There are many terms in the gaming world, and “free-to-play” is one of the most alluring yet potentially deceptive. It seems like every week there’s a new one bearing the label “freemium” or falling into the gacha gap. It’s so obvious that these types of games are designed for players to put money into instantaneous progress rather than encouraging natural progression. While these are most commonly seen in phones, bigger companies are starting to follow suit with games like Genshin Impact and the more recent Diablo Immortal. What’s worse, Blizzard has been dominating the news with their internal behavior and treatment of the staff. Unfortunately, this game does nothing except highlight the fact that they’re making things worse.
What Is Diablo Immortal?
The Diablo series is not for everyone, yet it remains one of Blizzard’s most popular. The story is quite simple when you stand far enough back.The Devil has come to earth to destroy everything, and it’s up to an undefined hero to stop them. It’s an isometric RPG where everything revolves around clicking. You click your character, click abilities, click NPCs to talk, and click enemies to kill. It proved to be a much more engaging experience than people expected, and led to a trilogy filled with expansions and even remakes. It’s been 10 years since Diablo 3 released and eight years since its Reaper Of Souls expansion. Since then, the series lay dormant — until the launch of Diablo Immortal.
And what a launch it’s been! Touting itself as a free-to-play title, Blizzard hoped to cash in on the pay-as-go model. As if World Of Warcraft isn’t enough, now they’re trying to bring in gothic and macabre players alongside fans and RPG-lovers with Diablo Immortal. Looking at the gameplay footage, it looks like it remains true to the Diablo formula: Click (or tap) everything. Grab your fully customized character and head into a world ravaged by Diablo and the action of the Archangel Tyrael.
Things seem normal when you boot things up. You make your character, get an intro, and start running around. There are quests to do, things to pick up, and enemies to click to death. It all seems like it’s gonna be a familiar Diablo experience. You start doing things to level up and get stronger, but it’s just too slow. You’re not getting enough to make notable progression and soon enemies are wiping the floor with you. Then, an option reveals itself to you, the option to get stronger and be all the demon-slaying awesomeness you can be… You’ve just gotta pay for it.
Diablo Immortal Adds A Huge Expensive Scoop To Blizzard’s Disaster Sundae
Considering all the awful things that Blizzard has done recently that they have yet to make up for, the absolute least they could do is release a good game. Diablo Immortal was their chance to do that, and they’ve biffed it so royally it could be placed next in line for the throne.
The game’s progression is so slow that the microtransactions are going to be front and center reach into your wallets. The thing about Diablo games is that they’re generally slow-paced because players are expected to grind. People will clear out areas over and over before moving on, and we’re used to it. That’s how we like it. But Diablo Immortal‘s microtransactions are taking that away from us by making the process of grinding even more tedious and inconsequential.
There’s a whole mess of them, designed to eat away at your money with no guarantee that your character will actually get any better. Aside from the usual costs of spending tons of money on the hopes of drawing high-level items from chests, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. As outlined by Twinfinite, there are several in-game items that all require some big bucks to take advantage of them. You’ve got the “just this one” options in the Featured tab which boasts a number of packs that will give you a set amount of goodies.
You’ve got the in-game currency of Eternal Orbs, which you need to have in order to buy anything. As an alternative to farming, you can directly buy Materials that you need to forge weapons and armor to make your character strong enough to advance. Then you’ve got the Elder Rift, which gives you the chance to earn super valuable Legendary Gems, but you’ll need modifiers to stand a chance of even getting them but you’ll need to be Eternal Legendary Crests for that. Then you’ve got the classic Battle Pass system which you’ll need to renew monthly if you want to get better rewards. Lastly, there are cosmetic items to give your fake character a personal touch with real money.
Diablo Immortal Is Eternally Draining
There are already reports of players having spent thousands of dollars in hopes of pulling useful items, only to get no Legendary whatsoever. Worse, there are estimates that fully upgrading your character can cost over $100,000. Yes, that’s a one with six zeroes behind it — nearly twice the median yearly income for households in the United States. This tremendous cost comes down to the Legendary Gems which you need for upgrades — but there’s no reliable way to get them.
In a game series with a history of grinding, Blizzard has made it nearly impossible to get anything this way. You could spend years with monk-like patience trying to upgrade without spending a single dime and never get a Legendary Gem.
Blizzard used to be on top of the world, and while that still may be the case financially speaking, their image has taken a nosedive that continues to tunnel deep into the earth. Not only have their horrible practices been outed, but now they’re actually trying to bleed their supporters dry. I haven’t played a Blizzard game in who knows how long, and the reasons why just keep growing. I have many fond memories of playing the other Diablo games, but now Blizzard wants to put ongoing payments to make new ones in Diablo Immortal.
There’s nothing wrong with free-to-play games. I’ve enjoyed plenty that were fun and didn’t sneak off with all my money. But not only does Diablo Immortal not look any better than previous Diablo games, it adds nothing particularly interesting, and then charges you a fortune just so that you can see more of it.
You know, it’s ironic that Diablo belongs to Blizzard, since it seems both the studio and Diablo Immortal will only improve once Hell freezes over.
Will Quick is a freelance media wizard living in Spain. When he's not gaming or writing, he's doodling comics or whatever else pops in his head.