Diablo Immortal is infamous for microtransactions and pay-to-win features. It becomes one of the most expensive games on the market if you want to get the best gear and stats.
Last month, we reported that one player spent over $100,000 on the game and essentially did not have anyone to play with as he could not find matches in PVP. These players are what the gaming industry refers to as whales. They are the heavy spenders that keep free-to-play games like Diablo Immortal profitable.
As expensive as it is to purchase directly from the Blizzard store, players have resorted to purchasing from third parties who sell the same premium items at a much lower cost. If you purchase 7200 orbs from the game’s store it will cost you $99.99. Buying the same 7200 orbs from a third party may cost as low as $30.
Blizzard has cracked down on these third-party transactions as they use illegal means to obtain orbs. The company deleted orbs purchased from third-party vendors leaving players with what is now called “orb debt” when the illegally obtained orbs were already used to buy in-game items.
Here's what Blizzard had to say about its recent decision:
We want to ensure a fair playing field for everyone in Diablo Immortal: part of this effort involves taking action when we see players participate in fraudulent purchases. Upon investigation of community concerns surrounding suspicious Eternal Orb purchases, we found accounts in violation of the Blizzard End User Agreement.
The company said that they conducted a thorough investigation to verify that the accounts participated in such activities. They also mention that they will continue to monitor the game for such illicit activities.
As a consequence of having an “orb debt”, players must now repay the negative balance if they want to use orbs again to buy new gear or items. Blizzard is also rolling out a new patch that restricts players with orb debt from taking a part in PvP-related activities as well as the Battlegrounds, according to the community lead, Adam ‘PezRadar’ Fletcher. Players with orb debt also cannot join parties or group events such as raids.
This is not good news for players like “Shia” who has an orb debt of -2,491,025. It will cost the player approximately $35,000 to repay the debt and be able to participate in PvP and other activities.
If we're being honest, these players should thank Blizzard they're not banned. They clearly violated the terms of service by supporting "illegal" third-party providers to buy orbs in the game. Then again, it feels oddly fitting to limit player counts with orb debts to a single-player experience in an MMO. Let it not be said that Blizzard doesn't have a wicked sense of irony.
The community has not been sympathetic to whales spending big money on third-party vendors. However, the move not to ban players who used third-party vendors has gotten a negative response from the community. Some players want an immediate ban on these types of illegal activities.
Diablo Immortal has been criticized for its microtransactions which the company defended by stating that most players do not spend anything on the game at all. It's become a very lucrative venture that has earned Blizzard hundreds of millions in months.
Speaking of Diablo, Microsoft has confirmed that it's coming to the Game Pass as soon as the deal with Activision Blizzard closes. Also, it's believed that Diablo 4 will ditch loot boxes. Finally, rumors suggest that Diablo 4 will be available for pre-order starting in December with the announcement coming at this year's The Game Awards.