[Update: A Blizzard rep sent the following statement in response to our inquiries. "There are a lot of different factors that go into decisions like this, including various regional or local market considerations. We know that some of these features would be ones that players in several regions might enjoy, but we don't currently have plans to support these in North America, and we don't have any other region-specific details to share at this time."]
The Diablo 3 2.2.0 patch that's soon to hit the Public Test Realm (opens in new tab) will add new Legendary armor sets, a new kind of Adventure Mode bounty, new Goblins to chase around, and a bunch of other good stuff. But some parts of the world will see other additions, including a new in-game currency, timed experience boosts, and new cosmetic items.
"Some new features may start to show up in data mined information for patch 2.2.0 that will not apply to all regions," Blizzard revealed on Battle.net. It cited five specifically that won't apply to the Americas:
- A new currency called "Platinum"
- Timed experience boosts
- New cosmetic items including wings, non-combat pets, and character portraits
- References to stash space and character slot expansions
- A new UI element that references the above information
The obvious implication is that microtransactions are coming to the game, something Blizzard confirmed in the conclusion of the post. "We recognize that many players have expressed an interest in microtransactions being added to Diablo III," it says. "While we may explore this model in some regions, we have no immediate plans to implement such purchases anytime soon for the Americas region."
That final statement is a hedge on all sides: When someone says they have no immediate plans to do something anytime soon, what they're really saying is that sooner or later, it's probably going to happen. What makes the prospect particularly interesting is that it's coming so late in the day—Diablo 3 has been around for almost three years—and also, of course, Blizzard's well-documented past troubles with the controversial Auction House, which was shut down in March of last year.
We've reached out to Blizzard for more information, and will update if and when we receive a reply. In the meantime, what do you think: Are swanky duds and paid experience boosts a step in the right direction, or is it more likely to put you off playing altogether?