Thousands of fans were excited for Diablo Immortal. That is until they found out how much it cost to upgrade their characters fully. Spoiler alert: As much as a new base-model Nissan GTR.
Tremendous hype encased the caterpillar that is Diablo Immortal months before its scheduled June 2 release date. As the newest installment into the genre-defining action-RPG game, Diablo Immortal had a big shoe to fill to appease the franchise’s rabid fanbase.
And so Blizzard surprised fans when the caterpillar emerged as a beautiful butterfly that is Diablo Immortal a day early on iOS and Android. However, it didn’t take long before excitement turned into a backlash, as streamers and data miners unearth the truth behind Diablo Immortal’s alleged pay-to-win system.
Diablo Immortal is essentially free-to-play, as fans won’t have to dish out money to download and play the game on their mobile devices. Most of the game’s PvE or Player versus Environment content can be accessed and completed by simply playing through the game.
Things turn south the moment players finally reach the endgame, as players will have no choice but to spend money if they want to upgrade their items and equipment in Diablo Immortal significantly.
Free-to-play players will be limited in overall progress in the Diablo Immortal’s endgame, while players with a wad of cash to throw into the game will be rewarded with the best equipment and builds available, making the game essentially pay-to-win.
This comes as sad news to the Diablo fanbase, as the pay-to-win mechanic takes away a lot of manual grinding in-game and severely limits the ability of other less financially-capable players to scale competitively against players who have spent a ton of cash upgrading their equipment and builds.
You will get a better idea about how Diablo Immortal’s free-to-play works in the Crests and Legendary Gems section below.
Legendary Gems – gems that provide new abilities or bonuses to a character’s stats – are limited in supply for free-to-play players. Legendary Gems can range from 1-star to 5-star. (the higher the number of stars, the more powerful the bonuses)
To get Legendary Gems, players must first obtain Crests, and these Crests come in two types – Rare and Legendary. However, there is a slight catch to unlocking these Crests, as players have to first run through a random dungeon to unlock a Crest.
Rare Crests can be acquired for free daily, while Legendary Crests have a purchase cap of 1 Legendary Crest per month. Players can get more by purchasing the Battle Pass (again, spending money)
To make matters worse, the free Legendary Gems that can be acquired from Rare Crests are capped to just 2 out of 5 stars, but even the two-star Legendary Gems take a miracle and a prayer to obtain. (see drop rates below)
On the other hand, the more premium Legendary Crest will award players a Legendary Gem with a minimum of three stars and a max of five stars.
The drop rates below should give you a better idea about the absurd Legendary Gem drop rates for Legendary Crests:
Remember, the strongest Gems are the 5-star uncapped Gems, as these provide the most significant bonuses in-game.
The real problem with Crests and Legendary Gems lies in the amount of uncapped Legendary Gems available to free-to-play players, which is close to zero.
The best Legendary Gems that F2P players can get through simply playing and grinding in-game are limited to mostly 1/1 or 2/2 capped Legendary Gems, which are some of the weakest Legendary Gems in-game. Heck, obtaining a 1-star Legendary Gem in a 1-star capped Crest is only a 75% chance, so getting even such a low-value Legendary Gem isn’t guaranteed.
In most MMORPG games, PvP is where most players will spend their time after completing the game’s primary story mode.
A player’s equipment and skill build take front and center in PvP, as players with the most impressive builds and equipment will win nine out of ten times in these lobbies.
So what does this mean for free-to-play players?
Without a consistent supply of Legendary Gems in-game, F2P players will not be able to upgrade their characters at the same rate as pay-to-win players who can throw a ton of cash into the game to obtain Legendary Gems.
Players with a ton of cash to spare can easily acquire high-level Legendary Gems to upgrade their equipment stats, making their characters stronger more quickly.
F2P players will never be able to win in PvP against pay-to-win players’ more powerful equipment, as F2P players will have to settle for much weaker equipment. (as explained in the Crests and Legendary Gems section above)
For a more detailed breakdown of how pay-to-win affects PvP in Diablo Immortal, check out this Reddit post by PowerRaptor.
MMORPG games are all about the endgame content since, in titles such as Diablo and Lost Ark, the main storyline playthrough only lasts for a couple of hours. Endgame is where the fun is, as players can grind endlessly to acquire more powerful weapons and improve their characters’ stats to become the strongest in the game.
Diablo Immortal’s gameplay and storyline are remarkable, considering it is a mobile-first title. How Blizzard managed to deliver a Diablo game on the mobile platform is beyond us. However, its apparent pay-to-win model is something that caught a ton of fans off guard.
It remains to be seen what Blizzard plans to do to quell the backlash surrounding Diablo Immortal’s pay-to-win model. Until then, all we can do is play through the game and keep collecting those daily Rare Crests.