Free-to-Play Diablo III Arrives in China

A very different edition of Diablo III is live in mainland China

Chinese Diablo III
Diablo III is spreading to more players around the world. The game was recently released for PC players in China, in a special free-to-play edition unlike the game in any other region. The Chinese version includes special buffs, currency that can be purchased with real money, and even updated graphics. Here is a look at this latest edition of Diablo III, different from all the rest.

  • The Chinese version of PC Diablo III is unlike the game in other regions. While there is a trial Starter Edition of the game available everywhere, the Chinese edition has been designed from the ground up to be free-to-play.
  • Diablo III in China is offered for free with the initial 5 classes, all the way up to level 70. The free content covers the basic game that the base Diablo III includes in other regions, without the Reaper of Souls expansion. This is limited to just one character slot and stash tab. (As of patch 2.2.1, everyone has access to the Mystic for transmogrification and enchanting.)
  • Chinese players who want more can purchase one of two different digital packages: the Premium Package for approximately $32 (RMB198) or the Digital Deluxe Package for approximately $64 (RMB388).
Diablo III Chinese Premium Package
Diablo III Chinese Deluxe Digital Package
  • These two packages include the Reaper of Souls content: the Crusader class, all the fun activities of Adventure Mode including Bounties and Nephalem Rifts, and Act V, along with 4 stash tabs and 8 character slots. The Deluxe Digital Package is much like the similarly named edition of the game in standard regions. The Chinese Deluxe Digital Package gives access to cosmetic bonuses like the Spectral Hound Minion, transmogrification designs and dyes, and cosmetic goodies in the Chinese edition of other Blizzard games like World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, and Heroes of the Storm.
  • The Chinese Diablo III entered open beta in April, and quickly sold 1 million copies of those two packages.
  • Beyond the packages to extend the game, the Chinese Diablo III also includes the new purchasable currency Platinum. Platinum is used as the basis for microtransactions throughout the Chinese edition of the game. Platinum can be purchased for real money, or earned through playing the game.
  • Platinum is earned in the Chinese edition of the game by:
    • The first daily kill of a Treasure Goblin
    • The first daily kill of a boss in Story mode or a Rift
    • The first daily completion of a Bounty set
    • Completing achievements - the amount given depends on the difficulty of the achievement
    • Killing a special platinum Treasure Goblin, that is only found in the Chinese edition
  • The Platinum currency is also being awarded through Blizzard's Chinese promotions. With the release of Heroes of the Storm, Chinese Diablo III players were encouraged to play the game and earn up to 8,000 Platinum each day. Quite a few players have jumped at the chance to earn Platinum by playing the new game: over 1 billion Platinum has been awarded so far, and it's still climbing.
Diablo III Chinese Promotion - Heroes of the Storm
  • Besides earning Platinum in game and through promotions, it can of course be bought with real money, directly in the game.
Diablo III Chinese Shop - Platinum Currency
  • The Platinum currency is used to purchase both cosmetic and gameplay boosts, in the Chinese Diablo III. The cosmetic bonuses include character wings, pets, and portrait frames.
Diablo III Chinese Shop - Wings
  • Platinum can be used to buy special temporary boosts that are only in the Chinese edition of Diablo III. These include separate boosts for experience, gold find, and Blood Shard drops. Although the Chinese server has the same drop rates as the standard Diablo III servers, in this way Chinese players can pay to get certain advancement and gear boosts.
  • The Chinese edition of Diablo III can also be extended with Platinum purchases for more character slots, and stash spaces. As noted by developer Wyatt Cheng, this naturally relates to the desire by some players in other regions for more stash space. While the Chinese edition shows the technical capability for Blizzard to add more stash spaces in the future for non-Chinese regions, it is still undecided whether that would ever happen.
  • Blizzard partnered with the Chinese company NetEase to localize and update Diablo III for the Chinese market, as they have with their other games. Because of cultural beliefs, many graphics had to be updated to fit in the Chinese market, and gain approval by the Chinese government. Some of these changes can be seen in an article at Graphical details of bones, blood, and gore are removed in the Chinese edition of Diablo III.
Diablo III Chinese Graphics
  • The Chinese server is running patch 2.2.1, the same as the other PC Diablo III servers. Other patches will also launch simultaneously, including the major patch 2.3 coming up later this year.

After many months in development by both NetEase and Blizzard, Diablo III was released in China on May 27. Blizzard CEO and President Mike Morhaime welcomed the new players to this very special edition of Diablo III.

In the most recent Activision-Blizzard quarterly report, both Diablo III and sales in the Chinese region were mentioned as two areas that have helped boost Blizzard's top line. The release of Diablo III in China will continue that growth, as the company's overall revenue shifts away from World of Warcraft. Diablo III is now the most widely available game from Blizzard; it can be played on PC and Mac machines in many regions around the world, four different consoles, and now in a special free-to-play edition in China.
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