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“Online-only best long-term decision” for D3: Morhaime

Thursday, 19th July 2012 13:47 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

Blizzard boss Mike Morhaime has addressed issues and upcoming changes to Dibalo III over on Battle.net, and amidst thanking the fans for their support and patting his team on the back for the job it has done, he also admitted there were things still to be worked on when it comes to gameplay, and community feedback.


In the community letter,
Morhaime discussed the many “challenges” the team faced when going from having “0 to more than 6 million players across multiple continents within a few days with a brand-new game.”

“For Diablo III, we looked at historical sales for Blizzard games and other top-selling PC games and watched preorder numbers,” he said. “We even upped our estimates to ensure we had additional capacity, or so we thought. In the end, it just wasn’t enough, and that is something we will work hard to conquer for future releases.

“In response to the immediate and overwhelming demand for the game, the team worked around the clock to support all regions, increase capacity, ship additional hardware to our datacenters, and troubleshoot and fix bugs as they sprang up. While things have by and large been running smoothly for several weeks now, various game-related issues have come up that we have either already responded to or are continuing to investigate (such as the latency issue some of you are experiencing) and make adjustments for.

“Rather than address every subject individually, I’ll just say that even as we work to address or resolve current issues, it’s always possible that further issues will crop up. We will continue to keep that commitment [to fixing issues] and respond to any new or outstanding issues quickly.”

Morhaime said the team knows the game “isn’t perfect,” but it’s working hard to “improve the game balance, build on our design, and listen to what players are saying to make it the best game it can be.”

“You’ll see additional improvements with patch 1.0.4,” he said. “On the game balance front, this update will contain changes designed to further deliver on the team’s goal of promoting “build diversity,” with buffs to many rarely used, underpowered class abilities.

“Another topic we’ve seen actively discussed is the fact that better, more distinct Legendary items are needed. We agree. Patch 1.0.4 will also include new and improved Legendary items that are more interesting, more powerful, and more epic in ways you probably won’t be expecting.

“We’re also working on a number of interface updates, including social improvements that will allow players to more easily view their friends’ achievements, more quickly join games, and more efficiently communicate with each other. In addition, we’ll be making updates to the auction house in the future to provide players with better information through tooltips and notices, offer improved search functionality, and more.”

Morhaime also touched on Diablo III’s “always-connected experience,” and said the current perception of it, is it’s an “online requirement [that's] nothing but an ineffective form of copy protection that has already been cracked.”

“While we’ve never said that this requirement guarantees that there will be no cheating or game cracks, it does help us battle those problems (we have not found any fully functional cracks). More important to us is that the online requirement is critical for the long-term integrity of the game experience,” he explained.

“I fully understand the desire to play Diablo III offline; however, Diablo III was designed from the beginning to be an online game that can be enjoyed with friends, and the always-online requirement is the best way for us to support that design. The effectiveness of the online elements — including the friends list and cross-game communication; co-op matchmaking; persistent characters that you can use by yourself, with others, and in PvP; and some of our customer support, service, and security components — is tied directly to the online nature of the game.

“These and other online-enabled features are essential to our design for Diablo III. That said, there are still improvements we believe we can make to expand the online experience and make co-op play even more rewarding, and this will remain one of our priorities moving forward. Overall, while there are some downsides to the online-only approach, I still believe this was the best long-term decision for the game.”

Through the link, Morhaime also discusses the real-money Auction House, patch 1.1, the PvP update, and said a system for max-level, high-powered characters is in the works to keep them playing.

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16 Comments

  1. Edo

    In translation…”bend over some more”!

    #1 2 years ago
  2. bymindx

    The game is boring as hell after like 30 hours, and the RMAH is designed for botters to make money. Just a waste of time playing the game.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. ManuOtaku

    #1 and maybe it will become a trend, now Epic is considering fortnite to be also Online-Only, so players need to hotkey the bend over position, it will be use a lot in the short term window from now on.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. Fin

    I’m about 45 hours in, nearly finished Act 1 on Inferno, I’ve enjoyed every minute!

    #4 2 years ago
  5. YoungZer0

    Go fuck yourself, Blizzard.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. Erthazus

    this shit needs more content. It’s not enough. The game is too small.

    I finished the whole Inferno before the first patch. It’s easy as fuck.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. OlderGamer

    I was thinking mostly the samething as Erth. ‘Cept I don’t think it is easy. Like wow, I now play Diablo III with a small group of friends and family. Most of this the game is tough as nails, esp at certian points.

    Gotta remember no game should be tuned for the top few % of skilled players. It should be tuned for the biggest % of skills. I know that pisses off many folks here, but that is the way it is. If your an amazing gamer, most games will be easy for you. I am not an amazing gamer, but I bet I more average and represenitive of the general audiance.

    Anways where I do agree with earth is content. Not only is the game short. But the lack of char choice is disgusting. I enjoy Witch DR the most, and mildly the Wizzard. I can tolerate Demon Hunter. I do not like the Monk or Barb. I want my Pally and Druid. Witch Dr is a great class, but not the same as Necro. I just want more classes to play.

    I do not like RMAH at all. I really don’t like the chat channels. I don’t like the always online. I mean at some point, you have to ask yourself, does Blizzard even give a shit about what their customers are saying? At all?

    It is sad really.

    On the game itself, I find it enjoyable. I have put a fair number of hours into it. I will be playing more this afternoon. It isn’t a bad game. Some horrible choices on Blizzards part and too little content are what bugs me.

    #7 2 years ago
  8. roadkill

    So it’s official. You’re all Morhaime’s bitches! LOL!!

    #8 2 years ago
  9. Tsotsi

    Don’t worry Mike, after the dog’s breakfast you served up in D3, extra capacity is much less likely to be needed for your future releases. I for one am done with you and yours.

    ‘The latency issue some of you are experiencing…’ So nice of you to say Mike. Seeing as you can’t be bothered with true oceanic servers for any of your games, meaning everyone in this part of the world gets to play with constant ‘latency issues’. Its clear that as an issue for ‘some of you’ it is a real concern to you.

    Then go on to tell us how always-online is a good idea.
    A ‘feature’ even.
    Something to be aspired to.
    After apologizing for latency.
    In a game that would be perfectly viable offline.
    Nice.

    Still can’t bring myself to read about ‘more interesting legendary items’ and not think you mean ‘more virtual sh1te for you guys to spend your real money on, so I can get me some gold leaf bog roll’.

    Maybe its just ‘cos I’m annoyed, but every comment coming out of Blizzard these days seems to confirm that their egos are out of control and they ‘truly believe’ they have a monopoly on knowing what’s fun in a game.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. Ireland Michael

    The most mindblowing thing about all this isn’t Morhaime’s comments…

    …it’s that people are getting 30, 40, 50 hours out of a game but are still complaining that it’s too short and lacking in content.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. OlderGamer

    Yeah but do you have any idea how many hours most of those people sunk into Diablo II? I have thousands. 40hours for a console game is fine. But people expected more from a Diablo game.

    #11 2 years ago
  12. Ireland Michael

    @11 What about Diablo II was so different that you *wanted* to sink thousands of hours into it, and not Diablo 3?

    I’m genuinely curious.

    #12 2 years ago
  13. OlderGamer

    I don’t have enough time for that right now, but I will get back to this thread put some words down later if I can.

    #13 2 years ago
  14. TheWulf

    Of course it’s the best long term decision.

    You can shut down the servers a few months before you bring out Diablo IV. Then anyone who actually wants to replay your game (as odd as that might be, there are some) would have to then buy your sequel. I can see how it was a very shrewd decision.

    But it shows that you have absolutely fuck all respect for your customers.

    And people will be just fine with it.

    What I said here couldn’t be more true.

    #14 2 years ago
  15. TheWulf

    @12

    It was a completely different game. It felt different. It felt like Torchlight. The items were wildly varied so there were no direct upgrades and instead my side-grades, as they seem to be called. Many ways in which you could diversify, but you’d be unsure if you’d want to swap this for that. Some were absolutely incredible in their weirdness, but everything was a decision.

    And when you’d start finding more powerful items, you’d find a huge variety of them and this would really open up avenues of advancement and specialisation. Even the skill system in Diablo II allowed for this in ways that Diablo III didn’t. As another mentioned, as an example, you can specialise into the Barbarian’s throwing skill to make a really unusual build in Diablo II. In Diablo III, you can use the throwing skill but there’s absolutely no way to specialise into it.

    Furthermore, almost every item you get in Diablo III is a direct upgrade. This turns it into a single-player version of WoW, and thus it ends up feeling nothing like Diablo at all. All that insane diversification and variety has gone out the window, and you feel like you’re relegated to cookie-cutter builds, where you can’t do anything strange.

    To put it into perspective, the difference between Diablo II and Diablo III is like the difference between Guild Wars 1 and WoW.

    In case it isn’t clear from the above…

    If you play a Warrior twice through in Guild Wars, because of the insane stat and skill variety, you’re almost completely guaranteed an entirely different experience. As if you were playing a new class. If you were to play a Warrior in WoW, then both times are going to be much the same, with only very minor, mostly cosmetic differences.

    Diablo II and Diablo III differ in the same way.

    If you play a Barbarian in Diablo II, because it keeps throwing so many side-grades at you instead of obvious upgrades, you’re provided with a multitude of new options, a field of them spreads out in front of you, and you realise that with so much as a different weapon you can play a completely different style of Barbarian than you did the last time. You find this’ll happen every time you play.

    But in Diablo III, it’s a straight line, a completely linear progression. It’s like a Warrior in WoW. You may have some cosmetic customisation, but ultimately the Barbarian you create will always be the same. Every item you get will be checked upon stat numbers alone to see whether it’s a direct upgrade or not. This is, once again, like WoW.

    So you proceed through Diablo III the same each time, you get your weapons upgrades, your armour upgrades, but the thing is is that they do largely the same thing. There’s one set path, there’s no crazy items which do bizarre things, it’s just that “This sword will make your Barbarian 3% more powerful.” and that’s what ALL of the weapons do.

    The replayability of the Diablo II came from the fact that you could create five Barbarian characters and each and every one of them could be so radically different as their end result that it’d be almost like having a new class. Torchlight (even 1) has this going for it as well. There’s just so much crazy variety on offer that you literally can’t create the same Barbarian twice.

    The difference between them is in one it’s almost impossible to create a character that’s a clone of your last (Diablo II) and in the other it’s almost impossible to diversify, thus you absolutely MUST be a clone of your last character (Dibalo III).

    This is why it wears out after one play-through.

    #15 2 years ago
  16. OlderGamer

    I don’t know Mike, I had been thinking about this response for awhile. Trying to get a handle on why I don’t value D3 the same way as D2. In short I can’t come up with one solid reason to stand on.

    I think it is a collection of things. the game itself is fun. I played it when it launched, got thru the first dificulty and soon after lost interest. I played a Wizzard and got tired of dying all of the time. I played solo.

    But now I play with family. I switched to a Witch Doc, and I am having a blast. Bosses are easier, deaths are no biggie, and playing with friends and family(as opposed to strangers) is great. I am really enjoying the game. I still die all of the time if I try and play Demon Hunter or Wizzard. So I don’t play them.

    That would be one of the little things tho. I only enjoy playing the Witch Doc. One class. I would like to enjoy two others but can’t make them work for me, I die too damn much. I know there is prolly a certian build, stats, gear, rotation for each class that players better then other ones. I prolly have a less then optimal build. And that would be another point against D3. Lack of customization.

    One of the things I don’t like about wow is that each class only has one spec. If your a hunter, and raiding, your going to have the same build as other raiding hunters in order to get your optimum dps. Games like that loose a bit of shine in my eyes. D3 feels that way.

    I used to play a ton of D2 and rarely touched battlenet at all. I played it on lan and online. Last nite my brother inlaw and hiw wife where lagging a ton. Almost unplayable. My connection was fine. But running two PC on battlenet in D3 is sometimes a problem for them. With D2 they had a direct connetion to my game and have never laged.

    I also thing age has something to do with. Not mine, but D2s. Games when D2 was out there wasn’t a whole lot of games like it. Now while D3 still fills a void, other games have done the genere better. Titan Quest, in my mind, is the new king of hack and slash. Its class dev system is unriveld. So much choice. And Tourchlight II beta was fantastic.

    I think D3 is a great game, esp when taken on its own merrits(and that is prolly how we should be judging every game). But after the wait, and the build up, I wanted more from D3(esp in the char dev area). I just don’t see me playing D3 the same way I played D2. And it is hard to put into words.

    The first thing I would like to see are more classes. Asap. I want Pally and Druid for starters.

    #16 2 years ago

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