Heavily criticized for its abusive pay-to-win mechanics, Diablo Immortal created a scandal, forcing one of the developers to explain themselves.
Blizzard’s latest software, Diablo Immortal, was released recently on mobile and PC. Like many mobile applications and other free-to-play games, the software also offers its share of in-app purchases, but the amounts requested create scandal, and rightly so.
The price of a house for a powerful character
You didn’t know what to do with your Cofidis loan? Blizzard offers you to optimize your character for the whopping 100,000 euros. Maybe less if you’re lucky, in which case you can then spend your last rounds in the battle pass or in boosters to have more loot at the end of your dungeons.
Because yes, it’s a sad reality, but Diablo Immortal is a chubby pay-to-win. Boosters, loot boxes… the software embeds the complete kit of the cheap mobile appexcept that this is a huge publisher, and not a dark studio hidden deep in the Malaysian jungle.
In Diablo Immortal therefore, when your character has inflated his level of experience and has a nice equipment, he can become even more powerful by using magic gems, including legendary gems. It’s great, except that to get your hands on these, you have to either give a whole life in the farm (and you can’t have legendary gems by the way), or pay an astronomical sum, especially since improvement is subject to the laws of chance.
According to your chances then, and according to people paid to calculate this sort of thing, it would take several thousand euros to have a character optimized from A to Z through the store. Up to 102,000 euros for more precise (110,000 dollars, 88,000 pounds). A house in the countryside.
Gamers’ Anger VS Blizzard’s Disastrous Explanations
Suffice to say that the case has turned the eye of a good number of players and that some have not hesitated to criticize Wyatt Cheng, the game’s game designer, since the latter had nevertheless declared months earlier that the equipment was not impacted by in-app purchases.
What is true, except that the famous “winning” gems are not considered as equipment, but as a kind of bonus, even if these end up being embedded on your weapons and armor. Smart and practical to play on words.
Mr Cheng has also been harpooned on the subject. A user put a post in his face in which he claimed, however, that there was no paid system to improve his equipment in Diablo Immortal, asking him what had prompted the studio to change its formula. To which Wyatt Cheng responds:
I’ve been pretty direct in many interviews (but apparently not in this post) that the gear was the 12 item slots. In many interviews, I’ve also made it clear that silver can advance Gems and Legendary Gems. I’m sorry it wasn’t clear here. Not being able to buy gear (all 12 slots) or XP is still important to the team.
Hey Ziz, I have been pretty up front in many interviews (though apparently not in this post) that gear was the 12 item slots. In many interviews I also clearly state that money can advance gems and legendary gems. I’m sorry this wasn’t clear here. 1/
— Wyatt Cheng (@candlesan) June 4, 2022
Needless to say, such explanations did not at all convince the fans who replied by saying that they found this attitude (and these statements) “dishonest and disappointing”. Other messages are also much too salty to be posted here, but this testifies toa real allergy to intrusive microtransactions.
Still, in-app purchases pay off big time, proving there’s an audienceand not just for Blizzard, since no matter the publisher, the manufacturer or the studio, what has been the business for several years now has been microtransactions.
That companies want to make money by offering in-app purchases is one thing, but that in-app purchases are so intrusive is another. However, examples of success are not lacking since apps like Fortnite, League of Legends or even call of duty and Warzone are a hit and pay off too and yet have no pay-to-win mechanism. Instead, they rely on totally incidental, but quality content, such as account xp boosts to earn rewards and “premium” cosmetics.