By pure accident today I stumbled across a very recent podcast with ex-Blizzard CCO Rob Pardo who left Blizzard back in July. It’s a really long interview, but in it Rob talks about the problems with Diablo 3 and some of the mistakes they made, as well as the now removed auction house.
As a long-time fan of the Diablo series, it’s actually quite hard to listen to because many of the problems with the game when it shipped were highlighted right here on this site months and months before a beta test even started. The fans were trying to stress potential problems with some of the revealed design decisions but it felt like Blizzard were just not listening.
When the game was released and problems with the loot system and the auction house surfaced, as many here predicted they would, the horse had bolted. With Josh taking over from Jay, it was only at that point Blizzard realised they needed to have more dialogue with the community. The community was really torn over how they felt about the game and it’s taken an expansion and more interaction with fans to get the game back on track. Just a real shame that wasn’t done from the start and Blizzard had actually tested the game properly, a point Rob makes in the interview.
Interestingly, Rob still feels that there could have been some form of an auction house when they were discussing the problem internally and Josh was one of the vocal team members that wanted to have it pulled from the game.
Rob’s interview is a whopping four hours long covering all Blizzard games, but if you head to this page and jump to around 1 hour 39, he talks about Diablo 3. Here’s a snip:
We were never truly able to beta test the game at a scale… I think we would have uncovered the problems, fixed it and made changes to it before it went into wide relase. The way we tested Diablo 3, we only really stress test, we never really tried to have a big population that played the game over a period of months, like we did with World of Warcraft.
We never really got at that in the beta (auction house), until we had ten million players, and yeh, it had a lot of problems that of course, in retrospect we should have seen those things but we just didn’t see them.
The other thing I think that people confuse, because its such a magnet for controversy, the thing I think was bad about the the auction shouse, it’s not actually the real money part of it, because people think they did this real money thing and that’s why it’s bad. Even if you took the real money part of it out, it was the auction house itself that hurt the game.