Whales in Diablo Immortal are quitting the game en masse.
These whales — players who’ve spent hundreds if not thousands of dollars — in Blizzard’s mobile MMOARPG (massively multiplayer online, action–role-playing game) were left with significant in-game ‘debt’ after the company’s decision to revoke purchases made by third-party websites.
Diablo Immortal's Eternal Orbs are one of the primary currencies in the game.
They are purchased with real money and can then be spent on cosmetic items, Diablo Immortal legendary crests used to obtain legendary gems from the Elder Rifts, and reforge stones used to reroll equipment bonuses in the in-game store.
These Eternal Orbs can be bought official through the in-game store in bundles ranging from 60 orbs for US$1 to 7,200 orbs for US$100.
However, some third-party dealers were offering Eternal Orbs at extremely low prices, with the 7,200-orb bundle selling for US$10-50.
These orbs were reportedly obtained through unlawful sources, such as store bugs, regional price variations, stolen credit cards, and gift cards.
Negative balance incoming
Diablo Immortal's Season Four update, released earlier this month, wiped off a lot of players' purchases from these fraudulent marketplaces.
Reports of players encountering a negative balance flooded the Diablo Immortal subreddit and other social media sites, with some of these accounts also getting banned by Blizzard.
Those who weren’t banned would have to repay their in-game debt by buying the currency from the store, or else they won’t be able to make further purchases or join parties and in-game events.
Some of the debts accrued by whales went as high as US$35,000 worth of Eternal Orbs. That’s more than 2.5 million Eternal Orbs, if you're counting.
Reddit user Nonameheroz suggested a way for these players with negative balances to pay for their debt, especially since Blizzard indirectly benefited from it, "since people with inflated resonance even made players like myself spent faster than I originally planned to just to be semi-competitive".
Nonameheroz went on to describe a system to allow these players to pay off their debt easier while being fair to those who bought Eternal Orbs via the official means.
The suggestion involves Blizzard selling Orbs officially to players at a discount, with a higher discount for those who were willing to pay for more Orbs, assuming these players are even willing to buy their way back to the game.
According to a report by PCGamesN, Shia, one of the game’s top Battleground Wizards, now has a -2,491,025 orb balance, which amounts to roughly around US$35,000.
Shia mentioned in a conversation with YouTube streamer jtisallbusiness that they acquired their Eternal Orbs from a website with good reviews.
“I think I will quit,” Shia told jtisallbusiness.
Others like Reddit user paleblood mentioned that while half the clan all deserved it, “if there was a reasonable price for the eternal orbs [...] many wouldn't resort to buying for cheap".
But Reddit User montanahax888 disagreed, saying that even if the price is reasonable, “people would still find a way to buy them cheaper".
Another user mentioned that they “all purchased [US$70] packs from dealers who we had no problem within the last 3 years with other mobile games".
They went on to say that “one of the guys [players] actually only bought gift cards from 7-11 and still got deducted.”
Blizzard has not issued an official statement yet regarding this move.
Since its global launch, players have complained that Diablo Immortal is a predatory pay-to-win scheme. Diablo Immortal’s official micro-transactions amounted to more than US$100 million in the first two months despite these issues.
Anna is a freelance writer and photographer. She is a gamer who loves RPGs and platformers, and is a League of Legends geek. She's also a food enthusiast who loves a good cup of black coffee.