Diablo Immortal fails to meet already low expectations.

Diablo Immortal was just released on Mobile and PC and my expectations of it have been incredibly low from the start. Still, it kind of ended up not even meeting those, which is a bummer, as I would have loved to grind some dungeons on the go or at home. I do, after all, have a phone. While the roster of classes is quite versatile, the game kind of feels underwhelming because of the lack of customization – but there is an even bigger problem on the horizon when it comes to this title and that is its monetization model that just kind of represents a huge net designed to capture as many whales as possible. And that’s bad. It’s so bad, actually, that the game didn’t even make it to Belgium or the Netherlands due to how close its mechanics are to loot boxes and gambling – but more on that later.

Diablo Immortal plays between Diablo 2 and Diablo 3 and the story is actually quite interesting, in contrast to Diablo 3’s somewhat irrelevant plot. Twenty years after Baal was defeated, the world is still kind of a bad place – who would have thought – but it’s worse than before. After all, the world stone has been destroyed which caused a lot of splinters to be scattered throughout the world. A few of those can distort reality itself, meaning that the Sanctuary is no longer safe from the influence of demons and angels. That’s kind of where Diablo Immortal starts and it’s our job to kind of clean up this whole mess. We gotta collect and somehow secure all these different splinters of the world stone, and then we need to make sure that the Sanctuary is truly safe, which is where the Cycle of Strife comes in, a new feature in Diablo Immortal. Per the orders of Daedessa, the Immortals were formed to guard the Sanctuary whilst the Shadows (a secret faction of Nephalem/Humans) will test the Immortals in the Cycle of Strife to make sure they are worthy to do so and that they don’t go mad with power or become complacent.

Either way, it’s kinda weird but it comes down to Clan vs Clan PvP. Essentially, there are so-called “Cycles”. Clans can compete with each other, with each clan having the ability to become a “dark clan”. If a Shadow clan defeats the Immortals in the Rite of Exile, the current cycle ends, resetting everything, and beginning a new cycle. When the cycle ends, participating heroes earn “Deeds of Valor” aka special titles based on their performance. The former Immortal and their lieutenants will then be engraved on the Wall of Honor, permanently reflecting on that group’s reign. However, if the Immortals defeat the Shadows, the Cycle continues as normal.

This mechanic is incredibly interesting and I like the idea of it… but the issue is that the game features some pay-2-win mechanics via micro-transactions. Combat itself is really simple with two main abilities and twelve side abilities per class, although you can only select four side abilities at a time + one main + your ultimate. Your gear can change your stats and empower abilities though, especially with the socket system. Getting those gems for the sockets and specific gear, however, is incredibly rough and grindy… but you can do something to increase your luck. Before you head into a dungeon, you may spend some currency (paid for with real money) to increase the odds of receiving a specific item from that dungeon. These “crests” essentially replace hours spent grinding… It’s still not guaranteed, though, meaning that this comes down to gambling. You spend real money to get gems that you then can use for eternal legendary crests that then may or may not give you a reward in the game. 1600 “eternal orbs” grant you a total of 10 “crests”, meaning that you can spend 25€ for an increased chance at legendary items or gems. You can also exchange 50 “eternal orbs” for 500 “platinum” that you then use to buy legendary gems or other items from the marketplace.

The marketplace kind of reminded me of Diablo 3’s auction house the differences here are that you can’t get gear from it and can’t earn real money through the auctions. Instead, you essentially trade items for Platinum… but that still kind of leaves a bad taste in my mouth when I think about it. Apart from spending money on those currencies, you can also spend real money on cosmetics or battle passes. You can spend 5€ on the “Empowered Battle Pass” which lasts a bit longer than a month. You may also consider spending 15€ on the “Collector’s Empowered Battle Pass” which gives you a few cosmetics right away and also just boosts you to Rank 14. Furthermore, you can spend money on the “Boons of Plenty” that grant you additional rewards such as more inventory space, remote market access, and more market trade slots as well as legendary crests and other materials over the next month or so.

It feels absurd how much money you can pump into this game and Blizzard is not even trying to hide the obvious benefits of spending money on this game. If you were to participate in a Cycle of Strife, you’d lose because others can boost their odds with Legendary Crests while you have to grind your way through dungeons for hours hoping for one equipment piece you want to drop if you’re a Casual. It’s a little bit unlucky.

What’s more, is that the game drains your battery rather fast on top of also heating up your phone quite a bit. At least in my case, my phone is relatively new and the game doesn’t look too demanding compared to other games that work without any issues. I’ve heard from other people that their phones either got lots of unnecessary pop-ups or that the app crashed. On top of that, the game is constantly trying to download something even though I told it not to. And well, you also constantly get messages about other people without the option to turn it off, showcasing that a lair has been opened by one player or that another player got specific items… and well, the game is just not fun, in my opinion. Combat is overly simplified. Bosses are somewhat small and boring. You don’t even have resources to spend as in mana or anything really, resulting in you just mashing buttons without requiring to strain even a single brain cell. Diablo already is quite simple, to be fair, but this is that but with even less strategy involved. Just sheer button mashing and off-cooldown ability spam.

On top of that, there are players roaming your world, giving you the sense of this being an MMO but in reality, nobody wants to talk to you and groups just form automatically without any of y’all needing to work together. It feels bad to call this a Diablo game even if the story is somewhat interesting at first with returning characters such as Xul and Deckard Cain. My expectations were low but they got even worse after actually trying it out because of how boring the gameplay actually is paired with the pay-2-win mechanics. And well, the classes also just feel too one-dimensional. The Barbarian, for instance, who could either throw weapons or shout at enemies until they died in other games essentially turned into a pure fighter with two weapons. Other classes are the same.

I could go on and on about other things that bug me or that felt off or just bad… but then I’d never get this post out, so overall, I found Diablo Immortal to be quite disappointing.

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken. If you like what you see here and want to see more, you can check me out on Twitch and YouTube as well.

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