For all the faults that Diablo 4 has, I have been a staunch fan of the game and I’ve been having a blast with Season 3. I was ready to give the Lunar Awakening event a fighting chance, but the content is lacking, and the armor sets in the shop are just an extra slap in the face. If the Ancestors really favored me, I could grind for some cool armor.
Sure, some new cosmetics can be earned for free in the Lunar Awakening reward board. There are even a few cool weapons. But they aren’t even remotely close to enough to keep players happy with the current cosmetic system. You either pay more money, or your character has the same looks from launch.
Diablo 4 has a Serious Cosmetic Problem
Shop armor is nothing new in Diablo 4. They have been available since day one, and I was quick to write a similar feature when those were released. Shop armors were clearly better than anything in the game, and I could see the trajectory of our cosmetic future.
Fast forward to Season 3 and what have “free” players been able to earn? Essentially a cloth farming outfit, a slightly better gambeson, and now a set that looks like it was meant for the Three Musketeers. None of these are true armors. The only way to get some new armor styles for the characters you will spend dozens of hours with is to spend money unless you don’t mind the launch of cosmetics.
So now we’re left with two options. We can buy the Battle Pass for $10, which is at least a decent deal, or spend upwards of $30 for an individual armor set on one class. And don’t even get me started on the $70 horse bundle that was released last season with some bonus Platinum. These bundles are getting out of control and the worst part is that most of the armor sets are genuinely fantastic.
The Lunar Awakening Feels Like an Advertisement
Yeah, yeah, all games are made to make money. But there needs to be a point where there is some quality content to justify the monetization. I have been having fun with Season 3 with my Blizzard Sorceress, and I don’t mind the numerous sets that have already been added to the shop. Sure, I want more earnable cosmetics, but at least the content has been enough to keep me playing.
Now, we get to the Lunar Awakening. Within an hour of release, I have seen players complete the entire reward board. Aside from the rewards, the main draw is the bonus XP. Only, the bonus XP is tied directly to having active Shrines. So you either kill enemies with the shrine buff active, which is only beneficial when enough enemies actually appear, or the bonus is pointless.
After completing the rewards and earning a couple of weapon skins, what’s left for the event? There are at least five incredible armor sets in the shop that each cost $20. You were brought back to the game for a couple of hours to activate some slightly better shrines and then look at the shop.
What Happened to Earnable Cosmetics?
Diablo 4’s shop is full of expensive cosmetics, and I get they need to have that for a live service game. That doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be some great rewards to grind for as well. Even games like Destiny have some cosmetics that can be collected through gameplay alongside the shop collaborations that are thrown in for real money.
End-game is an ongoing project in Diablo 4, and at the moment, I’m a fan of where the game is headed. But I can recognize the game still needs some help, and the lack of any cosmetics past launch is going to hurt the game in the long run. Customization is a massive part of any RPG, and there is a reason that shops do so well. Being able to wear the cool armor that you earned makes those systems even better. At the moment, Diablo 4 has nothing even close to “earnable” that displays what you’ve been able to do with your own character.
I know the shop isn’t going anywhere. I’m sure some more unbelievable armor will be added to the shop. But that doesn’t mean the players can be given a free set every once in a while, so we have reasons to come back.
If you decide to jump into the Lunar Awakening event yourself, make sure to get started in Ked Bardu.