How Blizzard Saved Diablo 3

We all know the problems Diablo 3 had at launch, remember the good old Error 37 message when the game launched? That caught Blizzard and the community off guard. We also know that early days of Diablo 3 were not great when it came to items and drops. Then there was the Auction House.

An article on Kotaku looks at what happened with the game and how Blizzard wanted to turn it around with Josh Mosqueira and the Diablo 3 team.

Diablo 3 was far from perfect when it launched but most games these days have issues when the button to go live is pushed. The launch was not the only problem that faced Diablo 3, the game was fundamentally flawed from the start.

The article on Kotaku actually comes from an excerpt from Jason Schreier’s book called Blood Sweat and Pixels and this particular segment focuses on Diablo 3. There are plenty of quotes from Josh Mosqueira and a few from Wyatt Cheng and others on what went on following the launch. Apparently, Blizzard did not allow the author to talk to Jay Wilson.

There are quite a few anecdotes included such as why they canned The Devil’s Hand, the killing of the Auction House, why Reaper of Souls was delayed and more.  Here’s a quick snip:

After becoming director, one of Mosqueira’s first moves was to sit down with the rest of the staff on Diablo III, who had all once been his colleagues but now reported to him. He asked how they were feeling. What did they like about the game? Where did they see Diablo III going in the years to come? Usually, video game expansions were additive—they’d provide new content, new areas, new loot—but for Diablo III, Blizzard wanted to make something transformative. “It quickly became apparent that they really wanted to use the expansion to not just adjust and pivot from the launch, but really create this platform that will take Diablo into the future,” Mosqueira said. “That’s the kind of pressure that the team put on themselves. And they were thinking really big.”

Read the full article.

Tagged As: | Categories: Media Coverage


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  1. It’s a cool read. I hate it when people only comment on these articles to complain sounding as if they don’t even play anymore. This show how even inside Blizzard people are saying the same thing. On a side note, this weeks challenge rift was super fun. I rarely play the WD, but this had everything that I looked into a build. Strong power, a simple always use move (toads), and plenty of room to improve without breaking into the high level paragons.

    • Agree with you and Avalon its amazing how much time some mates use to tell how bad D3/RoS are and how much they hate it, they must have a boring life since they use time to make negative comments at a game they dont even play. If I hate a game I would not use a split second to make comments but maybe they like to see their name on this site

  2. Saved, eh? More like: tried to save, almost got there but not quite. I loved early RoS, it wasn’t perfect but they were on the right track. And then it went to shit again.

  3. We are willing to blindly buy multiple copies Diablo 4 (and its Expansion) if Blizzard did this:

    If Blizzard makes a 4K remake of Diablo 2 Expansion (D2X), and then simply create Diablo 4 based on this new 4K D2X game engine, and without mandatory internet connection. Sometimes we play places and hotels with no internet access, you know! [BTW, Blizzard insisted mandatory internet connection for Diablo3 because of the Auction House, which is no more].

    (We are still playing Diablo 2 Expansion on our home network via TCP/IP !

  4. The article would have you believe that the D3 devs performed a near-impossible miracle and “saved” the game by expanding with RoS. While the game did improve with RoS, it’s nowhere near what the article is claiming. The game still suffers from teething problems right down to its core design. Itemization is still garbage, character customization is virtually non-existent, game has boiled down to time-race rifting, power creep is out of control.

    The article was clearly written with rose-colored glasses and does have a stench of being cleaned up by a PR department.

    • Diction is key here. The title doesn’t claim D3 was close to perfection rght now.
      Put it this way: When you pull somebody out of a horrible car crash, unconscious, half burnt, limbs missing, bones shattered, you still may have SAVED them.

      • This exactly, you only had to read the headline to understand that this here is a click(&rage)bait. “How Blizzard Saved Diablo III” is something very different from “How Blizzard Saved Diablo III From Disaster”. The article starts with Error 37, which was pretty much a disaster, especially after the lively online-only DRM discussion. You can argue very easily that Blizzard has continuously improved D3 from that time on. It is still not a particularly good game and a very poor Diablo-game, but it has improved and it’s not a disaster. Unless you consider a failed Diablo game a disaster generally. So… Yea. Good job Blizzard, i guess.

  5. I definitely don’t think they ‘saved’ D3. They improved it. But it’s not saved. It’s not a big super mega major hit. There’s still that kind of ‘off’ ness to it that keeps it from being played for hours on end. I come back every now and then for each season but other than that, I average like 2-3 hours a month or less. That’s not ‘saved.’

  6. they saved it? i did not logged in for 3 years. I was a huge D2 fan and I am looking forward for the HD remake, but i do not think they will ever do it because of this reason.

  7. I Love how the dweebs are complaining about a game that they do not even play.

    • The thing is: we all love the franchise and wish this installment would be better. But years have passed and the improvements are not sufficient to make this game great.

    • Ironically, the complaint IS that they do not even want to play it.

      You would think that would be a valid complaint in and of itself, particularly for someone who doesn’t play it.

      I’ve been a Blizzard fan for years, long before Activi$ion took over. I can still hope that they can steer themselves back to a better direction and make better games again. I can still hope that feedback is heard and reacted to.

      You would also think that feedback intended to address problems and increase quality so as to increase the number of appreciative players would be appreciated rather than dismissed. You want a small community of only 300 people playing this game? You won’t get a Diablo 4, then. Activi$ion won’t shell out for it.

  8. Wait, who did what? lol. If anything the game has gotten WORSE. At least at launch D3 was like some fan made Diablo 2 sequel. A shit ton of bugs and an end game that’s completely unplayable without resorting to obvious flawed mechanics. (invincible monks and archons, 100% uptime smoke screen DHS, etc. to do Inferno) But at least it was still a poorly written, played and conceptualized Diablo GAME. Hell, Median XL was better than D3 at launch.

    But D3 now, it’s like playing candy Crush on a cell phone with pictures of Diablo characters. Honestly, when was the last time anyone clicked on “campaign” mode? Probably after playing RoS 3 years ago. Maybe a few people took their necros through campaign. Honestly I think this game was at it’s peak in the few months right before RoS dropped and everyone had the goal of reaching Paragon 100. I was having fun, and there was a reason to log in. When I got my Wizard to 100 I switched to my Barb, then my DH and so on. Nowadays there’s little to no incentive to even log in, nevermind play another class when everything is just dropping skills in weird combos and watching everything on the screen blow up until you inevitably get 1 shot.

    This line clearly shows why Josh also sucked as a dev:
    “After becoming director, one of Mosqueira’s first moves was to sit down with the rest of the staff on Diablo III, who had all once been his colleagues but now reported to him. He asked how they were feeling. What did they like about the game? Where did they see Diablo III going in the years to come?”
    By this point there were literally THOUSANDS of pages of Waaahhh about how bad D3 was on the official and unofficial forums, and instead of turn to that this guy sits down with the screw ups and asks them why they screwed up and how they feel they can screw up less. Seriously? That’s like asking an abusive spouse why they hit you and making them promise to stop hitting you in the future. Blizzard really thinks because of the success of WoW they are the be all end all of game designers, when they kind of missed out on the fact that outside of WoW their other games were so popular because the communities were able to literally shape them by being able to mod the games. That doesn’t exist with ActiBlizz.

    • > …communities were able to literally shape them by being able to mod the games.
      > That doesn’t exist with ActiBlizz.

      As an aside, did you know that just a few weeks ago, Blizzard *within*24*hours* shut down a (player-run) private server for another of Blizzard’s game?

      Blizzard BANS private server Felmyst in 2017 (prevented 2007 WoW Burning Crusade private games).

      1. Once Blizzard switches Diablo3 game server, your “bought” game stops functioning.
      Did you really think that you “own” your D3 game?
      Your D3 game can be switched off at a moment’s notice.

      I’m still playing Diablo 2 with no mandatory internet connection.
      So I really own my own game; Blizzard cannot “switch off” my Diablo 2 game.

      2. Coding your own private server to play Diablo 3 (after Blizzard turns off its own Diablo 3 game servers) will not work either: Blizzard is dead set on suing anyone operating their own (non-Blizzard approved) game server.
      Example: Blizzard shuts down WOW Felmyst private server within 24 hours:

      Blizzard WILL probably sue anyone operating a Diablo 3 private server, reason because it may affect Diablo 4 game sales, and at the very least may damage the brand image of the Diablo franchise.

      ***Therefore no mandatory internet connection (and no forced game patching) for Diablo 4 please !

      • wangnala, the points you brought are spot on. You see, that is exactly one of the reasons why I avoid online-only games. Because you’re at the mercy of the server owner, or your ISP. No, thanks. I want to play my games when I want to, not when you say I can. And some people even play hardcore mode in D3, they make me laugh when they get their chars killed because of a broken connection. Must suck to waste time in such a manner.

        Another reason is modding.

        Another one is preservation. Has anyone wondered what would happen if you want to play a blizz game in 20 years (or more) from now?. I bought some games on origin when it started because they were dirty cheap, now I can’t play some of them because the validation servers and/or games for windows live went offline. Will blizz/steam/origin still be on business 10-years from now?.

    • They made a game where you can literally set it to any difficulty level that you think is appropriately challenging. You don’t have to “resort” to anything. Play the game the way that you want with whatever difficulty you want.

  9. “Blizzard wanted to make something transformative” – what a hillarious joke. That’s why they actually ruined itemization – the core conecpt of the game. Nice transformation friends, no doubt.

  10. I think D3 has gotten better since the vanilla launch (with ROS and patches), but that doesnt mean that the game is actually good.

    D3 has core flaws:

    -Bland and boring itemization (affixes etc)
    -Endless difficulty where we never get to feel powerful, no matter how much we play
    -Static World with semi-“random” Rifts (which are detached from the game world – what a pity)
    -No replay value
    -Drop rates ridiculously high
    -All damage and defense originates from gear which is a huge mistake in a game like Diablo
    -Without a weapon we do zero damage despite being paragon 5000 lol (caster with magic WTF?)
    -Major Diablo features was removed (Runes, Runewords, charms) (who made this stupid decision?)
    -Skill Trees and character development was removed (who made that decision?!)
    -Level 70 for everyone WOW garbage – big mistake
    -No trading at all (although Real-Money AH was a huge-scale mistake and made trading broadly available to EVERYONE without having to play the game and find loot first in order to be able to trade)
    -World is by far too “cartoony” and some animation and voices are like from a hello-kitty book or straight up borderline retarded (azzmodan anyone?)

    • most of this blah blah is pure BS mate , sorry … its a different game and different time

      i’m sure if they had made D3 with somewhat the same gameplay and better graphics you naggers would complain like : its the same as D2 but with better graphics , i want a different Diablo , now its different and you are still crying …. (over nothing)

      get a fucking life and stop whining , its (still) a great game !!

      • Yeah. It sure is a great game and all. Beautiful, fast-paced action game, but definitely not a Diablo-game by its core.

        I do complain about it because I’ve spent 20 years in diablo universe, and really wanted D3 to live upto our expectations. It did not use the solid D1 & D2 foundation, but decided to re-invent the genre just for the sake of re-inventing. That was a mistake.

        D3 is beyond saving now that it can’t be modded

  11. Wait…didn’t Flux coin the term “Ironborn” here for self-found mode? It’s the first place I remember seeing it. Now it’s going to be in a book!

    • Ironman mode was from D1, before D2 was released. You start a character and venture into the dungeon as far as you can, without going to town at all.

      Generally people played as Warrior because of repair, and mages used too much mana (no pots) and rogues were too squishy and not enough bows dropped / did enough damage. Generally done in Single Player where you get the extra quests and rewards. In multiplayer the monster HP is doubled, so it makes the difficulty ramp up too quickly.

    • Yes, I think he did.

  12. Hmm, saved… After reaching around paragon 500 and beating GR70 i am loosing interest on play D3. It started in season 10 and s11 it is the same 🙁

    “this world is an illusion exile”

  13. Meh. Meh meh meh.

    When D3 came out, I loved it. I played for an hour or so a day, which is a lot for me. I leveled up all five classes. I used random skills/runes every time I played. When I got to Inferno, I loved progressing.

    They fixed some stuff. I got RoS. I leveled up new characters, six of them this time, still using random skills. Adventure Mode was so, so, so, so good. It was a blast. Gearing felt meaningful, and collecting different gear collections for different assortments of random skills also felt really delicious. I could log on, do a bounty or a rift with a random skill setup and complementary gear, get a new item for this class or that class, and feel really satisfied and like I was having a new experience every night.

    Then, they did their ridiculous Time Attack Mode greater rift garbage, shoehorning players into speedy builds. That was fine, I could just ignore Greater Rifts, and I did. I had fun moving up the Torment difficulty scales. It was really fun. I think I got my gear to a point where some characters could do Torment IV with random skills.

    Then, they put out seasons. And as people above are saying, the game became some sort of stupid laser show pew pew pew everything dies here is an entire set for picking your nose garbage. I haven’t played D3 since then. So, did they make D3 better with Adventure Mode? Yes. Did they then break D3 for no reason at all? Super-yes. So they “saved” it and then they basically killed it. It’s weird how the guy’s book doesn’t mention that, which I think is just as much a story as the “saving.”

  14. As fallow the Games trow years I was here when diablo1 was launched my hopes ore diablo3 was hight and as a guild leader been that as from 1997

    Diablo 3 is great in many ways but note like the 2 was there is alout they can inprove and I hope they do it

    As been apart of the Legit way from 1997 and hoped on blizzard was gong give us more abilitys as guilds online like they have in atther games

    elly if you see this you might rember me from the old article of purist way in diablo1

    Hope on a diablo3 update or a diablo4 I do and so many of ouer members do


    You can read my long and autistic analysis of the full article on the official forums for the game.

    The author got many things wrong and this article looks a lot like sponsored content. Judging by the information regarding DIII, I wouldn’t buy the book.

  16. saved or not saved ?? D3 are not D1 or D2. all these mates who hate D3 seems to forgot they wrote how boring D2/LoD was the same act again and again how hard to find good items so hard that mates start to cheat and duplicate items. Now D2 is sound like a holy gral ? Yes maybe to easy to find good items in D3/RoS and what? Now all can enjoy the game without spending their life in front of the computer. To all of you who love D2 play the game and let us who love D3 play it, Im sure more mates play D3 than D2. What ever u like or not I think Blizzard save the diablo universe, otherwise it has been dead, many was sick and tirede of cheaters, dubbers in D2

    • Who’s preventing you from playing DIII?

      PS: Study your English. It leaves a lot to be desired.

    • What? Now you can spend your life hunting primal ancients and grinding paragon 3000. Lol, use your brain before you write something!

      • “Now you can spend your life hunting primal ancients and grinding paragon 3000.”

        You could argue that D2 was just hunting for runes while grinding to 99?

        • And I could disagree because I never hunted for runes or grinded to 99 in D2, I always played builds. I did get some characters to 99 eventually, but my main focus was to try out different builds with the different classes. D3 makes that feel tedious and boring because by the time you’re running grifts in a 6 piece set every class feels the same.

      • U cant read 3,5t ?? I wrote “Now all can enjoy the game WITHOUT spending their life in front of the computer”

  17. How to save D3?
    1. Remove infinite difficulty (greater rifts cap)
    2. Remove 6-pieces sets
    3. Nerf drop rate of legendaries
    4. Make all legendaries good (less gap between stats – not 700 to 1000, this is bulls*it)
    5. Rework paragon system
    6. Rework skill system (players can adjust damage of skills)


    99. you know what? Make a new game!

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