Less than a week has passed since Diablo Immortal (opens in a new tab) launched on mobile and PC devices (in open beta), and the game is already facing a furious backlash from players over its in-game purchases. Many threads criticizing the monetization have appeared in the Diablo Immortal subreddit (opens in a new tab)while the iOS version languishes with an abysmal 0.6 score from nearly 1,700 user reviews on Metacritic (opens in a new tab).
Diablo Immortal was originally conceived as a mobile game (in fact, a PC release wasn’t confirmed until April 2022 (opens in a new tab)), and its F2P monetization is fairly typical of the platform. Among the items offered are “Crests”, which add gameplay modifiers and guarantee certain items; crafting materials, which impact combat and drops in different ways; and services, like Boon of Plenty and Prodigy’s Path, which offer bonus rewards for various actions and tasks completed. There are also plenty of cosmetic items, of course.
To be clear, none of this is absolutely essential, and lead designer Joe Grubb told PCGamesN (opens in a new tab) in May that microtransactions are for “optional purchases [that] are always a bonus, they never bypass the core gameplay. “Nevertheless, the extent of the microtransaction push has sparked a powerful backlash. Diablo Immortal is not on Steam, so players are venting their frustrations with reviews elsewhere, particularly Reddit and Metacritic. The iOS version of Diablo Immortal holds a A very respectable overall score of 76 on the site, but user reviews are a whole different story. (opens in a new tab) has no user reviews as it has not been officially launched yet.)
“Gaming simulator with a Diablo skin. A blatant cash grab filled to the brim with blatant micro-transactions so bad they’re literally against the law in some countries,” Metacritic user Ranncore wrote. is in reference to the fact that Diablo Immortal is not launching in Belgium and the Netherlands (opens in a new tab)). Another, paulieslim, described the game as a “loot box full of wasted money”, adding: “You better go to 7-11 and buy some lottery tickets.”
Jee00 took a more measured approach. “There’s some good gaming here, but it’s all sadly marred by the many ways the game attempts to exploit those vulnerable to casino-like tactics,” they wrote. “It could have been great, but instead it just feels like the game is playing you, even more than you already expect from Blizzard.”
Similar opinions are common on the front page of the Diablo Immortal subreddit: many posts say the base game is fun, but marred by pressure to sell stuff, especially in the endgame.
“I didn’t have fun grinding, ancient cracks are so unrewarding if you don’t spend a lot of money buying more legendary crests”, redditro megablue (opens in a new tab) wrote. “Set pieces are limited to paragon level, so in a sense your progress is also limited by time and money. You have to spend a ton of money.”
Redditor daymeeuhn (opens in a new tab) crunched some numbers and determined that it currently costs around $50,000 to equip a character with a full set of maxed out Legendary Gems, a very rare item that boosts stats and grants passive effects. I can’t vouch for that number (and other sources have reported even higher costs), but we found in our own investigation that Diablo Immortal pushes players to spend money, saying “it’s not isn’t quite pay to win”. , but it’s close.”
“The stack of real-money systems in Diablo Immortal, which tips the scales of exciting random drops, at least presents the risk of becoming predatory, if they aren’t already,” concluded associate editor Tyler. Colp. “It may take some time to recognize how important these microtransactions are as players head towards the endgame, but it’s quite possible they’ll feel needed once you’ve spent enough hours in the game.”
Based on the widespread reactions a week after release, I’d say it’s become more than just a possibility.