The reason why some streamers stopped playing Diablo Immortal
Jul 23, 2022
Diablo Immortal went through a roller coaster of fan reception, and now streamers are turning away from the game due to its predatory practices.
When it was first announced in 2018, Diablo Immortal immediately generated bad will after a snarky comment from a developer. After finally releasing in 2022, Diablo Immortal received praise for its fun dungeon crawling and deep progression. But as players have grown more familiar with the game’s monetization, more gamers than ever are turning away from the game with disgust. Now streamers on Twitch, YouTube, and other platforms are quickly abandoning the game. Here’s why so many players are closing Diablo Immortal for good.
Unrest in the Diablo Immortal camp
In the weeks following its release, the Diablo Immortal team implemented massive changes in progression for players who play for free and those that shell out for microtransactions. It’s now nearly impossible to get optimal gear and weapons without spending a ton of cash. Unsurprisingly, gaming and streaming communities have not received these changes well.
The aggressive monetization pushed many gamers to delete their profiles, with famous streamers like Quin69 abandoning the game after finally earning the rarest possible loot. The mass exit, according to the streamers themselves, was an expression of dissatisfaction with the microtransactions among other complaints.
To protest the microtransactions approach, Maxroll, a community site with over 10,000 hours of content, deleted its Diablo Immortal guides and other helpful information. This negates a large amount of work that went into creating those resources, but the site insisted on doing so due to the “predatory pay-to-win system.” According to Maxroll, Diablo Immortal is intentionally designed to encourage gambling tendencies.
The monetization of Diablo Immortal explained
Diablo Immortal is advertised as a free-to-play video game. However, recent changes have made it so that there are greater benefits for those that pay for extra features. Paid access also involves paying for power, usually in the form of legendary gems.
The microtransactions in the game are earned through gold, eternal orbs, and platinum. Platinum and eternal orbs can be purchased. Unfortunately, eternal orbs cannot be earned through gameplay like platinum and gold for free users.
These eternal orbs are valuable and can be used to buy powerful game items that instantly upgrade the player. Therefore, a player who has bought these orbs has more of an advantage over the one who has not.
The ethics of microtransactions
Microtransactions in any video game are ethically questionable. This is because they exploit people’s weaknesses and fear of missing out to encourage user spending. Many games use the same methods that gambling companies use to profit off of people. The free-to-play version is only available to get players hooked into the game.
Once players get too deep and emotionally invested in your character’s progress, spending money on these purchases becomes easier. This arguably unethical behavior, inconsistent result, and incomplete information makes Diablo Immortal no different from many blacklisted casinos that extort and exploit players.
The fact that developer Activision-Blizzard has made no comments on the situation is very telling. The company continues to rake in millions in revenue, proving that its initial goal was to make profits regardless of customer concerns.
Is Diablo Immortal gambling?
Although many gamers just play for fun, a lot of the entertainment in games comes from winning. This competitiveness encourages an individual’s desire to eventually win, just like gambling does.
Similar to casinos, games with in-app purchases such as Diablo Immortal aim to obtain your money by offering potential rewards and not guaranteeing any of them. The thrill of winning and having the edge over your competitors further encourages more purchases.
In the long run, this is very detrimental to the mental health and finances of players who fall victim to developer intentions. When you have to pay to win, the fun factor is lost. Some players have even described Diablo Immortal’s in-app purchases as a gambling simulator and a blatant cash grab. To obtain a complete set of maxed-out Legendary Gems, streamers have speculated that gamers need to spend upwards of $50,000.
Unethical loot boxes pushes streamers away from Diablo Immortal
Activision-Blizzard, Diablo Immortal’s developer, introduced loot boxes to the game as a method of both gating progression and monetizing the game. However, Activision-Blizzard fails to mention in-game that loot boxes do not guarantee a player gets the specific items they want.
In essence, the loot box is the equivalent of buying a chance to win the item you want instead of getting the item itself. Blizzard also fails to publicly disclose the percentage chance a buyer has of getting the item they want from the loot box. This practice is already illegal in some countries, making Diablo Immortal unable to be played in those regions.
Therefore, when an individual purchases a loot box, it’s only a small chance to get something they actually want. This is directly analogous to traditional gambling except there’s no way to make money back from the situation. The result is an unsatisfied player base and a mass exodus of streamers from what should have been one of 2022’s biggest releases.
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