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Is Diablo Immortal A Pay To Win Game?
By Mr Toffee|June 2, 2022|3 Comments
Diablo Immortal is out now in select major regions worldwide, with Asia getting access to the game later in June. We played it and it’s what you expect from an action RPG crammed in a mobile game format: touch-screen controls that work and are spot-on, good action & lovely graphics made by the Blizzard folks, the same Diablo feel from the franchise, and free-to-play.
Being a free-to-play game, a microtransaction system has to be put into place for the company to earn money for the game. How is that done with a looter-heavy action RPG like Diablo Immortal? Easy: you pay money to increase your chances for better loot in the game’s loot-focused challenges and random dungeons. Let’s break it down and then talk about whether it’s game-breaking or fair.
We have to start at the beginning. Diablo Immortal has three currencies: Gold, Platinum, and Eternal Orbs.
Gold is earned in-game and is used for transactions with NPCs in-game. You earn Gold by killing monsters and finishing quests.
Platinum is earned either through selling special in-game items or completing special tasks. You can also purchase Platinum by paying real money. Platinum is used to complete special in-game transactions that have powerful and valuable gear and items, as well as forge Legendary Gems that you slot into your armour/weapons for buffs and power-ups.
Eternal Orbs are basically Diablo Immortal’s way of getting profit for its parent company. See, Eternal Orbs cannot be earned in-game: you have to pay real money for these bad boys. Eternal Orbs are used to acquire Reforge Stones (for re-rolling Legendary gear stats), Dawning Echoes, and Legendary Crests, which in turn will lead you to situations and dungeons where your chances of getting powerful loot gets higher and higher.
Diablo Immortal is banned in certain countries like Belgium and The Netherlands because it uses loot boxes. These loot boxes come in the form of Elder Rifts and Crests.
Elder Rifts are specialized zones filled with monsters you kill; the higher the rift level is, the better the chance of getting high-level loot and gear. It’s basically like Nephalem Rifts in Diablo 3: late-game activities where you farm multiple times to get the best gear possible. But in Diablo Immortal, you have to pay real money to increase those odds.
To increase the odds of getting better high-value gear, you need to modify Elder Rifts with Crests. You insert a Crest into an Elder Rift before you partake in the dungeon. The Crest not only increases the odds but also adds random modifiers to the rift that either make them easier or harder to complete. The more Crests you add in, the more difficult the stage but you get a better chance at scoring high-value items.
It’s also the only way you can acquire Legendary Gems. Like we said earlier, Legendary Gems are powerful items you slot into your equipment for better buffs, power-ups, and enhancements. If you’re curious about the Legendary Crests gem drop rates, here you go:
There is also a pity system in the gachaing of these gems. Every 50 Legendary Crets will get you one guaranteed 5-star.
Like all F2P games, Diablo Immortal has a battle pass. Basically you have both a free and premium progression tracks filled with unlockable rewards.
You will reach new levels on the progression track by completing a vareity of in-game objectives and activities. The free and premium tracks are treated separately. So, if you hit Level 2 on the Battle Pass but haven’t purchased the premium option, you’ll only get the free track rewards offered at that level. You have to pay real money to unlock the premium progression track, otherwise you don’t get the rewards from that track. If you purchase access to the premium track later on, you’ll be rewarded with the premium rewards you missed.
This bit’s easy to understand: Diablo Immortal’s microtransaction shop also has costumes and cosmetics for your characters that you can pay with real money. These will cost you about US$15-US$25, and they do look pretty cool and epic to own.
Unlike regular gear that require scrap materials to upgrade via excess loot-scrapping, your Legendary gear requires Glowing Shards. You get Glowing Shards by breaking down Legendary gear, which you get via the auction house or just being lucky. And to boost that luck? That requires real money via Crests and Elder Rifts-buffing. If you want to speed up the process, you can use Platinum to acquire upgrade materials via the merchants and the marketplace.
Remember when we mentioned Reforge Stones that re-roll Legendary gear with new stats? You can get these from NPCs called Hilt Traders. To get a Hilt item to trade with them, however, is rare: you only get them from daily and weekly objectives, Rifts, Battle Pass rewards, and end-game content and Raids. Reforge Stones are also earned from winning PvP battles at the end of each competitive season.
Basically, upgrading equipment is half regular gameplay and half using the game’s paid currency to get the upgrades you need.
The short answer is “no”. You can finish the game and hit max level without paying a cent. However, paying real money for Eternal Orbs and increasing the chances for better drops by powering Elder Rifts would make your grind and life a lot easier.
Even if the developers have said time and gain that players can reach the highest PvP ranking without spending a dime, the real money systems piling up in Diablo Immortal that increases chance and drop rates has the potential to be predatory. This is especially apparent for very dedicated players who want the best of the best; the system is potentially tailored to prey on the impatient.
Time will tell if Diablo Immortal’s microtransaction system will end up either influencing the scene for the better or otherwise.
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