I waited a while to make a post about this so it would come from a less emotional place. I've been a fan of Blizzard since I was a kid back in the SNES era when you made Lost Vikings. I spent my teenage years playing early MMORPGs like Asheron's Call 1 and 2, beta testing the original WoW, and many other countless others that tried to copy it that ultimately fell to the wayside. I have seen what makes great games fall, and makes them stand the test of time from a player's standpoint, not a developer's. But I'll get back to that.
I'm not going to lie and say I have been a fan of Diablo since it's inception. It came out when I was a kid, and my parents were very religious and wouldn't get it for me. So by the time I was an adult, and able to buy it myself, newer prettier games had come out and I was unable to play the first two because I lacked the nostalgia glasses. The mechanics of those games were good, but the graphics did not age well. Before I catch flak for that comment, let me explain. I loved Final Fantasy 7 when it came out. The graphics at the time were amazing, I got every single little thing in that game, found all the secrets, and replayed the hell out of it. But when I was an adult and I went back to play it, even with the nostalgia glasses on, the graphics didn't stand the test of time. I was already used to newer better looking games. I can still go back and play Final Fantasy 6, because the sprite graphics still hold up. They still have the same charm as they did when I was a kid, but the first gen 3D FF7 lost it's charm. I'm sure many of you feel the same way about Diablo 2, because you wouldn't ask for a remake or remaster of a game that's still good. But I digress…
I started playing Diablo 3 after RoS came out. A friend of mine that was a big Diablo fan didn't recommend D3 in it's original state, but that RoS had fixed many of those problems. I have to say that I agreed, and I absolutely fell in love with Diablo 3. I've played every class, every build, every single thing I can possibly do with this game. I was in the beta test for the Necromancer pack and left some grievances with that class(that were ultimately ignored), but it's your game and you don't have to listen to everybody.
Now I've said I have seen what makes great games fall, and most of the time it is the developers failing to listen to their player base, and not releasing enough quality content to keep our attention. D3 was released 6 years ago, with an expansion pack 2 years later. So in the last 4 years, the only major content we received was the Necromancer DLC (which I loved, but thought you could add several more items for). There has been a severe content drought since then. After hearing that D3 was getting some love this year, I started getting hyped. Your post about containing ourselves made me know that I shouldn't get D4 level hyped, but i was still excited. I was eagerly awaiting news at Blizzcon 2018 for some D3 content, but much like everybody else, I was disappointed.
It's not the fact that you made a mobile game that upsets me (and other people I assume). It's the fact that you made a mobile game AT THE EXPENSE of your hardcore fans. I don't know if you've ever had a SNES emulator on your phone and tried to play an action game like Megaman X, but it's impossible. It's fine for a slow paced game like aforementioned Final Fantasy 6, where you can just pause and stop wherever, but it just flat doesn't feel right in a faster paced game. That's why the hardcore gamers don't do phone games. It is always better to play the same game on PC or console because having a tactile input feels more "correct". If you had released Diablo Immortal for the Nintendo Switch, we probably would have been fine with it. But the other thing about phone games is that they are often "pay to win". Now I don't mind shelling out money for content, but that should never change my gaming experience, especially if I already paid for the game in the first place. I want to feel like I beat the game or did better than other people because I earned it, not because I paid to. You have millions of hardcore fans that are just ready to throw money at you for content, but you had to be aware that we might be upset about this. We had an unwritten ladder of expectations for Blizzcon 2018 that went as follows:
Diablo 4 > Diablo 2 remake > Diablo 3 expansion > Diablo 3 DLC class such as druid (I was hype level here) > Diablo 3 itemization buff and QoL patch > Anything above and a mobile game > Nothing > Just a mobile game
You picked the absolute last place thing on that list. Now, you keep saying to us that you have "Multiple people working on multiple projects". After the stunt you just pulled on us that could mean anything from "We are almost done enough with Diablo 4 to show you something" to "I drew a picture of Deckard Cain on a napkin and I'm going to show it to you on Instragram", and to be honest, it's not very reassuring.
Now, we understand that you need to make money on the Diablo IP, that you need new customers, and that Diablo Immortal was your way of doing that, but what I want you to understand is that you haven't really allowed us to spend money on Diablo 3. Every single other game in Blizzard's arsenal has a way to make money after the initial purchase except D3. WoW has subscriptions, expansions, and in game purchases. Overwatch has lootboxes. You get the picture. One thing we refuse to pay for is "pay to win". Keep in mind that none of your other IPs use that philosophy. You could easily add transmog items, stash tabs, extra classes, or pets that go around picking up crafting mats in a in-game-store, and people would pay for it. But you already haven't done that, and you've been digging yourself deeper into the hole with the players, so let's talk about how to fix your reputation in the eyes of your core fans.
- Make the next patch a big one.
- For all the existing classes, add some new sets. You don't even have to make new artwork for them. Just recolor some old stuff, call it a set and throw some stats on it. I don't even care if they are overpowered or not, we don't have PvP and balance doesn't matter, so just throw numbers on there and move on to the next thing. Retweak some existing items and buff them. Make more items to augment lesser used skills, and just make a ton of new builds. This will give the players much more flexibility and fun with making new crazy OP builds.
- Don't tell us what changes you're making. All you have to say is "we're doing a huge balance patch", and just give us ONE example. Let us figure out what you did on day one of the season. Make it to where kunai's cube doesn't tell us what the item does until we cube it.
- Give us some QoL improvements. https://imgur.com/a/piefM has some good examples.
- Reform the Torment levels
- https://drive.google.com/open?id=1-f_fHz9ZTAW94PWnDAS_iFdpCebOxrKq gives a pretty good overview for it. Make torment levels about farming, and make greater rifts about progression.
- For the love of Diablo and all that is unholy, give us a another class.
- Just announce you're doing it. You don't even have to say which one you're doing or how long it will take. Just let us know that you're doing it. (Please be druid though, that would be cool)
- Diablo 4?
- You can add an in game shop if you guys need money for content. I'd much rather you do that, knowing my money goes to more stuff down the line, than go a year or two between content.
- Make things that you can be proud of.
- Do you think 20 years from now people are going to show their kids Candy Crush and talk about it with such nostalgia? Or will it be forgotten by time, only to be replaced by something worth remembering?
Please Blizzard, your fans are begging you, don't let Diablo go down that slippery slope into obscurity. Lack of content kills games, and so does ignoring your fans.
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