Bashiok has made a post regarding long term replayability which makes for a sobering read.

    We recognize that the item hunt is just not enough for a long-term sustainable end-game. There are still tons of people playing every day and week, and playing a lot, but eventually they’re going to run out of stuff to do (if they haven’t already). Killing enemies and finding items is a lot of fun, and we think we have a lot of the systems surrounding that right, or at least on the right path with a few corrections and tweaks. But honestly Diablo III is not World of Warcraft. We aren’t going to be able to pump out tons of new systems and content every couple months. There needs to be something else that keeps people engaged, and we know it’s not there right now.

    We’re working toward 1.0.4, which we’re really trying to pack with as many fixes and changes we can to help you guys out (and we’ll have a bunch of articles posted with all the details as we get closer), and we’re of course working on 1.1 with PvP arenas. I think both those patches will do a lot to give people things to do, and get them excited about playing, but they’re not going to be a real end-game solution, at least not what we would expect out of a proper end-game. We have some ideas for progression systems, but honestly it’s a huge feature if we want to try to do it right, and not something we could envision being possible until well after 1.1 which it itself still a ways out.

    End game has always been a major concern within the dev team and Bashiok has revealed that it even kept DiabloWikiWyatt Cheng awake at night with worry.

    …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 accepted that Diablo III isn’t the same type of beast as WoW and no one is expecting new systems to be rolled out every few months but it’s harder to accept that we could “at least be on the right path” to having the existing systems right. Keep that one out the marketing bumph if I were you guys.

    With no PvP, ladder or ability to mod the game Diablo 3 was destined before release to be about the item grind in Inferno. However, with not just bosses able to reward players with the best loot grinding promised to be even more fun than it is in Diablo 2. Only it isn’t working out like that.

    Hindsight is 20/20 I suppose, but we believed pre-release that the item hunt would be far more sustainable, and would work to be a proper end-game for quite a while. That didn’t turn out to be true, and we recognize that.

    Hindsight is a wonderful thing but in this case they were forewarned as they knew from Diablo 2 and acknowledged that part of the appeal of the Diablo franchise lay in the item hunt at end game and if that had been tested by a larger number of people it would have assuredly become apparent that it wasn’t proving as satisfying as it should be.

    PvP content patch 1.1 and Patch 1.0.4 aren’t destined to be the panacea either as Bashiok admits “they’re not going to be a real end-game solution” or provide us with “a proper end game”.

    So when will that arrive? Will they roll out a substantial content patch or will they need to convince us to put our hands in our pockets when the expansion pack arrives because that will give us a “proper end game”?

    With all that said there are people clocking up a large number of hours in game. I just checked my friends list and from the 18 people on there, the average number of hours played works out to 237.  That works out to just under 10 full days of play.

    Thanks to lorderan1164 for alerting us to this.

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