Diablo Immortal is for mobile gamers, not original Diablo fans

Diablo Immortal's demonic bosses stand threatening.

Image: Snow storm

Diablo Immortal set the internet on fire with controversy. Every gambling website under the sun has an idea of ​​how microtransactions ruin gameplay and how was Blizzard ruining the beloved childhood memories of fans of Diablo. The game currently stands lowest user score on Metacritic. Even more Diablo fans feel like it’s just not a game made for them. And they may be right. Despite its mobile origins, Immortal grew wings of wax and flew too close to the PC gaming sun. For a loyal audience that Blizzard had flattered for years, this was considered unforgivable.

I understand. Criticisms of monetization hold water, but the prospect of overspending isn’t always the real reason console gamers are so upset. The truth is simpler: mobile represents another front in the never-ending culture war for the heart and soul of gaming. But I have to wonder if this should be a war at all.

Before the announcement of Immortal, Diablo fans could safely ignore mobile games as “money grabs” that would never affect the premium games they wanted to play. But since Blizzard announced the game would be complete Diablo experience, these gamers have felt threatened by what they perceive to be mobile’s encroachment on “legitimate” gaming. In fact, the game raised so many concerns that Blizzard the community manager had to clarify this Diablo IV wouldn’t have “mobile-like monetization”.

But it wasn’t enough for Blizzard to make promises to fans. The press was also expected to align with “Immortal is bad.” On June 4, an inflammatory tweet from a Twitch streamer lambasted reporters for saying that Diablo Immortal is… well, fun. I was not surprised, as I encountered similar public hostility when I started writing about Genshin Impact. If a journalist is “too positive” about a mobile game, then a very vocal segment of gamers will decry it as a gambling traitor and corporate accomplice. For these gamers, the rise of F2P gaming is a virus that needs to be eradicated. Especially before he “takes over” the game at large.

Despite all the background noise (or maybe because of it), I felt compelled to download Diablo Immortal and play a little. For context: I have never played a Diablo front game Immortal. The setting felt too over the top for my liking, and I wasn’t quite sure how to digest three games’ worth before. Diablo IV came out of. As so many games come out constantly, I made peace with Diablo being one of those series I would never get into.

Diablo Immortal held my hand through the excruciating experience of stepping into a much-loved franchise 25 years too late. The gear UI told me which gear had the best stats, and the footprints told me exactly where to go. The quests were structured in such a way that it was easy for me to stop playing and pick up the game later. The best of all, Immortal didn’t let me go like I was a Diablo fan. All of the stories were completely self-contained and the world felt less intimidating. Immortal This is how I learned to love Diablo.

Like, I understand now. The bad guys may be monstrous demons from hell, but their designs are murderous. The voice acting is superb and I grew attached to the secondary characters I met along the way. I always felt like Diablo is an edgelord game, but Immortal is full of heart. Every character in the game was willing to make great personal sacrifices because they wanted to fight the suffering that hell inflicted on innocent people. What’s not to like about that?

All of these factors probably played a big part in why Diablo Immortal has 10 million downloads despite a 0.2 user score on Metacritic. There’s a huge disconnect between internet commentators who see themselves as gatekeepers to the game and the actual audience who loves to gamble. Diablo like a F2P game. I’m not here to tell anyone they should take advantage Diablo Immortal. I have friends who can’t freeze their brains against the live service loop, much like how my brain bounces on certain types of puzzles.

A screenshot from Diablo Immortal shows a huge group of ghostly monsters attacking a single warrior.

Screenshot: Blizzard / Kotaku

Part of this problem is exacerbated by the way Blizzard has marketed the game. In order to cover Diablo IV needing more development time, the studio announced that Diablo Immortal is a “full-fledged Diablo mobile experience. They quickly learned that this could have been a huge mistake.

I almost didn’t write this blog until I reached at least level 60. I had seen the backlash from my colleagues for writing about the game “too soon”, and I wanted to avoid that fate. But I was having such a relaxing time in ImmortalI just didn’t want to rush the content to prove myself Diablo Fans. That’s when I started thinking: maybe there’s something fundamentally wrong with the way PC and console games are consumed.

In a PC or console game, the expectation is that you can squeeze in a ton of hours in a game very quickly in order to become a godlike Death Dealer. This is not the way to play a mobile game. If content seems limited in time or locked behind very low drop ratethis is because you are expected to play this game for years, not in the quick bursts between now and the next major AAA release. This means that the “won “ should be less frequent as well. It took me almost a year to build a team good enough to delete a major event in knights. I couldn’t imagine telling a “traditional” player that they would have to spend a year to erase important content.

Of course, the gaming factor is a legitimate concern. Diablo Immortal won’t come out in the Netherlands or Belgium due to their gambling regulations. Despite what the haters might think of my Genshin blogs, I think the feds should put restrictions on F2P games. At the very least, I don’t believe kids should be allowed to use credit cards in microtransactions. But the problem is that most F2P game reviews don’t really understand the community or the motivations of mobile gamers. Console gamers are often rightly upset by the ignorant discussions of gaming in the national media, but even game outlets don’t hold themselves to the same standards of nuance when it comes to mobile games. I’ve seen too many examples of mobile gamers being labeled as “casual”. Given almost all of the furious response to Immortal was based on a vocal defense of those likely to be taken advantage of by in-game spending, where is the empathy for the people mobile critics claim to care about?

There absolutely must be a lot of talk about the more predatory aspects of mobile gaming. But this cannot take place entirely from the point of view of a hardcore group of Diablo fans are angry that their favorite franchise has reached another audience. Ten million people downloaded the game because they wanted to, and while protecting the most vulnerable among them is an admirable goal, that may not always be the real reason for the outcry.

Immortal faces negative reactions for the same reasons as Western audiences reacted so strongly to Genshin Impact. It has a PC port and its quality is good enough to disguise its mobile-first approach. But that doesn’t change the fact that these games were designed for a very different player in mind. So there’s no need for PC and console gamers to feel threatened by Immortal. Blizzard is looking for a much bigger fish: the mobile community that represents the majority of players.

By cardgo

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