Diablo Immortal, the first mobile platform taste of the Activision Blizzard action RPG, will be released worldwide this week. While waiting for this new form of Diablo to get hot, we were invited to a group interview to discuss some of the most anticipated features and interesting aspects of the game.
We were there to ask some burning questions to lead game designer Joe Grubb and franchise general manager Rod Fergusson, about microtransactions, porting Diablo to the mobile platform and more. tastier themes.
How the final game will include microtransactions or paid items
Grubb: I think first of all the highlight is that all major game systems in Diablo Immortal are free. This includes the main storyline, the dungeons, the helicopter raid, the in-game conflict cycle. You can do everything in Diablo Immortal completely for free.
Part of this stems from our philosophy of never bypassing core gameplay, and optional purchases are always a bonus. Speaking of some of them, they range from general value bonuses that you would expect such as the battle pass, cosmetics with a triple A quality that you would expect from Blizzard. You also have legendary badges to improve Elder Rifts.
The other key piece of this that we thought was important was that these optional purchases should never be a way to gain equipment or experience. We will never sell equipment. We will never sell experience in Diablo Immortal. This means you have to play Diablo Immortal to increase the value. You must have skills in your class. If you want to be proficient in the Necromancer you must be proficient in the Necromancer. You have to earn legendary items by killing demons and increasing your Hero level, and you have to actually go out and find the legendary items for a particular skill build you are looking for.
Platinum is currently in the game earned through play, but is also available for purchase for real money. Will there be limits on earning and buying platinum?
Grubb: Regardless of how deeply players interact with our optional in-game purchases, in-game skill and progression through the free systems is how you increase the power. Part of that comes from the way you progress in Diablo Immortal, we didn’t want items to end up just leaving you grinding Hero levels. The elements keep climbing with you, which means that as you continue to overcome content difficulties there are always new elements to find.
In a blog post from December 20202 you mentioned that items that would have direct gameplay use – badges and item reforgers – would be purchasable for real money. Do you have the price points for these two items?
(They referred us to our regional PR contact for EU / UK regional prices after the interview, however that information was not available. A PR representative told us “I’m afraid we don’t have any information to provide on regional prices that we are. able to share, however everything in the store with prices will be available when the game launches this week, June 2nd. “)
As for the Battle Pass, is the plan to have a traditional style with the seasons, or something like Halo Infinite where you can go back and progress at your own pace?
Grubb: We are quite happy with the performance of the transition in the beta, and it is based on the season. We are happy with how it provides free player content as well as optional add-on content for those who paid and how it guides players through the content that month.
Is there a roadmap for future content that you can share with us? What can we expect?
Grubb: The main storyline is set to expand. We are thrilled to present the story we created for launch, but we will definitely go beyond launch with new zones, new dungeons, new characters to meet and interact with, new demons to kill and the heliqueria system too. There will be new Battle Passes every month and new classes on the way.
Creation of Diablo Immortal for mobile devices
What were the biggest challenges in adapting Diablo to mobile platforms? Were there any aspects of the series that you had to significantly cut or tweak to fit well?
Grubb: Bringing Diablo Immortal to mobile devices was exciting. It was a platform opportunity from the way you interact with your character. If you think of Diablo as a franchise and all of its PC iterations, you’re kind of a god from above who clicks and tells your character where to go. With mobile and Immortal by touch, you are in direct control.
Your left thumb is spinning your character, running back and forth and controlling movement, while your thumb is performing skill. It seems like a small difference, but the way the class design and the class expression are very different. Then you can run left, throwing a skill roll right, and this provides a new goal in which to watch the moment-to-moment gameplay that Diablo is known and loved for.
This is partly due to our decision on which classes to include – we have six iconic classes in Immortal. You still have the Barbarian, you still have a whirlwind, you are still able to jump and destroy the demos, but it will be through this new lens of the touch interface.
Fergusson: If you think my personal story has been mostly on consoles, and when you’re designing a console experience you’re just trying to create an immersive experience, you want people to sit over a weekend and play it non-stop. One of the interesting challenges the designers faced was the length of the session. Now that it’s on a mobile device, I could get to a game three minutes early – how can I progress immediately in three minutes?
I might have 10 minutes to spare, 30 minutes to spare, or an hour to spare! So when you look at experiences like doing rifts or bounties or dungeons and raids, all of these things needed to be taken care of with the knowledge that we needed something for people with varying amounts of time.
The PC version of Diablo Immortal is obviously great news for those eager to play it on their favorite platform, but how do you keep the PC player base alive once Diablo 4 is launched?
Fergusson: This is one of the great things about the Diablo franchise – you can have things that are pretty basic, but each of the games has their own unique experiences and attractions. If you think of the Diablo franchise, each game is enclosed in the eternal conflict between heaven and well, but the experience can be totally different and adapt to different needs.
I think I expect the players to both play, honestly. There’s this idea we were talking about, this ‘Life of Diablo’! Joe likes to talk about bounty in bed (L), I don’t know whether to do that, but you can play the PC game at your desk while at work. I don’t know who would play Diablo at work, not me! I wouldn’t do that! But the idea is that you can have different experiences from fundamentally different games. If you think about what Diablo Immortal is – this Diablo experience in your hands – we’re not worried about cannibalization.
Grubb: Lots of things going back to Diablo Immortal’s intended reach. When it comes to Diablo Immortal and the design choices that have been made, we want Immortal to be as accessible as possible and reach out to any type of player, regardless of how they want to interact with it. Some of these are pretty straightforward, like how I wake up in the morning and complete my sizes before I get out of bed, and that’s great! I have a quick 10 minute experience. But this translates into the way we think about time spent. There are traditional mobile titles
What is the secret to a perfect cocktail? (in reference to Rod’s practice of posting colorful alcoholic beverages on his Twitter account)
Auction: Actually Connor, if you’re talking about the incessant images of drinks with flowers or umbrellas, I like drinks that taste good! They teased me because I liked drinks that tended to be served in pink, or had nice colors, or had to be made in a blender. So I ended up claiming it. I started calling them mantini, instead of martinis. A Cosmopolitan for me is a mantini. So it became a thing, and I have a coffee table book full of photos on my phone of colorful drinks that I’ve had throughout my career.
But to answer Connor’s question for the perfect mantini – not a martini – is that every time I go to a restaurant or bar, if any of the drinks contain Elderflower, that’s the drink I’m drinking. I always start with the elderflower drink. This for me is the secret of a perfect mantini: the elderflower.