Tom Insam

Diablo Immortal

I’ve been playing a certain amount of Diablo Immortal. I’m coming to it as someone who enjoys Diablo 3 and has played a lot of it on both PC and console. I’m enjoying it. Very happy to have a game this polished on mobile, frankly. There’s a ton of story-driven game here without needing to pay, and it feels like a Diablo game.

The whole game feels like Diablo 3 but sanded down hard. It’s smoother, fewer annoying corners, but it’s also… less now.

Things I like - loot autopickup is great, the salvaging interface is a ton better, the footprints are actually pretty nice. I like the auto-navigation in zone once you’ve demonstrated mastery of that zone. I quite like the 2-tier gems/loot thing where the important parts of the loot are differentiated from the stat sticks. The controller interface is pretty good compared to D3 as well, though D3 is already pretty good. Inventory management is much better than console, though that’s because there’s a touch interface.

Two obvious places where DI is worse than D3 - maps are waaaay smaller (feels like the bad console generation games we had where every cross-platform game on every platform was constrained by the RAM of the original xbox) and the fact that the loot is flattened out - by 30 everything I’m wearing is yellow and even progressing I’m not getting blue drops that are better, so now everything that drops is just trash. I do have one legendary with a skill-specific thing on it (it boosts multishot) so the general sense of the D3 loot system is still here, but the affixes are much simpler - they seem to boost a skill in a simple fashion, and nothing else. There are simple synergies but nothing like the amazing post-level-cap scaling of Diablo 3 (which makes sense! This is an MMO, you can’t allow that sort of scaling in your player base, you need them to be in one flat progression tier with minor differences between them gated by raid progression). I hate that monsters leash now but, again, MMO, sure.

The skills have been simplified a ton - probably too much, there’s a lot in the D3 skill system that I like but there were also a lot of skills that were pretty much useless and noone would ever use. I like the cooldown system rather than the energy pool - it means there’s an incentive to use everything you have slotted because it doesn’t hurt use of the other things you’re running.

The open world thing is interesting, in that I see players shooting furiously at thin air a lot presumably because they’re fighting quest-specific monsters but they’re not themselves instanced.

Oh, and of course there’s all the obvious complaints - it’s free to play and progression will therefore inveitably eventaully be awful (though there’s a lot of good free gameplay in here), the progression mechanics force you to engage with the social stuff (the game is requiring me to join a “warband” to progress, whatever the fuck that is), the UI is covered in little red dots and there’s a bunch of “log in every day to tick the boxes” overhead (though it’s not like endgame MMOs don’t have dailies. Getting users to come back every day isn’t just a f2p thing).