Money in the video game “Diablo Immortal” disappoints players

There’s no doubt that “Diablo Immortal” is a technical masterpiece for mobile games, deftly delivering the top-down action of sending countless demons back to hell in gruesome and explosive fashion.

Blizzard Entertainment’s Diablo franchise, now 25 years old, has sold nearly 100 million copies over the years, including 30 million from 2012’s “Diablo III.” and for many of them, “Diablo Immortal” feels like an evil betrayal.

Set between the events of “Diablo II” and “Diablo III”,”Immortal” Thematically resembles the Diablo games that fans have loved for decades. Choosing from one of six classes – Wizard, Crusader, Monk, Barbarian, Demon Hunter, or Necromancer – players search for Fragments of the World Stone, a relic sought after by both angels and demons in “Diablo II”, fragments of which are now being sought by the demon Skarn.

This is the main plot of the story mode in “Immortal”, which will take players six to eight hours to complete. Some familiar faces and voices return, and while the story is short, the dialogue and storytelling are solid.

The game looks like an excellent port of “Diablo III”, as if that game was recreated here. The virtual controls are responsive and the combat works pretty well, although the comfort of gripping a smartphone for long periods of time varies by device and person.

Many social aspects of “Diablo Immortal” are new to the franchise, with Blizzard building on its “World of Warcraft” chops to implement a massively multiplayer experience where players can interact online with each other, join clans and fight. both in cooperative mode and in versus mode. Players can tackle dungeons in co-op groups of four, and there are even 48-person boss raids available.

“Diablo Immortal”, like other Diablo games, is not so much about living a story as it is about creating a fun and powerful character. Once the scenario is complete, this is where the “real” play begins.

At first, “Diablo Immortal” is very similar to previous entries. You run around with your character, slay monsters, and watch them explode into gear that you can then equip your character with and grow stronger in, with gear having both level requirements and rarity levels. Skills unlock at higher levels, allowing for varied character builds and playstyles. Even reaching the level cap of 60 isn’t the end, as then it’s time to grind Paragon levels as new skill trees unlock to make a character even more powerful.

Earned gear can modify a character’s skills in several ways, such as adding lightning to attacks, increasing damage, or immobilizing enemies. Players are always on the hunt for the best gear – legendary artifacts that boost their most important stats and help them create the perfect character. These items can be further enhanced in “Diablo Immortal” with Legendary Gems – and this is where the player’s experience in “Diablo Immortal” comes to a crossroads.

“Diablo Immortal” is a free downloadable and installable game, and virtually all content can be played without ever spending a dime; but it’s still the most predatory example of a cash grab on a mobile game I’ve ever seen.

“Immortal” will bombard players with offers to spend real money, and the more money you spend, the more powerful your character will be. It’s a pay-to-win system that will encourage you and allow you to spend ungodly sums of money to reach the pinnacle of being the best and the strongest.

The basic gameplay loop to get stronger is to grind through rifts, procedurally generated dungeons that take around five minutes to complete, culminating in a battle with a boss that will explode into randomly generated loot when defeated. The amount of loot, however, is determined by the number of Legendary Crests the player spent before the Rift, with players able to add up to 10 – $25 worth of Crests – with each run.

That $25 will net a paying player as much loot as a free player could feel in six months of daily work, and Blizzard will happily let you spend $400 an hour grinding in Rifts, trying to get the best gemstones. in your best legendary gear.

That’s to say nothing of the myriad other ways Blizzard asks for money – through its Battle Pass system, after each clear dungeon, limited-time events, and more. And it’s not enough to just get the gems – you always need more gems to keep leveling up your gems. It’s unclear exactly how much money is needed to max out a character, but it’s easily in the tens of thousands of dollars.

Additionally, all of this gear and gear is locked to that character, on a server, and cannot be transferred. Whoever designed the monetization aspect of “Immortal” was an evil genius. I’ve played a number of games with gacha mechanics that encourage spending, but this one is by far the worst and has seriously damaged Blizzard’s reputation.

“Diablo Immortal” is fun the way video poker is fun – it tickles parts of the brain like an addiction does – and its monetization mechanics are such that it’s banned in the Netherlands and Belgium. I recommend to stay away, because some people will definitely lose their soul.

‘Diablo Immortal’

Platform: iOS, Android, Windows PC

Cost: Free, sort of

Rating: Mature for violence, blood, gore

Rating: 4 out of 10

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