Diablo Immortal’s sins could doom Diablo 4 as well

diablo 4 sorceress throwing fireballBlizzard Entertainment, Dexerto

While the sins of the father are often not the sins of the son, the ill-feeling that has consumed the Diablo community in the wake of Immortal’s predatory microtransactions has left a bitter taste that has tainted the hype surrounding Diablo 4.

Unfortunately, the first thing you probably think of when Diablo Immortal slips out from the darkest recesses of your mind is, well, microtransactions. Don’t worry, I don’t blame you for it.

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Throwing open the gates to the Burning Hells and unleashing swathes of predatory, expensive in-game purchasable items in the process, Diablo Immortal will forever be tainted by the discourse that surrounded its paid content.

Despite being the skeleton of a genuinely good game I couldn’t rate it highly simply because, morally, it wouldn’t be right to recommend a game that really drains your bank account faster than the Countess does her enemies. While it breathed new life into a stagnant series, it did so in the worst possible way. Enter Diablo 4 to save the day! Well, sort of.

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With even more information emerging from the shadows during the Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase, Blizzard has been quick to address the title’s in-game store and pricing system in an attempt to quell the flames of mistrust. I, unfortunately, remain unconvinced, and it’s ruining all of the excitement I once had for the next chapter in the Diablo saga.

diablo immortal the countess cutsceneBlizzard Entertainment
Just as the Blood Rose drains the Countess’ enemies of their life’s blood, Immortal does the same with your savings.

What ado about trust?

It’s no secret that I love all things Diablo, so following the new Necromancer trailer and finalized release date reveal, the embers of excitement reignited – Diablo is back!

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Yet, beneath the veneer of excitement was trepidation. Not even a month prior I expressed exciement over Diablo Immortal (something I never saw happening) and the letdown had been, well, immense. Diablo 4’s open-world Sanctuary, character customization, and spectacularly spooky visuals promise to reinvent the franchise, but I just don’t know if I trust Blizzard to do it justice.

Before Immortal, Sanctuary remained as quiet as the dead for 10 whole years, with seasonal updates being the only thing to get us by. Diablo 2 Resurrected failed to wow, and Immortal has earned the title ‘Immoral’ for all the wrong reasons.

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There’s a lack of trust, and that leads to uncertainty. Diablo 4 can be amazing; from the trailers and the quarterly updates it looks like it will be – but that trust in Blizzard just isn’t there anymore.

In fact, it wouldn’t be surprising if they went full on Adria and sacrificed us to Diablo just like she did with Leah.

diablo 3 leah dies and turns into diabloBlizzard Entertainment
If the Leah story was happening in real life, Leah is the Diablo franchise and Blizzard are Adria.

Diablo 4 (hundred Eternal Orbs, please)

To add yet another layer to the general feeling of mistrust within the community, Blizzard have confirmed that the new game will feature an in-game store which, in turn, allows players to buy a whole host of different things using their own hard-earned cash.

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Alarm bells, anyone?

While General Manager of the franchise, Rod Fergusson, was quick to clarify that the store will only offer optional cosmetics and future expansions, given the Immortal fiasco it’s no wonder fans have been quick to rally behind the likes of Twitch sensation Asmongold, who simply asks “how much will this one cost?” on the official announcement tweet – garnering more likes than the post itself.

Pretty much every game has optional purchases; that’s become a fact of life, but can’t we go back to the days of Diablo 2 or 3; even Diablo 2 Resurrected? A glance at the Battle.net store shows so few microtransactions for each game, you just bought your $60 game, played it, and waited for the expansions. Nothing more, nothing less.

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Will we see World of Warcraft style boosts and mounts appear in the wake of Diablo 4? Or Overwatch-style lootboxes? An optional skin in Diablo Immortal costs £21 – a pretty hefty price to pay for a single skin and character banner in a mobile game. Would these prices carry across to Diablo 4? Or would they be higher?

The very essence of Diablo is that classic ARPG feel – buy it, play it with friends, play it again. While I’m excited to see how the devs have reimagined it for the 2023 audience, I can’t help but think that some genies should have remained in the bottle – microtransactions being one of them.

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diablo immortal female monk wearing diablo 2 assassin armor skinBlizzard Entertainment
I picked up the Diablo 2-inspired skin for my Monk in Immortal, but the price tag on optional skins is pretty high.

As players scour the plains of Diablo Immortal’s Sanctuary in an attempt to destroy the shards of the Worldstone, it turns out that it’s not the only thing that is completely shattered – our trust is, too.

Diablo 4 looks amazing; it looks like the innovative take on the classic franchise that we’ve sorely needed since Diablo 3. Immortal, however, dampens the excitement – especially given that it looks like there’s even more transactions lurking on the horizon.

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Where Blizzard hoped to shine a ray of hope on Sanctuary’s shadowy universe with their Xbox & Bethesda Showcase reveal, they’ve simply raised more questions about the future of Diablo.

Global Community Lead, Adam ‘PezRadar’ Fletcher promises that more details on the microtransactions will come soon, and I truly hope they are optional just as Blizzard say they are. Otherwise, Diablo 4’s first expansion had best be entitled ‘Lord of Greed.’