How to sully hard developer work: part one
So we knew that Diablo Immortal would have microtransactions. The team has been kind of mum on them overall outside of general platitudes that they wouldn’t impact the game that much: but several posts and YouTube channels are actually breaking this down the new monetization model scientifically, and things aren’t looking good for Diablo Immortal max stat requirements.
That material includes a Reddit post by daymeeuhn that showcases how far the stat and gem rabbit hole goes, a full explanation of pay-to-win from Gregg2G, and a rundown from the Bellular News channel. Let’s break this down. A lot of the onus on the cracks in this system falls on legendary gems.
Legendary gems can drastically increase your stats, to the point where they can outweigh multiple slots of “traditional gear.” You can get these, quasi-indirectly, through microtransactions: via buying “legendary or rare crests [boosters]” to go on better Elder Rift runs (randomized dungeon runs from Diablo 3). Legendary gems are so rare that at the current moment, you essentially need to purchase crests to see them drop reliably. While crests are technically given out as free rewards (at a limit of only a few a day for rare, and only a few a month for legendary), the chance of earning a legendary gem is very low (evidently 10%) compared to the drastically increased drop rate from premium legendary crests. It’s also important to note that legendary gems have rarity levels, and free players cannot earn legendary gems higher than a “2-star rating.” This isn’t even taking into account the “Awakening” and “Resonance” mechanics, which further upgrade gear via premium dawning echo items.
Gregg2G posits that one player, the “Whale,” who is at the top of the PVP charts, potentially paid $20,000 to get to where he is this early (with excessive amounts of legendary gems), and it could take around $110,000 to fully max out in the current environment. Yes, Diablo Immortal has PVP, which is obviously directly impacted by this system, and is unable to skirt the “well pay-to-win doesn’t matter because the game is all PVE” excuse that many developers unsuccessfully try to use. It’s suggested that true free players could take years to work up to the level of some of the Diablo Immortal max highest ranked paid players right now. Confusing right? Well that’s by design.
This has sort of been addressed by a member of the development team on Twitter. Originally, the idea, communicated through a Blizzard post, was that “there is no way to acquire or rank up gear using money.” The catch is that “gear” in these strict terms, means the “12 item slots.” You can, however, essentially buy loot boxes (sorry, crest bonuses to do dungeons to get loot boxes) to acquire better gear; and the legendary gem system is not considered “gear” by the developer, even though it’s an item that directly is attached to your character that increases your stats.
Expect our Diablo Immortal review later today. Suffice to say, this factors in!