The release of Diablo Immortal is fully here for mobile users and the open beta is running for PC users. There’s been a lot of talk about the game’s monetization systems and whether or not the game is “Pay to Win.” The TL;DR is, “Yes, Diablo Immortal is technically pay to win.”
In this guide, we’ll go over the details of Diablo Immortal’s monetization systems and microtransactions so you can understand how your real-life money powers up your character in the game.
Is Diablo Immortal actually free-to-play?
Yes, Diablo Immortal is 100% free to play. You don’t need to spend any money to download and install the game on your mobile device or PC.
Players can play through all the content in the game and progress their character as they would in any paid game. There are free daily login rewards available that power up your character. However, character progression and upgrades will be much slower compared to those who do spend money.
A battle pass is also included in the game that rewards characters with upgrade materials. Both a free and paid version of the battle pass are available with the paid version offering increased rewards.
While Diablo Immortal is completely free to play, it does have pay to win mechanics.
Is Diablo Immortal pay to win?
Yes, Diablo Immortal is pay to win but designed in a way where it’s not readily apparent how you directly benefit from spending money.
The microtransactions in Diablo Immortal are set up in a way that makes it hard to buy items that immediately make your character stronger or give you other advantages in the game. All of the gear that can be bought is cosmetic-only, and the in-game store doesn’t let you buy things like Legendary Gems that can be used to make your character stronger.
You can play Diablo Immortal without spending money. The game doesn’t hide the fact that it has microtransactions, but they are still choices. Also, you don’t have to spend any money to get to most of the game’s important content. Even if someone spends a few thousand dollars on this game, they will still have access to the same basic areas, raids, and bosses as someone who plays the game for free.
But Diablo Immortal has too many ways to spend money and get around the rules that other players must follow. The worst offenders in this category are Legendary Gems and Reforge Stones. Both items give you huge power boosts, and it’s very hard to get them without spending money. Even spending money on Reforge Stones won’t guarantee that you’ll get the reward you want. You might have to buy or get more than one to get the upgrade you want.
If you spend money on this game, you can make your character much stronger in a lot less time than if you don’t. Diablo Immortal is smartly made so that you don’t have to pay $X to get Y gameplay benefit, but it does have a few ways to indirectly benefit from spending money or even just delay the benefits you’ll get for spending money in the long run. Everything is at least one step away from what people usually think of as “pay to win.” This system keeps the game from being called “pay-to-win,” but “technically not pay-to-win” isn’t exactly a high compliment.
Diablo Immortal cosmetic microtransactions
Cosmetic items that can be bought with real money in Diablo Immortal. The first set of cosmetics isn’t very big, but each outfit you can buy will cost between $15 and $25.
How you feel about microtransactions for cosmetics in other games is probably a good indicator of how you’ll feel about these. The good news is that you can also get great-looking gear just by playing the game normally.
Diablo Immortal currency: Gold, Platinum & Eternal Orbs
Like any free to play game, Diablo Immortal is littered with different types of currencies. Here’s how they work.
Diablo Immortal: Gold
Gold is earned through gameplay in Diablo Immortal. It can’t purchased with real money.
What Gold is used for
- Upgrading your gear
- Purchasing items from in-game merchants
- Clan creation
- Randomly roll for better gear
Diablo Immortal: Platinum
Platinum is awarded to players for completing Daily Quests. It stacks for up to three days to help you earn Platinum quicker. Also, if a player sells an item in the Market, they can get Platinum for it. It is important to remember that players can also buy Platinum with Eternal Orbs.
What Platinum is used for
- Buying items in Marketplace listed by other players
- Crafting Legendary Gems at the Apprentice Jewelcrafter
- Exchanged for Echo Crystals so you can craft gems at the Crystal Merchant
- Purchasing Legendary Crests to give your character modifiers for easier or harder gameplay
Diablo Immortal: Eternal Orbs
Eternal Orbs are only acquired by paying real money at the microtransaction shop. Their prices are:
- 60 Eternal Orbs for $0.99
- 315 Eternal Orbs for $4.99
- 630 Eternal Orbs for $9.99
- 1650 Eternal Orbs for $24.99
- 3450 Eternal Orbs for $49.99
- 7200 Eternal Orbs for $99.99
What Eternal Orbs are used for
- Purchase cosmetic skins
- Increasing your Battle Pass tier by spending 150 Eternal Orbs
- Buy Reforge Stones for 100 Eternal Orbs so you can Reforge things
- Purchase Legendary Crests for 160 Eternal Orbs
Diablo Immortal has Loot Boxes called Elder Rifts and Crests
Loot boxes are always a controversial topic due to their resemblance to gambling. Diablo Immortal doesn’t feature traditional loot boxes. Instead, loot boxes/gambling come in the form of Elder Rifts and Crests.
Elder Rifts work the same way that Diablo 3’s Nephalem Rifts do. There are different kinds of monsters in each zone, and you have to kill them. Most of the time, the difficulty of these rifts depends on how strong your character and party are. After you finish an Elder Rift, you will get a number of items. When you kill monsters in the rifts, just like when you kill monsters in the world, you’ll get items. The main difference is that enemies in rifts tend to drop high-value items more often (including Legendary gear). So, running Elder Rift dungeons with a group is a pretty common thing to do late in the game.
If you want to increase (or make sure) your chances of getting high-value items, you’ll need to use “crests” to change the Elder Rifts you visit. Basically, these crests are “put” into an Elder Rift before you enter the zone. In addition to making it more likely that you’ll get certain items, they add random changes to the Elder Rift that can make it easier, harder, or just different than it would be otherwise. The layout and loot odds of an Elder Rift change the more crests you add to it.
Most of the time, you’ll use crests to get Legendary Gems in Elder Rifts. These gems are incredibly powerful items that give your character general buffs and make some of their skills and attacks work better. Anyone who wants to make their character the best it can be will have to get as many Legendary Gems as possible to find the ones they need.
That’s where things go wrong. As you can see, there are many ways to get Legendary Gems. You can buy them with Platinum from the market, make them with Runes and Platinum, get them as a Battle Pass reward (more on that in a bit), or trade Fading Embers or Hilts, two fairly rare items, to special merchants in exchange for them.
Most of the time, though, using Rare and Legendary Crests on Elder Rifts is the most reliable way to get Legendary Gems. Rare Crests make it 10% more likely that a Legendary Gem will drop in an Elder Rift, while Legendary Crests make it 100% more likely (along with the other loot rewards and advantages those items offer) that a Legendary Gem will drop. These crests can be earned in-game through the Battle Pass or as very, very rare in-game rewards, but the easiest way to get them is to buy them with Eternal Orbs, which are basically “real money.”
The basic idea is that anyone who wants to get Legendary Gems and other valuable Elder Rift items more often can spend real money on crests to increase their chances of getting them. You can increase your chances of getting Fading Embers from Elder Rifts, which can be traded for Legendary Gems. However, if you want to take advantage of the increased (or guaranteed) Legendary Gem drop rate those items offer, you have to put a crest into a rift yourself.
How players can Pay to Win in Diablo Immortal
In Diablo Immortal, there are many ways to improve and change the gear you already have. Most of the time, you will be able to improve your gear by using “scrap materials” that you get from destroying old gear. The better and more materials you get, the more rare the item. But it takes more resources to improve rarer items.
It’s possible to get most of the materials you’ll need for upgrades just by playing the game. But it’s very hard to get some of the rarest materials for upgrades that way.
For example, the only way to get Glowing Shards, which are used to improve Legendary and Set items, is to scrap other Legendary items. There doesn’t seem to be a way to buy these upgrade materials directly from the store with “real money” at the moment. You can, however, buy Platinum, which you can then use to buy materials for upgrades from merchants and the marketplace.
You could also use premium currency to buy more gear that you can then sell to get those materials. You might also be able to get materials for upgrades through Bundles, Battle Pass boosts, and other premium purchases that don’t “directly” give you those materials.
Reforge Stones are the last type of stone. Reforge Stones are used to change the stats and effects of Legendary items. This is kind of like “rerolling” them. Even though different stones have different effects, you don’t really know what you’re getting until the process is over. That means you might need to use more than one Reforge Stone to get the upgrade you want.
Now, you can get Reforge Stones from a special NPC called the Hilts Trader, but it’s not always easy to get the “Hilt” items that the merchant uses as currency. Most Hilts can be earned by completing daily and weekly goals. The rest can be found in Rifts, Battle Pass rewards, and other end-game content. You can also get Reforge Stones as rewards for PvP at the end of each competitive season, which again takes a long time.
But (you guessed it) the easiest way to get Reforge Stones is to buy them from the in-game store with Eternal Orbs. Each Reforge Stone costs 100 Eternal Orbs, which is about $1.50 worth of orbs depending on how many you buy at once. Since the exact effects of Reforge Stones are random, you can probably see why you would want to buy more than one.
What’s next for Diablo Immortal?
With Diablo Immortal currently in open beta for PC, we expect Blizzard to hold off on including too many microtransactions and currencies for now. As the game ages, we expect more currencies and microtransactions to be added in that make it easier for players to buy powerful upgrades.