Diablo Immortal impressions: A good smartphone game full of F2P nonsense


Diablo Immortalbut that phrase could also describe the figurative distaste we have for the economic choices of the new game.”/>

Enlarge / Welcome to Hell. By this, we mainly mean Diablo Immortalbut that phrase could also describe the figurative distaste we have for the new game’s economic choices.

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The best thing about Diablo Immortal is that it’s a fun, professionally designed action RPG Diablo Last name. The new Activision Blizzard game, launching on iOS and Android later on Wednesday and Windows PC on Thursday, immediately impresses as one of the best smartphone action-RPGs on the market. And my 10 hours in its universe has so far allayed my earlier fears about its production values.

The worst thing about Diablo Immortal is its economy. My pre-release tests of the final game were regularly marred by in-game menus and characters selling me new types of “orbs”, “stones”, gold, and other confusing paths to microtransactions. At best, the game can be enjoyed despite this nonsense.

But Activision Blizzard’s bean counters aren’t willing to offer a one-time buy in Diablo Immortal for fair and hassle-free adventures. (Worse, as of press time, the game’s publisher appears to be doubling down on a particular 2012 fiasco.) It’s doubly tragic when the game is otherwise a fun, smartphone-friendly option for another dungeon run. , which leaves me stuck between recommending a perfectly fine smartphone adventure and warning about its thorniest caveats.

Driving a rift between fans

I’ll start by addressing the content of the microtransaction since at least two countries have banned Diablo Immortal of their marketplaces before its launch. The game does indeed include “loot boxes” which go against regulations in the Netherlands and Belgium, although DIThe system differs from popular examples such as EA Sports card packs or Fortnitellama system.

Cash for clothes: an F2P classic.
Enlarge / Cash for clothes: an F2P classic.

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Everything that follows concerns the purchase possibilities linked to Diablo Immortalthe gameplay and mechanics of , not the cosmetics. If you like the idea of ​​paying $10 to $15 to dress up your favorite warrior in an extravagant outfit, that’s here too. I believe these types of purchases prey on kids who equate the flashier cosmetics in social video games with actual social clout, but that’s tame compared to the deeper depths of Diablo Immortalthe economy.

The game is linear Diablo IIIA similar intro eventually leads players to a central city, and its storefronts advertise the game’s full list of in-game shopping opportunities. The richest loot is the “Elder Rift”, which is a randomly generated dungeon dig . Players can “guarantee” the number and quality of each dungeon’s rewards based on the number and type of “blazons” they drop upon entering it. (When I say “rewards” I mean things your character can equip for special offensive or defensive abilities. The first one I earned gave all my attacks a 10% chance to add an electric spark to attacks that chained together to hit other nearby enemies. Stuff like that.) Lower tier crests can be earned in-game, while “Legendary” crests must be purchased with real money (after players are forced to burn a free legendary crest).

Imagine a loot box that requires a challenge spike of 5-10 minutes to see the randomly awarded loot inside, and you have Legendary Crests in a nutshell. To Activision Blizzard’s credit, if a player chooses to use a crest and then either fails an Elder Rift challenge or is disconnected from the game’s still active servers, the crest is not lost; affected players reuse them again.

The F2P equivalent of hot dogs and buns

Everything you can craft in the game not only comes with a prohibitive grind cost, but also a weekly or monthly limit.
Enlarge / Everything you can craft in the game not only comes with a prohibitive grind cost, but also a weekly or monthly limit.

Crests are just one currency available, split between free and paid versions. This game’s confusing variety of currencies, split between things you can earn in-game and things that require money, feels like the crap I hate in other low-end F2P fare. Worse still, every time you run out of a currency to do something in Diablo Immortal, Activision Blizzard offers a touch tooltip icon. This directs players to paths to perhaps earn the item or crafting item in question somewhere during normal gameplay… or pay cash to get it instantly.

Need an in-game item?  Activision Blizzard is happy to clarify exactly how to get it.  There is almost always a "purchase" option, either directly in cash or in the roundabout "market" option (which also revolves around real-world money).
Enlarge / Need an in-game item? Activision Blizzard is happy to clarify exactly how to get it. There is almost always a “buy” option, either directly in cash or in the roundabout “market” option (which also revolves around real money).

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Activision Blizzard tells you that some of these things can be crafted, as if to insist that there’s a “fair” RPG-style path to these power-ups. But such crafting requires materials that take a long time to grind during normal gameplay. And you can only craft a certain number of them per week or per month. Want it faster or with fewer restrictions? Cha Ching. The game also includes a “platinum” currency which seems to require acquiring the paid “orb” currency. (“Spend 500 orbs to get 5,000 platinum; spend $9.99 to get 600 orbs.” The F2P equivalent of hot dogs and buns.)

Worse than that is the game’s “Boon of Plenty” microtransaction package, which currently costs $9.99 per month and must be reactivated each month for its benefits to manifest. These include a larger inventory for your active character’s loot and increased benefits for the game’s player-to-player item market. You also need to log in every day to claim the multitude of items in game of this purchase, as they are treated as a daily login bonus. Miss a day? Shame; the thing you paid for disappears.

I don’t know which is worse, when it comes to Activision Blizzard’s business decisions: denying paying customers everything they paid for or seemingly recreating the cursed Diablo III Auction house. Diablo ImmortalThe aforementioned “Player-to-Player Item Sales Marketplace”, simply dubbed the “Marketplace”, was not active prior to the game’s public launch, but its menus and reliance on the “Platinum” resource paid look like Diablo III’s disastrous on the concept. Lest you forget, Blizzard spent a long time undoing and apologizing to the auction house. (Representatives for Activision Blizzard did not immediately respond to questions about Diablo Immortalbefore the publication of this article.)


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