Dear Blizzard and Diablo Team,
I know this post is one amongst millions so I don't expect this to actually reach it's intended recipients, but at least getting this out there may further the discussion at large. To preface this feedback, I need to make it known that I've been a lifelong Blizzard fan and I'm also a member of the hardcore PC crowd. I love video games both as a hobby and as a medium for delivering incredible stories and experiences.
I spend an incredible amount of my time exploring all forms of the medium on all its various platforms. While my love for video games is unending, Diablo will always have a special place in my heart as my favorite franchise of all time. I spent the majority of my childhood playing Diablo II and the Lord of Destruction expansion and that experience sparked my lifelong devotion to video games at large.
I'd like to take a moment personally thank Wyatt Cheng for all his contributions to Diablo over the years. I'd also like to personally thank Brandy Camel for opening up communication between the development team and the fanbase, and for being a beacon of hope is these (seemingly) dire times as a Diablo fan.
For the sake of being concise in an otherwise longwinded post, I'll simply list the issues I feel are currently driving the unrest in the community. I do not claim to speak for the entire community, and this list certainly won't be comprehensive, but it will be lengthy. I hope what follows below can be seen as both heartfelt and constructive.
Communication- Our collective hope's were raised with the "Future of Diablo" video teasing multiple projects. The later blog post to reel in the hype took Diablo 4 off the table. Even still, with the "multiple projects" mantra, the fanbase expected something and we essentially got nothing.
The Reveal- Unveiling what appears to be mostly a Diablo 3 mobile port (same visual style, same classes, mostly the same skills) to a 99% pc crowd was ill fated, but to top it off with "oh, and it has new canon lore that can't be obtained on PC" was insulting.
Unrequited Love- Blizzcon is supposed to be a celebration for the fans who have spent their lives loving, buying, and promoting your products and a venue for you to show your appreciation of that loyalty. What Diablo fans got from Blizzard this year amounted to an investors board meeting pitch that would have been better delivered via conference call… It was almost as if Wyatt was speaking to a group of people that weren't even there.
Starvation- Diablo 3 has been suffocated by a lack of new content. The necromancer pack did nothing to change how the game is played, and themed seasons felt like someone just told an intern to change some numbers in the code. The themes simply amount to increased drop rates, and no one is going to be happy if bounty mat caches return to the old rate (I hope you are prepared for that backlash).
Blurred Vision- Diablo 3 felt like a departure from what the Diablo franchise was meant to be due to the colorful, WoW style art direction. Immortal appears to continue that trend, which doesn't bode well for the other "projects."
"Projects"- Book of Adria release pushed back. Comic series canceled. Netflix series rumored. None of these were discussed at blizzcon. When you say "we have multiple projects in the works" they could literally be anything, so repeating the mantra does little to calm the community.
A Place to Belong- Dark, gothic, gory, bloody, visceral, brutal, horrifying, haunting, imposing, daunting… all words that describe the essence of Diablo… and no other Blizzard IP. Does Blizzard even have the desire to make a game that fits all those descriptors listed above? Wyatt talking about a "family friendly" diablo is indeed horrifying. They just made King Leoric a high school janitor for crying out loud…
Voldemort- Blizzard has/is treating the next true entry in the franchise like "he who shall not be named." The multiple projects mantra is an issue in and of itself (as listed above) but to then refuse to form a sentence that has any hint of "our next Diablo game on PC" is only driving unease in the community.
Censorship- No one in the community really knows what is going on with the dislike counter tampering or the comment hiding/deleting on the Immortal YouTube videos. If you have any hope of proving the "we hear you" line isn't just blown smoke, this issue needs to be addressed first and foremost.
Transparency- The Blizzard of old would keep everything about a project under wraps until its "ready ™" to be unveiled. Obviously that hasn't always panned out (warcraft adventures, starcraft ghost, titan, and even Diablo 3 to an extent), but the blizzard of old also wouldn't have been so keen to abandon existing fans in search of new ones. If this "new blizzard" wants to frantically hunt down market share, then it should be equally hungry to keep what it already has. A more open dialogue around the development process for these new "diablo projects" needs to at least be considered moving forward.
I have no idea if this post will have any affect on the larger discussion, or if anyone will find meaning in it, but here's to hoping.
Again, to Wyatt Cheng and Brandy Camel, thank you for everything.
A Diablo Fan
© Post "An Open Letter to Blizzard" for game Diablo 3.
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