September 7, 2022 – Added comment from Blizzard.
Many Diablo Immortal whales – players who have spent hundreds or thousands of dollars in Blizzard’s fantasy game – are finding themselves left with massive in-game ‘debt’ after purchases made through third-party websites are revoked. Diablo Immortal’s Eternal Orbs are one of the primary currencies in the RPG game, are bought with real money, and can then be spent on various purchases in the in-game store on cosmetic items, the Diablo Immortal legendary crests used to get legendary gems from the Elder Rifts, and reforge stones used to reroll equipment bonuses.
Purchasing Eternal Orbs can cost anywhere from $0.99 USD / £0.89 GBP for just 60 up to the most expensive bundle, which offers 7200 Eternal Orbs for $99.99 USD / £89.99 GBP. For context, eternal legendary crests will set you back 160 Eternal Orbs per crest, while cosmetics tend to run between 1,000 and 1,650 Eternal Orbs depending on their category. As a result, some players say they have turned to third-party sellers offering cheap deals on orbs, with some quoting deals offering the 7200 orb bundle for prices ranging from $10-50 USD.
It appears that time has been called on many players who took advantage of these deals, however. Multiple threads on the game’s subreddit are reporting that huge numbers of players who purchased Eternal Orbs through third party sellers are now finding their accounts displaying a negative orb value when logging into the game. This typically happens when a user has refunded their in-game purchases, such as through a storefront like Apple’s App Store or the Google Play Store or through their payment provider.
In this case, however, it appears that the purchases made through third-party sellers – which are likely to have been obtained through illegitimate sources or methods against Blizzard ToS such as store glitches, regional price differences, or stolen credit cards and gift cards – have been revoked en masse. This means that affected players are subject to the punishments for having a negative orb balance: they cannot join parties or participate in group activities such as rifts and dungeons unless they repay their ‘debt’ by purchasing enough Eternal Orbs through the in-game store.
One of the players affected is one of the game’s top Battlegrounds Wizards, Shia, who showed an image of their -2,491,025 orb balance – an amount that would cost almost $35k USD / £31k GBP to pay off through purchases on Blizzard’s in-game store. Speaking to fellow Diablo Immortal whale jtisallbusiness (best known as the player unable to play PvP after spending $100k on in-game purchases), Shia says they bought orbs through a secondary market that had good reviews.
“It became more expensive,” explains Shia in the interview, “In the beginning it was $20 [USD per 7200 orbs], but it went up to about $50.” Shia adds that most recently they were charging around $85 per bundle of 7200 – much more expensive than initial prices, but still a significant discount for players purchasing hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of orbs. JT asks Shia whether they plan to start over or quit, to which Shia says, “I think I will quit.”
Reddit user paleblood, who says that an estimated half of their clan have been hit with these eternal orb debts, appears to be fairly magnanimous about the development. “Nobody [in my clan] sees a problem really, everyone (including myself) owns up to it and agrees that we all deserve this.” They add that, “if there was a reasonable [official] price for the Eternal Orbs, I bet many wouldn’t resort to buying for cheap.” Some other commenters say that they have also been hit with the punishments despite buying from sellers that they have had “no problem with in the last three years with other mobile games.”
Reports in the past from users with negative orb balances suggest that accounts may eventually be disabled if the ‘debt’ is not repaid, but time will tell what happens to the affected players in this case. We have reached out to Blizzard for comment, and will update the story with any further developments.
Update – September 7: Blizzard has provided PCGamesN with the following statement regarding the situation: “We want to ensure a fair playing field for everyone in Diablo Immortal: part of this effort involves taking action when we see players participate in fraudulent purchases. Upon investigation of community concerns surrounding suspicious Eternal Orb purchases, we found accounts in violation of the Blizzard End User Agreement. We made extensive investigations to verify accounts that participated in these activities, and took a variety of disciplinary measures. We will continue to monitor and take corrective actions as needed.”
This apparent trend of third-party purchases didn’t stop Diablo Immortal microtransactions passing $100 million on mobile devices alone in its first two months. Meanwhile, frustration among high-ranked players has been rife after many Diablo Immortal clans suffer from mass reports. The latest update, Diablo Immortal patch 1.5.5, introduces the season four battle pass and new dual Helliquary bosses Gishtur and Beledwe. If you’re jumping in, be sure to check our Diablo Immortal tier list and our pick of the best Diablo Immortal builds to set you up for success in the new season.
Image credit: Shia via jtisallbusiness.