One month after launch, Diablo Immortal The lowest metacritic user review scores are: 0.4 on iOS and 0.3 on PC. “Despicably designed,” reads a general comment.

On Apple’s App Store, however, Diablo Immortal It has a 4.5 out of 5 star rating. “Finally, a mobile game is right!” A user comments.

In their view, both ratings are correct.

Diablo Immortal This is not only a new entry in the Blizzard’s floor-to-floor action role-playing game series, it also frames Diablo in a new context. Many new references, in fact: it is primarily designed for mobile devices with touchscreen controls. This is a massively multiplayer online game with a shared world, where you see other players running. It has been co-developed with the Chinese company NetEase and is more focused on Asian markets than any previous blizzard game. It’s free to play. These are all big sea changes for Diablo.

On the other hand, for any Diablo player – especially any Diablo 3 Players – Diablo Immortal Feel comfortable familiar. The series’s trademark isometric approach, frantic battles with swarms of monsters, and looting fountains are all present. Beyond that, Immortal The top is clearly built Diablo 3 Uses the engine and the assets of that game, preserving the spirit and atmosphere of Blizzard’s 2012 game. ImmortalThe artwork has the same colorful, golden glow, the battle has the same sexy fireworks display, and the sound effects and splatters of the sound effects give the same deep, Pavlovian satisfaction.

There is a reason Immortal The new context is the same game that the opinions of different elements of its audience can vary so much. Existing Diablo fans hate to make money in the new free-to-play incarnation of their favorite game, while mobile game players, who are more accustomed to this business model, are impressed by the polish, depth and scope. Immortal Inherited from his predecessors. No group is wrong, so should we just go for different strokes? Unfortunately not, because Diablo Immortal Video game culture alone is not at the center of the war. He is also at war with himself.

Image: Blizzard Entertainment

You won’t know it when you start playing the game. Initially, Diablo Immortal Fun to play with: Lightweight, portable, social and quick-fire version of Chi Diablo 3. It is more generous and open in its design than many of its free-to-play peers. There is no energy-style mechanic who can limit the amount of time you can play without paying, and none of his actions lag behind any kind of payroll. The expedition is long, luxurious and without much drinking. In some cases when you need to reach a level of progress, you’ll find a number of activities far from the main quest to help you fill in the gaps – including prizes, replayable dungeons, and random “rifts.” In-game guides, actions, and activity trackers reward you for helping you navigate the game’s astonishing system. There are also innovations that will work well for copying mainline diablo games, such as build guides that suggest skills and equipment loadouts for you to work with.

Only if you are deeply familiar with Diablo and especially its all-consuming item game, will you notice that something is going on. It turns out that the loot – equipped objects that can transform the power of your character, even change how skills work – is subtly moved to the center.

For one thing, the device can be ranked and its rank can then be transferred to another item in the same slot. This means that a significant portion of your character’s progress has been transferred away from getting exciting drops from monsters and into incremental, colorless grinding, allowing you to save large amounts of unwanted loot for scraps to fill in the upgrade machine.

For another, your items are now greatly enhanced by slots with mythical gems of enormous power, and this is where most of the complaints come from. Diablo ImmortalIs focused on earnings.

Screenshot of Diablo Immortal showing the screen of the female wizard's tool

Image: Blizzard Entertainment

A Diablo Immortal The character has six legendary gem slots. Each gem comes with a rating of one to five stars, which cannot be changed and which has a huge impact on its strength; Five-star gems are much more rare than single-star drops. Mythical gems can be upgraded and the easiest way to do this is to consume Others Legendary gems. Fully upgraded gems can then be augmented by the “gem resonance” system that requires – you guessed it – more mythical gems, up to five more per gem slot.

If you want to enhance your character – and to enhance your character – Diablo means – you need a number of giant gems: to find the right gems to fit your build, to roll out a good star rating, to upgrade the gems you have, and finally slots in each gem’s extra resonance slot. To. It is endless.

In Diablo ImmortalCurrencies, upgrade routes and reward systems are mythical gems where the business model is the most difficult. Blizzards and netizens weren’t as stupid as selling directly through a loot box or a gacha mechanic, but what they’ve brought forward is in a way more annoying. Legendary gems are only released by random Elder Rift dungeon bosses and you can guarantee only Legendary Gem Drop by applying Legendary Crest Modifier to the dungeon before you start it. Otherwise, drop rates for mythical gems are too low.

Without spending any money on the game, you can just get a giant crest Per month, And even if you buy a battle pass you will only get one or two extra mythical crests each month. Beyond that, you need to buy it directly. Legendary crests work somewhere between $ 2 and $ 3 each. You will need a huge number of gems to maximize your character’s equipment, especially given the extremely low rates of five-star gems, there is reason to increase your character’s maximum value. Diablo Immortal Approximately between $ 50,000 and $ 100,000 – possibly even more if you go deeper into the gem resonance system. (The Rock Paper Shotgun has a very costly breakdown that comes at a more conservative end to this scale.)

Screenshot of Diablo Immortal showing a list of female Crusader gems

Image: Blizzard Entertainment

Diablo Immortal An exceptionally rugged ride is offered for this business model – perhaps with heterogeneity, considering popular free-to-play competitors Genshin effect And The lost coffin The same guys are free from the mechanics to lure big-cost “whale” players. Diablo’s popularity and reputation, along with the core PC gaming audience it has earned in a quarter of a century, is certainly a factor. But it is also true that the system is uniquely problematic, and the nature of the Diablo game has something to do with it.

When you buy a legendary crest, you don’t buy a dice roll like you do when you buy a FIFA Ultimate Team Card Pack. You’re buying the opportunity to load dice, get into the game engine, and make (slightly) change in drop rates. Addictive gambling mechanics are not separated from addictive gameplay mechanics, but instead they are directly linked to the drops of battle and loot in the game. Diablo is in dire straits to do this; As my colleague Maddie Myers pointed out, this massively loot-centric game always has the quality of a slot-machine, which Diablo ImmortalMakes the business model literal.

The blizzard is hurting to point this out ImmortalThe earnings of can safely be ignored until the endgame, which is true, and he claims that the majority of players enjoy the game without spending a single penny, which is commendable. But it is inappropriate to suggest that the primary joy of diablo games is in playing through stories rather than enhancing your personality. It would be equally false to deny that these games have always been designed to create an appetite for power caps in their players. For those addicted to gambling or Diablo’s item game addictive qualities – or worse, both – the mythical crest system is exploitative and potentially very harmful.

For everyone else, it just makes Diablo less fun.

In the screenshot of Diablo Immortal, a monk fights the keeper of the tear boss in an icy dungeon.

Image: Blizzard Entertainment

We’ve been here before or somewhere. Ever Diablo 3 Launched in 2012, it has a real-money auction house where players can buy and sell their item drops. Theoretically, it exists to prevent fraud and deception in which the commodity trade is involved. Diablo 2. But to get players to the auction house, Blizzard lowered the loot drop rate in the game so much that equipping your character became an ungrateful piece, and playing the game as a whole seemed overwhelming. In 2014 when the unpopular auction house was removed and drop rates were increased, Diablo 3 Even before the innovations of, the instant became more fun The reaper of the soul The expansion achieved that elite status.

Lesson: Trying to earn Diablo’s loot may make sense on paper, but once you do, you take the fun out of the game. The same is true with Diablo ImmortalAnd that Is You too will notice before reaching the endgame, as it is deeply baked in game design. Loot drops are less effective, while character progression is artificially throttleed and spread thinly on most systems, which are very crushed and very granular. At the time of launch, it has been more artistically dressed Diablo 3, But it’s a similarly uncertified slog. Buying a war pass or spending big on mythical crests rarely helps, as paying for a great item drop is not as exciting as just getting one.

I’m not sure if Diablo has a way of separating the core of what makes fun of free-to-play earning mechanics. If there is, Blizzard and NetEase can’t find it. They have created a mobile diablo that is agile, enjoyable and even generous. But if you spend enough time in it, the heart of the game is cut off, torn to pieces, and you are not free from the fact that you have been sold back into pieces.