A week after its release, Blizzard has declared its controversial free-to-play game Diablo Immortal “the biggest launch in franchise history”, while players are up in arms about the often invisible limitations that make free-to-play impossible.
Activision Blizzard released Diablo Immortal earlier this month, but the game has already become a Metacritic disaster as users have flocked to the website to voice their displeasure at the microtransactions. Fans of the game who play the mobile iteration for free and choose not to participate in these microtransactions may be even more frustrated by the hidden “caps” – certain limitations that make it even more difficult to progress and develop.
Although Diablo Immortal’s most well-known limits – such as not being able to go beyond level 60; certain Blacksmith upgrades, or the bound Paragon levels – are public knowledge, it has recently been revealed that there are many hidden caps in the game.
As spotted by Forbes, there are about seven Diablo Immortal caps that YouTuber Echohack spotted through the game, but players aren’t notified of them through any in-game alerts or notifications. On top of microtransactions that can cost up to $10,000 based on how much a Twitch streamer has spent in the game, free-to-play players may feel even more restricted by these hidden caps.
In Diablo Immortal, hidden caps are mostly centred around the five per day limit of rewards from side missions and random map events, which simply stop players from loot if they reach the limit mentioned above.
According to one Diablo Immortal player, the drop rate drops significantly after hitting six Legendary drops in a day, while Hidden Lair dungeons no longer drop gem rewards after completing a few stages, and the gem drop rate also drops a lot after a Diablo Immortal player hits six normal gems in a day. The last hidden Diablo Immortal cap, illustrated by Echohack, caps the number of Zoltan Kule treasure rooms players can earn if they earn five in 24 hours.
Games such as Destiny 2 and Borderlands 3 also include various rare loot, but the RNG is not manipulated like Diablo Immortal with invisible locks that prevent free-to-play players from getting the expected loot. Considering Diablo Immortal is a primarily mobile game that is new, Activision Blizzard may be working to lift these restrictions for those who choose free-to-play after the backlash made this Diablo title Activision Blizzard’s worst-rated game on Metacritic.
Given that Diablo Immortal has PvP elements, some players are accusing the makers of making it virtually pay as you can only buy powerful gear through microtransactions, and these hidden caps will not help already struggling players.
Enduring success or just a good launch week?
Meanwhile, Blizzard announced via the official Diablo Immortal Twitter account that the game is the “biggest launch in franchise history”, with over 10 million installs since its release. This detail, like many things about Diablo Immortal, is controversial.
The company wants to celebrate the success of Diablo Immortal while also marketing the game as popular and successful.
Total installs are less likely to elicit a response than total hours played or total spending, but they are not necessarily a reflection of the game’s actual popularity.
Critics of Diablo Immortal will also take this as evidence that the free-to-play mobile game is putting players off. Diablo 3, for example, has reportedly sold more than 30 million copies in total, and this number has grown thanks to expanded content and additional platforms. Critics argue that the player base will only decrease due to the game’s highly monetised design.
Of course, the 10 million installs make it clear that the launch of the new Diablo is a huge success. However, this is not surprising. There are at least 100 mobile games with over 20 million installs. Diablo Immortal still has a long way to go to get on that list – and an even longer way to go to win the trust of Diablo fans, who are now being convinced that, for all its flaws and limitations, it is the franchise’s most enormous success yet.
Shoutout to the heroes of Sanctuary.
In just one week, Diablo Immortal is the biggest launch in franchise history.
Thanks for slaying with us. 🔥 pic.twitter.com/r561EY5u8b
— Diablo Immortal (@DiabloImmortal) June 10, 2022