Diablo Immortal was announced as a free-to-play title back in 2018

Blizzard Entertainment shared the start of the alpha on its official website. The public alpha goes live December 18, but is currently only available to a select number of Australian players on Android who pre-registered for Diablo Immortal through the Google Play Store.

A lot of people disagreed, and immediately began complaining both online and in-person about this apparent slight, this bastardization of “their” franchise, this complete abandonment of rational thought by a company that routinely creates some of the best and most successful games to ever exist.

Well guess what, you entitled crybabies. I played Diablo Immortal at BlizzCon shortly after it was revealed, and it’s a lot of fun.

When Diablo Immortal was announced as a free-to-play title back in 2018, it wasn’t clear how Blizzard would navigate the choppy waters of monetization, which has ruined many a mobile game while bolstering the appeal of others. While the company built Hearthstone, its deck-building game set in the Warcraft universe, into one of the best Android games, Diablo is a much more valuable brand. If the core mechanics were to be sacrificed in an effort to eke as much revenue per player as possible, the entire legacy of the series itself could be at risk.

The test will be limited to a couple thousand players, Blizzard said, and is expected to run for a couple of weeks. Minimum hardware requirements include a Snapdragon 710 SoC, 2GB of RAM and Android 5.0 Lollipop or higher. The game is free-to-play but there will be optional in-game purchases, although Blizzard said these “will never stand in the way of progression or enjoying the game.”

The developer has also revealed that Diablo Immortal will be free-to-play when it officially launches. It noted that the entire game – including the full story, playable classes, gameplay time and post-lunch content – will be free, stating that “optional in-game purchases will never stand in the way of progression or enjoying the game”.

Some of the beauty of the Diablo franchise is that it’s pretty easy to navigate, and that simple movement system translates very well to mobile with Diablo Immortal.

You move around by using a digital analog “stick” on the left side of the screen, while all your abilities are arranged on the right side of the screen. It’s pretty similar to how the game works with a console controller. And it feels just as intuitive and easy.

There are other ways to spend money in Diablo Immortal, though they’re only theoretical right now since the systems aren’t enabled in the Technical Alpha. Blizzard goes through many of them in a blog post explaining its intentions for the game, but the primary ones involve enhancements to secondary game mechanics, like being able to buy Crests that would occasionally drop in Elder Runes later in the game.

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