First spotted by our colleagues at GamesRadar (opens in new tab), a Diablo Immortal player with the Reddit handle daymeeuhn has successfully parlayed a collection of old promotional World of Warcraft loot cards into 600 million gold, which they then used to purchase approximately $50,000 worth of Diablo Immortal rewards (opens in new tab) through the unified Blizzard ecosystem. The spree enabled daymeeuhn to create a nigh-unstoppable Necromancer that they claim has embarrassed at least one heavy-spending Diablo Immortal streamer in the game's PvP.
Before we get too far, it's worth pointing out that daymeeuhn may just be merely another, albeit indirect, Diablo Immortal "whale" (a term for the minority of players who make the majority of purchases in an F2P game). They had previously purchased a surfeit of WoW loot cards at BlizzCon events, spending an estimated $1,000-$2,000 in real money in hopes of turning them around for a profit. As daymeeuhn puts it, "Over the years, trying to sell them was near impossible as you get scammed on digital sales so frequently."
"They ended up sitting in a drawer collecting dust for ages," daymeeuhn explained
Bigger picture conceptualization of what makes a "whale" aside, daymeeuhn did hit on a hilariously absurd loophole with their untended war chest of WoW loot cards: WoW tokens can be used on Diablo Immortal in-game purchases. They went about converting their loot codes into 600 million gold in WoW, which enabled them to purchase around $50,000 worth of empowered Elder Rift runs—mini dungeons in Diablo Immortal whose rewards can be enhanced with real money purchases—the most efficient way to spend real money in Immortal according to daymeeuhn. I also have to respect the ROI of turning an initial $2,000 investment into $50,000 of funbucks.
The end result is a souped-up Necromancer, a "proverbial powerhouse" that daymeeuhn claims can bully any number of real-money slinging "whale" streamers who have proliferated in the game's PvP.
The whole process really underlines the absurdity of a digital economy like this, breaking it like you would in a single player RPG. The only difference is that becoming the crafted potion magnate of all Vvardenfell in the Elder Scrolls 3 never intersects with the real-world economy. It also feels like a throwback to old-fashioned gaming menaces like Angwe (opens in new tab), who stunted on the Alliance in early WoW. I find a delicious irony in the way one of our buttoned-up, walled garden, modern digital ecosystems can accidentally produce a monster straight out of the '90s or early aughts.