Diablo Immortal review: Expensive free-to-play experience

Diablo Immortal is a fun, classic Diablo game, but it is marred by heavy, unfair monetization (Image via Activision Blizzard)
Diablo Immortal is a fun, classic Diablo game, but it is marred by heavy, unfair monetization (Image via Activision Blizzard)

Diablo Immortal has arrived on mobile and has a PC beta, and the game helps bridge the gap between Diablo 2 and Diablo 3. As a long-time fan of the franchise, I was curious about playing this title.

While I enjoyed Diablo Immortal, some very glaring errors disappointed a great deal of the fanbase, myself included. However, this may not bother some gamers who are willing to ignore things like microtransactions.

That aside, it’s still a fun game with some flaws that exist outside of predatory monetization.


Between Diablo 2 and Diablo 3, there is Diablo Immortal

Diablo Immortal is an enjoyable experience where users control one of six classes and demolish the hordes of Hell. It’s a straightforward story, and it’s a very easy game to get into.

For the purposes of this review, I played on both mobile and PC but spent more time on the latter’s beta.

This is because it’s much easier for me to get footage on PC, and I spend more time at my desk than on my phone. I played a few classes during my review but spent the most time with the Demon Hunter.

They have incredible DPS, and since I primarily played solo, I wanted a class that could melt packs and Elites.

Classes in Diablo Immortal

  • Barbarian
  • Crusader
  • Demon Hunter
  • Monk
  • Necromancer
  • Wizard

Each class has a list of abilities to pick from and can re-equip them on the fly by going to the skills menu. Eventually, gamers can change classes in Diablo Immortal, but that’s not available just yet.


Diablo Immortal occurs, again, between Diablo 2 and 3 and is focused on the destruction of the Worldstone. It tells the events that take place between the two main entries in the franchise.

Though the Worldstone has been destroyed, Diablo’s servants seek the fragments as they contain great power and could perhaps bring their Lord back.

Gameplay loop for Diablo Immortal feels familiar while also fresh

Diablo Immortal gives players exactly what they’re hoping for: lots of evil forces to demolish with the various class powers they have at their disposal. They will take up whatever their current story quest is and complete objectives typically focused on acquiring powerful magical objects and killing lots of demons.

Besides the main story quests, there are also Bounties, daily quests that users can take on. It’s worth it to block some time to do these things for potential Legendary gear, more gold, and of course, EXP.


Then there are Elder Rifts, multiplayer dungeons similar to the Rifts in Diablo 3. This is the purpose of Crests/Legendary Crests.

Users get a free Crest here daily and can spend Hilts or real money to buy Legendary Crests. For each Legendary Crest, they are guaranteed a Legendary Gem.

Players can get them as rewards without the Legendary Crests, but that’s not quite as likely. It’s a solid way to get a little EXP.

Gamers can do Challenge Rifts solo or with a group, but if they’re grouping, they don’t get to pick which level to go in at. There is no rhyme or reason to what level individuals start on.

I’ve been trying to complete Challenge Rift 8 with a party for days but never seem to get that floor. I’m going to have to solo it, which is fine, I suppose.

There’s nothing wrong with that. If it’s not broken, don’t fix it, I say. However, there’s a pretty serious problem that has to be addressed: leveling.


I got to level 30 in a sitting or two, but then the game grinds to a crawl. Suddenly, it’s much harder to progress.

EXP comes slower, and on top of that, there’s level gating. Instead of letting players progress at a pace that works for them, parts of the main story are locked behind specific level requirements.

What a weird choice! I went from progressing through the story to trying to get as many Elder Rift or Challenge Rifts done as possible, and grinding dungeons, instead of moving through the story.

One of the great things about Diablo Immortal is that while you have the power to level up your gear and gems, when you pick up a new piece of the former, you can transfer the gems and the rank of that item slot with it. This is a great way to keep bonus stats from ranking up an item slot.

Look and feel of Diablo Immortal are incredible

I fell in love with the game quickly. Many familiar faces showed up, from Deckard Cain to Charsi. I enjoyed seeing characters from the other games coming together once again to fight the forces of evil however they can.


The visuals of the game are genuinely worthy of a Diablo game. The grim, gritty aesthetics of Diablo 2 and 3 come to life well on both PC and mobile. Many areas and dungeons will feel familiar without being carbon copies of the previous titles, and I appreciate that.

In addition, the game’s music compliments this well. The music, the sounds, it’s all terrific. Everything makes sense, and the aesthetic went a long way toward keeping me coming back over and over.

Immortals vs Shadows Clan Battle system is a cool idea but may promote P2W

There’s an interesting PVP system in Diablo Immortal: The Cycle of Strife. There are two factions locked in eternal conflict, Immortals and Shadows, and there can only be three clans of Immortals (300 total Immortals).

The Shadows try to overthrow the Immortals during the Cycle of Strife, and if a Shadow Clan comes out on top, they become Immortals, and two of their allied clans can join.

My problem is that I feel like this will reward Whales for spending tons of money on the game and use the extra stats and power they gain out of maxing out their gear with real money to stand on top of the PVP world.


It’s a cool system where the best Shadow Clans come together to try and best a single Immortal in a 1v30 battle. The Immortal that fights alone at the end of this is also buffed to the heavens, and it wouldn’t be a shock to see them win.

I don’t know if this is pay-to-win, but I could see it going that way before long.

Diablo Immortal is incredibly fun, but we have to talk about monetization

Typically, I’m willing to overlook some microtransactions when it comes to free-to-play games. I understand that money has to come from somewhere, and I’m ready to ignore some of these things.

While it’s true that you cannot buy gear in the game, players can instead buy their way into powerful gear in other ways. This comes in a few flavors, such as Legendary Gems.

These can be crafted in-game, sure. But it’s much faster to use Legendary Crests, which can be bought with real money. The game gives users a normal Crest daily, but Legendary Crests are much harder to get.

Gamers can spend many Hilts (another in-game currency) to buy them.


Legendary Crests are items used in Elder Rifts to guarantee a Legendary Gem drops in the reward chests. For each Legendary Crest, players are guaranteed a Legendary Gem.

So it becomes very enticing to spend real money to get tons of Legendary Gems, to hopefully get a 5-star gem right out of the gate, or to improve the power of their current gems.

If users want to upgrade their Legendary items, they can Awaken them, for which a Dawning Echo is required. Dawning Echoes cost 1000 Eternal Orbs (an in-game currency) and are bought in the in-game shop.

The only way I’m aware that gamers can get them is by buying them in the in-game shop with real money.

In the early game, it’s not going to feel essential to spend money. However, leveling slows down at level 30. Elder Rifts are more appealing at this point, and individuals will no doubt want to get good rewards, thus spending money on Legendary Crests.


Close to level 60, the difficulty really spikes too, and players will need powerful gear to get through the content. Again, this makes the microtransactions suddenly more appealing. I’m not telling people not to spend money on Diablo Immortal, I want that to be clear. But the system feels gross to me. The way it comes across is the game slows players down so they’ll be more likely to spend money to progress faster, and that’s disappointing.

On top of that, there’s a Battle Pass! A Free Battle Pass that also has a Premium track with better rewards/more rewards. In as many ways as the game has to spend real money, this just felt egregious. Each time the player completes a new dungeon, they also get pinged that there’s a new bundle of items they can purchase with real money.


I don’t think all of the microtransactions are terrible, but I’m not a fan of how many there are. There are too many currencies and too many ways to get sucked into buying and buying.

I’ve heard of people spending thousands already and not getting a single 5-Star Legendary Gem from it.

In conclusion

I love this game, I’ll be frank. It’s a lot of fun, and while I’ve spent a little money on it, it was a minimal amount. It’s tough for me, though, as I struggle with microtransactions in free-to-play games.

It’s why I play them so infrequently these days. I do enjoy playing it, though, and will likely continue to do so in my spare time.


I was so disappointed by the microtransactions, though. I cannot stress enough how predatory they feel. If this changes in the future, I’d be glad to revisit this title and see how I think about it.

The actual gameplay is solid, though. Bosses feel imposing and intimidating, there are fantastic Legendary pieces of gear, and I have fun plowing through demons and their minions.

If you’re one of those players that don’t care about microtransactions and want to play Diablo Immortal, you will likely find it an enjoyable experience. There is some slowdown in Diablo Immortal even without them, around level 30, and that frustrated me greatly.

Even with the negatives, I still have fun playing it, but I cannot overlook the pay-to-win potential in the game.

Diablo Immortal

Diablo Immortal is a fun game, but the microtransactions do mar the enjoyment (Image via Sportskeeda)
Diablo Immortal is a fun game, but the microtransactions do mar the enjoyment (Image via Sportskeeda)

Reviewed On: PC and Mobile

Platforms: PC, Mobile

Developers: NetEase, Blizzard Entertainment

Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment

Release Date: June 2, 2022

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Edited by Ravi Iyer
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