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Diablo 3: Blizzard president reflects on ‘painful’ launch

Tuesday, 25th September 2012 11:50 GMT By Dave Cook

Diablo 3 developer Blizzard has just launched its fourth World of Warcraft expansion Mists of Pandaria. President and co-founder Mike Morhaime has discussed his own thoughts on the launch of Diablo 3 by comparison.

Speaking with GI.biz, Morhaime was asked if he would relaunch Diablo 3 if he could.

“Oh, there are definitely things we would do differently,” he explained, “It would be so helpful in advance to know how many people are going to want to play a game. Because we could plan things out a lot better: we can make sure we have enough capacity, we can buy the hardware that we need.”

“The Diablo III launch exceeded out forecasts by an order of magnitude,” he added, “we were very far off. We outsold our full-year forecast in the matter of a week. I have to give our team some credit because they scrambled really quickly and they were able to increase capacity everywhere within a couple of weeks. But the first couple of weeks were a little bit painful and so I would love to do that over again.”

Morhaime stressed that the sheer quantity of Diablo 3 players was a factor in the game’s shaky launch, “I felt like we gave ourselves enough time in terms of the things we could test and the things that were feasible to test. We can’t know how many people are going to come out and want to play.”

“We ran an open beta where we let anyone in the world in who wanted to play the game for free for a weekend. But a lot of people were waiting for the release of the game so we really didn’t have the indication that our forecasts would be off by so much.”

WHat do you think about the Diablo 3 launch? Could it have been handled better? Let us know below.

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11 Comments

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  1. GwynbleiddiuM

    “We ran an open beta where we let anyone in the world in who wanted to play the game for free for a weekend. But a lot of people were waiting for the release of the game so we really didn’t have the indication that our forecasts would be off by so much.”

    Even then the results were the same as launch day.

    So, what they’re saying is they didn’t expect to sell more than a couple of million copies, right? The amount of Annual Pass subscribers should’ve been enough indication that they need to ready themselves better.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. hitnrun

    Or – here’s a wild idea – you could have made your single player game not require constant internet connectivity with your severs.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. OlderGamer

    @1&2

    PLus One.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. Mineral4r7s

    @2 blasphemy! Burn him.

    (continiues playing TL2)

    #4 2 years ago
  5. noherczeg

    I smell incompetence. Why do they still keep posting this nonsense over and over again?

    #5 2 years ago
  6. Puggy

    How about: “Sure, we could have put up the Hardware and Tech-staff needed to cope with the rush the first few weeks, but honestly… why should we? Come on, you know people will get less rushy after some weeks and we would be sitting on that hardware without use, and we just hate wasting money. Beside, you already paid for the game anyway, so yeah, without monthly fees, we have not that much interest in keeping you playing after your initial purchase.”

    #6 2 years ago
  7. TheWulf

    Of course, if they’d left their game open a la Torchlight II, none of this would have happened. No problems with TL II, of course. Why? Well, even if the servers go down, I can play single-player, I can play LAN, and I can play simulated LAN via hamachi. Whereas with Diablo III players found themselves looked out for ridiculous, unreasonable periods of time.

    A lot of people got angry about that, of course. There was some cognitive dissonance (“It’s been a month and I still can’t get into the game I paid for but that’s perfectly a-okay!”), but mostly? Rage. Oh, the rage. I’m not a schadenfreude kind of guy, so I actually felt kind of bad for people. They’d been suckered in by Blizzard again. Yeah, they were suckers, but I still felt bad for them.

    All Blizzard had to do was just… not be crazy. Take off the tinfoil hats.

    Allow offline, allow LAN, allow mods, and then you’ll find yourself in the happy place that Torchlight II has. And TL II has plenty of ways to deal with cheaters, even flagging characters as cheaters or modders as modders (it shows up when you’re inspected), it’s pretty clever about that. And that’s the thing. It’s clever. It’s not paranoid, it’s not insane, it’s not going to take your rights away, it’s clever.

    So thanks to Runic being clever, my friends and I got to play Torchlight II as we wanted. Not to mention that Torchlight II is simply the superior product, but that’s neither here nor there. Right now I’m just talking about being able to play a game your way. That’s the point of open-architecture, isn’t it? That’s why PC games are PC games, isn’t it?

    The point of PC games is that we choose. We don’t have some overly rich yet tinfoil hat and tissuebox shoe wearing madman telling us how to play. I don’t like being dictated to.

    And that was why their launch was painful.

    They need to take off their tissuebox shoes, tinfoil hats, and actually join the rest of us here in the real world. They’re just so amazingly out of touch that they don’t understand what people want any more. Runic does. So right now I just want to point at Runic and say ‘Blizzard, do that!’

    #7 2 years ago
  8. YoungZer0

    @7: http://youtu.be/B01o2xtJwgk

    #8 2 years ago
  9. roadkill

    @2 +1

    @4 “(continiues playing TL2)” Me too! :D And not only that it’s better but we also don’t support piracy. We need a badge just for this. ;)

    @5 It’s not incompetence mate. It’s squatting in their customers mouths. And most of the customers seem to love it.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. Sini

    First day it was barely up, second day 4 hours downtime, by third day it was running smooth. Couldn’t give two shits about always online.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. roadkill

    @10 “First day it was barely up, second day 4 hours downtime, by third day it was running smooth.” Yes that is how games should run. Starting from the 3rd day. LOL!!

    “Couldn’t give two shits about always online.” Of course! Because your a beacon of intelligence! Your mother must be so proud!

    #11 2 years ago