September 28, 2022
Diablo Immortal proves Diablo was always meant for phones

We all remember the announcement of Diablo Immortal at BlizzCon in 2018. The screaming, the crying, the foaming at the mouth at the very idea that the next installment of the hardcore RPG series would be a mobile game. That was how I felt when I heard the announcement. How dare Blizzard do this to a game series I remembered so fondly?

It’s been a bittersweet realization. The mobile game market does not have a great reputation among people who willingly use the word “gamer” to refer to themselves. Even the best mobile games are often shallow experiences, designed to be played in brief bursts while waiting at a bus stop or dentist’s office. Mobile games also have a reputation for embracing the worst kinds of money-grubbing and addictive design, using microtransactions and mechanics that border on gambling (in some countries, they’re legislated as such).

This history of not-unfair assumptions about mobile games resulted in a vitriolic response at BlizzCon 2018 — enough so that Blizzard issued a public defense of the game’s existence. This past April, Blizzard made another concession to the burned Diablo fan base by announcing Diablo Immortal would launch on PCs as well, despite that it was clearly created with mobile phones in mind. When I heard that news, I felt relieved that I’d be able to play the game on PC after all, but when Diablo Immortal launched a day early on mobile, I installed it on my iPhone 11 out of curiosity. That’s when I realized how wrong I’d been about Diablo all along.

My realization didn’t come out of nowhere. I’d already gotten an inkling of it when I played Diablo 2: Resurrected this past year. Diablo 2’s RPG mechanics have been thoroughly analyzed since its initial release in 2000; players are so familiar with the numbers under the hood that there are agreed-upon recommended builds for every character class. Of course, you can play however you want and still have a good time — but if you want to play tactically and efficiently, there’s not much variation in how the game will unfold. The only significant variation lies in the randomness of the loot.

» continue to Polygon