Diablo Immortal: From Booed to Beloved

black and white skull imageDiablo Immortal is a game that evoked a wide range of emotional responses – right from the start. When it was first announced, at BlizzCon 2018, the crowd viewed the game in a very negative way. Over time, people changed their mind about the game and many are looking forward to its official launch on June 2, 2022. 

How did Diablo Immortal go from booed to beloved? To fully understand what changed, you need a little bit of history. At the time, the Diablo community was extremely hopeful that the event would include the announcement of Diablo IV. Rumors started spreading about what what else might be announced.

On October 17, 2018, preceding BlizzCon, Blizzard wrote a post titled “Diablo at Blizzcon 2018”. It stated: “BlizzCon 2018 is almost here and we’ve seen a lot of rumors flying around about our plans for the show.” It continued, “We know what many of you are hoping for and we can only say that ‘good things come to those who wait,’ but evil things often take longer.”

The first Diablo panel was immediately after the opening of BlizzCon 2018. The focus was on a brand new game – Diablo Immortal. There was video of gameplay and a cinematic. Wyatt Cheng was the person who described where Diablo Immortal fits within the Diablo series of games.

A Q&A followed. The most significant part was a question by Lord Fluffy, who asked if there were any plans to make Diablo Immortal playable on PC – or will it be strictly mobile forever. Wyatt Chang responded, “The current plan is to be on mobile, both android and iOS. We don’t have any plans at the moment to do PC.”

That’s when the booing started.

I remember doing a ConBeforeThe Storm podcast with a mixed group of people (each focused on a specific Blizzard game) to talk about what was released. In short, as one of the Diablo-focused people on the podcast, I had to explain why PC players were so upset. They only played on PC, and the majority of them had no interest in mobile gaming. My impression was that this group was feeling very left out.

There was a Technical Alpha of the game in 2020, the Diablo Immortal Closed Alpha was announced in April of 2021. It was for Android – only, and included players from South Korea and Japan, and a few members of the Diablo community. It introduced the Crusader class, new zones and dungeons, and more.

This was the turning point where (at least some) of the disgruntled PC players started to change their mind about Diablo Immortal. The game had evolved into a robust world that felt like a Diablo game. Interest in the mobile game was rising, but there were still some PC players that didn’t want to play it on mobile.

All of this changed on April 25, 2022. There was an announcement video on YouTube about Diablo Immortal. I was among those sitting in the chat before the announcement started, watching people excitedly ask each other what class they were going to play. There was a push to remove the chatters who were asking for the game to be on PC. 

The video started, and it was revealed that Diablo Immortal would not only be on mobile, but also playable on PC. This was completely unexpected, and a wonderful way to make the PC players to feel included. As a result, a sizable portion of the Diablo community is super excited about a game that (some of them) found undesirable when it was announced.

How Microsoft’s Acquisition Could Affect What Games Go On Xbox

Microsoft announced that they agreed to acquire Activision Blizzard King. This information was posted on Microsoft’s Xbox Wire website, with a banner showing significant characters from several of Blizzard’s games, one Call of Duty character, and an image from Candy Crush.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that all of those games will come to Xbox. For example, Diablo II: Resurrected launched on Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S. (In addition to PS5 | PS4, Nintendo Switch, and BattleNet.) I’ve been playing it on Xbox S. Diablo III is available on Xbox  One, and Xbox Series X|S, BattleNet or Nintendo Switch. Those games are currently on Xbox.

Diablo Immortal is an app game that is currently still in testing. When it launches, players can obtain it through the App Store or Google Play. As far as I can tell, Diablo Immortal is intended to be played on a phone or tablet, so I don’t see it coming to Xbox. 

Candy Crush also makes app games that are on the App Store or Google Play. The King website notified players that Candy Crush Saga will no longer be available on the website as of March 31, 2022. I suspect this means King wants to focus on apps. Hearthstone is available on Mac and PC and also on phones and tablets as an app. But, that doesn’t mean there will be a playable version on Xbox.

Overwatch can be played on a PC (but not on a Mac). It also is possible to play it on Xbox. Overwatch 2 has been mentioned, but appears to be on hold for now.

What about World of Warcraft? The official WoW website tells me that WoW is available on Mac (which is what I play on) or PC. There’s no mention of consoles at all. If you do a search for “World of Warcraft on Xbox” you will see a bunch of articles that are speculating about the possibility of it coming to Xbox. But, that does not confirm that this will happen.

Activision’s Call of Duty games are on Xbox – but not necessarily on every type of Xbox console. Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War is on Xbox X|S, and Xbox One. Call of Duty: Vanguard is on Xbox One, Xbox X|S. Other Call of Duty games are not on Xbox.

There has been some concern that Microsoft will decide to pull all Call of Duty games from Playstation to Xbox. CEO of Xbox Phil Spencer has quashed that rumor in a tweet in which he stated that he spoke with leaders at Sony, and expressed desire to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation. 

In short, some of Blizzard’s games are already on Xbox. Some of Activision’s games are. We will have to wait and see if older “backwards compatible” games from these companies end up on Xbox consoles.

Christmas Events in Video Games Bring Me Joy!

To my surprise, I have discovered that the Christmas events in video games bring me joy. This was unexpected, considering that I haven’t celebrated Christmas in years, and have some really bad memories attached to the holiday.

One excellent example in-game Christmas events are the ones offered in Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp. Every year, there are new Christmas items (and wearables) that the player can collect just by completing quests. Missed something from a previous year? You can probably pick it up if you have enough of the items that are required in order for you to craft it.

Pocket Camp is a low-stress game. I have filled my campsite with as much Christmas related items as I could stuff into it. The ones with glowing lights are my favorite. This is not something I would want to experience for very long in the real world, though.

Seekers Notes is an app game where the player must find hidden objects in a number of locations. There is always an interesting story to keep the player motivated to finish the quests and discover how the story ends.

The main concept of the game is that the town has been “stuck” with no way to get out. It is an ongoing mystery that the player – who becomes the Seeker – must help the townspeople solve. It has just the right amount of creepy, and that includes the Christmas quests.

When I used to play World of Warcraft, I found myself amused by the Christmas quests. My favorite quest was the one where your character had to wear an ugly Christmas sweater and then go to the main city of the opposing faction and sing. It was a challenge that was later made easier for those who had a flying mount. Park yourself on a rooftop and /sing where no NPCs are likely to find you!

Kitchen Scramble is a game where the player serves food to the customers that visit her food truck. I find it comforting because the foods in the game aren’t real and cannot give me an allergic reaction.

The game has several towns for the player to visit, serve food, and level though. Players are limited by the amount of “energy” the game gives them (but there are rewards to help keep that going). This year, I tried the time-limited Christmas town. It is a bit of a struggle, since the appliances I’m using aren’t the best ones. I’m hoping to finish it anyway.

There is something about the Christmas events in video games that make me happy, and I have no idea why. Perhaps the video game Christmases will someday desensitize me from the real world version.

Animal Crossing Pocket Camp Runs on Barter

Animal Crossing Pocket Camp is an app that you can play on your phone or tablet. It is a smaller version of previous Animal Crossing games. Your character has a campsite in which different items can be placed. Animal friends that are invited to you campsite will interact with those objects. They also sometimes ask you for things, and at other times give you things.

The majority of the interaction between your character and the animal friends runs on barter. Every animal friend you encounter wants something that you could – potentially – give to them if you happen to have it.

There are four (small) locations in the game that your character can travel to in order to interact with animal friends. Each location has something useful that the animal friends want – but appear unable or unwilling to obtain for themselves. Each location has fish, or bugs, or fruit.

When you encounter an animal friend in one of the four locations, a bubble appears over their head that shows what items they want. If you have those items, they will gladly accept them. They will give you some resources you can use to craft items for your campsite. If there is an event going on that involves growing a specific kind of flower, the animal friend will give you some seeds in exchange for what you gave them.

The animal friends don’t have gardens, so they can’t use the flower seeds. Your character has a fairly large garden at their campsite, and needs the seeds in order to complete goals for a current event (and receive prizes). Your character is easily able to catch fish, or bugs, and can pick fruit. The animal friends can’t do that on their own, so they give you something for your efforts.

There is never a point in the game where an animal friend you visit hands you a bunch of Bells (the in-game, easy to obtain, currency) in exchange for the fish, bug, or fruit you gave them. Instead, the game gives you some Bells each time you give an animal friend the items they want. The animal friends at your campsite sometimes hand you Bells for upkeep of the camp.

This has more to do with game mechanics than anything else. Nintendo wants players to have currency that they can spend on interesting items that can be crafted, or to upgrade some of the bigger items that they put in their campsite. Currency makes the game work – but the majority of the animal friends use barter.

How to Have Asmodeus As Your Patron Without Being Evil

Your Warlock needs a Patron, and has selected Asmodeus – Overlord of the Nine Hells. This controversial decision could cause the other adventurers to distrust your character. That said, it is entirely possible to have Asmodeus as your Patron without being evil.

The Cinnamon Roll

My Warlock, Morley, was new to adventuring. He started with very few cantrips, and wasn’t sure what those even did. He was a terrible shot with a crossbow. Warlocks start out squishy, and his ineptness might have made the other player characters see him as someone to protect.

Morley often mentioned his father, who made the best coffee. There were times when Morley got very homesick and just wanted to see his father again. Put this all together, and you have a Cinnamon Roll.

A Special Skill

Give your Warlock a skill that he can use to create something. Morley is a weaver, and one of the first things he did was weave masks for his fellow party members. The masks came in handy when they traveled through areas with bad air – or needed to avoid inhaling a disintegrated monster. He also weaved bookmarks for librarians, asking each what color they wanted and what quote he should weave into it.

Your Warlock doesn’t have to be a weaver. Pick a skill that your Warlock could use to endear themself to those around them. Fit it into the Warlock’s backstory.

Charisma

Warlocks with high enough Charisma can use it to persuade enemies to run away. Enemies that are not very smart (or strong) might immediately turn and run – especially if the Warlock is a Tiefling who looks demonic.

A Warlock can use Thaumaturgy to make their voice boom loudly, if a tougher enemy requires more encouragement to run from battle. A Cinnamon Roll Warlock may prefer scaring enemies away rather than fighting them.

Fire Fire Fire

Warlocks who have Asmodeus as their Patron might receive cantrips and spells that involve fire. This can include Control Flames, Create Bonfire, Hellish Rebuke, Burning Hands, and Fireball. Obviously, fire based skills can be used to set an enemy on fire while in battle.

Control Flames can be used in unique ways. The tavern your party is inside of caught fire? Use Control Flames to put the fire out. Need to stop a rocket ship from lifting off? Use Control Flames on the burners to extinguish it. Your Warlock is on fire? Control Flames puts it out!

Add all of this together, and you have a Cinnamon Roll Warlock who is obviously not evil, despite having Asmodeus as their Patron. The innocence of the character can be beneficial when the rest of the party finally learns who the Warlock’s patron actually is. …Maybe it’s just a phase?