When you say ‘Red Shirt Guy’, millions of gamers immediately know who you are talking about. While there are actually somehow two Red Shirt Guys in Blizzard history, 2010 Ian Bates who asked a viral question about dwarf leadership, nowadays more people know the modern day Red Shirt Guy, the one who stood up at Blizzcon 2018 after Diablo Immortal was revealed to ask “Is this an off-season April joke?”
I have… mixed feelings about Red Shirt Guy. While I agree that the debut of a Diablo mobile game when everyone was expecting Diablo 4 wasn’t a good thing at the time, I thought it was a pretty rude way to press the issue. Even now that Red Shirt Guy is being celebrated as the hero who saw it all coming, I think it was rude back then. But hey, he was definitely right to be skeptical, everyone was.
Now, it’s four years later and Red Shirt Guy has finally gotten his hands on Diablo Immortal, the game he made infamous. What does he think? He took om Twitter in short, to discuss his feelings. It actually started pretty well:
Like most people, he found the early levels of the game fly by, and it’s actually a solid adaptation of the Diablo control scheme for mobile. Those first hours feel like Diablo 3.5 in many ways. But the further you go, the more XP is timed to encourage daily play and “engagement”, and the more dungeons you’ll use that will give you relatively little in comparison to what $25 a doll could have bought you in the Crest- store .
In the end, Red Shirt Guy was not a convert:
That second tweet was 13 days after his first “things are going well” tweet, meaning he stopped in two weeks. This essentially reflected my own experience. Even though I initially enjoyed it, once I realized how pointless the endgame would be without paying huge sums of money, I stopped and uninstalled. However, Diablo Immortal has already made tens of millions of dollars in revenue, showing that some people were willing to pay, and Blizzard has effectively had no response to the pushback from fans and hasn’t changed a thing. For them it seems to work as intended.
The big question mark for Diablo fans now remains Diablo 4, which promises to be a more traditional Diablo experience without pay-for-power loot boxes, but we’ll have to see. For now we can say yes, Red Shirt Guy was right about Diablo Immortal. But does it matter?