Blizzard Explains (In Advance) Why Inferno Won’t Work

When news of Diablo III’s DiabloWikiInferno difficulty level popped online last week, fan reaction was mixed, but generally positive. The concept of a fourth difficulty level, one that repeats the entire game content with rebalancing to make it mostly a flat non-progression, is not new, but if properly-balanced it could greatly extend the playable areas for high level characters.

One of the more amusing aspects of the Inferno concept (aside from the fact that the words for “inferno” and “hell” are identical in numerous languages, thus giving Diablo 3 two “Hell” difficulties) is that when a fan suggested it last August, Bashiok shot him down. You can read that whole exchange in our news archives, and here’s an excerpt:

I’m sorry for putting the idea down outright, but it’s not a very sexy solution to make the DiabloWikiend game more interesting or exciting. Sort of just draws it out, or maybe resolves some pacing issues that existed in Diablo II, which was a different game.

…I was in a meeting with Jay and Wyatt earlier (about something completely different), and Wyatt expressed specifically that giving players some sort of end-game that doesn’t involve grinding areas or bosses is something that keeps him up at night. It’s a real problem, and it needs a real solution. It’s also very much in the minds of our designers and something we will try to remedy as long as we need to.

That we remembered this is entirely thanks to our forum user Reasno, who posted a thread quoting Bashiok’s year-old comments immediately Inferno announcement. The plot thickened when someone posted about that in the forums, and Bashiok replied politely, between tasty bites of fricasseed crow.

Open mouth, insert foot?
Bashiok: Haha, pretty much.

I wonder if Bashiok would like to come elaborate as to why the Dev team decided to take a complete 180 on the subject.
Bashiok: I’m not a developer. I was giving my personal take on the idea at the time. Looking back at what I said I’m not really sure what I was thinking.

It was a year ago. Seems like it’s a world away.

It just goes to show how much things change during development. There’s no need to pick on Bashiok for this; there are plenty of things said by people who actually are on the D3 design team that have changed 180° since they first said them. I think it’s most interesting as evidence of how recently their end game strategy coalesced around the Inferno/fourth difficulty, given that they didn’t even have an inkling of it last August.

Insert your, “Inferno is a lazy cop-out born of their game release rush” angry accusations here.

Tagged As: | Categories: Blizzard People, Blue Posts, End Game, Inferno


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  1. I would think that, actually, a lot of the changes to the game recently revolve much more around the RMAH, particularly with how often it’s quoted by Jay Wilson as something that needs to be “protected” (ie, from scams and hacks and things of that nature).

    I look at Inferno as a tweaked Hell difficulty so I dunno. If there were any changes to the game due to Inferno, they would probably be positive changes. Or at least have the possibility of being perceived as such.

  2. I trust Blizzard’s judgment on this, but time will tell.

  3. scared me there for a sec, I honestly though that Inferno had been removed from game. Right now its one of my favorite aspects of D3, so I definatly think it is a positive addition. One of these days flux, you´ll give me a heart-attack.

    • Haha, yea i thought the same thing. I was thinking ” WTF, they just announced it 2 days ago and they are already taking it out of the game?!?!?”   lul. Anyways, Nice foot in mouth bashiok, very nice indeed.

  4. When the official news about Inferno came out I was excited to hear that they had come up with something for end game.  Probably because we hadn’t heard anything on the subject besides they were working on it and the days and months of 2011 were flying by.

    I do think, as Elly stated in the latest podcast and based on these comments from Bash, that this may have been their plan C or D or ? for end game content but the clock ran out on them.  Based on their comments about adding end game content after launch, maybe the extra time will give them a chance to make some of their other plans work.

    • If anyone is worried about end-game longevity 3-4 months after release…might I suggest finding multiple hobbies?
      Otherwise, please, Blizzard, rush it!  Let’s get going!  I have the excite-rage!

  5. I agree and I’m glad they explored the idea more and it evolved into Inferno.

    There was an interview recently reported here where Jay (perhaps Leanord) said that when the dev team sit around the table they ask for every idea, no matter how weird and that’s where some of their great ideas end up coming from.  I think they were referencing some of the bizarre witch doctor skills at the time.

    • In that video (if we are both talking about the same video) they said that they were throwing out some crazy ideas for the Demon Hunter, and that somebody suggested skill where Demon Hunter becomes a jet, and they pulled core concept of “awesomeness” out of that and it became one of Demon Hunters skills we now see (though, I don´t think they said which one it eventually became).

  6. Why no one asked Bashiok about removing skill points 3 years ago so someone got some shit to post on forums?

  7. What do you mean “Blizzard Explains Why Inferno Won’t Work” ?
    I don’t get it.

    • A year ago they said it wouldn’t work. Now they announced that’s almost exactly what they’re going to be doing.

      • Well adding another level of difficulty with mobs scaliing all the way up and the final boss still being the most farmed is not the same thing than what they are doing with Inferno…

        To me what was proposed a year ago is different and the only similarity is that it is another layer on top of “Hell”… But the real difference is to have every mobs at level 61 and to have a “plateau” for all acts.

        • yeah i agree with you mate, and i’ll add a little. they didn’t go completely 180. bashiok said they didn’t want players to grind areas and bosses. in previous articles they didn’t want players to go on the path of least resistance, i.e. to find a particular boss/area to grind for the “best” gear. this way with Inferno, EVERY area can be farmed, not just one spot


  9. I think flux is more likely just preparing for a new job at either a different games company, or a different site on a different game, as I fail to see any purpose for this front page post on a Diablo FANS website.

    Its redundant information, and to be quite honest almost bitchy in what I perceive to be its intent to bring up and encourage further useless trolling… Something which this site and more specifically the forums have become a haven for as of late.

    If anyone can using this link explain to me logically why this is a either A – in any way useful for us to be reminded of now and B – in any way a negative aspect of Diablo 3 now I would be most interested.

    “Insert your, “Inferno is a lazy cop-out born of their game release rush” angry accusations here.” – pretty much confirms my thoughts.

    • You are not the least bit interested in the fact that the development of Diablo 3 beyond Hell only came together within the last year?  I am and I don’t find it redundant.

    • what its doing here is that Flux doesn’t kiss blizzard’s ***
      he posts ALL news, good and bad
      he posts news that seems contradictory to things they have said in the past
      he posts polls that let fans voice their displeasure
      if you want to come on here and say Blizzard sucks, neither you nor your post will be removed
      this is the most fair and honest D3 site around
      and THAT is why they don’t get invited to press events

    • It’s news because it was funny. jesus christ.

  10. I must admit that the development of the game in terms of our extremely limited speculation does not really interest me that much at all Asteria, no. Further to that, the constant moaning even less. I am always asking myself what Blizzard ‘owes’ anyone here, it appears somehow the company is indebted to the players in some way. Some would certainly say “Yes they are indebted we bought the game we gave them money” I would say I am just extremely grateful such talented people have allowed us to play and enjoy such amazing games over the years.

    I would be interested in how you find this relevant to the game you will be playing at release. I am not talking about relevant in terms of, this is Diablo information and thus it relates to Diablo. A new Jinx T-shirt design is relevant to Diablo if it has Diablo imagery on it but it will have no impact or relevance to the game we will play at release.

    To me this just seems like another unnecessary “go” at Diablo 3 in general and I would wonder for what reason you actually find this interesting in a positive sense, as the purpose of my post was to highlight the negativity and general sentiment being displayed on what was formally the forums, an amazing place for Diablo FANS, not moaning trolls.

    • I don’t really know why the development process interests me, it just does.

      About a year ago I was kinda expecting an announcement for a beta with a release on the horizon and today I find out they hadn’t yet decided on what form the end game was to take. It was just kind of a wow, how wrong was I moment and I found that interesting.

      • So tell us why Blizzard should be beyond criticism? Are we not allowed to give our opinion on the game (whether it’s positive or negative)? And after Blizzard have spent the entire development time criticising the fans (‘you’re too stupid to be able to use a facility that you used in Diablo 2, so we’ve removed it’) I think we’re well within our rights to have a quick poke *which Bashiok took in great humour and laughed off*. If he can, why can’t you??

  11. I have absolutely no problem with game release rush. I just wanna play it.

  12. You know one thing that’s being overlooked: Bashiok’s question persists. How to adress endgame and simultaneously don’t make it useless? This pro blemwill take a high degree of creativity to be solved, and no, the “Inferno” solution it’s not THE solution.

    • Correct, but it is the foundation. You can build all sorts of things in Inferno w/ random quests, events, or special events in Inferno and not have to worry about messing up the leveling curve in Hell. You can put multi-act quests/events together and every step will be challenging. True, just throwing a constant level difficulty out there isn’t really a solution all by itself. But it’s a start, and you can build different things on top of it.

  13. I see inferno as the 1st stage of end game personally. It’s not pretty, but it will keep people going until the expansions / new end game content comes out. I’m happy with it (provided they do intend on releasing more content afterwards).

  14. i probly wont need an extra end game for 2-3 years tbh. I play quite, well, “casually”. It takes long to level up 1 character to lvl 60 and finish hell (now inferno), and doing it with 10 characters, and refining their equips, that will pretty much keep my busy for 2-3 yrs. Blizzard took some yrs to giv us pandamonium/ event in D2, and it was after the expansion, and we were all happily meshing our mouse flat for those years, so i dont see why they need to rush anything to give us an end game for D3. 🙂 I rather they work on the expansion, give us new characters, than to make some end game. 🙂

  15. I do really enjoy visiting this site and big ups for all the hard work that is put into it, and i do respect the non biased approach… But I personally don’t see how a 1 year old opinion/prediction stated by someone who isn’t even apart of the dev team, counts as news, sort of seems more like a personal nit-picking attack to me. Also the title is sort of misleading?

    • You will see information far older than 1 year referenced and that will of course include comments from the Diablo Community Manager as they are the public voice of Blizzard.

      Also, the second quote from Bashiok is from earlier this week.

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