A Twitch streamer from New Zealand Quin69 has been highlighting many Diablo Immortal players’ dissatisfaction with the game’s aggressive microtransactions model. The streamer has yet to receive one of the coveted 5-star legendary quality gems despite spending thousands of dollars in Diablo Immortal’s shop. In a way, this demonstrates that “pay to win” isn’t always the case, as this streamer spends an alarming amount of money without ever winning.
The release of Diablo Immortal was highly anticipated, with many Diablo fans eagerly anticipating the next installment in Blizzard’s iconic demon-slaying action RPG. Many gamers were skeptical of a mobile game with a free-to-play cash shop model that also featured PvP because of the potential for wealthy players to simply pay to win.
Many mobile games have aggressive microtransactions systems that constantly nag players to buy things or spend money in order to keep playing, which Blizzard promised to avoid. While the game’s content is available for free, many players believe that those who are unwilling to pay money will have a difficult time progressing.
Quin69 who has been spending a lot of money on Diablo Immortal, has made this point particularly clear, his interest in the game stems from a desire to expose the flaws in Diablo Immortal’s cash shop and progression system, rather than a personal desire to build a powerful character.
Quin69 has effectively acquired the total earnings of over a year of free-to-play progress after spending the equivalent of over $4,000 USD. Many free-to-play players have become despondent about the road ahead, while would-be cash shop investors have been put off by the slim chances of success.
Microtransactions are common in free-to-play games, particularly mobile games, where purchasing something is always just a few button presses away. While Blizzard promised that Diablo Immortal’s microtransactions would be fair, the reality appears to be a predatory system that demands money investment at seemingly every turn, with a mix of time-saving purchases and the ability to pay for legendary gems, an important aspect of the game’s gearing system that is required for players to tackle increasingly difficult content.
Free-to-play players would have to spend a ridiculous amount of time attempting to obtain legendary gems if they didn’t rely on cash shop purchases.
With Diablo Immortal being banned in the Netherlands and Belgium for breaking gambling laws, and the gaming community’s unforgiving history of unrealistic cash shop systems, Blizzard will have to rethink some of their design choices if they want to keep their player base and credibility. Greedy cash shops don’t look good, and DICE and EA’s reputations have recently suffered as a result of the highly controversial Star Wars Battlefront 2 microtransaction system. Blizzard hopes to learn from player feedback and respond appropriately.