Despite Diablo 3’s many, very real achievements, it will never escape its critics. The game’s failings, as the community perceive them, have clung to its back for so long and with such ferocity that they’ve melted together, Diablo and its angry shell.
We saw evidence of that last week, when seven-year game director Jay Wilson felt the need to mention the “exceptional effort” his team has made to fix the game’s issues in his goodbye letter. And now it seems that Blizzard spokespeople will readily admit that Diablo 3 needs to be more than it is.
Blizzard community manager Vaneras took to the diablofans forums on Tuesday to clarify a number of points on Diablo 3’s development - not least of which the nature of the game’s relationship to Diablo 2.
“We stated several times right from the start that Diablo III is its own game, that we never intended for it to be an HD version of Diablo II,” said Vaneras. “We acknowledge that Diablo III needs to be a better game, and we intend to make it so, but you should never expect it to be turned into Diablo II.
“In my personal opinion, a great sequel pays homage to its predecessors and at the same moves forward with new content. It is fairly normal though, that sequels replace features from predecessors with new features, and I can of course agree that it is an issue if those new features fall short of what is intended.”
In particular, Vaneras agreed that Diablo 3 wasn’t “where it needs to be” in providing a long-term, sustainable end-game. Nevertheless, he refused to accept accusations that saw today’s updated game dismissed as an outright failure.
“We still feel Diablo III is a good game, and despite the shaky release, we still see that there are many people out there who enjoy and play the game,” he wrote.
“I know that Diablo III is not what everyone wanted it to be, that there are some people who are so disappointed that they are only able to voice their frustrations through hyperbole, and for those people there is little I can do or say to help ease their minds.
“All I can say is that we are trying to make Diablo III the best game that it can be, but some things take more times to improve than others. I totally understand if this is hard to accept for some people.”
Blizzard are improving Diablo, all the time. Already this year we’ve had the new duelling mode, which brings properly supported PvP to the game for the first time. But is it enough to bring the shine back?