How I Learned to Stop Caring About Diablo Immortal’s Pay-to-Win Mechanics

The microtransactions in Diablo Immortal, the recently released and mobile-first iteration of the series, are predatory, obnoxious, and make the game pay-to-win. Diablo fans and the wider community have been up in arms about the game’s monetization strategy. Is that person at the top of the leaderboards only there because they pumped thousands of dollars into the game? What about the person who just killed my character in a competitive match; was the duel actually fair? Initially I had those questions too, but was surprised how quickly I overcame them personally, because, and not many people may remember this, Diablo Immortal is not the first pay-to-win Diablo game.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Love capitalism, give ABK all your money.

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There’s a point where the game you’re playing isn’t really the game at all and is just a complicated metalayer storyline for the underlying slot machine you’re really playing, and I’m sorry, I’m just never going to think that’s good or acceptable or something we should value or even should allow to exist.


The central thesis of the argument doesn’t even track. People cheated to get to the top of the leaderboard in Diablo 3, therefor pay to win transactions don’t matter either. Those aren’t related problems at all. There were the occasional XBLA games where I would be tempted to stack on the leaderboard only to see the top littered with obviously impossible scores, the difference is that there was no amount of money I could spend to change that. The only wall I ever hit was skill, not credit limit.

I understand and have argued in other threads that the problematic nature of FTP games is going to be deeply personal, and I have no doubt that Cox has no problem ignoring the game’s pleas for money. It’s fine to write about that and to explain why, personally, they don’t get their hooks into you. I don’t see the utility in comparing it to something that isn’t even a part of the conversation.


This is so depressing. The writing is fine but the reasoning and conclusion are just wretched. You really need to do better by your audience when it comes to gacha games… it’s a trend at this point.


Equating an exploit used by players and a system implemented by developers doesn’t really make any sense. The article also ignores that leaderboards are only one of the waysImmortal pushes players toward microtransactions. I honestly was unaware that Diablo 3 had leaderboards.


Austin on this, since this (pretty not great) article is getting twitter traction:


We just absolutely don’t need these takes. Surely we can write “I like this game” articles that don’t go out of their way to defend the predatory stuff.


How I Learned to Beat Gambling Addiction: I simply never got addicted to gambling.


Waypoint editorial got eviscerated for that Genshin piece, and now Motherboard pulls this. Hell, I recollect that Kotaku also published an article recently about this game with a similar thing. I don’t really understand this gradual shift in all these editorials to defending or normalizing gacha stuff. The irony is that everyone seems to know these games are manipulative and cruel. It’s just that it’s become increasingly everyday. I dunno. These games are enormous and terrifyingly popular and they don’t need defense. We need as many critical articles as we can.


In the 1920s if you said cars would kill thousands of people, they’d listen to you. By the 1950s, if you said cars are killing tens of thousands of people, you might as well be charging at windmills.


Yes, but to be faaaaaaair, vice media would like some clicks please. /s, so much /s.

Yeah, I’m very surprised that these websites haven’t dispatched their Gitas or whomever with the good writing knives. Then again, I am not an Internet Business Person

When is the “How I learned to stop caring about the child exploitation in Roblox” article coming. Many people don’t remember that children have been exploited before. I’m kind of astonished at the critical deafness this article perpetuates. “It’s bad, sure – but I like it” is not a great defense. It even confuses abysmal drop rates without paying with wanting to be on the leaderboards. No – I just want the cool gear to bap stuff with friends while running Seasonal Rifts. Just a big unforced L on your part Motherboard/Waypoint/Vice.


I’ll take Naked Defenses of Predatory Gambling for $800, Alex.

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The same person wrote the recent Kotaku article and Genshin Waypoint article.

I am bummed to see another journalist try this take on and wear it around. One person doing this bad take is annoying, but oh well. Having it be a genuine school of thought would really suck.

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This is a dumb take that I’m fairly sure nobody is buying except for any HR teams looking to hire PR reps and community managers, which the cynically-minded among us would think is the entire reason there appears to be a cohort of freelancers hawking this bad opinion around every few months.

Diablo Immortal is essentially identical in that regard. Replace cheating with paying, and the issue is ultimately the same.

I really expected this article to be about the auction house, so reading this was a real let down lmao. “Cheating at videogames is fundamentally the same as microtransaction loot crates” threw me off so hard it took me a while to parse the rest of the article.

Like, okay, I guess the argument is that, if you’re worried that the microtransations will throw off the Competitive Balance of Diablo, the series has already had busted leaderboards ergo you shouldn’t be concerned, but man, that’s super not what anyone is upset about, lmao. If the game didn’t have leaderboards (and it’s news to me that diablo has ever had leaderboards, or a competitive scene) people would still be rightfully upset!


i made a hasty snark post earlier that got nuked. i didn’t make it for no reason, but I do apologize to peeps who mightve caught a stray from my twitter-y dunking on the article. Furries included; i’m one of those, i was just jabbin at Housamo stans.

with that said however:

this realm of gambling grifts is rivaled only by crypto in terms of sheer unregulated income it acquires. Using a platform like this-- a platform that’s often promoted as more ‘aware’ than most others-- to be a walking billboard for it is… kind of amazing, in a harrowing way.

I don’t think people should be needing to explain why “oh, maybe i can get through unaddicted!” wrt to a gambling machine is an appalling idea to promote to your readers. like for real.

There’s not actually a gradient of generosity in these games. you’re not ~getting one over~ by playing it for hours but not paying. They want people posting about how staunchly they’re not paying despite the obvious singular intent for them to do so; that’s the inroad for the actual target demo, which often involves poor, overworked, neurodivergent and/or very young people.

It’s like a predatory bigger fool scam except the less-big fool doesn’t even get paid in anything but… briefly having ‘carefree’ fun clicking loot? and posting on the internet about how carefree #blessed they are (and you can be too!) about it. ok.

It’s ridiculous to see the parts of this discourse that arent the initial youtube algo-driven outrage now be a race to who can be vocally resigned the fastest, no matter where your game coverage comes from. Whether it’s borne out from from bad management/article vetting/freelancers or not.

Keep feeding those whale onboarding datasets tho, I guess. it’s likely just a drop in the ocean anyway versus a thousand reddit and resetera posters saying the same shit as the article daily.


Wild that this article came out the same day that, Most Unlikable Man in America, Ted Cruz, decided that he’s going to come out swinging about how cool it is that he can Pay to Win video games and Loot Boxes are Cool Actually.