Over the years there has been mutterings about the possibility of Diablo eventually becoming an MMO. If you were hoping that at some point in the future you’d be battling the forces of hell with thousands of other players then you can forget it. According to Blizzard’s Kevin Martens who was speaking to Kotaku all talk of an MMO version at Blizzard is off the table.
It was a really interesting idea back when we were into it, but I think Diablo has a really strong fantasy on its own. Having a thousand people playing it with you on a server doesn’t dramatically increase it. We’ve learned to love the smaller, more focused party experience of four people. And some people are like, ‘Why don’t you do five?’ I mean, we could, but kinda built the game around four people in mind. So the temptation of expanding the social circle has fallen by the wayside as we learned more about what we enjoy about Diablo.”
We’re happy with where the game is at, with the understanding that no designer is ever truly happy with a game. We like the direction we’ve chosen for this. It’s way over the top. Those four people probably do as much damage as any thousand people in any MMO. They’re lords of destruction.
Even if we stay in the realm of action-RPGs with randomization, there’s no shortage of things you can do with that. The future is bright. And I think not every game has to be like Diablo. After Diablo II there was a period where a bunch of games were a lot like it, but then people decided to try different things. And Diablo III came out of that environment in that it’s both very similar and very different.”
I’ll admit there was a time after the release of WoW I would have loved to have seen Diablo become an MMO but as time passed and the MMO genre became extremely stale I’m happy Blizzard has stuck to their guns with the Diablo franchise. You have to wonder if the auction house and online only requirements were an experiment to see how the Diablo community would react to MMO-like features. We all know how well that went.
Update: This is somewhat ironic, since various interviews with Max Schaefer informed us that Diablo 3 began life as an MMORPG.