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Diablo Immortal faces a backlash as Metacritic user score drops to Blizzard’s third lowest ever
Loot boxes and a PvP mode ‘ruined by pay to win’ are among the top complaints from players
Diablo Immortal is facing a large backlash from players following its release last week.
The free-to-play MMO was released on June 2 on iOS and Android, and as an open beta on PC, but quickly saw a negative reception for its heavy focus on microtransactions.
This included a report over the weekend that calculated that it could cost players up to $110,000 to fully upgrade a character in the game.
The negativity has resulted in Diablo Immortal being ‘review bombed’ on Metacritic, which at the time of writing means its user score is currently just 0.8, the third-worst score in Blizzard‘s history.
Diablo Immortal’s game’s director has suggested that some negativity around the game is “based on misinformation”.
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UPDATE: Diablo Immortal players have begun reporting that instead of being rewarded with upgrade items when finishing quests, they’re being presented with advertisements for a bundle of upgrade items they can purchase.
UPDATE 2: Diablo Immortal now has the worst Metacritic user score in Blizzard‘s history.
UPDATE 3: Despite criticism of its microtransactions, Diablo Immortal has reportedly already earned Blizzard more than $24 million.
The only Blizzard games receiving a worse user score to date were Warcraft III Reforged (0.6) and World of Warcraft Classic: Burning Crusade Classic (0.4), both of which were released in recent years (2020 and 2021).
This is the latest in a poor run of user scores for Blizzard on Metacritic, which hasn’t seen a non-negative score since 2019 (when the Switch port of Overwatch received a 6.1).
One of the main arguments against the game is that while it initially seems to be reasonable with its use of microtransactions, it’s only once you reach the endgame that they start to feel intrusive.
This may explain why the game seems to be faring better on the Google Play and Apple App Store, where it currently stands at user ratings of 4.1 and 4.7 respectively out of 5.
Despite this, both the Diablo Immortal subreddit and the general Diablo subreddit are filled with posts from fans unhappy with the game’s monetisation.
One comment suggests that the game starts off reasonably but then when you reach the endgame the microtransactions feel intrusive, which may be an explanation for the positive mobile reviews.
“The game is a shit ton of fun – I highly appreciate that I can put 30+ hours for free,” they say. “However, as you reach around level 50+ you start to feel more and more the pay to win aspects.
“If you are below level 50 please don’t defend the game as if it’s your own child. It is designed to feel free-to-play friendly below that level.
“I used to be one of the people that defended the game hard, however, now that I’ve spent two days playing 8+ hours per day I easily start to see what everyone is complaining about. If the game continues to stay like that I don’t see myself playing much more.
“I would love this to be a game that I spend 500 hours in, rather than 50 and drop it. Because of that we need to push back hard at Blizzard for them to tone down the P2W nature of the game and predatory tactics.”
Another post points out that the game plays on the nature of ‘sunk cost fallacy’, in which people continue to spend money on something so they don’t feel like the money they previously spent on it has been wasted.
“I am someone who has fallen into this trap with a mobile game,” they wrote. “You spend money, get nothing, then you spend more money until you finally get the thing because you don’t want to feel like you just wasted $30, $60, etc. Once you finally get your thing, it will have cost you $100+.
“With Diablo Immortal though, I am watching Blizzard’s victims fall into the trap while spending THOUSANDS of dollars trying to get the thing.
“I’m someone who has a bit of a gambling itch, and I felt like dying after spending $1300+ on a mobile game over 6 months. I can’t imagine people are going to be feeling too well mentally once they realize how much they are spending on Diablo.”
Meanwhile, YouTuber Raxxanterax, who had been heavily covering Diablo Immortal in the weeks leading up to its release, posted a video in which a ‘whale’ (someone who spends lots of money on a free-to-play game) easily destroyed his team.
“The pay-to-win has completely ruined the PvP”, he says in the video, pointing out that anyone who spends money will have a clear advantage.
“I think I’m considering not playing this game any more,” he adds. “This game is ruined. This is why I wanted to play, was for PvP, but I can’t even do that any more.”