Is Diablo Immortal Pay-to-Win?

Blizzard's latest Diablo game, Diablo Immortal, has received heavy criticism for its alleged "pay to win" mechanics.
Blizzard's latest Diablo game, Diablo Immortal, has received heavy criticism for its alleged "pay to win" mechanics. / Photo courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment.

Blizzard's latest Diablo game, Diablo Immortal, has received heavy criticism for its alleged "pay to win" mechanics.

Players in Diablo Immortal are fed up with the game's "aggressive" microtransactions and "money-grabbing" behavior — with the most egregious being the $110,000 price tag to fully upgrade a character. Fans have railed against Blizzard for its primary mechanic that requires them to play through the loot boxes they already purchased and the fact the in-game shop's base Eternal Orb pack doesn't hold enough currency to purchase anything.

The monetary element has become such a meme among content creators that the majority of them keep an additional counter of how much money they've spent visible on their screen.

All of this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Is Diablo Immortal Pay-to-Win?

According to long-term fans, critics, and players, the answer is a deafening "YES." Diablo Immortal is "disgustingly" pay-to-win. To date, Diablo Immortal has been called "a scam," "shameful," "tactless," and "another piece of software designed to make children steal their [parents'] money."

The game is currently sitting at a 0.5 user score on Metacritic. While it's surprising the game wasn't given an outright "0" given the controversy, it appears that some felt it was worth at least a "1" for its admittedly fun gameplay. That hasn't done much to save it from its accusations, however.

The primary complaint behind the pay-to-win stamp is the game's in-game cash shop and loot box "Gacha" system. In order to fully upgrade their gear, players need to directly purchase Legendary Gems — an item that currently cannot be earned through normal gameplay. This, combined with the Crest mechanic allowing players to simply pay to make themselves powerful.

"I hope Diablo Immortal dies. I hope this game is a blemish upon the permanent Blizzard record," said DreamcastGuy in a recently uploaded YouTube video, "Shame on everybody even involved in this project. Shame on the people defending this project...It is that bad. It deserves the hate."

It isn't just Rifts that are affected, either. PvP Players are feeling the heat, as well, with complaints of battlegrounds depending on which team gets "the bigger whale" — meaning the player who will spend the most on microtransactions.

One video has highlighted the significant advantage given to paid-players in PvP. In a broadcast PvP match, Diablo expert and streamer Raxxanterax was routed at every turn by what can only be described as a purchased imbalance. In the video, before the match, Raxxanterax even pointed out the "whale" player who later went on to receive the opposing MVP title.

"Yeah, the pay-to-win has completely ruined PvP," Raxxanterax said, highlighting the power difference between the teams, "That's too bad because these battlegrounds are actually fun, but...This game is ruined."

Blizzard Entertainment has not yet responded to the game's "pay-to-win" controversy directly. Wyatt Cheng, one of the directors, did respond to a callout from Twitch ambassador Zizaran earlier this week, but only to clear up "misinformation" regarding a statement he made about whether players could buy gear. Unsurprisingly, it wasn't well-received by most — with a few going as far as to call the response "disingenuous."

Whether or not the developers have any intention of answering the fan outcry remains to be seen.