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The QueueJun 1, 2022 12:36 pm CT

The Queue: Welcome to Westmarch

Diablo Immortal - Westmarch

It’s new game day, my friends, and I am so excited! At long last, Diablo Immortal is here.

And maybe some other stuff happened. Let’s Queue.


What are your first thoughts/take-aways from playing Diablo Immortal ?

This is a fantastic game. It’s not just a fantastic mobile game, it’s just a fantastic game. It plays very much like Diablo 3, without the baggage of Diablo 3 being a decade old. The graphics are great, the controls are good, the action is furious and fun — just like Diablo ought to be.

Personally, I think the best way to play it is by casting it from your mobile device to your television, connecting a controller, and pretending the whole thing is a console game. It may sound silly to put a mobile game up on a big screen TV, but I can tell you it looks glorious on my 55″ 4k OLED.

The best thing I can say about it is that it feels like Diablo. It feels exactly like Diablo.

But we actually have a glut of Diablo right now. Diablo 2 Resurrected is out there, and it’s a great Diablo game. Diablo 3 is also a great Diablo game, and the Season system has given it longevity well beyond what I expected. But Diablo Immortal has something those games don’t have: it’s taken the jump from being a game that’s primarily played solo or in small groups to being a full-fledged MMO. That doesn’t mean the world of Sanctuary is wildly packed with people, like WoW on patch day, but it does mean there are shared spaces — like the big hub city of Westmarch — full of other players. There are guilds. There are dungeons. There are raid encounters. This is Diablo, but it’s also Diablo in an all new light.

Before I was a Warcraft fan, before I was a StarCraft fan, I was a Diablo fan. And I’ve been waiting for this game for 20 years now, when I first heard about this new “World of Warcraft” thing Blizzard was making and thought oh, if only it was Diablo it would be interesting.

Obviously World of Warcraft did eventually win me over, but Diablo Immortal has been a game I’ve wanted to play for a long time, and I’m so excited to have the chance to play it today.


Remind me, Diablo Immortal can be played on the PC, right? Or is today’s launch just phone-only?

The mobile client seems to have gone up a little early, as it’s now live. The PC client — which is in beta — will be going up tomorrow. Both versions access the same servers and use the same characters, and playing in the PC “beta” doesn’t mean your progress will be wiped — just the client itself is in beta. No word on console, for people wondering about it, but it does seem like a natural fit.

In short: yes, you will be able to play Diablo Immortal on PC very soon.


Heard it’s full of microtransactions/loot boxes… Netherlands and Belgium banned its download on their nations. Is it true?

Diablo Immortal is free to play, and, unfortunately, that means microtransactions instead of a monthly subscription. In general, I dislike microtransactions. Their very existence means that you get games that were designed to encourage you to make microtransactions. Games built with little annoyances, with energy meters and other walls that you could get around quickly and easily if only you gave the developer $1. That’s frustrating when you just want to play a game.

I actually think Immortal has found a good balance. I talked to Wyatt Cheng last week, and he said he felt the Diablo 3 real money auction house failed because it subverted the basic Diablo gameplay loop of “smash monsters, get loot.” Instead of playing the game to get the best loot, the auction house became the way to get the best loot. And that wasn’t fun. It actively got in the way of fun. In Immortal, every piece of gear you get, you get through gameplay. The best way to gear up isn’t to spend money: it’s to play the game.

But it is still a free to play game, and that means there are microtransactions. We even wrote a post about everything available in the store, though it’s going to need a little dusting off now that the game is officially live. There are lots of ways to spend real money. You can buy crests, which let you run rifts (you can also earn them through gameplay); you can buy platinum, which is used to craft Legendary gems and other things… but you can also earn these things by playing the game. There are things you can buy to speed things up, but nothing replaces gameplay, and no matter how much you spend, you won’t become the most powerful person on the server without putting the time in yourself.

There’s also a Battle Pass system that gives you rewards as you progress through the story, and a paid Enhanced Battle Pass which gives you more rewards. It’s very much like the system Blizzard uses in Hearthstone, and which other games used before Blizzard picked up on the idea.

The game certainly encourages you to spend, but I don’t feel like it twists your arm about it. I think I’ll probably drop $5 on the Empowered Battle Pass if I wind up playing a lot, but in my early play time I never felt like I needed to make a purchase to get anywhere. I think Diablo Immortal has found a pretty good balance here, and the developers’ “gameplay first” philosophy seems to be a good one.

As to the game not being available in Belgium and the Netherlands, that’s true. Those countries equate loot boxes with gambling, and Diablo Immortal won’t launch there. Except that Immortal doesn’t really have loot boxes… at least not the way I think of them… so I’m a little puzzled. When you’re playing the game and gear drops, you just pick up the gear. If you’re buying something from the store, you just buy something from the store. There may be bundles, but it tells you what’s in them. The only thing I can think of that feels like a loot box is the free daily reward — a treasure box in the store you can click on every day to get a random reward. As the name implies, it’s free. There’s also a reward for your first kill of the day that’s random — and also free, as long as you log on and kill something.

I am not a lawyer, but I’m not sure where it’s run afoul of these loot box laws.

Regardless, it’s not a game filled with frustrating, random loot boxes, and you don’t have to throw cash at the screen to play and have fun. It’s a Diablo game. It just happens to have more ways for you to spend money than usual.


Q4tQ: If a train leaves Lordearon at the speed of an entry level ground mount and then another train leaves the Exodar at the speed of a walking npc at which point do you begin farming gold so both trains can upgrade and travel a little faster and where do they meet and what are you having for dinner.



Are you planning to use the new Dark Ranger customization options or transmog on any of your characters? What do you think of Blizzard’s approach of keeping this a surprise for the patch, and do you think it signals more surprises in the future?

I’m afraid I’m not on this particular hype train. I’m glad people love them, and I’ll certainly pick them up (you never knew when it might be a good day to make your eyes red to match your transmog), but the red eye thing just isn’t me. Since I rolled my Blood Elf Paladin on day one of Burning Crusade, I’ve made only one cosmetic change: switching her eyes from green to gold. The Dark Ranger has a cool aesthetic, but it doesn’t feel quite like it’s for me.

I am, however, thrilled to see secrets in the game again. It’s been a while since Blizzard has managed to sneak something like this in, and good work, developers, for giving us a real surprise.

Hopefully there’s more to come.

That’s all for now everybody! Take care and have a lovely Wednesday. Matt should be back with you on Friday, and I’ll see you again next week!

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