"A typical strategy for mobile games or any game that uses microtransactions is to make it more complicated money," an anonymous employee who works in the mobile gaming industry has recently shared his thoughts with me. "Like in the D2R Items event that I buy $1, I'd get two kinds of currency (gold and jewels, for instance). It helps to obfuscate what the actual value of the cash spent since there's no single conversion. Also, we deliberately set lower-quality deals next to other deals in order to make others appear more lucrative and players feel like they're more intelligent by saving from the other deals."
"In my company that I was in, we had weekly events featuring unique prizes and were created in a way that you could [...] win it using exclusive in-game currency that would enable you to win one of the prizes. However, designers had to offer additional milestone prizes in addition to that first prize, and that would normally require cash to get ahead in the competition. A lot of our measurements and milestones to judge whether an event was successful is the amount people put into. We did measure sentiment, however, I'm convinced that the higher-ups always cared more about if the event enticed people to spend."
Real-time money transactions aren't a novelty in any way by any stretch of the imagination. Diablo 2 Resurrected didn't pioneer them however it would be false to say that this is a reality. Blizzard's action RPG isn't the main reason, but rather an unbalanced mix of hundreds of different free-to-play mobile and PC games. Two different Battle Passes each with their own rewards that remain exclusive to your character (and not part of your overall roster) and with too many different currencies for the average player to track Diablo 2 Resurrected's economics read like a gigantic mobile marketplace.
Although they are sometimes faced with opposition but have now become commonplace in the gaming industry in general. You could argue that the use of loot boxes and other real-money transactions in AAA games have played a role in the development of this market that is a predatory one, but the more that AAA gaming shifts toward the games-as a service model is the more it has similarities to the mobile gaming that has existed in this wildly popular field for the past decade.
And this isn't just apparent in the use of money to purchase items however, it is also evident in gacha mechanics, and the public disclosure of drop rates for the more scarce items. Gacha is using game currency, whether it's free, or purchased by a shop in the game, to purchase something randomly items, such as equipment pieces for instance, in the case of Dissidia Final Fantasy Opera Omnia or characters from the ever-popular (and persistant) Fate/Grand Order or Genshin Impact.
In the case of Diablo 2 Resurrected, it's the use of Legendary Crests (which can be earned or purchased) in order to increase the probability of finding a gem with a 5 star rating in the dungeons and dungeons endgame. While not entirely traditional in its approach to presentation (most gachas are played out by "rolling" on a time-limited banner) Players are engaged in the same kind of randomness in the same way. In many ways this, the Diablo franchise was working towards these mechanisms since its inception, according to a piece Maddy Myers wrote a few weeks ago.
Diablo 2 Resurrected also, in unambiguous terms, draws direct inspiration from an "feeding" method that many Japanese, Korean, and Chinese mobile games have used for more than 10 years. "Feeding" involves raising the attributes, stats or rarity of a particular item by having a duplicate of the drop. The duplicates then feed to buy D2R Items an item with the same rarity to increase the overall stats of an item. Generally there are five copies as the industry norm to max out a character or item.