Blizzard Visit Quick Update and the Future of Diablo 3


I’m back home after the Blizzard Irvine visit, and here’s a quick update just to share some basic facts for now. I’m going to post a big article on Monday that covers everything I saw and did at Blizzard this week and what I learned about the future (immediate and long term) of Diablo 3, and I’m recording a podcast on Sunday to further flesh it out verbally.

Before that, I want to say how cool a day it was. The Blizzard CMs couldn’t have been more cool and welcoming and real in conversation (early on Lylirra made me laugh by asking what I thought when “they started calling you ‘Flux180’?”). They gave us good food and swag, the hotel was great, I enjoyed play testing the Diablo console and even Hearthstone (which I knew/cared zero about pre-visit) was really fun. We signed an NDA upon entry, as do virtually all visitors to Blizzard, but it wound up meaning nothing, since we didn’t see anything secret and Lylirra and the other CMs said we were free to talk about everything we did and saw while we were there.

Unfortunately… there’s nothing to talk about in terms of new game info, and I only got responses to a few of the seven pages of questions I compiled from our two big main page comment threads. (Happily, there are very good odds that I’ll be able to ask a lot of those questions and get direct replies in the immediate future.)

So what did we talk about at Blizzard? Surprisingly, we spent a lot more time answering questions from the CMs and devs than we did asking them. They were very interested to know what we thought and felt and what the community wanted or hoped for in regards to future Diablo 3 developments. We spent about 2 hours right at the start talking with Lylirra, Vaeflare, Grimiku, and a couple of other CMs who have important roles behind the scenes, but who don’t have “Blue” names you guys would recognize from forum posts. Later in the day we spent 2 hours over lunch and a Diablo 3 Open House in a conference room with virtually every lead from the Diablo 3 dev team, and there again we were mostly answering questions and giving feedback.

Josh Mosqueira had a big list of eight questions he wanted to ask, and he only got through one of them (Paraphrase: What do you want most to see or do in Diablo 3 that you don’t have now?”) since the conversation about it went so long and far afield. That’s a pretty good synopsis of the entire day; lots of conversation and interaction and back and forth; never anything as simple as a traditional interview

Many more details on this coming Monday, and according to what the CMs told us, we’re going to see a huge ramp up in the communication coming from the devs over the next few months. New interviews and even some older stuff that’s never been public yet, such as Wyatt Cheng’s Postmortem presentation from GDC earlier this year. Stay tuned…

Comments

You're not logged in. Register or login to post a comment.
  1. Looking forward to it. Hope you were able to pass on some of the feedback you got from us!

    • Feedback such as shutting down Diablo 3, and outsourcing development on a rebooted Diablo 4 to the original creators? Seriously, I want Diablo out of Blizzard’s hands. They have the resources to make excellent games, but there’s something wrong with their mentality… Whimseyshire!

      • There are still people that think Whimsyshire wasn’t a complete joke?

        No wonder you kids still troll d3 forums.

        • Whimseyshire was not the joke…the whole game was!
          Reinstall DIABLO 2 if you don’t remember what DIABLO meant.

          • You had one whole year to rant and complain.Isn’t it time to quit these forums? And I do play D1 and D2 right at this moment and still D3 is more captivating and fun. As for the old Diablo team we’ve all seen the results they were capable of (Hellgate? Torchlight? Marvel Heroes?). In 2013 maybe D3 is the best you can get with all the new market focus gaming companies are going for. PoE team went old-school and didn’t even scratch the Diablo fanbase.
            My 2 cents and no, I’m not tring to troll you.

          • @boglav

            Well, it’s good for you that you enjoy the game. But Diablo 3 is a strong deviation from the prequels on many levels. We ‘complainers’ are here because we are frustrated that Blizzard screwed up one of the best game franchises ever. I don’t complain because I like to complain. I am simply deeply disappointed that a game we waited over 10 years for, share so little with the originals. But don’t worry, we’ll die off with time… and the game world becomes a dumber place. What’s one year of complaining, when Blizzard takes 10 years to make a game…

            And no need to drag up what other games the original Diablo team has been part of. You remind me of that Blizzard employee on Facebook, mocking David Brevik. Fact is, the original creators know how to make a Diablo game. Anything else is rather irrelevant.

          • The only reason I brought up the recent work of ex-Blizz North team is because everyone believes to be some messiahs of gaming. And if we use their last work as reference, I’m not sure they would have made a better D3 for us. The market has evolved a lot from the years 1996-2000, and so have developers.
            For me, D3 is a deeply flawed game, with the itemization, skill problems and all we, as a community, complain about. It is however the best ARPG playable in 2013 (ironborn HC ftw!)as far as I’m concerned, and I only expect good things for the future.

        • Whimsyshire is great! We needed that. I was happy they did something about the color-ragers, and it’s a bonus feature. Alternatives and bonus-stuff are always welcome within a game.

    • Does anyone else find it ironic they are NOW, one year after release, asking what people want to see from Diablo 3? It speaks volumes about how horrible of a developer Jay Wilson really was. In nearly every interview you see of him he’d crow about how huge of a fan he was of Diablo2 then proceeded to bash and trash talk every aspect of Diablo2’s systems.

      It wouldn’t be so bad if he was solely responsible for all the project’s shortcomings but he had a whole team behind him going along with every bad decision he made so they all deserve the blame.

      • “It speaks volumes about how horrible of a developer Jay Wilson really was. In nearly every interview you see of him he’d crow about how huge of a fan he was of Diablo2 then proceeded to bash and trash talk every aspect of Diablo2?s systems.”

        First of all, he didn’t bash everything about D2.

        Second, you got it all backwards, that’s exactly why Jay was a great lead for D3. I feel the same way about D2 as he does. Progress requires you to learn from past mistakes. You can’t create sequel without knowing what made the previous game great, but you also need to know what needs fixing. If you lack the latter, you’ll be a great lead for an expansion, but not for a sequel.

        Personally I think he did a good job with laying down the foundation for D3 and I feel that he left the team only because of PR reasons. The “fans” blamed him for everything, which was kinda expected, because he was the public face for the game during development. However, anyone with even a small experience in game development knows, that you can rarely blame one guy on the team, especially when the “fans” list of grievances is so diverse as in the case of D3. The devs wanted to assure the complainers, that things will change and letting Jay off the project was probably a good way to do that. This way, even if things don’t really change internally, the complainers will be happy, because they don’t know better.

  2. Since you don’t talk about the future of D3 in this post… why this misleading title?
    Waiting for the podcast, good news nonetheless.

    • maybe that is a sign towards what most of us already suspected ; Diablo 3 is a dead end ? a post apocalyptic stagnant future is still a future …

      they might be heading in the right direction ever since they released the abysmal v1.0 but despite all the talk and improvements they move in a glacial speed. so they are either incompetent or/and they don’t really give a shit anymore.

      the Art team certainly moved on pretty much right after release – and i wouldn’t be surprised if 80% of the remaining development workforce is working on monetizable projects as of right now.

      not even patches get me excited anymore – the recent patches and news (eg. itemization patch not until after blizzcon LOL) just make me more and more apathetic towards Blizzard and the franchise. Why should i give a fuck if they stopped doing so.

      If they really mean what they say; when it comes to talking about the shortcomings of their game (e.g. Travis Day Q&A / Interviews) than the last real chance for the necessary, major overhauls of the game will come with the Expansion pack. If they don’t even take that opportunity for major changes we will probably get none at all. Blizzard has a great history of improving not only the quantity but also the quality of their games with expansions.

      But I still could be wrong if the release of vanilla D3 and the WoW-Expansions are any indication for what to expect out of Blizzard Irvine.

    • Blizzard asked him what the community wanted for the future of Diablo 3.

      “They were very interested to know what we thought and felt and what the community wanted or hoped for in regards to future Diablo 3 developments. “

    • Maybe the future is:

      – the implementation of we already know in a one year time frame(itemization patch, arena on a distant future, maybe ironborn/self-found mode…)

      – Blizzard is open to put on the workbench the feedback from major fansites and add some features to the game <- new info on the post.

  3. So completely worthless then?

    No new information about D3 means it is just a PR blurb about useless drivel like “how do we become better CMs?”

    Which I’d answer, by not sucking as much.

    If you didn’t have enough time to get through 8 questions it isn’t worth the time to continue to play this game.

    • Just to follow up…

      “Many more details on this coming Monday, and according to what the CMs told us, we’re going to see a huge ramp up in the communication coming from the devs over the next few months. New interviews and even some older stuff that’s never been public yet, such as Wyatt Cheng’s Postmortem presentation from GDC earlier this year. Stay tuned…”

      Really? That is good news? It’s only been a year of failure of communication. The GDC presentation? Really what is Wyatt going to say? He is thinking about the future of Diablo 3? Yea, we know that. Moreover, CM’s are worthless piles of trash who cannot communicate, put out stupid polls and questions, and offer little/no insight, help or anything of substance on the forums of anywhere else. The fact that they do Reddit (failure) AMAs, and not official forum ones just goes to show that they are trying to expand when their whole fanbase that actually mattered has left and burned the game forever.

      The best course of action would be for Josh to fire everyone who is designing anything, and just hire non-retards (ie players) who understand what makes a game great. As it stands, the game sucks, and won’t be fixed ever.

      • You’re one positive little ray of sunshine, aren’t you?

        • despite his rage and overtop assertions, he’s kind of spot on…

          The community has been telling blizzard they need to change, communicate, fix shit etc. and they have done jack shit with d3. They don’t know what to do, its a mess, only now are they trying to get their acts together and even now.. as we can see they are really wishy washy on their plans.

          For better or worse ( and I’d wager better ) the dev team is finally asking for real advice instead of useless feedback, questioning their deseign choices and really seem to be at least trying to fix the game WITH community feedback.

        • Yea hate on the guy who tells it how it is…

          Myself I hope Flux asked if they intend to release any more patches at all this year. Or ever.

      • “just hire non-retards (ie players)”
        Am I correct in assuming you’re not one of the players?

      • More updates!

        Developers would absolutely love to add perpetual content, like Endless Dungeon
        Blizzard feels that even if endless content is added it would get boring eventually, so they’re wondering what the ending point should feel like
        People tend to ignore anything that doesn’t offer a reward
        Developers share the frustration of not having proper rewards after some polished, unique and sometimes intense events, like the puzzle in Act IV for example. The chest after that event often drops white items
        The Monster Density changes have made a lot of the random events feel underwhelming
        Developers know making all builds viable is impossible, but they’re looking at ways to reward suboptimal builds
        Blizzard is considering implementing mechanics and/or achievements for using different weapons or skills during boss fights, which would encourage experimentation
        New expansions usually bring a big variety of new builds, but theorycrafters lock down the viable ones within the first month, which leads to very few “truly viable” builds for the rest of the game’s life cycle
        Theorycrafters and the obvious access to Internet often erode the enthusiasm of some players, that try less popular and not-so-efficient builds

        From Diablofans. So Blizzard is crying because they cannot make useful skills/runes/builds due to the internet ruining their facade of failure. Thus they know making build suck will be rewarding for beating content using trash builds and items just to make you think it is fun and good!

  4. Is there a delay now in the comments?

  5. “Blizzard Visit Quick Update and the Future of Diablo 3”

    “Unfortunately… there’s nothing to talk about in terms of new game info..”

    Hahah … that explain everything…

  6. Looking forward to the podcast and article on Monday Flux! Sounds like an awesome trip, thanks for the update!

  7. Looking forward to future info I was kind of disappointing no about not getting a chance to really get new info, but on the other hand it’s good they are asking for community advice and actually had questions for you guys. It’s really damn late for it, but as they say better late than never.

    Were there any spottings of the elusive Jay p. Wilson? I hear hes like bigfoot now.

  8. Yes I see that Blizzards eternal search for answers continues. The age old struggle to avoid fixing things while attempting to appear busy until they can start hyping up the expansion (mo profits).

    • This! why they would drag gaming journalist out to Irvine and ask them questions about the game (questions that would be answered from reading the dozens of amazing “whats wrong with D3 posts), after release. Ill reserve my opinion after Fluxes podcast, but CM only and no devs equals a complete waste of time in my book. My premature but well experienced opinion.

  9. I think this is, overall, a good step in the right direction. It’s pretty clear in hindsight that (based on Diablo III at launch) the game was poorly balanced/polished and that the dev team didn’t do a very good job at evaluating their work. I think it’s good that they’re asking for more and hopefully in-depth community feedback (not just all the “ur game sukz” posed in the battle.net forums) since their internal testing has failed the game so far. Remember, the Demon Hunter’s skills/resource system got completely re-worked once the beta was underway…as well as how much they completely underestimated the influence of the auction house. Blizzard sorely needs quality evaluation of this game’s content and well thought out suggestions for the game’s improvement, and it’s clear that’s not coming (at least not within any reasonable time frame) from in house.

    Sadly, in true Blizzard fashion, the time table for any of this to result in actual gameplay improvements is probably longer than necessary. Maybe, with some luck, some of the quality suggestions will be well received and actually “stick” with the devs right away and won’t have to suffer through repeated iteration cycles. It’s also probably clear the feedback is not just for Diablo III patches/updates but for the expansion as well…maybe we’ll be playing that this time next year(?).

    Anyway, good to hear an update on the visit and look forward to the podcast as well! =^-^=

  10. What happened to Flux hating everything Blizzard said about D3 and Incgamers being black listed from any of Blizzards PR events?

    Seriously though, why the sudden overhaul of attitude? I knew the government never stopped toying around with MKultra.

    RIP FLUX. I’ll miss you.

    • I hope that was sarcasm. Just because Flux openly criticised some parts of D3 doesn’t mean that he hates everything about it. The fact that he still plays it is proof enough of that.

      Also, opinions can and sometimes should change. Radical idea, I know.

      • Blizzard should be happy to have incgamers as one of the *real* critique fansites, compared to bootlickers and yes-sayers like diablofans

  11. Wait, I don’t seem to understand the point of this event. They invited in a bunch of press to ask them a bunch of questions about what they could do differently and what fans would want to see in the game. Maybe I’m living in a bizzaro world but don’t they have an entire forum community that they already maintain that allows them direct communication with a large portion of their fanbase? Why are they so afraid to go directly to the fans? Again they seem to be ignoring a major resource that they could tap for improving the game.

    • Steve you’ve just mirrored my exact opinion. Blizzard has access to all the top voted “opinions” about the game through their forums. What the hell is the point of giving feedback when they ignore it for a year, then pretend they give a stuff by inviting game press. I suspect PR BS to cover any analogy to D3 release announcement.

      • I have to agree. All of a sudden community feedback is the most valueable thing, while i remember that shortly after release and even in beta their own forums were PACKED with feedback, some of it well-written and spot-on, which have been ignored.
        To be fair, they fixed some pressing issues like broken difficulty curve and some of the legendaries, which is good, ofc.
        I mean, it is nice they send a message to world that they still care, so i cautiously appreciate it, but i’m not buying it yet, especially not when minding the approaching D3 launch for consoles.

        Also, has Incgamers not been shunned by Blizzard for being too critizising (<- does this word exist?)? What happened?

      • they didn’t ignore feedback for a year. they ignored feedback for 5 years straight, ever since the first reveal in 2008. since then they’ve had every conceivable opportunity to reflect on fan feedback, including many other press events, discussion panels, and probably the most vocal forum community in the history of any videogame. not to mention, the game grossly missed its 2011 release window and was delayed 6 months, for reasons that still remain a complete mystery considering how many features they cut at the last minute. every single issue that now plagues D3 was raised by the community during development, and now, a year after release, they suddenly start caring what we think?

    • Not to excuse blizzard ignoring the fan input but, going forward, I can see why they’d want to invite the few Flux’s of this world. He serves as a filter of the huge volume of irrelevant stuff dished up by the “forum community.”
      They should invite him out regularly. He’s capable of providing coherent, useful inputs – for FREE.
      Saves blizzard the trouble of wading through the chaff.

  12. ranodmized outdoor environments please!

  13. True, the last time fansites were invited to a similar event at BlizzHQ, they weren’t sent home as empty-handed as it sounds like this time. However, they returned with the announcements of the auction houses and always-online requirement in their hands back then.

    So be glad it was merely a white raven clutching some generic PR flattering that arrived from the north … 😉

  14. They were very interested to know what we thought and felt and what the community wanted or hoped for in regards to future Diablo 3 developments.Anyone remember that time the community provided feedback about how they wanted to see the game have a darker atmosphere, and they took that complaint and decided to create Whimsyshire to mock the idea that fans thought the game wasn’t dark enough. That was a good use of development resources.

  15. Congrates Flux on the invite to Blizzard. But, “we’re going to see a huge ramp up in the communication coming from the devs over the next few months.” Yeah right, I’m sure just like the “Ask the devs” questions they still haven’t finished…. This is just a PR exerciser for the PS3 release of D3. SIGH!

  16. Good to hear you had a good time Flux. I’m kinda disappointed that we didn’t get direct answers to our questions, but not I’m not surprised. Even so, after reading your post I have a good feeling about the future of D3 for some reason. Looking forward to your article on Monday.

  17. Really looking forward to reading the blog! Say what you will about Blizzard, but they at least take some initiative to see what the core customers want and how they feel. Whether they act on that is another story but at least they take that initiative.

  18. The fact that they STILL ask questions about what should be improved in D3 shows more than anything what a colossal failure this team is. It has been said so many times by so many people. There were incredibly detailed threads on the forums where a single person had spent weeks of his/her life to give feedback, make suggestions, etc. And they proceed to thank those people for their thoughts, then completely ignore them and ask Flux on his visit what they should do.

    They should go and find another career. This one is not suited for them.

    (Not to bash Flux. He has great knowledge about this game and its shortcomings and its strengths.)

  19. I hope they don’t ask the fossilized old morons who helped regress D3 in the first place. All of the terrible changes they tried were trying to make it more like Diablo 2. Stop going backwards. And fix Barbs and Wizzes, bot-ready broken glitch builds are regressive.

  20. I honestly admire ppl who still play this sad game. I have about 1% of hope left that things will take a different turn, and so the D3X is the last chance at redemption, the last chance to understand that a game is a product “of the people, by the people, for the people”…

    • What what you rather do? Build a house on good fundament or rebuild a house which was hit by a hurricane and it’s components shattered to pieces? Blizzard is trying the second.

      • Yeah its a good analogy on that.

        I dont know what kinds of costs this overhaul will do but I think even the developers are falling in despair on how weak the foundation of the game is and how hard it seems to expand and actually add depth to the game after how it was designed.

        It kind of reminds me of the whole Left 4 Dead 2 debate, I mean, L4D was a great game in concept but there were lots of design problems and imbalances in it, all which would only be fixed by lots of new content and redesigns, which was the reason to make a straight up sequel instead of a patch or an add-on/DLC. People complained and all that but in the end it was for the better.

        I feel this is a similar situation on D3, everything is just SO messed up, so much new content is needed, so much systems need an overhaul/remake, I would rather to have blizzard pack things up and develop Diablo 4, maybe with the same engine, just like L4D2, since it works quite well but in terms of design and depth, its all so hopeless, the only thing that makes me curious about Diablo 3’s future is what they will do with the expansion,

        I consider myself a creative guy but I have trouble picturing too much depth being added to the game when weird band-aid fixes as Paragon and Monster Power were added and extremely shallow systems are also deeply encrusted into the game as the Skill Loadout, the stat stick itemzation and the weapon damage being tied up to all skills. All of these systems do a great job at hampering attempts to expand anything into the game, so I cant wait to see what blizzard has in their minds for it because it needs to be a stroke of genius to get those horribly designed features and expand them enough to make people care about the expansion.

  21. Not saying “behind the scene” CM are not important, but it really says a lot what Blizzard think of this meeting.

    “Oh you have a list of questions? Here is a bunch of people that can’t answer any of them. Hope this helps. – Blizzard”

  22. I wonder if it will ever be possible to post an article about D3 without a mass swarm of negative comments. It’s so damn tiresome.

    Sincerely,
    Someone who is disappointed with tons of aspects of the game but still enjoys it anyway.

    • I agree.

      I think the game can be improved upon a lot, still its a very enjoyable game to play i think.

      *Great graphics and sound.
      *Awesome gameplay
      *Fact that you could almost make any build work even though it might not be optimal. There is at the moment a too large gab between the optimal builds and the rest. Mainly WW barbs, CM wizard and archon wizard’s.

      What they need to work on.

      * Add iron born mode for those that want it. I’m not very interested in ironborn but I think the demand for it justifies it being implemented.
      * Itemization, they made huge improvements since launch but they are not there yet.
      * Balance. Too many unused, plain bad runes right now. Need to greatly buff some skills/runes to increase build diversity.
      * Passives, needs more passives and more creative ones.

  23. That sounds awesome and I’m looking forward to the podcast. I’m super glad that you guys are being included in Blizzard’s community despite past contention.

  24. There is a difference between Whimsyshire and Cow Level. My wife gets scared everytime she watches me farm the Mad Cows (she even shrieks when the cows got near my character/hero). Compared to Whimsyshire, my 5 year old daughter laughs and even wants to play D3 on her own.

    • Yeah, cows on two legs with pikes that says “mooo” are sooo scary!

      They are also very scary when they all die to one cast of lightning fury and say “mooooooo”.

      Gives me the chills.
      _____________________________

      I find it extremely funny that this insult(joke) to art controversy haters is working so well. It’s like they don’t even get the irony in complaining about Whimsyshire.

      • While I really couldn’t care less I do think it’s sad that the driving force behind whimsyshire is a trollish pot shot at the same critics that called out a whole lot of shit that failed miserably with the game. It was done with the same attitude as the entire “rose tinted glasses,” “that wasn’t really fun,” and yes even though this came much later… the “F*** that loser.” While I enjoyed whimsyshire I was really dissapointed they decided to spend time making a level like that to simply troll and throw a F*** you at criticism d1 and d2 fans where throwing at the devs. Would have been nice if they gave us something else as well.. gheed’s domain… you know since they always hinted about it. Actually it was probably just scrapped for the expansion.

      • Both areas were supposed to be amusing (on some level). Humor’s in the eye of the beholder. Cow level was funnier IMO.

  25. THEY were asking questions to you? To get feedback you said?
    They have almost all the feedback they need to REPAIR the game at the BETA FORUMS…

    • It’s much easier to discuss things in person than in writing on a forum. Besides, read Flux’s post again. There a good chance we’ll get our questions answered soon.

    • ya they have ALL the feedback. YES to endless dung. NO to endless dung. Yes to this type of end dung. yes to x yes to x1, x2, no to x3, no to x4, yes to x5. They have a shit tone of feedback that contradicts. I’m not giving them a pass on their poor judgement in the past, but it’s nice they are looking into things more in depth and asking questions to really try to understand the fund. things they want to change and get right. They really screwed up in the past so why on earth would you feel comfortable with them running with the feedback again to make stupid decisions all over again?

  26. What community ?

    The 3000 idiots that post on forums ?

    Or the 13 million that bought the game, played it, left as in any other game and come back now and then with a few million every month.

    My crafted legendary goods sell like hot cakes, so which community do we speak of ? The yelling lunatics or the massive number of active players ?

    The players or the forum dwellers ?

  27. No pictures of the food ?

  28. Blizzard need to take more risks and be less “but it’s not gonna work!”, where is the optimist? They are too afraid of loosing money.

  29. I have to agree, many youtube videos pointing out whats wrong with D3. Several hundred posts on the official forums about why D3 sucks(currently) what they can do to fix it.

    What the hell was the point of this? I am really, really worried if they still don’t get why the game is lackluster.

  30. QUOTE

    I have to agree, many youtube videos pointing out whats wrong with D3. Several hundred posts on the official forums about why D3 sucks(currently) what they can do to fix it.
    
    What the hell was the point of this? I am really, really worried if they still don't get why the game is lackluster.
    Not to excuse blizzard ignoring the fan input but, going forward, I can see why they'd want to invite the few Flux's of this world.  He serves as a filter of the huge volume of irrelevant stuff dished up by the "forum community."
    They should invite him out regularly.  He's capable of providing coherent, useful inputs - for FREE.
    Saves blizzard the trouble of wading through the chaff.
    Both interesting points.  Thre are hundreds of youtube videos and thousands of forum posts both here and at the Blizz forums hating on the game.  It IS interesting they wanted fansite input.  I agree it was probably to help wade through the rage posts, which mostly don't make much sense and just clutter things up.  
    
    I also think it was interesting that they chose the one day per month, to bring in the fansites, on which everyone at Blizzard is conveniently in a meeting or otherwise unavailable.  They obviously wanted those people unavailable and if they could spare a few minutes, why then, that's all we got.
    
    Still, I am glad they are taking this tack.  It may mean more of what WE want rather than what the Dev's THINK we want.  The Blizzard of 1 year ago would never have invited us fans into their offices.

Comments are closed.