Diablo Immortal may be a solid mobile version of Blizzard’s hack-and-slash dungeon crawler, but it’s no secret the game has been mired in controversy due to its egregious microtransactions. It was previously speculated that maxing out a single character could cost as much as $100,000. However, it now seems the estimate was very low, as the actual amount may run upwards of half a million.
Fully upgrading a Diablo Immortal character requires legendary gems, which are obtained from Elden Rifts. These quests reward you with the coveted jewels upon their completion. But because this is a gacha game, they’re spouted out at varying degrees of random rarities, as these things tend to go.
The likelihood of getting a fully upgraded five-star legendary gem is less than 1%, according to calculations by Redditor BullHorn 7 from earlier this month. You could use legendary crests at $2.50 each to increase those chances, with the option to equip 10 crests before the start of each Elden Rift. That’s $25 just to get a single all-the-way-maxed-out, legendary five-star gem. However, there’s an “awakening” mechanic which lets you upgrade the gems more, and that’s what ends up hiking the cost of leveling a character from $100,000 to upwards of $540,000. You could effectively see this as the game’s real, hidden level cap.
According to Twitter user Andrew “SpaceDrakeCF” Dice, a founder of the indie Japanese game localization studio Carpe Fulgur, awakening your legendary five-star jewel unlocks five more gem slots, which then can also be upgraded. You need a material called dawning echo and talk to Vic the Master Jeweler in Westmarch before you can awaken your gems, but once you’ve completed all the prerequisites, you can then drain your wallet to hopefully make your character OP.
“So now that some people have begun max-leveling their five-star gems (because yes, you also need to level the dam things), it turns out that there’s an additional mechanic,” Dice tweeted. “You can awaken a five-star gem to give an item five additional gem slots.”
Dice linked to a Reddit post by user ShiftYourCarcass, who briefly went over the methodology for how and why it would cost so much to fully max out a character in Diablo Immortal. They explained that part of the price comes from the dawning echo material, which can be easier to obtain via the in-game store for 1000 eternal orbs or $25 for the 1500 eternal orb pack. Talk about yikes.
Read More: Diablo Immortal’s China Release Delayed Following Social Media Silencing
“If you’re to be lucky and average around $15,000 per 5/5 star gem for 36 gems, that alone would tally up to $540,000,” ShiftYourCarcass wrote. “On top of that, you’ll need six dawning echos, which is an additional $30 per gem for six gems which is $180. Now, the thing is on top of that you’ll be looking for specific 5/5 star gems for you character build, you’ll also need duplicates of that gem to upgrade the 5/5 star gem so the cost of $540,000 is a basis if you have good luck, and up to over one million dollars for those unlucky whales.”
Kotaku has reached out to Blizzard for comment.
It’s always worth pointing out that you aren’t obligated to partake in stupid in-game microtransactions like these. You could have an awesome time with Diablo Immortal without spending a single dollar, though it does become troublesome if you want to participate in some of the game’s PvP. In that regard, it feels almost as though Blizzard is funneling you into spending money just so you stand a competitive chance. It’s not hard to see why the game had the lowest Metacritic score ever a little earlier this month then.
I do, however, wanna shoutout Twitch streamer Quin69 who, after spending $6,000 and got absolutely zero five-star legendary gems, finally got one $15,000 later. That’s a real one.