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Amid criticism of Diablo Immortal’s approach to microtransactions, the game’s director has suggested that some negativity around the game is “based on misinformation”.
And while it may be factually accurate that “gear” itself can’t be purchased with real money, following the game’s release last week some players have labelled Cheng’s comments disingenuous.
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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.
That’s because Diablo Immortal lets players use real money in a bid to acquire powerful Legendary Gems, one of three progression pillars alongside regular gear and XP level, which can be used to upgrade a character in the post-game.
It’s been claimed that the highest tier Legendary Gems can’t currently be earned by players who don’t pay for them with real money, and it’s been estimated that fully upgrading a post-game character would cost up to $110,000 worth of gems.
And players can’t even purchase Legendary Gems outright. Instead, they are dropped from Legendary Crests, which are the game’s loot boxes.
Over the weekend, Cheng was asked on Twitter what had changed since his pre-release comments about players not being able to buy gear. “Or are the gems not considered gear?”
Another user asked Cheng why he took the time to respond to criticism of the game’s microtransactions.
They wrote: “King doesn’t justify charging $100 for a pack of lives in Candy Crush, why does Blizzard feel it needs to be apologetic for a game that cost $50m+ and 6 years to make?”
To which Cheng responded: “<3 thanks for asking.
“I don’t like it if information is misleading. There’s a difference between players liking or not liking a game based on it’s merits (which I can accept, not every game is for everybody) vs. liking or not liking a game based on misinformation surrounding it.”
Negativity surrounding the game has resulted in Diablo Immortal being ‘review bombed’ on Metacritic, which at the time of writing means its user score is just 0.7, the third-worst score in Blizzard‘s history.
The only Blizzard games to receive a lower user score to date are 2020’s Warcraft III Reforged (0.6) and 2021’s World of Warcraft Classic: Burning Crusade Classic (0.4).