Diablo Immortal is a title seemingly destined to be surrounded by controversy and skepticism, a trend that first became noticeable since its initial reveal back at Blizzcon 2018. However, it appears there’s no rest for the mobile ARPG post-launch either, as a growing number of players, Diablo fans, and spectators from afar appear appalled at the microtransactions present in the game.
It takes only a brief scroll through the games main Reddit page to see a downpour of criticism and frustration splashing around, backed by a thundering storm of community members who left the game shocked by the monetization, or those trying to weather the storm without dropping too much cash on it.
This surge of anger is aimed towards a particular pain point: legendary gem upgrades. This aspect of the game’s monetisation isn’t too clear to players as they first level through the game, but is by far the grossest example of pay-to-win in the mobile title. First reported on by GameRant, it costs up to $110,000 to fully upgrade a character in Diablo Immortal, and most of that is due to the gem system.
These gems, when upgraded, provide crucial stats and combat rating upgrades that improve your effectiveness in all avenues of gameplay. Through paying real money, you can circumvent a huge grind and slingshot your way to the top of server leaderboards, which as you can imagine has been ample fuel for the burning backlash now present across social media.
These gems are just the main offender, too! Other less-impactful but still slimy examples of monetization are easy to find. Axios video game reporter, Stephen Totilo, was among one of the first to post about the opportunity to buy a limited-time treasure box after completing a dungeon on June 1.
In a group interview with Diablo Immortal devs we sat in on prior to the game’s launch, the topic of how microtransactions will be handled was a major topic of discussion. At the time, principal game designer Joe Grubb made it clear that “all the major gameplay systems in Diablo Immortal are free. That includes the main storyline, the dungeons, the helliquary raid, the in-game cycle of strife. You can do everything in Diablo Immortal completely for free.”
“The other core piece of this that we thought was important was that these optional purchases should never be a way to acquire gear or experience. We will never sell gear. We will never sell experience in Diablo Immortal. What that means is that you have to play Diablo Immortal to increase value. You have to have skill at your class.”
This is all technically true, at the heart of Diablo Immortal is a fun action RPG romp that you can jump into and have a good time with at no cost, but while you can’t acquire gear through real-money, spending real money does vastly increase the chances of getting legendary drops from activities like Elder rifts, and if you want to completely upgrade that gear with gems, you’ll need to fork out some dosh.
Let us know what you think of the microtransaction situation in Diablo Immortal below. Do you align yourself with the online community up in arms about the game, or are you having a good time with the title without feeling pressured to spend at all? Let us know below.
If you are getting into Diablo Immortal, we have some guides to help you make your way, including What is the best starting, solo and PvP class, and How to start PvP, join dark clans, and become an Immortal.