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Diablo Immortal microtransaction guide: Is it pay-to-win?

Diablo Immortal's Necromancer class.
(Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment Inc.)

Diablo Immortal has finally arrived on mobile and PC, and it marks the first time that an entry in Blizzard's famous dungeon-crawling franchise has been available to players completely free of charge at launch. However, even though removing the barrier to entry means that players can easily get in on the demon-slaying action, it meant that the developers needed to add microtransactions to Diablo Immortal to make money. Now that the game is out, many have asked whether these in-game purchases have made Diablo Immortal a pay-to-win experience. 

In an effort to answer that question, we've put together a complete overview of Diablo Immortal's microtransactions. This includes details on whether or not Diablo Immortal is pay-to-win and detailed information about how the game's microtransaction systems work. 

Is Diablo Immortal pay-to-win?

(Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment Inc.)

Ultimately, Diablo Immortal isn't technically a pay-to-win game since there are no gameplay items that you need to spend real-world money on (with the exception of one type of gem in the premium Battle Pass). 

That said, Diablo Immortal's microtransactions do help you "pay-to-skip" a large portion of the game's grind because you can purchase items that significantly improve the chances of (or even guarantee) quality item drops. You can also obtain resources that allow you to "re-roll" the stats of Legendary items or purchase gear directly from other players in the Marketplace. Otherwise, the microtransactions are used to purchase cosmetics or the premium Battle Pass. 

At the heart of Diablo Immortal's microtransaction systems are Eternal Orbs, which is the game's premium currency that's only obtainable with real money. 

Diablo Immortal Eternal Orbs explained: Platinum, Crests, and Reforge Stones

(Image credit: iMore)

On top of using them to buy flashy cosmetics, there are numerous ways you can gain progression advantages with Eternal Orbs in Diablo Immortal. However, you'll need to pay up with real money to get them. While they'll occasionally go on sale, this is what that'll cost you:

  • 60 Eternal Orbs for $0.99
  • 315 Eternal Orbs for $4.99
  • 630 Eternal Orbs for $9.99
  • 1,650 Eternal Orbs for $24.99
  • 3,450 Eternal Orbs for $49.99
  • 7,200 Eternal Orbs for $99.99

One way you can use Eternal Orbs to speed up your progression is to purchase Platinum, which is a versatile currency you can use to forge powerful Legendary Gems at the Apprentice Jewelcrafter, buy Echo Crystals that can be used to upgrade regular gems beyond Rank 5, obtain a Legendary Crest from the Crest Merchant (limit of one per day), and purchase gear and upgrade materials from other players on the Marketplace. While Platinum can be earned by completing daily quests, you can instantly get large quantities of it by spending Eternal Orbs.

Alternatively, you can use Eternal Orbs to purchase Rare and Legendary Crests directly from the Crest Merchant. Rare Crests increase the chance that a Legendary Gem will drop after completing an Elder Rift dungeon by 10%, while Legendary Crests guarantee that one will drop. 

Both crest types also guarantee that Runes, a material used to craft Legendary Gems outside of dungeons, will drop as well. There's no limit to how many crests you can get when using Eternal Orbs like there is when using Platinum, and while you can earn crests by trading Fading Embers or Hilts for them with vendors, these items are very rare. As a result, the only way to get crests quickly is to use Eternal Orbs. 

Lastly, it's possible to purchase Reforge Stones with Eternal Orbs, which you can only earn by trading Hilts or as rewards at the end of PvP seasons otherwise. These items allow you to re-roll the stats of Legendary weapons and armor until you get the effects you want for your build, but due to the RNG nature of this system, you'll probably need to use several Reforge Stones to get what you're looking for. Since you're unable to get Reforge Stones through gameplay frequently, you'll need to cough up money for Eternal Orbs to get a lot of them fast. 

What about Diablo Immortal's 'Empowered' Battle Pass?

(Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment Inc.)

Diablo Immortal's "Empowered" $4.99 Battle Pass still gives players a way to make their experience smoother and less grindy, though the impact it has on progression is significantly lower than using Eternal Orbs. Both the free and Empowered Battle Pass awards players with helpful crafting materials and other useful items as they rank up, but owners of the Empowered version get both rewards. Additionally, Empowered Battle Pass tiers give players massive amounts of experience when completed, which makes the process of leveling up your character much faster. 

The Empowered Battle Pass also contains the one item you can't get in Diablo Immortal without forking over some cash: the Fervent Fang gem. This two-star gem gives your character a stacking damage buff against enemies you've previously hit, which makes it an excellent tool against tough enemies or bosses. It's a component in many of the best Diablo Immortal builds, and while you don't need it to be effective in PvE content, it's definitely nice to have.

Conclusion: It's complicated

Diablo Immortal isn't necessarily pay-to-win, but players who don't mind opening their wallet for Eternal Orbs or the Empowered Battle Pass will make progress much faster than free-to-play players. You don't have to worry about missing out on strong gear (other than the Fervent Fang gem) if you don't want to spend any money, but getting Legendary Gems and optimal stat rolls on weapons and armor will take you significantly longer to get compared to a player buying Diablo Immortal's microtransactions. 

Diablo Immortal is finally here, and it's one of the best multiplayer games to play if you like getting tons of loot and battling your way through demon-infested dungeons with friends. It's available on iOS and the Google Play Store, and it's also in open beta on PC. 

Diablo Immortal

Diablo Immortal brings the demon-infested, loot-filled world of Diablo to the palm of your hands with the mobile version. Alternatively, you can also take the fight to Hell's forces in the PC version, which is currently in open beta.

Download from: Free at Google (opens in new tab) | Free at App Store (opens in new tab) | Free at Battle.net (opens in new tab)

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.