The Sneaky 'Diablo Immortal' Microtransactions That Annoy Many Online Gamers


Diablo Immortal is a hack-and-slash action role-playing game.

Having launched ahead of schedule, the Activision Blizzard Entertainments' game has been making headlines on the internet for many reasons.

Not only that Diablo Immortal is among the most anticipated games on 2022, but also because it's the first Diablo installment that focuses on mobile devices in the massively multiplayer online action role-playing game genre.

But most importantly, Diablo Immortal made headlines because of its microtransaction business model.

By using the free-to-play game approach, Blizzard Entertainment is able to deliver the Diablo experience gamers have longed for, while also generating significant amount of income, that many gamers are apparently hating.

Diablo Immortal character classes
Diablo Immortal character classes: (left-right) Crusader, Monk, Barbarian, Demon Hunter, Wizard, and Necromancer.

While the free-to-play business model for sustainability is extremely common, especially on online games and games on mobile devices, Diablo Immortal has taken things a step further than what many people may have imagined.

As many soon realized, the game's unique monetization system is set up in a way that makes maxing out a character an exceedingly expensive endeavor.

According to many gamers and online reviewers who made arguments about Diablo Immortal's business model, it would take roughly 10 years of playtime for a F2P player to fully kit out a character in the game's "free" iteration.

But still, F2P players cannot become the strongest or the most powerful without earning top-rated Legendary Games, which are only available via some of the game's monetization options.

Legendary Gems are one of the characters' three progression pillars alongside their regular gears and experience level. Legendary Gens dictate one's endgame-tier progression beyond what is possible simply by reaching Diablo Immortal's level cap.

By using Legendary Gems, players can deliberately buy their way to the top.

And that can cost players upward to more than $100,000.

But what makes it worrying, Legendary Gems aren't even a guaranteed drop for paying players, as they are only randomly awarded upon purchasing Legendary Crests (loot boxes).

Blizzard Entertainment knows that players are willing to spend nearly endless amount of time playing the game to just become more powerful.

The company knows that microtransaction would work well with the Diablo formula, and this is why it's building its monetization effort with it.

Blizzard Entertainments is like exploiting the nature of ‘sunk cost fallacy’, in which players would continue to spend money on something so they don’t feel like the money they previously spent has been wasted.

Diablo Immortal. Legendary Gem
A Crusader character using a Legendary Gem not only can significantly increase its ability, but can also alter the character's appearance in the game.

According to Blizzard Entertainments in a website post:

"As you start to level up your Legendary Gems, you’ll also see their growing power reflected in your gear. Every Legendary item in the game has its own unique visual progress to accompany your gems’ growing Resonance. At the highest levels of your Resonance stat, you’ll even unlock cosmetic wings."

But still, many people are willing to play the game, and care less about the microtransactions.

As of April 2022, the game has over 30 million registered players. At release, the game was number one downloaded game on the U.S. Apple App Store along with over 40 regions in the world.

Among other reasons, many people play Diablo Immortal because the game is able to bring that nostalgic and classic hack-and-slash action role-playing game experience introduced back in Diablo II, the most popular installment in the Diablo franchise, in many ways better than Diablo III.

While previous games in the Diablo franchise is more into PC gamers Diablo Immortal as is meant to be a mobile game all along.

Diablo Immortal proves that it does seem to be a "true Diablo experience" in more ways it is not, regardless of the business model that in very not Diablo-like.

Because of its microtransaction business model (among other things), a month after its release, Diablo Immortal received the lowest score ever in review aggregator Metacritic.