Diablo Immortal has been available for several months, and it’s turning out to be quite the cash cow for Activision Blizzard. The free-to-play title has raked in more than $100 million, and it’s probably going to keep printing money. In the early days, gamers calculated it would cost around a hundred thousand dollars to completely level up a character, and now we have a real-life example. One streamer spent that, and he’s “won” the game. His prize: being too overpowered to play with anyone else.
Streamer Jtisallbusiness has posted dozens of Diablo Immortal videos since the game launched earlier this summer. Along the way, he’s put $100,000 into his character, making him what we call a “whale.” If you’ve ever looked at those $99 or $149 item packs in mobile games and wondered why the developers even include something so silly, it’s for people like Jtisallbusiness.
Diablo Immortal is free, and you can play the entire game without dropping any cash — you just have to grind for hours and hours to find powerful gems that will buff your character. Or, you can spend money. Immortal has a system of “Elder Rifts” that are essentially loot boxes wrapped up in a miniature dungeon. You might have to do a lot of rift runs before you’ll find the gems you need to advance, and that costs money.
Early on, gamers estimated it would cost over $100,000 to fully level up a character, and now we have real-world data on that. Jtisallbusiness spent that much, making him a steamroller in the game’s popular PVP Battlegrounds mode. After clobbering almost every opponent he faced, his MMR (match-making rank) has climbed so high that he can’t find anyone to battle anymore. This also interferes with his ability to complete special events, which tie into PVP, reports Kotaku.
According to Jtisallbusiness, he can leave the game searching for a match for two or three days with no luck. The streamer is now talking about asking Blizzard for a refund, but good luck with that. Blizzard has told Jtisallbusiness that the “problem” will be fixed, but there’s no movement so far. It’s not clear what the fix is, though. Will Blizzard just feed lesser players to the whales, knowing their massive financial investment makes them unbeatable? Even in a free-to-play game, that seems unfair.
No one should feel sorry for Jtisallbusiness, who did this whole thing to make content. He’s getting what he wanted because here we are talking about his antics. It’s not just about a streamer with a lot of disposable income — a lot of people are firing up this game expecting it to be fairly balanced, and that’s just not the case. Spending money in Diablo Immortal doesn’t just get you sweet cosmetics. The more you spend, the better you are at the game, which doesn’t seem very fair.