are starting to get worried. Depending on when D4‘s first Season starts, the two games could get caught in a competitive content cycle and force players to choose between the two games.
How important are these Seasons?
Seasonal content for Path of Exile is important for many reasons. First, each expansion introduces a new gameplay mechanic that freshens up the experience. Second, for developer Grinding Gear Games, each one adds new cosmetics which keep their free-to-play model working.
Diablo III comparatively didn’t add much to its Seasons. Early iterations just offered a brand new leaderboard to climb for bragging rights. Later releases often came with a unique gimmick like being able to equip an extra legendary power, or receive super powerful buffs by interacting with shrines. But even still, compared to Path of Exile, seasonal content in D3 is very lackluster.
Blizzard has already confirmed Diablo 4 will have more content-rich updates, with each Season bringing new stories, features, and gameplay elements.
The second ever ExileCon will showcase all things Path of Exile on July 29-30. This is a big event that will feature Path of Exile 2 and Path of Exile Mobile, as well as the beta start date for the two games. The conference will also have playable demos for both titles as well as some developer panels. Furthermore, the 3.22 expansion will be revealed, showcasing the future of the ARPG.
ExileCon was announced back on August 12, 2022. It’s important to keep in mind we didn’t even know Diablo 4‘s release date at that time. Die-hard ARPG and Path of Exile fans interested in the event probably started planning their trip to New Zealand for the conference way back then.
So, what’s the problem?
Timing, really. With the Season 1 announcement for Diablo 4 being on July 6, it’s quite possible timeframe-wise that it could conflict with ExileCon. With the event taking place in New Zealand, a lot of attendees will probably be traveling in the days leading up to the conference. ARPG fans have voiced their concern on both subreddits, as well as across various social media posts.
An even bigger issue here is the capability of creating a cycle. Path of Exile has always aimed to release their expansions quarterly. Prior to its release, Blizzard confirmed they will be looking to release Seasons quarterly as well. Therefore, if Blizzard waits too long to release Season 1, it could launch around the same time as the 3.22 expansion for Path of Exile. We could end up in a cycle where the two games are constantly releasing new content at the same time.
Content creators have also voiced their concern with the overlap. Popular part-time ARPG streamer Quin69 has already taken to Twitter begging Diablo 4 Executive Producer Rod Fergusson to ensure Season 1 doesn’t conflict with ExileCon.
please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please
don’t make season 1 conflict with exilecon 🥺🙏 https://t.co/iFIvwDQUCP
— Quin (@quinrex) June 29, 2023
So Blizzard, this is my plea to you: Don’t start The Great ARPG War. We love both games, and they can both flourish and thrive alongside each other. It’s literally a win-win scenario for everyone. The ball is in your court!