Picture a newly-crowned king that’s been on a journey through a crowd of contention, with one side launchingtomatoes at him and the other side throwing flowers.
This analogy easily applies to Diablo Immortal, a video game that can be seen as the king of a once high & mighty monarch in the gaming world, ‘The Diablo series’. With the antagonistic crowd being PC & console gamers, juxtaposed with the crowd of mobile gamer supporters.
So why do mobile reviews paint a picture of a good game with a 4.5/5 rating on the App Store and 3.8/5 rating on Google Play with a combined total of around 1 million reviews? While the PC reviews make out Diablo Immortal is an abomination with a Metacritic user score of 0.3 based on 4795 ratings?
For context, the Diablo series was home to PC gaming. Launching in the 90s, Diablo became the go-to ARPG dungeon crawler that’s all about taking on nightmarish enemies in a hellish landscape in order to secure valuable loot for badass skills, gear and weapons to become the more powerful Diablo player.
Prior to Diablo Immortal’s announcement at Blizzcon 2018, the last major Diablo game released in 2012 and fans were greatly anticipating a big new release. The Blizzcon announcement of Diablo Immortal being a mobile game was a dumpster fire, with the audience audibly booing and the event being memed into oblivion for the announcer responding to the boos by saying ‘‘Do you guys not have phones?!’’
The original PC fans felt betrayed and uneasy about a Diablo game on mobile. Forward to 2022, after the release of Diablo Immortal, the Diablo series has replaced many old fans with mobile gamers and here is why the game is liked and disliked:
Diablo Immortal gives players more incentive to create a powerful character, since you can put them to the test in an online PvP duel to find out who really is the most powerful Diablo player of them all.
The large treacherous world is online and full of players to interact with for battles or team up to take on quests together. You can compare your gear with other players, get tips from them and study their builds. Overall, the social aspect of the MMORPG brings more life and content to the series.
Developers chose not to water down the in-depth systems for class building to appease a casual audience on mobile. In fact, there are plenty of skills and gear to make your character stand out from the rest of players, so competition is always fresh. Overall, the content is faithful to the series with distinct environments, many boss battles, lore and rich storytelling you would come to expect from a Diablo game.
A major gripe the OG fans have with Diablo Immortal is the game doesn’t quite reach the modern standard you’d expect from a PC or console game. That for mobile standards, the game is high quality, but PC players expect more in terms of graphics and gameplay.
Even if the game is enjoyable, fans feel the title had way more potential if it didn’t limit itself to mobile hardware.
Since the game is an MMORPG, it also has acquired one of the flaws of the genre, which is the over-excessive fetch quests and tiresome journey to levelling up. An idea why this grindy gameplay exists in the game could be due to the following con.
P2W (Pay to Win) Monetisation
The biggest fear original fans of Diablo had with this game being on mobile is the implementation of microtransactions that are common with the platform, where you can purchase virtual items in-game with real money.
A major issue with microtransactions in a majority of mobile games, including Diablo Immortal, is that you can Pay to Win (P2W), where you buy items to progress and build up your skills faster than someone not paying.
The P2W nature of the game cancels out equal competition in Diablo Immortal and only the highest spenders will have the best chances of becoming the most powerful Diablo players.
The game also harasses you with pop-ups to make purchases, while likely making the game more grindy and unenjoyable, so you create a habit of spending money to skip the boring parts. The gamers that dislike Diablo Immortal believe that games should be built for you to have fun, not to abuse people’s addictive traits to spend an uncapped amount of money that ruins addicts’ lives.