Blizzard on Diablo III’s missing PvP: “There’s probably not a week that goes by that we’re not talking about it”

A team deathmatch mode for Diablo 3 shown at BlizzCon 2011 has since been scrapped.

The first Diablo III expansion has been unleashed; read our Reaper of Souls review to find out the verdict.

The auction house is dead. Loot 2.0 is go. Reaper of Souls is out. But the question of PvP still remains. Since the Diablo III dev team scrapped team deathmatch, only an apologetic brawling mode has emerged in the way of competitive slashing.

But lead producer Alex Mayberry says Blizzard still talk about PvP “all the time”.

“There’s probably not a week that goes by that we’re not talking about about PvP,” he told PCGamesN. “That being said, I don’t know when, or if, we’re going to get it in.”

To explain the issue, Mayberry pointed to the playable PvP build of Diablo III Blizzard showed at BlizzCon 2011

“We had that working,” he said at the launch of Reaper of Souls. “And it was fun for a short period of time. That was really the problem we had with it: team on team, you could jump in and have fun for an hour and after that it got kind of monotonous. We didn’t feel that as a full on PvP mode it was going to make people happy in the long run.”

Mayberry says that the “inherent nature” of Diablo III – its random number generation – conflicts with the nature of PvP – which revolves around balance. That conflicting paradigm means balancing something that’s “totally unbalanced by design”.

“We’re still talking about what is the right answer for PvP in Diablo. A PvP that everyone will like and that will have the legs to be sustainable and viable over a long period of time,” said Mayberry.

“If we can do it and do it correctly, in a way that’s meaningful for people, then that’s what we’ll do. But we have to find it first and it’s ended up being more difficult that we first thought it was going to be.”

Further complicating the issue are changing player expectations of what team PvP means, thanks to the competitive scenes of games like StarCraft and League of Legends.

“We have to look at what players are going to expect versus what we can do with the game,” explained Mayberry. “It’s something we want to do, it’s not like we don’t want to do it, we just don’t want to do it wrong and we’re not going to put it out if it doesn’t feel right.

“We’re going to keep looking at it and hopefully we’ll find an approach that strikes the right balance.”