In 1996, Blizzard Entertainment released one of the most influential and important games of all time. This game would undoubtedly change the entire industry for years to come. Diablo, an action role-playing game with hack-and-slash mechanics mixed with a scent of the roguelike genre, took the world by storm with its innovative design and new perspective.
Diablo would go on to create one of the largest gaming franchises in the world; while Diablo II and Diablo III were especially much larger and more successful as opposed to their predecessor. In 2018, the total assets of the company soared to $56 billion. With all the success and experience of the company. One would think that its next step would have been to produce another full-fledged experience for major platforms, right?
In 2018, the Principal Game Designer at Blizzard Entertainment, Wyatt Cheng, would finally announce the next title of the Diablo franchise, Diablo Immortal. Delving back into the horror and adventure-filled universe of Diablo was something that players were extremely anxious for. However, there was a slight complication, the game was intended only for mobile.
Players were absolutely furious; there were mass protests and overall hate all garnered towards Blizzard Entertainment during that time. The second it was announced live on television there was an immediate backlash. One player even said to Wyatt Cheng, “Is this an out of season April fools joke?”. This was one of the few times in the entire showcase that the crowd actually cheered.
— Skill Up (@SkillUpYT) November 2, 2018
Wyatt Cheng was certainly not having it. Being booed by an entire crowd and being ridiculed by the players live on television shook him into saying something which would come back to haunt the entire company, “Do you guys not have phones?”. This is where mass protests, disrespecting the developers and constantly ridiculing of the game began.
The Big Reveal:
Aside from the constant petitions to cancel the game, players can not truly judge a game unless they get to see it in action, be it in a gameplay trailer or by playing the actual game. Well, Diablo immortal has been released and the general outlook is mediocre.
While some argue that its combat, classes and equipment show much variety, others state that it’s just another mindless hack-and-slash. Diablo isn’t a bad game, but with the legacy that it was bestowed on, it certainly became hated. The biggest reason for this hate was the pay-to-win aesthetic. Granted the game is free, but paying certainly increases better drop chances and overall loot.
Furthermore, it takes a decent amount of time to just to level up. Most tutorials state that buying the battle pass is the quickest way to level up. If you’re going to spend cash on everything, why even play the game?
The Players’ Reaction:
People are utterly disgusted at the fact that there’s a paywall. Just knowing that people are mowing through the game with actual currency kills the overall experience. Monetization is the largest negative factor in the entire game.
RE Diablo Immortal monetisation.
Blizzard should be utterly ashamed of themselves. It is disgusting and shouldn’t carry the company name.
— Michael (@BellularGaming) June 2, 2022
In a recent interview to calm the general public, Wyatt Cheng said, “Diablo Immortal is going to change a lot of people’s minds on what they think of as a mobile game”. It changed nothing. Players never wanted a mobile experience to start with.
After initial feedback Blizzard Entertainment should have taken a new path. Unfortunately, the company decided to move on with Diablo Immortal and would go on to take extremely negative reviews and scar the name of the franchise in the process.
In all honesty, Diablo Immortal did some things right. Blizzard Entertainment ported the game to PC, the graphics are good, the classes are unique, and the overall gameplay is debatable. The promotional techniques it used in the past were the reasons for its scars, coupled with the sudden shifting of the franchise to mobile. It seems that Blizzard Entertainment just grew out of touch with its player base after Diablo III and the revival it had hoped for was not nearly up to class.
Blizzard Entertainment needs to acknowledge its players more. Having a PC port was an amazing implementation, but that doesn’t solve the huge problem of microtransactions and extremely grindy gameplay. Personally, vaporizing squads of minions or taking on grotesque enemies is something I adore to do. But doing the same thing over and over again bores me and many other players.
Furthermore, while the hate is justified, players should also be open to change. It’s clear that Blizzard Entertainment only wanted to make money from this project. However, what it gave in return was almost unacceptable for most players.