Diablo 4’s Free Season 1 Armor Is Absurd Compared To Paid Shop Sets

“The best-looking cosmetics aren’t exclusive to the Shop,” an August blog back in 2022 reassured Diablo 4 players. “The Shop offers more diversity of choices, not systematically better choices.”

The blog featured a bunch of images comparing and contrasting in-game sets with paid shop sets. And while it was true that at release, the game did in fact launch with a good amount of badass looks for players to transmog for free, as of season 1, that is no longer the case, and I have to wonder about the future of cosmetics in Diablo 4 as a result, and whether they’re reversing what they initially said.

As of season 1, what they’ve said above is no longer true. There are at least two major new shop armor sets for each class, all of which are extremely detailed and unlike anything in the game so far. The paid battle pass has a class neutral set of armor full of skulls and spikes.

However, the only free armor in the battle pass is…this. A shirt. Striped pants. It’s the kind of thing an NPC in town might wear, or something you put on before you start stacking armor on top of it.

No new free armor has been added to the game besides this, far as I can tell. Uniques in Diablo are not even fully new transmog looks, and newly introduced ones this season don’t change that. But I don’t know how you can still say “the Shop offers more diversity of choices, not systematically better choices” given what’s being offered for cash (often close to $30 a set) and what’s “earned” by crawling through the battle pass. And don’t give me the “who cares, it’s cosmetics” argument, as a huge part of games in this genre is looking as cool as you can, and cosmetics can be just as big of motivators as powerful loot to some players.

Even Destiny 2, the most microtransaction-laden game on earth, routinely gives away at least a few new armor sets each season. Players earn dungeon or raid armor each season. The season has its own unique set of themed armor for all classes. Event and (most) legendary armor ornaments sold in the shop can be earned with Bright Dust, not only purchased with Silver.

But that doesn’t happen in Diablo 4, and to “save up” earned platinum from the battle pass (the paid part, mind you), it would take roughly an entire year to buy a single of the best shop sets. Which again, costs you $40 worth of battle passes in the first place to even be able to do that.

I am willing to say that sure, maybe this is just season 1 and they wanted to put all the good free sets in the base game. But the future of this game cannot be free red shirts and paid incredibly sick and unequivocally better sets with IRL-cash only purchase options. There has to be a middleground.

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