“Now that Diablo is out in the wild, the true horror of its costly microtransactions has revealed itself,” said IGN in a recent article. “I’m worried Diablo 4’s open world is only there to sell me stuff,” said PC Gamer.
To all this hand-wringing I say…what game are these people playing, exactly?
I absolutely understand the skepticism heading into Diablo 4, given Diablo 3’s Auction House fiasco and Diablo Immortal’s pay-to-win gem fest. It made sense to judge the final product’s endeavors in this front on the final, live storefront. But now that it’s here, I really don’t get all these takes.
Here’s the thing: Diablo 4’s microtransactions are bad. By “bad” I do not mean “they hurt the game,” I mean like, they are not very appealing. They cost way too much and offer armor sets that often do no look cooler than the extremely badass armor and weapons you can get and transmog in the main game itself. Sometimes they’re just reskins of those items.
These are bad microtransactions. They are absurdly overpriced. Some of these sets cost $25 a piece, which may work in League of Legends or Overwatch, but it’s far less appealing here with so much actual, awesome gear to farm. Back bling is $10. Horses are $8-10. All of this is in Platinum, a currency that you will never earn in-game unlike Fortnite V-bucks or Destiny bright dust. So every single person you see with this armor on has a big stamp on their forehead saying “I paid.”
Diablo 4’s microtransactions being bad is ultimately good for the game because it means you can more or less forget about their existence entirely. There are literally never any redirects to the shop at all. No pop-ups about it. It’s just another tab that you never even have to look at.
Yes, I do wish that all these items were earnable in game and dropped as loot. But yes, we do live in 2023 and there was a zero percent chance this live service looter was not going to do cosmetic microtransactions. But they’re so badly priced and just not very good overall compared to what you can earn and use. My characters look awesome. I do not need to “upgrade” anything about my Barbarian with a gold plated Warlord King set I bought for a third of the price of the entire game.
I am a whale in many games and have shelled out loads of money for cosmetics before. But there is nothing terribly appealing to me here in the context of this game, plus these are some of the least intrusive microtransactions I’ve ever seen. So I don’t really get any complaints here.