The Future of Diablo 3 Fansite Summit Mega-Report


diablo 3 reportThis article covers all the doings and infos Blizzard shared with the attendees during the Diablo 3 Fan Site Summit at Blizzard Entertainment on June 28, 2013. Activities that day included Diablo 3 console play testing, Hearthstone play testing, a lengthy conversation with the entire Diablo 3 community team, lunch and a Diablo 3 roundtable with the entire Diablo 3 development team, and lots of miscellaneous conversation and insight from the CMs and other Blizzard employees.

Here’s a quick summary of the key facts, plus some predictions based on the current plans. All of this is fleshed out in the full article (click through for that) and also covered in more detail (and with more bad jokes) in The Diablo Podcast #97.

Fact #1: There will not be any Diablo 3 content patches before Blizzcon. When news of this broke a couple of weeks ago it was greeted with rage, but it’s just how it is. Like it or don’t. If you’re displeased with the current game and all you want from Diablo 3 is MOAR new game content, and you do not care about dev interviews, theorycrafting, insight into the process, concept art, etc… you should probably save yourself some public tantrums by taking a break and focusing your attention on other things until say… November-ish.

Fact #2: Blizzard is committed to doing all they can to keep the community engaged, despite the lack of new game content. That’s largely what this Fan Site Summit was about, as they wanted direct conversation with members of the community about how they could better support us and join us in providing you fans with interesting Diablo 3 stuff, in the immediate future and long term.

Fact #3: We will see much more communication and info from the CMs and the devs over the next few months than we’ve seen previously, and this includes numerous upcoming interviews with developers (those questions you guys submitted will not be going to waste), special themed in-game promotional events, and much more.

Predictions!

Diablo painting by Boris Vallejo.

Diablo painting by Boris Vallejo.

These are my opinions and speculations, based on what Bliz told us and what they seem to be working on. Do not take these as coded messages from Blizzard, and I’m sure any Bliz employee would “no comment” if asked to confirm/deny the following.

Prediction #1: I believe Blizzard has the Diablo 3 expansion scheduled to debut at Blizzcon 2013 in November, and they’re crunching furiously to make that happen, with all hands working on D3X and little if any attention now focused on Diablo 3 patches.

Prediction #2: The long-promised itemization patch will preview or integrate many of the big changes to itemization (and perhaps other game systems) that we’re going to see in D3X. This is part of the reason they’re not rushing out the itemization patch now, since 1) they couldn’t go into specific detail about it before D3X is announced, and 2) there would be no point in them doing a ton of item changes and rebalancing all the gear for the current state of the game, when the whole system is going to be turned upside down and reworked fairly soon™ in D3X.


That’s the intro. Click through for much more on the above points, much more about what the CMs and Devs said, and details about what we did and saw at Blizzard.

Console and Hearthstone
Due to how length considerations, I’ll post my play test observations on Hearthstone and the Diablo 3 Console in a separate article. I did talk about both of those games in the podcast, if you want to hear it sooner than later.

Photos
I didn’t take a lot of pictures since we’ve already got dozens of photos of Blizzard’s offices in our Blizzard Campus image gallery, and nothing there looked much different than it did in the past. I did get some cell phone pics of a new piece of art and a cool Tyrael statue I hadn’t seen before, and you can see those throughout the body of this article.


Setting the Stage

The Fansite Summit began Friday morning, 28 June, 2013, at Blizzard Entertainment’s main offices in Irvine, California. After a short cab ride from the hotel and a quick trip through security at the front gate, we headed to the main reception area, milled around with other fansite people there for similar events for WoW and Hearthstone, electronically signed an NDA that no one read and which will probably cost me a kidney (or worse) some day, got our adhesive, postcard-sized guest passes, and were herded by Lylirra over to a conference room were breakfast was served.

In attendance were five Diablo 3 fansite peoples, plus the Diablo 3 Community Managers Lylirra, Vaeflare, and Grimiku (who were all with us almost all day) and a couple of behind the scenes CM/PR employees. In that room, over coffee, bagels, and fruit (for those who hadn’t been up early enough to hit the quite good breakfast buffet at the Marriott), we spent about two hours discussing Diablo 3 community and fansite issues.

Lylirra chaired the meeting and after describing what the CMs do on a daily basis, how they spend their time and attention, what their priorities are, how they communicate and interact with fans via Twitter, Facebook, forums, fansites, and more, (refer to Bashiok’s Day in the Life for a similar tale, with more facial hair and glorification of meetings) she turned it into question time.

This turned out to be something of a preview of our later lunch and Open House with the Diablo 3 devs, in that it was mostly Blizzard employees asking for our opinion on things. Lylirra and the other CMs wanted to know what they could do to help us, to work with us, to promote our activities, what we thought the fans wanted to know, how better Blizzard could promote and communicate about Diablo 3, what sort of game info or details or features we wanted to see more of, etc. Basically everything related to Diablo 3 and Blizzard and fansites… aside from game content.

I’m sure some of the cynical “all that matters is moar game content” readers will think this is all BS, or PR, or useless, etc, but I have to disagree in part, and not just because I was an invited attendee. (I can probably be bought, but not quite that cheaply.) I’m fully in agreement that the game is what matters the most, and I’d take a big fat content patch over all the CM posts and dev interviews and art bombs in the world… but since we’re not getting a content patch in the immediate future, all the other stuff becomes more interesting and useful.

Like a lot of you guys, I’m a fan of the game, and not just of playing the game. I like talking about and debating the game, seeing artwork from the game, learning what the devs think about the game and future changes, hearing how they made it in the first place, etc. Like I said in the intro, if you’re not interested in that stuff, and if you are very unhappy with how Diablo 3 is right now… you’re not going to be a very happy camper over the next 4 months. Seriously, for your sake (and for the sake of the rest of us who are sick of reading the same tired complaints) you really ought to find some other hobbies until, say… November. At the soonest.


Why No Content Patch Soon?

Tyrael statue with glowing wings.

Tyrael statue with glowing wings.

I stated my opinion in the predictions at the top; that I think the devs are all crunching on D3X. This wasn’t anything the CMs or devs said in so many words, but comments such as, “we’re working on an expansion” were voiced a few times. Also, the last Friday every month is a day Blizzard does huge meetings of almost everyone working on each of their game projects. It’s sort of a progress report meeting, where everyone gets together, often in the same large room, to talk about what they’ve accomplished over the last 30ish days.

The 28th was the last Friday of the month, and thus our Diablo 3 Open House went a lot shorter than I’d have liked it to run, since all the devs except Josh Mosqueira had to rush out to make the meeting. Josh was able to stay a few minutes longer to wrap things up, but then he had to dash off as well, at which time the CMs took us over for our Hearthstone testing.

Orc statue in the quad.

Orc statue in the quad.

On a related note, around 4:15 we were all sitting at the tables, in the shade of umbrellas, outside in the main quad by that huge Orc Rider statue, waiting for our cabs to arrive for the ride over the Dave and Busters at the Spectrum mall. While we waited (for the WoW and Hearthstone fansite people to join us at 4:30) a parade of Blizzard employees came out of a building across the quad. And I mean a parade, not a dozen, but well over one hundred people, coming out two doors and all heading over the the main building behind us. I asked one of the CMs who they were and he told me it was the WoW dev team, coming out of their big monthly meeting in the cafeteria, where they had to gather since it was about the only room on campus (other than the theater) where that many people could get face-to-face.

I bring this up since we knew the Diablo dev team was having a similar meeting at the same time, and that they’re all hard at work on some Diablo thing. And we know it’s not the console since that’s all but finished, and we know it’s not Diablo 3 patches… so it’s not real hard to figure that it’s the expansion.

None of that proves D3X will be ready to debut at Blizzcon 2013, but note that the devs and CMs said “the next four months” several times when talking about their time frame for this big community relations push. Not “a few months” and not “three or five” months. I’m sure you can count the calendar in your head, but just to spell it out: July + August + September + October = 4 months. The fifth month is November and you know what happens on November 8-9 at the Anaheim Convention Center.

As for Diablo 3 patches, the CMs made clear what we’ve heard before; that Diablo 3 was never meant to be a constantly-patched game, with new content and features added as regularly as you see in MMOs like WoW. They did more patching the first year of Diablo 3 than planned, and that was out of necessity since the game wasn’t what the fans wanted upon release, and while those patches were essential and did a good job improving the game, they also set something of a misleading example, as fans grew to expect a new content patch or major rebalance every few months, when that was never the intention pre-release.

It’s not going to console those who are found to be inconsolable, but the reality is that no patches are planned until sometime after Blizzcon, and that is basically a return to their pre-game planned schedule. If you are outraged, consider that D2X launched in June 2001 in v1.08, got some quick fixes in v1.09 a couple of months later, and then sat in that version, afflicted by numerous major bugs, until v1.10 was released in mid-2003. That’s over 18 months without any patches, or longer than Diablo 3 has even existed, thus far.


Promotions and Features

Tyrael statue info plaque.

Tyrael statue info plaque.

During the CM breakfast conference many ideas were offered for new features, promotions, in-game bonuses, and so forth. Suggestions included themed weeks, like “Monk Week” or “Hardcore Week” (in the mode of SHARK WEEK) during which one class or play style would be focused on. The game would work as normal for the other classes, but the featured class or build or whatever would get some special promotion. You’d see it announced in the game launcher, fansites would get the word in advance to hype it up, we might get some details about the creation of that class from the devs, and during the promotion the class (or whatever) would get special in-game bonuses, probably like the +exp/MF bonus we all got during Anniversary Week.

There’s nothing like an ETA on that, or any guarantee we’ll ever see it, but it was one of the ideas the CMs seemed most enthusiastic about, in terms of liking the idea and thinking it technically feasible.

Another popular idea was to run limited-duration tournaments or leagues with some sort of in-game support. Players would be able to signify their character as part of it (as is often done with new characters given some special guild-style letters in their name) and perhaps set rules, such as no Auction House or no trading with non-event characters. During this conversation Lylirra asked how we ran our group ladders and rankings on Diablo3Ladders.com, and after I explained that it’s a simple thing for anyone to enroll their account into it and then join custom groups if they wish, she liked the idea that characters might be able to sort themselves on the realms in corresponding fashion.

From this and other recent comments I got the impression that Blizzard is seriously thinking about enabling ladders and tournaments and such in the future. I say in the future since the CMs made clear that any changes that require Battle.net functionality took at least three months, since the B.net programmers are always swamped with other tasks for other games. So even if they loved the idea of player-made leagues, and put it on top of their priority list, it would not appear until around the time of Blizzcon, at the soonest. I think they’re looking at that sort of thing long term, D3X or D3Y or even patches after that. But they are looking at it.


Modding

Blizzard also told us that the question of Player DiabloWikimodding is not closed. I was surprised to hear that as decisively as it was rejected pre-game, but Lylirra said specifically that they’re considering allowing it, and not just of WoW-style UI modding, but of the whole game, D2 style. No timeframe was given, and I’d bet it’s a distant future type thing, along with ladders and player leagues and such, but I was surprised and gratified to hear it.

I should point out that I played a lot of mods and dabbled in creating them myself for Diablo 2, and while I’m far from an expert in the technical issues, I can safely say that the Diablo 3 devs would have to disclose a great deal of the game code to enable any useful player modding. Furthermore, they’d almost certainly have to allow offline play, and the character insecurity that comes with a non-client server model. Mods can be played online of course, and modding communities were legion in the Diablo 2 days, but everyone has to have the exact same version of the game to multiplayer, and characters created in the vanilla game or in any mod can not be used in another (all of the items get corrupted and bugged, at the very least).


More Info Sharing

Year One Infographic

Year One Infographic

I asked if they could give us more facts and figures about the game and how it’s played, and mentioned the Anniversary Infographic. Lylirra and Vaeflare lit up on that topic, and talked about how they (mostly Lylirra) had done a ton of work on it. From what she said, the tech guys had delivered unto them a ton of stats about play time per class, deaths, kill totals, etc, and it had been up to the CMs and an in-house graphic designer to select the stats and decide how to present them in readable form.

Lylirra laughed about staying at work until two in the morning hunting up obscure details like the dimensions of Bobby’s Scrooge McDuck’s treasure vault and making estimates of the wingspan of Diablo 3 monsters. (See the graphic for details.)

I loved that infographic and most of the other fansite guys echoed that sentiment, and we all asked for more such presentations. (I also mentioned I had a bunch of related questions in my news post about it, and the CMs asked to send them along now and they’d see if any could be answered. I did.) I said it would be fun to see details on player behavior more regularly; say after a patch that changes a bunch of Demon Hunter skills, they could share stats on how much more (or not) DHs were played over the next week or two. The CMs didn’t promise anything, but they clearly liked the idea of doing more such infographics.


Breach the Archives

Another thing I suggested was that they share more details about how game features evolved. I love seeing those topics in Blizzcon panels, and wish they would share more of the “making of” stories with us. They’ve got tons of content and info that we never get to hear about, especially in terms of their design decisions, and I thought that would be a great way to give fans something interesting to look over, while we fill the time until Blizzcon and beyond.

That concept tied in nicely with the news they gave us that Wyatt Cheng’s GDC Postmortem is soon to be posted online in its entirety, and Lylirra talked about viewing it in rough draft and urging Wyatt to put more detail in. The devs go through so many iterations they get numb to the whole process of change and don’t really think it’s interesting. They like whatever the final product is and don’t want to go back and think about all the steps along the way, so Lylirra said she had to keep urging Wyatt to put in more info about how the health system and skill system evolved.


Talk Isn’t Just Talk

One random issue that came up during the Diablo 3 Open House was the term “talk.” I think it was Josh who made the point that they need a better term than “talk,” since when they say “we’ve been talking about X” fans don’t take the full meaning of it.

When one of the devs says they’ve been talking, or thinking, or considering something, they do not mean that it just came up in idle chat at lunch, or over the Red Bull machine. They mean a lot more than that. If they say they’ve been talking about feature X, that means they’ve really gone over it, examined and tested and theorycrafted it, argued about it for development, and probably even marked it up or tried it out in the game, to some extent.

This wasn’t in relation to any specific topic, but they just wanted to be sure we realized that when they said they’d been talking about something, such as Ladders or an DiabloWikiIronborn mode, that’s an indication that they’re giving those features very close scrutiny and consideration. Not just a moment of chat.


Blizzard Devs Are Hella Gamers

A bit OT, but during lunch, immediately before the Diablo 3 Open House we all ate lunch in the conference room (CPK pizzas, pasta, and salad were delivered), and most of the thirty minutes or so of eating was filled by the Diablo 3 devs talking about the video games they were playing. Non-work games, for the most part, none of them Diablo-clones, and there were a lot of them.

I’m not much of a gamer these days other than Diablo 3, so I didn’t even know many of the games they were talking about, but the conversation was rapid fire about literally a dozen different titles, most of which most of the devs there had an opinion on. AAA titles, major sequels, indy games, old games for the Gamecube, mobile games, etc.

You often hear that the Blizzard devs are huge gamers, and that’s been very amply proven in almost all of the dozens of conversation between Blizzard employees that I’ve overheard or been part of over the years. They are always gaming, always playing other games, old and new, and it’s partially for fun and partially to learn from what other developers are doing, in every genre.


Josh’s One Question

Through this article I’ve mostly combined the conversation from the morning meeting with the CMs and the afternoon meeting with the Diablo 3 devs, because much of the content overlapped. In both conferences the Blizzard people were full of questions for us, very eager to know what the fans wanted more of, curious how they could better relay content and info to the community, etc.

What little we did talk about game content was entirely during the afternoon session though, and it mostly came in reply to Josh’s one question. Afterwards he told us he had 8 questions, and I do not know what 2-8 were. Though I hope to find out, since Josh and Lylirra talked about extending the conversation and getting more questions to the attendees either via email or perhaps a Skype or phone chat.

At any rate, Josh’s one question spurred about forty minutes of conversation, which is why it was the only one he asked. And he wanted to know the best single thing the developers could do to improve Diablo 3.

(You’ll note that that question doesn’t necessarily imply or require an in-game answer, though all of our replies came from that angle.)

Suggestions flew, and included endless dungeons, improved items, more support for variants and odd builds (enabled via items, especially), shutting down the Auction House, creating more viable builds, and more. The devs didn’t say yes or no to anything, (or give any indication which changes they were leaning towards) but just spurred the conversation with pros and cons and points on both sides of the issue, as did we fansite peoples.

In this conversation and many others, the devs made clear that they were very in-touch with fan wants and the current conversations/debates about what’s wrong (and right) about Diablo 3. I didn’t hear anything new or different in this conversation than I’ve read in many forum posts in the past, which is why I’m not restating all the comments here, though I covered them in some detail in the podcast. I’m sure nothing we said was a new revelation to any of the Blizzard guys either, but they clearly enjoyed the give and take. Afterwards, Josh talked about how valuable he found it, and he said he was fascinated by how we fansite people described issues, and the terms and phrases we used to to express our opinions and game suggestions.

I don’t know quite what he meant by that, but it was certainly a nice way to say, “All of your ideas are familiar, but I liked how you spoke them.”

I don’t think that’s what he meant, even though I’m positive that every argument any of us made (and most were made by me, as usual) had been chewed over by the devs already. So what Josh and the other devs found useful was hearing which things we stressed, or thought most important, or how we worded the issues.

In this as in all other conversations that day, the Blizzard people could not have been more interested in the opinions and arguments of the fans, and I’m sure the other attendees would agree with me that we could have happily spent several hours in that conference room, going through all eight of Josh’s questions and talking many other Diablo 3 topics.


Conclusion

I don’t want to sound like a fanboy, but it was a really nice trip and visit. All of the Blizzard people were very cool and approachable in conversation, they were sincerely interested in our opinions and what we thought of the community, and regarded the guests as spokespeople for the fans. I can’t speak for the other attendees, but I tried my best to share my own opinions, as informed and colored by what I hear from you guys in comments every day.

That said, I certainly hoped going in that I’d get to ask a lot more questions about the game, their plans for upcoming patches, their reasoning behind some recent changes (or non-changes), etc. I didn’t read through every question in the 180 comments on those two news threads, sort them all by topic, add many more questions of my own, and print them out Friday morning at the hotel business center for the finger exercise. Alas, events unfolded as described above and there wasn’t really any chance to get into the Q&A I’d anticipated. (Happily there should be fairly soon.)

Even without that content though, it felt like a useful excursion and at least setting the stage for improved future relations between the developers and the fans. As Neinball and Aahz both said on the podcast, we’ve had months and years of sporadic silence and non-communication with the Diablo 3 developers and CMs, so improvements on that front are welcome, to help tide us over when there’s not new info to luxuriate in.

Comments

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  1. Great article, Flux. Thanks for the scoop!

  2. “They did more patching the first year of Diablo 3 than planned, and that was out of necessity since the game wasn’t what the fans wanted upon release, and while those patches were essential and did a good job improving the game, they also set something of a misleading example”

    Well, yeah, game was a mess when it released. Those 9 patches so far made it barely enjoyable and now they tell us no content/fix until Blizzcon? It seems Blizzard will never learn

    • Let me quote a wise man:

      “Seriously, for your sake (and for the sake of the rest of us who are sick of reading the same tired complaints) you really ought to find some other hobbies until, say… November. At the soonest.”

      • For me, it is going to be Hearthstone. Assuming that it WILL be released before November.. 🙁

      • Just Respect the users opinions man…All he is saying is, they are in the right way, doing a good work BUT tremendously SLOW and SKIPPING core issues.
        Believe me, if we did not like and want the best for Diablo franchise we would not be here reading daily news.
        But again, that’s all we can do, keep informed and WAIT, the ball is on Blizzard now and they will keep it for a LOG time before doing anything. It’s normal some people get “sick”.
        Communities can help improve games, well almost all Diablo 1/2/3 users are saying the same things since the beta, it’s about time Blizzard start working in an EPIC expansion for Diablo’s sake.

        • I’m sorry if I came off as a complete jerk. I read so much ramble about the game in the past few months that I’m losing my tolerance.

          However, even Faramis acknowledged that the game is improving, so things are going in a good direction obviously. I don’t like the lack of patches either, but good work takes time. Even Flux mentioned in his post how long it took D2 to shape up to what we remember as one of the best ARPG ever. We heard so much unhelpful complaining about the pace of development recently (I’m guilty of this as well) that I couldn’t help but quote Flux. Again, I’m sorry if I was overly offensive.

          • No Problem, 99% of my own post are rage cries xDD
            100% unhelpful but we come here hoping for good news and… YAAARRRH!!! xDD
            We all want the same, the best possible Diablo ^^p

  3. I assume the conclusion will come November? 🙂

    Seriously though, the article was a great read, thanks for posting it Flux. I’m really looking forward to what they’ll do with player leagues and modding in the future. I’m curious though, did PvP came up during the conversations?

    • Ehhh… I hadn’t set the final draft to live. Conclusion now included. Podcast posted as well, and live as soon as YT finished processing the video.

  4. “when the whole system is going to be turned upside down and reworked fairly soon™ in D3X.”

    Was this stated by the devs or did you assume that or read it in between the lines? Because that is in my opinion the crucial point for the future of this game, or better phrased, IF this game has any future.

    If they are really willing to make changes that don’t leave one stone on the other (which is the only way to revitalize Diablo 3), then they are of course right to spend their energies towards that than patching. The question is, if they really plan to do that, or just keep struggling with the rotten skill/attribute/affix and try to solve this with items solely (which isn’t doable)

  5. Very nice write up Flux! I definitely agree that D3X is going full steam ahead at this point. While I do wish there was more content coming sooner rather than later, I do still enjoy and play the game. I think the face-to-face aspect is more than just a PR show and perhaps shows that the devs are cognizant of this games shortcomings. Getting quality feedback and suggestions is especially important considering the limited updates planned for it.

    Time to hit up the podcast too!

  6. sounds like you completely neglected to tell blizzard all the things we’re really looking forward to in diablo 3’s expansion. you totally forgot to tell them that we want more unskippable cutscenes, more blinking arrows on the minimap telling us where to go every step of the way, more bosses taunting us with “muhahahahaha”, and most importantly: more NPC’s with generic scottish accents (if those voice actors aren’t too busy with hearthstone)

  7. Another question for you Flux: you mentioned that you had a go at the console version. How does the aiming of skills like Blizzard, Leap, Spike Trap, Acid Rain, etc. work there?

    • Nevermind, I just reached the part in the podcast where you explain this. 🙂

      Looks like they went with sacrificing accuracy for quick targeting, which is probably the better compromise for a quick paced game like D3. Still, not being able to lead targets with Blizzard and Spike Trap for example will suck for console players.

      • I’ll post an article on console stuff, but as you say, I did cover most of it in the podcast. You are correct on your conclusion, but not exactly. You do not have to point at a monster to shoot X; for instance I played a Demon Hunter and was able to pour our multishot and other arrow attacks.

        You can aim them or Spike Trap or other such things in any direction you like, and there’s a shift function key to stand still while you do it… it’s just the distance from your character that can’t be exactly controlled as with a mouse. (It’s either the default distance for that skill or targeted right at a monster.)

        That makes no difference with basic projectile attacks, but you can not precisely place some things. You can lead targets, but only if the spot you want to lead them is the default distance in front of the direction your character is facing.

  8. Thanks flux! I’m very pleased with all of this. I personally wasn’t expecting any new info for the same reasons you mentioned earlier. It’s about to time that they honor this website. To me, inviting you and and then you coming back and telling us yesterday you were very pleased with that visit is a huge plus in my book. This is a far cry from the early days of “oh inc gamers the paragon of objectivity” … remember that?
    That’s showing me that mentality over there has changed and they were willing to listen to those who critique them (diabloinc vs sites like …ugh diablofans). In my opinion, by inviting you and showing you respect they by proxy honored the fans of this site . That alone is enough for me personally.

    It’s good to hear they have summoned the whole team. I expected more like the usual, few heads of the team and some PR people. To me this is a step in the right direction. We’ve been asking for more communication and this looks like a good start.

  9. Thanks for the insight!

  10. Thanks a lot, Flux, that was an enjoyable read. I am quite pleased to hear that you think a true, major overhaul of the game’s systems may happen in D3X, something which I’ve been skeptical would ever happen.

    PS – you should post this at the top and bottom of every article from now on:

    “If you are very unhappy with how Diablo 3 is right now… you’re not going to be a very happy camper over the next 4 months. Seriously, for your sake (and for the sake of the rest of us who are sick of reading the same tired complaints) you really ought to find some other hobbies until, say… November. At the soonest.”

    • PS – to Diablo fandom: I haven’t really played many other games for a long time but I can’t recall EVER seeing ANY non-MMO game receiving so many major post-release patches in so short a time, even going so far as creating entire new bits of content here and there (which is something you can almost never expect to get for free in any game).

      Cries of “patches are taking too long!” are the cries of spoiled children.

  11. “Seriously, for your sake (and for the sake of the rest of us who are sick of reading the same tired complaints) you really ought to find some other hobbies until, say… November. At the soonest.”

    And giving up on any shred of possible influence one could have over the xpansion in developement and thus in helping the game to develope into a great game [for it’s time] like it’s predecessor and not just the ok to good game we got on our discs now? Waiting until the xpac simply in trust of the abilities, experiences and vision of the developement team until it is finished looks to me like making the same mistake that’s been made before release of vanilla.

    So seriously: That’s your serious advice for the people bickering about the state the game is in now? Granted: It would make things run more smoothly if we all held back our thoughts. But the goal is (and will always will be) the best diablo of all times. And, considering past experience, I don’t see that coming with us fans keeping quit.

    • You’re right of course, but I think that Flux only meant people who are constantly b****ing about the game every single time we get a shred of new information, no matter what it is. No new patch: why not? New patch: why just now?

      If you have constructive criticism, by all means post it.

    • Note that he said “the same tired complaints”. If you have new, untired complaints then by all means, share. But those same tired complaints? Blizzard has heard them. I’ve heard them, you’ve heard them, Obama has heard them, we’ve all heard them. We don’t need to hear those same tired complaints in every single thread or post forever and ever, Amen.

      • As Hardrock and Yovargas said, I’m all for game conversation and discussion and debate, and advocacy for feature changes and improvements. We did some of that during the lunch session, and I hope to do a lot more in an upcoming interview. It’s what probably 95% of the questions you guys submitted were about.

        I’m speaking of trolls who exist only to complain about Diablo 3 and greet anything other than a complete overhaul with “this game sucks.” (And would say the same about a complete overhaul as well.)

  12. Good read. I do appreciate the approach of putting the effort in for D3X instead of smaller lackluster patches. That said of course I am skeptical, but hopeful they will nail the D3X announcement.

    Admittedly that bit about the 100+ wow devs running out of the building made me gringe. I guess that cow still has some milk in it.

  13. I thought at one point the team from this site wasn’t invited to an event because you refused to be part of the official fan site program and therefore have your content \filtered\ by the Blizzard PR machine. Has that changed?

    • Check out the podcast. We addressed that issue in the first few minutes, in reply to just such comments as yours.

  14. QUOTE

    PS - to Diablo fandom: I haven't really played many other games for a long time but I can't recall EVER seeing ANY non-MMO game receiving so many major post-release patches in so short a time, even going so far as creating entire new bits of content here and there (which is something you can almost never expect to get for free in any game). 
    
    Cries of "patches are taking too long!" are the cries of spoiled children.

    Yes, but also after release they heard us. They heard us complain about the game. That’s why they delivered content. To try to stem the tide of negative posts/videos, etc. I’ll bet half the new content (especially MP and Paragon) they added was meant for D3X rather than in the first 6-8 months after release. Yes, patches to take a long time. And those who complain about that need to get a life.

    • We are not living in year 2000 anymore. If company wants their games to be alive, they have keep adding “things” and fix issues with patches.

      • Which they have done, and with amazing frequency.

        But seriously, do any other PC games have this many major patches in one year? I’m out of touch these days but I very seriously doubt it.

        • 1. I think we can both agree that a Diablo game isn’t like any other PC game. Players as well as developers have simply a higher expectation of this brand.

          2. Other PC games might or not have that many major patches in one year, for the sole reason that they don’t *need* it. If Diablo 3 hadn’t been patched with paragon levels (which is still a hilariously bad band-aid by itself), NOBODY would be playing it anymore.

  15. Who were the other four fansite people?

    • A streamer (didn’t catch his URL), a tech guy from Diablo Fans, a writer from Diablo Somepage, and a guy from Reddit Diablo. All were nice guys; we all talked and joked and played Console and Hearthstone and such. From what they said none of them had ever been to Blizzard before and 3 of them were fairly young (20ish) and didn’t have a great deal to say unless directly questioned.

      (I was kind of nervous and overwhelmed my first meetings with Bliz guys back in the pre-d2 days, so I can understand that.) As a result of that and my general overabundance of opinions *cough* I did probably 1/2 to 2/3 of the total speaking/arguing during the day’s events, I was the only person who brought a bunch of notes and talking points, and only one other guy was taking notes during the proceedings.

  16. I love the idea of a themed character week. Sometimes I’ll log on and wonder which character I should play. A themed week will make that decision easier!

  17. It’s the patch 1.10 we waited for so long for DII LoD, not the 1.09

    Patch 1.10 is my reference when I speak about a long period of feversih waiting

  18. QUOTE

    Which they have done, and with amazing frequency.
    
    But seriously, do any other PC games have this many major patches in one year? I'm out of touch these days but I very seriously doubt it.

    Simcity has had a few. It was released in March. In the first month alone there were 8 patches. Bringing it to 1.08. Now it’s at version 5.0.

  19. Great write-up, Flux – thanks!

  20. Part of the reason people were expecting big patches was because Blizzard released the game before it was ready, without PVP arenas (also with poor itemization, but we’ve been over that), and claimed those would be patched in later. With PVP arenas being nowhere in sight more than a year later, people are rightly expecting their continued entertainment coming from patched content, either PVP or otherwise.

  21. Summary: Talk ™, soon ™ 🙂

    good write-up Flux. Starting my aestivation tomorrow, that should get me covered till November.

  22. Flux, I made mention in the “quick update” thread about the date chosen for this meeting. That thread is likely to get buried now since this write up is far more detailed. But I found it interesting that Blizzard chose the one day per month when nearly everyone is at a day long meeting. The CM’s had time for you and that, of course is part of their job. But unless I read incorrectly, Josh was the only person not a CM who made time for you. Is that correct? Do you think Blizzard planned it to be on the one Friday per month when everyone is away from their desks? Did any of the fansite peoples think this was even slightly suspicious? Or am I seeing fire where there is none?

    • The first anyone heard about the event a little more than a week before it occurred, so I think it was put together kind of last minute. Why they didn’t do it the next Friday, I don’t know. Note that WoW and Hearthstone fansites were there as well (5 or 6 of each), so it wasn’t some kind of, “short the D3 fansites on time” thing. Everyone got the same treatment, and there wasn’t any SC2 event at all, for that matter.

      I can only speculate, but it seems like publicity or fan interaction stuff with bliz is often very sudden and haphazard. It’s like they get near the end of a quarter and have $50k left in the promotion budget and suddenly decide to blow it on a fan event, with almost no notice and only time to scramble for preparation.

      The D3 open house was Josh’s idea and request, that was made clear in advance. Why they didn’t schedule it for a day when we had more time… I don’t know.

  23. Wow excellent article! Would have loved to have been on that trip.

  24. QUOTE

    PS - to Diablo fandom: I haven't really played many other games for a long time but I can't recall EVER seeing ANY non-MMO game receiving so many major post-release patches in so short a time, even going so far as creating entire new bits of content here and there (which is something you can almost never expect to get for free in any game). 

    There’s Valve and indy games, like Meat Boy and Binding of Isaac.

  25. Nice to hear modding isn’t completely off the table. Perhaps one day when d3’s numbers are dwindling, the ever elusive patch that’ll enable offline play and modding will come out.

    On a completely different note: I like that we have a time frame (more or less) for the itemization patch ~~after blizzcon~~. This is going to sound super greedy but this means I feel no remorse not selling my 300mill Leoric’s signet, but rather using it from now until blizzcon. Since the itmization patch’ll have them drop in inferno, up until then they’ll (minus inflation) still be extremely valuable. When you know your one good drop out of all the drops you’ve ever gotten will be worthless at a certain point… It’s comforting to know I can cast out before the hammer hits.

  26. Posting that this game is still in beta etc. is like Rick Rolling someone now, it’s old and tired and it makes you look like the complete tool that you are.

    Great read Flux keep it up although I am finding it more and moredifficult to keep experimenting with my monk or even go online. Maybe I should finish my WD and Mage.

  27. Thanks Flux for the excellent article :thumbup:

  28. Thank you Flux really enjoyed the article.

  29. Awesome write up Flux.

    Did any in-game community talk come up? Adding channels/game names (or choosing games to enter) get discussed? I know it’s just my opinion, but I feel like that would add so much to the game and would love to know if it’s something they are considering. Making it fun to just be logged into the game had to help D2’s longevity, and being able to choose games could do leaps and bounds for D3 IMO.

  30. I wish you were interested in another game, Flux. I’ve always loved reading your commentary and write-ups over the years, but I just can’t stand Diablo 3. So hard to say goodbye to this website, though.

  31. Why couldnt he just email the other questions? really?

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