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Diablo Immortal: First Look

When I heard Diablo Immortal and it was phone only, I had zero interest in this game.  With the PC announcement of Diablo Immortal launch was a good time to take a first look into it.  I haven’t kept up with the development, so I didn’t try to spoil anything prior to loading it up late on the 2nd on my PC.  Let us see if this game can hold us over a bit until Diablo IV.

The initial controls and especially how to get windowed required a search because I needed to scroll to see the adjustments and for some reason it just was not intuitive with no bar on the side.  I have a Nvidia Vision setup, so sometimes games just require more hijinks for me to get to work.  Once that was finally situated, and only after I created my character (once in game) I was ready to go.  I made a monk with a randomized name since it was my first foray.  I also enjoy the monk in D3 and wanted to see how he plays.

Demons shall be vanquished in the in-between game!

The initial start was like any other, but more fast-paced than Diablo 3.  The initial town sequence with Wortham felt eerily similar to the initial New Tristram in Diablo 3.  You start with a primary skill (One of two options with the later unlocked later, in my case for a Monk at level: 34).  Skills level up at certain intervals, not based on how much you actually use them and deal more damage. The other two starting skills were Seven-Sided Strike and Flying Kick.  I really liked flying kick as it was a knockback move with a cool animation.  And it was different than what was in D3.

Combatimmortal d2 icons

The first boss you come upon you whittle his health bar down and it goes back up.  Looks like they decided to make multiple health bars, so you see your progress.  The screenshot to the right has the icon indicating a refill, and I’ve seen ones up to 3 at level 27 so far.

Other than a few differences, combat is smooth and input controls on the PC seem okay.  The game does scale to your level so that is one thing I do not like, but it is common nowadays in games.

What a mess of stuff with crafting

Oh my.  Lots of crafting and leveling up and all sorts of stuff.  It is right in your face.  At least in Diablo 3 you could go the whole game without needing to craft or feel like you did, in this game a lot of stuff is tied to it, and everything needs to be leveled up as well and they require different goods.  I don’t know all of the ins and outs so I’m not going to claim to know.  It does appear ranking can be moved to new items, though I’m not 100% on the cost.

Maybe this is how mobile games are, I do not know, but it seems like a lot for a game that was based on playing on a 5×4 inch screen.

Microtransactions….err should I say major?

I picked up the battle pass once I could at around level 15.  For 4.99 it wasn’t badly priced, though to be fair it is only like 35 days compared to 60 or 90 for other games.  The rest really, I didn’t see value in, and I’ll report on the battle pass once I get a good feel for the game.  With that said, I should never see a game like this with a $100.00 microtransaction.  That is absurd.  Honestly, I wish this game just went with a boxed price and removed some of the stuff.  I would have gladly shelled at the normal Diablo new game price, just because.

Vang’s Thoughts

I’m enjoying it and will see it to the end.  With that said I am not going to be nickeled and dimed.  If I want that I’ll go shoot for the moon and play MTG:A and get my collection to where it needs to be and feel it was money well spent.

One small thing I liked was I decided to start a rift using a Legendary Crest and since I didn’t complete it due to being logged out when in the loading when I had to get up and leave.  When I logged back in it was in my mailbox because I didn’t complete it.

Good Stuff:

  • The combat animations are smooth and overall, the controls are solid with only minor pathing issues.
  • The storyline seems to flow okay, but I’m still just slowly working my way through and doing what I can regardless of progression.
  • The monk is similar yet different feel, so I do not feel like I’m playing Diablo 3.

Bad Stuff:

  • Toxic chat.  Oh my the amount of hateful speech that is getting by is astounding.
  • Microtransactions everywhere.  You know I am willing to bet you could not put anything about the shop on the screen ever and people would find it in the menu with ease and buy what they want.
  • Ranking on all items.  Wow this smells grind but knowing what I do of any mobile style game it is the status quo, and well this is a Diablo game.  Though there are ways to make grinding fun without the feel of grinding.

Undecided/No comment

  • End game progression and longevity.  No clue for me personally.
  • Graphics:  Look pretty bad IMO, hopefully, they improve with better adjustments.
  • Fleshed out grouping/clan system.  I haven’t used it yet, but it looks good so far.

The overall verdict for me is it’ll take up some of my time in the next couple of days.  I like the super fast-paced and quickness of the one rift I did, felt it was made to do in about 2 minutes.

Rush’s Thoughts

Vang pretty much summed up the gameplay above. There’s no doubt for a mobile game it’s graphically decent, not stellar, but competent. It’s not too bad on the PC either even though everything feels massive after playing D2R. I’ll admit I’m not a huge mobile gamer, I don’t tend to have my phone attached to my body 24/7 like the youth of today.

Being a mobile game everything is simplified down to make it manageable and it works pretty well, it’s obvious there’s been some real care and attention put into this. There’s no doubt Diablo: Immortal is heavily influenced by Diablo 3 when it comes to aesthetics, and with any luck, it will have little influence on what we see with Diablo IV.

The combat is pretty fluid with some great animations and it works well on mobile. The PC version is still in beta and I did come across a really annoying bug where all keys would just stop working and the only way to fix it was to quit and restart. It could also feel a little unresponsive at times. Hopefully, these issues will be fixed soon. I’m sure there’s plenty more bugs to be found still but give it time.

There’s a lot to like about the game but it’s caused a bit of stir in the community since it launched. Why? The microtransactions. Nobody should be surprised they are there, Blizzard has never tried to hide the fact you’ll be paying for stuff but some of it feels obscene and it’s in your face continuously. Shelling out hard cash is going to give you the edge and speed up progression there’s no doubt about that.

The Legendary Crests system where you can guarantee a legendary drop just feels cheap and nasty. In fact, there is so much going on with needing X for X to get X costing X that I really could not be arsed with it. The whole design appears to be built around getting cash where they can. I don’t have an issue with getting cash from players but it feels like it’s EVERYWHERE.

Diablo Immortal Buy Stuff
This screen is where you often end up.

Let’s face it, you’ll only ever keep throwing money at the game if you’re a die-hard Immortal fan. There are a lot of Diablo players quite happy to play through it just for the story and then move on. I fall firmly into that camp. I don’t care that people may have paid for better stuff and I’m lagging behind in progression because I spent zero on the game. I also can’t be enticed to spend because, well, I’ll be going back to D2R and waiting patiently for Diablo 4.

Blizzard will be keen to keep the Immortal content fresh, it could end up being a real cash cow. However, they may want to think about scaling back on some of the purchase options. We’ll see how it goes.

If you are prepared to spend money then go for it. If you are prepared to grind your way through it and want something quick to jump in and out of on your phone then go for it.

Good Stuff:

  • Visually, it’s decent for a mobile game.
  • The controls are nice and simple.
  • Familiar classes and skills.

Bad Stuff:

  • Looking for payments from you everywhere.
  • See above.
  • See above.

You’ll either love it or hate it depending on how fat your wallet is or how much time you want to invest to try and get the good stuff.

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