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Is Diablo Immortal Pay-To-Win?

Many developers and publishers have elected to release their games as free-to-play titles, meaning that many companies are no longer bringing in money through actual sales of their games and are instead relying upon the sale of loot boxes and microtransactions in order to make a profit. Sometimes, these loot boxes are harmless and only contain upgrades that are merely cosmetic and won't provide an in-game advantage. But other times, video game companies will reward players willing to dole out extra cash with shortcuts or even game-breaking advantages.

Upon its announcement as a mobile exclusive, many "Diablo" fans were predictably down on "Diablo Immortal." For such a legendary series, a mobile-exclusive release seemed almost like a step down for many who were looking for the next installment to be a AAA experience. Blizzard Entertainment somewhat placated this section of the fanbase by releasing a beta PC port for the game. While critics have mostly enjoyed the core gameplay, gamers have claimed "Diablo Immortal" is worse than they expected because of its brazen implementation of microtransactions. But how bad are these microtransactions, and do they necessarily make "Diablo Immortal" a pay-to-win game?

Unfortunately, Diablo Immortal seems to have a pay-to-win problem

Post release, "Diablo Immortal" has already been figuratively stomped on by the gaming community and some figures in the gaming media due to its implementation of microtransactions. On Metacritic, the game has a shocking 0.8 user score with many players condemning the game for being a pay-to-win mess. One reviewer called it "one of the most predatory business decisions [they] have ever seen," pointing out that its microtransactions completely negate the merits of the actual game itself. Gamers weren't the only ones disappointed with Blizzard's most recent "Diablo" title.

Writing for Forbes, Paul Tassi said that "Diablo Immortal" has an "XP wall" that will essentially cap a player at a certain level until they decide to spend cash on loot boxes, at which point they will progress. "The main culprit here are Legendary Gems, which are socketed into armor for special effects and bonuses," Tassi said. "To get these gems, you must have Crests, and Crests come in two main varieties, Rare, where you'll get a free one of those every day, and Legendary, where I just hit my monthly purchase cap of 1 after completing challenges, and there are 1-2 more in the battle pass at higher ranks."

So how bad is it actually? Well, one Reddit user calculated the amount of money one would need to fully upgrade in "Diablo Immortal." The answer? $110,000. While "Diablo Immortal" purports to be a free-to-play game, it's designed to make leveling up cost quite a lot of real-world cash.