You can try to deny it, but Diablo Immortal is better than Diablo 3. It’s only possible to talk about Diablo Immortal by mentioning the moments that have defined it over the years. When the game was announced at his Blizzcon 2018, it received a hostile response from attendees. In Q&A, a fan asked if the game was available for PC. When Reed confirmed that game designer Wyatt Cheng would be mobile-only, the crowd booed, prompting Cheng to post mixed reactions. He now has his own Know Your Meme page.
He might have had the last laugh because Diablo Immortal is an excellent mobile game. By creating a mobile experience from the ground up, Diablo Immortal avoids the pitfalls of many more minor adaptations of big games.
More Than a Spin-Off
Diablo Immortal’s most impressive achievement is that it feels like something other than a spin-off. It’s a complete Diablo experience with a long campaign, fully voiced acting, multiple activities, and a deep endgame. It will be a big shock if you don’t play mobile games much and consider it a match-3 puzzle where you pay to get more lives. This is a PC or high-quality console version on a small screen.
Some may even prefer Diablo Immortal over the mainline series. This is primarily thanks to the game’s pacing and excellent control scheme, both of which make good use of his mobile framework. The game is designed for on-the-go rather than long PC sessions, so quests and activities are bite-sized. You can clear a dungeon in 10 minutes or clear a big story beat so that you can make a lot of progress quickly.
It helps that Diablo Immortal’s core gameplay is similar to that of the core PC game. Players choose a class and roam the map from a bird’s eye view, defeating enemy mobs with various special abilities and collecting tons of loot. The gameplay is mainly similar to Diablo 3, but with some key improvements. For example, you don’t need resources to use skills. They all work with short cooldowns, making combat feel faster.
Similar to a MOBA
In that sense, it feels like a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game. The combat depth of the game is awe-inspiring. From my personal experience (I could only play for a few days before my progress cleared), I chose Demon Hunter. My first attack was a Crossbow Shot that was easy to spam, thanks to its short cooldown. As you level up, players can unlock new abilities. On top of your first attack, he has three additional Moves that can now be equipped with quickly discovered that all of these attacks interacted with each other, extending my toolset beyond the four basic attacks. For example, the Demon Hunter can drop a Rain of Vengeance that rains arrows while dealing damage in a small area. At first, I treated it like a forgotten tower. I quickly learned that specific abilities could be bounced off of it. Multishot can clear our hordes of mobs around them if a player gets overwhelmed.
Mobile First Fans booed the idea of the game not coming to PC in 2018, but Blizzard, I understand why they made that decision in the first place. A mobile-first approach to design makes the end product more robust. Take the controls, for example. Diablo Immortal has some of the best touch controls in a game of this scale. Move with your left thumb and control your abilities with your right hand. Cast spells quickly with just a few thumb presses feel more tactile and quicker than mapping everything to another number key.
Diablo Immortal addresses all the recent complaints about Apex Legends Mobile. The latter is a tight shooter, but more is needed for him to remake PC and console games for the small screen. The control scheme needs to be simplified for a touch interface. The UI is cluttered, and most of the time, you have to squint to see what’s going on. The only way to create a Diablo mobile game was to start from scratch.
Diablo Immortal is an Advancement of Game Design
By comparison, Diablo Immortal is an elegantly designed game. Not only is it easy to control, but it’s also an exceptionally readable experience. The interface only takes up a little space, and the menus are easy to navigate once you know where everything is. This wouldn’t have happened if Blizzard had ported Diablo 3 to mobile phones and called it a day. The game was designed with larger monitors and keyboards full of keys in mind. The only way to create a readable Diablo mobile game was to start from scratch.
Now back to the infamous incident at BlizzCon 2018. A player booed at the idea of the game not coming to PC, but it was the right decision. Had Blizzard designed the game with both in mind, it probably would have had to settle somewhere in between, diluting the experience of both. The developers recently made a PC version but didn’t see this as the intended experience. “On the other hand, releasing a game originally designed for mobile on PC made players feel it didn’t live up to the title,” Blizzard wrote in a blog post announcing the port. “A key factor was that we knew many people would try to play this game via an emulator, which inspired us to create a better experience.”
The ultimate strength of the experience lies in its tactile controls and fast pace of play. This is an issue with Apex Legends Mobile, but vice versa. Pony up, or don’t? Fans’ initial outrage may have been short-sighted, but the criticism is still valid. Many mobile games rely heavily on intrusive microtransactions for dime players. Despite being free, Diablo Immortal has a store full of items that can be purchased for real money.
Certain aspects of the game’s microtransactions need to be revised. For example, items like loot boxes give players random resources. This is an aspect that some countries with strict laws have come to ban preemptively. Buying a monthly bonus of $10 will give the player more inventory space and access to the market remotely will be Both have significant quality-of-life benefits. The biggest concern is the game’s pay-to-win potential. You can only sometimes buy better gear or experience points immediately, but you can get better rewards with real money.
The End-Game Progression is Better
Legendary Crests can be used to increase the rarity of final rewards during Elder Rift activities in the game. Theoretically, anyone who buys enough orbs can stock up on crests and grow better items. It also needs to be clarified what certain paid items do or whether they can be earned through regular play, further blurring the aspect of the shop. Note that we’ve seen more of Endgame since then, which confirmed our concerns before digging in; I recommend reading up on the game’s microtransaction structure. )
Digital Trends decided not to play the game after being unable to purchase items during the test session to see how it would affect Diablo Immortal in the long run. But looking at this as a purely single-player experience, I never felt pressured to buy anything. The shop is hidden, and you won’t see shop popups like in other games. You can play the entire campaign without even realizing the shop exists.
The game doesn’t require you to buy lives or lure you in with flashy “gacha” moves to keep playing. In this regard, it feels better than most PC and console games. Fan reaction to Blizzcon 2018 announcements always leaves me wide-eyed, but the skepticism is understandable.
Mobile gaming can feel like quick cash. Also, Blizzard has yet to earn gamers’ trust (especially after an ongoing workplace scandal). But Diablo Immortal is a good video game and could start a mobile gaming revolution. Stunning gameplay that outperforms the PC version has the potential to defeat skeptics and change the West’s outdated perception of mobile gaming.
More importantly, its thoughtful design should convey to its competitors the power of its dedicated mobile-first philosophy. If this leads to a smash hit, it could enlighten the video game industry. This will ultimately define how mobile experiences live and work harmoniously with PC and console gaming.