What are microtransactions in Diablo IV? Causes, problems and more
Oceans of physical and digital ink have been written about microtransactions in video games. They have taken many forms over the years: from DLCs and expansions to coin packs to buy items in the in-game shops.
The most controversial microtransactions were loot boxes. Although games like Overwatch, Rocket League and FIFA abused their fans with them to unsuspected limits, it was Star Wars: Battlefront II who ended up taking the cat to water. It was a very serious legal issue for Electronic Arts, so much so that they were pressured by Disney to fix the mess.
Since then, companies have cut back a bit when it comes to crafting microtransactions until they found other ways to abuse buyers. While this was going on, companies like Ubisoft continued to push the limits with microtransactions that offered experience boosts in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and Ghost Recon Breakpoint.
It was Epic Games with Fortnite (of course) that had an overwhelming success by exploiting a vein that until then was in the background: selling packs of an internal currency (PaVos) in exchange for cosmetic elements such as skins, camouflage and other accessories that do not affect directly to the gameplay in most cases. And many companies jumped on the bandwagon.
Microtransactions with very little micro in Diablo IV
Diablo fans breathed easy when Blizzard confirmed that Diablo IV would only offer paid cosmetics through their internal currency. Although many of us knew that the company was going to follow a path that Epic Games and Bungie have been following for some time with Fortnite and Destiny 2, to mention two well-known examples.
The price of the skins in Diablo 4 is absurd and it is enough to take a quick look at the store to realize the real prices. For anyone to understand, I’m going to use several images and a fairly simple example that can be applied to most. Below you can see the prices of the currency in euros.
Imagine that you want to buy the Heretic Ritual skin (5 pieces) for your Sorceress. Its price is among the lowest regarding skins: 1,400 coins. Almost no armour skin (if not any) costs 1000 coins, which would be €10 something quite reasonable in my opinion. The trap (old as the wheel) is to force us to buy:
A pack of €24.99 (2500 + 300 coins). There are 1400 coins left over.
Two packs of €9.99 (2000 coins). There are 600 coins left over.
A pack of €9.99 and one of €4.99 (1500 coins). There are 100 coins left over.
A pack of €9.99 and two of €1.99 (1400 coins) to have the exact figure.
In any case, we have to pay between €15 and €25 to have the Heretic Ritual skin. This means that the cheapest armour skins for Diablo IV are around €15-20 approx and it is the minimum that we are going to spend in the best of cases. The best offer would be to buy the pack of €24.99 to acquire two skins of 1,400 coins, which means that we would pay €12.50 for each one. Standalone decorations like back items usually cost 600 coins.
Things get complicated when we talk about the most expensive (and cool) skins: “El León de Arreat” (2,200 coins), “Crianza entre Lobos” (2,500 coins) and “Lord of Souls” (2,800 coins). In this case, we are paying €25 for armour and weapon skin (8-9 pieces). In the best of cases, we have 600 coins left over and in the worst none.
We support those who maintain that they are not mandatory purchases and that it is better to ignore them. In an ideal world, the prices of currency and skins would end up going down because no one would buy them. But we do not live in an ideal world. We remind you that we are paying €70 (minimum) for the game and that Blizzard will charge us both for the seasons with their battle passes and for possible expansions that arrive in the future.
Fortnite and Destiny 2 do the same thing in their stores, but at least their base experiences are free. Despite this, Bungie is not a saint either: it charges expansions at video game prices and the seasons are not included in all editions, and its store follows the same philosophy. Do the same calculations that we have done with Diablo IV and you will see a similar average price.
Cordyceps Pack: 2500 (reduced) = €25-30 without Silver saved.
That the average price of a skin requires the equivalent of €20 on average in coins is absurd, regardless of whether it is optional content. It’s great that there are people who can ignore these microtransactions, but the harsh reality is that there is a huge number that will end up at the checkout. And we better not talk about the wonderful world of CS:GO and Valorant weapons and knife skins!
The ugly part of the matter is that more and more people see it as normal to pay that amount for the skin. And the more accepted, the more video games will join the party and the companies will soon give the price another push, to see how far they can push before another Star Wars: Battlefront II happens.