D3 Features the Longest “Tuning” Stage Ever


A fan on Battle.net made the same remark that most of us did upon watching yesterday’s Developer Diary. “Wow, I’d forgotten all about that whole Diabeards thing!”

No, actually he noted that Diablo III was in near-final polishing stage in February 2011, and wondered WTF they’d been doing for the past 14 months. Bashiok rose to the bait.

So according to the video recently released, they were in the tuning stage in February of 2011….

I know blizzard takes their time, but man…
Bashiok: Obviously back then we didn’t know that our testing and polishing would reveal that we were unhappy with some of game systems, which were either removed for redundancy (or being sucky), reworked for various improvements, or we needed to add completely new ones. But I dont think anyone was surprised. We test, we iterate and refine, we test some more, etc.

But yes. Along with continued development and iteration on the game as a whole we’re constantly and continually tuning and testing.

I recommend enjoying these as in-progress looks into the development process, and yes, even at our silliness in thinking we were anywhere close to finishing the game. 🙂

This sort of lengthy delay when the overall progress bar seems to be stuck at about 93% is as common when downloading a patch from Battle.net as it is in overall video game production. Though of course Blizzard takes it to another level, with their it-it-iteration and flexible deadlines.

Good thing their games are always worth the wait…?

Tagged As: | Categories: Blizzard People, Blue Posts

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  1. They are always worth the wait except WoW but that is MY OPINION! Im sure that there are many people that think WoW was worth the wait!

    • I don’t remember actually ever waiting for wow, was it announced way in advance like diablo was? I remember waiting for D2 (my god do i) but I cant remember waiting for wow. Whats funny about that is I got it on day 1 and played it for years off and on. Hell I still jump in now and then. Serious question, what was the wait like for that game?

      • WoW was worth the wait, imo back in the vanilla days it was the best MMO on the market (it technically still is I’m just tired of it and it’s extremely lowered difficulty).  After that they made it more accessible and less fun for people looking for a challenge, and it became more of a time > skill.  Not saying previously it wasn’t a huge time sink but now it just wasn’t as fun because the difficulty wasn’t there.
        As for it being delayed it was hit with 2 Release Date changes to my knowledge.  The first was actually about a week before the game was going to ship it was pushed back 2-3 months.  And then it was pulled back a month or a few weeks if my memory serves me correctly.  The actual dev time on WoW was mostly rumor for a long time so it’s hard to confirm but the actual time I remember was maybe 2-3 yrs max?  And not much to get excited on besides a announcement and no screens until about a year before the release I think.  It definately didn’t have the wait that D2 had that’s for damn sure :(.
        Also…D3 in like under a month and a week!

      • WoW was announced (I believe) ~ September 19th, 200(1) and wasn’t released until November 23rd 2004. And I waited the entire time. Reading every forum post, watching every screenshot and video released. I most played vanilla WoW and it was definitely worth the wait. Such an awesome game for it’s time.

  2. so what he’s saying is, don’t expect the PvP update to D3 before Nov 2012

    • Or rather don’t expect it this year at all. They’ll get close to finishing it but then it won’t meet their standards and they’ll delay it to next year.

  3. What’s with the question mark at the end?

    It’s too late to question this stuff: I’ve been browsing this website for almost a year now and this game better be good enough to not doubt it’s goodness! 

    • It just seems to be Flux’s attitude towards Blizzard. This seems quite strange to me as well. He is running a fan site of a game he disses and mocks in basically every post he makes. Thumbs for the activity but thumbs down for the attitude.

      • wah wah wah, whinger. Entire front page of news items that are not dissing shit. If you want to be spoon fed sanitized grog head to google and search for it. there are lots of them that will pander to your sensitivities.

        • Well, I guess it’s just a matter of how people interpret what they read. But to me a conclusion in a news item that Blizzard games are not always worth the wait seems kinda strange. I mean, to me at least, it seems clear Flux is saying that D3 is not gonna be worth it, which makes me raise my eye brows.

          • My thoughts exactly. Being unbiased is one thing, dissing the game left and right is another.

          • I think its very reasonable to question the worth of this game at this point.  2 months ago at the “oh we fired a senior designer and are redoing all the stats and half of the game mechanics but trust us :)” announcement I called the development of this game a total fiasco and I doubt people who have followed it would disagree.  After a lot of improvements and some very solid beta recently I wouldn’t say that right now but it remains to be seen how well this game turns out beyond the skeleton king.

             I think there’s been some very solid indications over the last few months that this game is not balanced or polished to any degree and that there’s a very good chance that launch disappoints a lot of people and it won’t be a good game at all until 6+ months down the line.

          • It’s almost as if I posed a question for discussion in comments.

            Does anyone think the very concept that some bliz games might not be worth the wait, which is routinely 5+ years, inappropriate for debate?

          • I won’t bother defending flux and attempting to beat the dead horse, but if you feel that there is something praiseworthy about the dev cycle and the ridiculous tuning stage how about you come on out and say it rather than the usual “omg !11 so many negative things to say omgomg.”  What exactly is positive that you find?  I for one raise the same question as flux. Will d3 be THAT good?  

            I don’t think the game is going to suck and I will probably love it at least for the first full playthrough. Will the endgame be up to par and the game be another worthy blizz title?  who knows… there are plenty of things that have me questioning it. I think pretty much everyone can agree the dev of this game has been a disaster and that raises many questions, in theory yes, but legitimate questions on how good this game is really going to be. 

          • Blizzard games has up to this point been worth the wait imho, but the questionmark at the end makes sense since we aren’t done waiting for it yet and thus cannot know if it will be worth it until we actually have played the game. But theres a high chance it will be worth the wait again I have high hopes just because it’s been worth it so many times before! 🙂

          • @alirawiduh
            If it was a conclusion he wouldn’t have posed a question.  A question invites an answer, debate and discussion.  You interpreted the question as a statement but that was your choice and not necessarily the intention.  So your eyebrow raising was self-inflicted.

            The only statement here was yours that every news item flux disses Blizzard, that was your conclusion and it was wrong which is easy to check by looking at the front page.

    • I certainly think the game will be worth the wait, and i wouldn’t call the development of this game a disaster, however if this were a different game company i would definitely deem the development disastrous because they probably would have gone out of business before they were even able to release the game. From what i played of the areas in the beta after the skeleton king the game was more difficult, interesting, and dynamic after the skeleton king. This could all change and the game could be terrible but honestly i think its most likely that the game will end up being worth the wait.

  4. Who held out the longest on shaving? Is anyone still growning their beard?

  5. hardly!! indeed what the hell have they been doing the past year or so? I mean for god’s sake it’s not like the Diablo gameworld is complicated stuff, compared to titles like Mass Effect where you got a gazillion different little things to implement and test like the rep system, and the numerous missions and sidequests and the personal storyline branches with the other characters, and the dialogue stuff, and the overall gameplay, and the awesome different worlds and stuff. for god’s sake Bioware released two major ME titles in 2 years!

    helps you really put in perspective and show you how useless Blizzard is. tell THAT to Bashiok from me and see if he can even respond to that! (I can’t because I don’t have beta access, thus no chars to access through and I sure as hell ain’t gonna play piece of shit WoW)

    • You’re trolling, right? If you think the morality system in Mass Effect requires anywhere near the amount of testing that just about any of D3’s core systems require, you’re crazy.

      • that’s exactly what everyone thought of D3’s every single system at first……you figure this one out. and you’re picking ONE thing and ignoring the rest……..now who’s trolling? idiot

      • Diablo 3 system may look deceptively simple. But you really have to look deeper. 

        While a good game in their own right, Mass Effect doesn’t have a complicated combat and loot drop system and not even the massive equipment which is typical in an RPG, actually you can’t even call their 2-choice skill system as ‘deep’.

        Compare that to the balancing of 5 completely different class with 20s skills with 5 variations each and 60 level of progression, and that’s not even the hardest part. As a loot hunting game the most important mechanic and hardest to balance will be the drop system, far from just dropping ammo like in Mass Effect, Diablo drop system have to be tuned so that it drop the right balance of item for all 8 armor slots and all permutation of possible weapon type, not to mention item rarity balance…..

        I could go on and on, but really the mechanic in Diablo is way more deeper than you give credit for it… 

    • Ok, but let’s be honest here, all ME games where pretty buggy and had pretty simplified systems in most cases compared to previous Bioware games… and ME2 went almost full shooter…    Of course at this rate after 2-3 more games Blizz will be testing irthe next game for 10 years minimum.

    • How many different endings are there in ME 3?
       
      Edit: this was meant for the guy who was prasing Bioware /Mass Effect

  6. ME require more testing than Diablo3? Are you kidding me?  Single player RPG can not require more testing than the game with huge amount of items,skills,monster,multiplayer.

  7. Apparently, Jay was actually fine tuning his chili recipe.

  8. I’m sorry for offending you but when someone is seemingly rooting so hard against your favorite team you feel compelled to speak up.

    Denying that the ‘question’ you posed wasn’t loaded to the brim with derision is ridiculous

  9. Duke Nukem Forever, Daikatana, Prey, Starcraft Ghost, and Too Human were all delayed/vaporware games.  NONE of them were worth the wait.  They never showed an ounce of polish – on the contrary, these games had broken mechanics.  On the other side of the coin are rushed games like Hellgate London that lacked both polish and working game mechanics.

    Diablo III is going to launch with polish and solid mechanics.  The issue is never about time unless the studio is out of money, but instead is about the quality of the game.  So yes, it is worth the wait.  

    Cut Flux some slack, he is at least 60% correct on this issue (man, what a delay!) and he helps run the best D3 fansite.  He is just wrong with his little question mark implication 😛

  10. To put the question in a different light: Can the incredibly long development actually be worth it to Blizzard?  Considering the amount that must have been paid in salaries and other overhead to develop this game, it seems difficult to imagine Blizz pulling a profit at all.  That’s especially true when one considers that there won’t be any subscription revenue and that the RMAH is a relatively untested method to finance server maintanence, patching, ect.  Could it be that D3 is something of a calculated PR expense to keep a large fanbase loyal for the next big moneymaker?

    • That is a good question texastoned, but I think they have done their math (being a public company and all) and this is a concious decision. Longer lead time yes, but better quality to not let people down, which means more revenue in the future.

      I can see that many (younger) fans have hard time accepting the long development time, but so far I can fully stand behind on basically all of Blizzard’s arguments (I don’t play PvP:). Like the Inferno difficulty scaling was well argumented, and so was the  “melee distance” issue, for real, kiting is boring and should not be possible in SC2 either 🙂 To put a long story short, Bllizard is focusing on the right aspect, to make the game fun!

      That said, atleast 21 other readers agree with me about Flux’s attitude (see the recommendation of my post). But he is doing good job on the site, lots of news and in a very detailed level as well. I would just hope to see less negativeness towards D3 and Blizzard.

      🙂 

      • I’m a looong time visitor to this site but haven’t started posting until recently.  One of the reasons I keep coming back is that Flux’s ‘cynicism’ towards Blizzard tends to be pretty entertaining if only because it keeps the trolls fed and flamers flaming.  Seriously, if it wasn’t for some of the outlandish and overblown reactions that I read, I wouldn’t feel half as well balanced as I do.  For my part, I’m glad to have Flux instigating even when he comes down kinda hard on Blizzard.

  11. “…we were unhappy with some of game systems”
    – Skill system
    – Rune System
    – PvP system
    something like remake the whole game again 🙂 Maybe that’s the answer why 600++ “non-developers” was fired 🙂 + Dev team director … who leave or something.
    Anyway the final product seems very very good… and i can’t wait till 15th May.

  12. Some of you guys have completely lost your minds. Anybody looking at Diablo 3, even just the beta or the Web presence, can tell that it’s absolutely, without a doubt a AAA title that will likely be hugely popular. It’s not a forever revenue stream like an MMO, nor should it be, but it will certainly be as satisfying a single player experience as any of the recent Call of Duty / Battlefield games, and will also have significant longevity as a persistent dungeon crawler. Anybody who doesn’t see that has lost context. 

  13. ME3 is the perfect example as to why you don’t rush a game. Blizzard, take as long as you need with Diablo 3, we are in no rush. Better a delayed gourmet meal than a turd for breakfast.

  14. -as satisfying a single player experience as any of the recent Call of Duty-   
     
    So it will only last 4 and a half hours? And that was with dying a lot coz i don’t car enough about FPS’s not to suck at them (well besides l4d, but that’s because i had friends to play with).

  15. They were removed to help with the console port.

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