On June 2, 2022, the mobile exponent of the famous Diablo videogame saga debuted on smartphones all over the world. One week later, the digital product known as Diablo Immortal is subject to very vocal reactions, with numerous gamers and critics accusing the title of having focused excessively on microtransactions and the pay-to-win modeldistorting the experience of the product itself.
Diablo Immortal, microtransactions were feared right from the start
In 2018, when it was announced at BlizzCon, Diablo Immortal had certainly not warmed the hearts of gamers in the room. The brand’s typical audience was not happy to discover that the saga would flow onto the tiny screen by adopting the infamous free-to-play format. Burned by a thousand traumas, the players feared that the publisher, Blizzard Entertainmentwas moving away from the interests of consumers to propose a game system devoid of depth in the hope of making it accessible and popular.
The response from the crowd was so negative that Wyatt Cheng, Blizzard’s Principal Game Designer, exasperated, provocatively asked the audience “People, don’t you have any phones?”. The phrase added fuel to the fire to the point of becoming a meme. The hardcore gamers did not feel listened to by the company, on the contrary they were even more convinced that the fate that awaited them was bleak and suffocating.
Not all evil harms the extreme
The reaction of the first few days was perhaps excessive. Diablo Immortal, initially planned exclusively in smartphone format, was also released on Windows systems, moreover many commentators claim that the game system is all in all pleasant and that the title can offer high quality entertainment moments. At the same time, the more vocal part of the internet seems to agree that microtransactions actually represent a notable cross.
The “free-to-play” system is accused of being more of a “pay-to-win” in disguise, of offering optional purchases that are however concretely indispensable, at least if you intend to fully enjoy the gaming experience. The so-called “end game” would in fact be frustrated by a highly unbalanced loot system in favor of paying users, with the result that the characteristic traits of avatar personalization are subordinated to the presence of paywalls.
The legend of rare gems
According to the critics, Diablo Immortal implements the development of the player characters by relying on three main factors: experience points, traditional equipment and the so-called “legendary gems”, which can mostly be found through the “legendary crests”, or the inevitable loot box a pagamento. Of the three values, however, the gems are the only ones that allow a substantial evolution of the game once the limit level is reached.
In this sense, the youtubers of Bellular News have tried to make a quick calculation to estimate how much a gamer should spend to maximize the effectiveness of their hero. Taking into account the current economy, the content creators have assumed an expense of around 110,000 dollars. Alternatively, the game allows in its free-to-play model to reach the same goal without having to invest any financial resources, however to obtain the same results a player should devote more or less to the cause. ten years of daily play.
Diablo Immortal’s microtransactions reveal some priorities
That Diablo Immortal could be the victim of excessive microtransactions was a long-established fear, but the phobia intensified in May, when executive producer Peiwen Yao confirmed that the title it would not have reached the markets of Belgium and the Netherlands. Why does this detail set off the alarm bells? Simple, both nations in question show a profound regulatory antipathy towards everything that is loot box.
Rather than publishing a game emptied of its payment dynamics, Blizzard preferred to completely cancel the release of the title in the two European markets, a detail that suggests that the product is definitively set on a monetary dimension, even before it is playful.