Vote: Jay Wilson Leaves Diablo 3

After yesterday’s surprise announcement that Jay Wilson would be leaving his position as the Diablo 3 Game Director, here’s the mandatory vote to gauge community opinion on the change. Do you guys think things will improve with a new Game Director? Do you think Jay did more good than harm, or vice versa? Do you think most D3 dev decisions stemmed from team consensus and input from executives with an eye on the RMAH and that Jay got way more praise and blame than he deserved? Do you think we’re all 95% in the dark since we have no idea who actually makes final decisions on anything inside of Blizzard?

So many possible opinions, but we can at least see what most of you guys think. Pick the option that best matches your PoV and hit the comments to explain or argue as needed.

Jay Wilson's time as D3 Game Director...

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47 thoughts on “Vote: Jay Wilson Leaves Diablo 3

  1. Jay Wilson was also lead designer of …Company of Heroes and Warhammer 40.000 Dawn of War…

    He also played a very important role in Homeland 2.

    Diablo 3 is his third successful mlti million selling game in a row.

    … Just telling.

    • Sure, but what does that have to do with this poll about Jay on D3? That we cannot vote ‘terrible’? Which I din’t by the way, I voted ‘poor job’

    • Blizzard has sold millions of copies of Diablo 3. That’s a fact all right mate. A fact that doesn’t truly reflect on the quality of the game, which is rather low in my opinion.

    • Spoken like a true corporate shill, putting monetary interests before and above the quality of the art/product and the reception of the customers.

      By the way,

      “There’s no way outsiders can hold an informed opinion pro or con.”

      This is an asinine choice. WE ARE ALL INSIDERS by the mere fact that we not only paid for the product but are witnesses and consumers of the art/product they created. If I went to a restaurant and I was served rotten vegetables and I taste the rottenness, I am well within my rights to demand he answer for allowing I be served such rotten vegetables and to challenge the chef’s competence in his craft, which is exactly what the community at large has done.

    • Yes, because D3’s success had nothing to do with the popularity of its beloved predecessors nor the Blizzard brand name. It was all a direct result of Jay Wilson’s immense experience and proven success as a RTS developer that D3 became such a hit ARPG title. His experience in those RTS games, obviously, was a major boon for such a completely different genre of gaming.

      Besides, amazing game developers can’t possibly put out a subpar or shitty game. I mean, look at how amazing Hellgate: London was or Daikatana. Best of their genres.

      Also, popularity and monetary success is the ultimate indicator of quality. I mean, look at McDonalds, Twilight, Transformer movies, Jersey Shore TV series, Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus, Jonas Brothers, Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj, CoD4:MW76, Zynga games, Madden franchise, all of the new FF games, RE6… I can go on forever.

  2. I picked “poor job.” There’s some truth to the argument that we, as outsiders, can never really know exactly who or what forces were responsible for which decisions, but I’ll paraphrase a comment that was made in the previous article.

    At some point, Jay was the game director. The buck stops with him. Ultimately, if there’s a team consensus for a decision he knows is bad or if executives are pressuring him to make a decision he knows is bad, it’s his job to convince them otherwise. I realize that’s somewhat idealistic, and on a decision by decision basis, I think it’s probably completely idealistic, but over a 7 year period, the big picture is his responsibility.

    If you think D3 was kind of disappointing, that’s Jay’s fault. If you think D3 was an abject failure, that’s Jay’s fault. And if you think D3 was unbelievably awesome, that’s Jay’s fault too. It’s all his fault whether he made the decision or allowed the decision to be made.

    • I agree completely. Diablo III has improved dramatically post launch, but the long development time was full of missteps, back tracking, removal of features and other factors that inevitably diminished the game’s quality at launch. There’s no way to prove his overall performance, but as the game director he becomes the public figure for the game’s development and as such, must take the credit/blame as applicable.

    • Voted “poor” for the same reasosn as Dr Elmer Jiggle. Game development is not democracy – the director says No or Go.

    • Seriously though, if the GAME DIRECTOR is not responsible for the product they are producing, then who is? A bit of accountability goes a long way and I think it is the lack of accountability that contributed to the state of D3.

      Therefore, I have no sympathy for the fellow.

  3. At the end of the day, Jay Wilson’s job as “Game Director” was to make sure that the general creative vision behind D3 was solid and that all of his employees were working on the right track. That being said, D3 is generally broken, so it is very reasonable to place a lot of that blame upon Jay’s shoulders for not having a proper vision for what D3 needed to be, and needs to strive for in the future.

  4. The buck stops with Jay is correct.

    They can fix the item system, they can’t ever fix Diablo : The Phantom Menace. This game was a complete disaster, and only made money because of the history. The total lack of atmosphere in the game, the terrible story and writing, the generic music, online only, dozens of broken/useless skills. With all its years of development it somehow managed to have less interesting zones, items and skills than D2 classic, obviously the story is like comparing steak to spam.

    I have never felt gaming disappointment like it before, it left me reeling with uncertainty about my hobby as a gamer, did I seriously wait 4 years for this crap? fool me once Blizzard….

      • On an early Diablo podcast flux mentioned how much he loved EastEnders

        And yeah maybe Diablo 4 will be better, I might be as frail as Cain by the time it comes out though.

  5. wow (6) is like the first poll option in like 10 polls i can identify with. I don’t think he is the devil people make him out to be. but in interviews he also shows lack of understanding of what made Diablo 2 the game that we love.

    on the other D3 was a group project – so i don’t imagine that Jay Wilson just brawled his BS Ideas through all opposition.

    That would be decremental to his person but it would be the best case scenario when it comes to “second chances” for Diablo3 future. it would mean that there is a realisitc chance that diablo 3 will change a fundamental fashion.

    whoever will take his place – we’ll see whether it changes for better or worse.

  6. Option 6 doesn’t belong in this poll.

    If you need to be an insider first, then I guess 100%(yes not even 99.99%) of this site should not vote at all.

    • It also indirectly invalidate the purpose of this poll.

      I mean this a poll that have an option that basically said: “You have no right to vote in this poll”

    • That option is simply there for “I’m reasonable and smart” types to reduce “Jay was terrible” votes. Simple damage control. Flux does it for every controversial poll to somewhat prove incgamers does not only contain haters.

      As for the poll’s topic, Diablo community (I’m included) don’t see any quality problem for Diablo 3. It’s all about design decisions. It seems nearly all of the decisions that were made for D3 is awful. Then who are we going to blame? Artist X, Programmer Y or the Game Director?

      If some of those smart-wannabe types claim that upper Blizz management pushed Jaw for decisions like RMAH, it’s even worse for him to stay and accept being a puppet for 7 years. Then Jay has no social skills to be assigned as the game lead for a facebook game or any game, let alone Diablo 3.

      People don’t have to play Devil’s advocate right?

    • Yeh, who are these people with that opinion?!? There is no place for them here.Rational. Smational.

      How can we vote anything else if we’re not even able to qualify why we selected another option. If only there was some means to convey our thoughts, elaborate why we thought Jay did a bad job. Damn it to hell with these insurmountable hurdles.

  7. op barbs, loot diarrhea, shit build diversity for monks, ah 2 win, I blame it all on this guy. good riddance, where’s the option fuck that loser?

  8. Only 28% say there is no way the public can make an informed decision but 72% are saying they can make an informed decision. So could the 72% share with the rest of us how they have access to make an informed decision of what goes on behind closed doors?

    • Well, you seem to be a little slow on the uptake. Being a game director, JW had a responsibility and had to take decisions. Wrong decisions, naffing game. End off. Would you rather I elaborated on that?

    • You know, there’s a difference between voicing an opinion and believing and stating it as being an informed one. I’ve voted 4), because that’s my opinion. This opinion is made from the big talk made public combined with my experience of the game. That the result is in no way an informed opinion and influenced by personal taste is quite clear. Still, it is my opinion.

  9. WoW and SC2 strike teams anyone??

    D3 was a company effort and as such certainly has its own share of politics. There are certainly people there who have bad ideas that make it in because of the clout of the person behind it. Cough *metzen*.

    D3 is full of design choices that have significant up and down sides. I think the #1 issue with d3 is it was NOT designed for hardcore d2 players. It seems to specifically do things counter to d2. I think blizzard sorely underestimated how many cantankerous old d2 players would buy this game, and instead designed the game to be more accessible to people new to the franchise who had played more recent products, like wow.

    • And then the new players they attracted got frustrated because they weren’t adding new content at the same rate that WoW got.

  10. I wish “F.u.c.k. that looser” was an option. that would be hilarious.
    ebenthough i guess his job was pretty hard and he did not to bad.

  11. I broke tie!!! (worse than “first”, I guess…)

    Anyway, I’m not sure if it everything going bad was Jay’s fault, but it gives me some hope…

  12. I think people pile the hate on because Jay and Bobby are “faces.” If there’s a decision Joe McGamer doesn’t like, it’s simply easier to point to a face and say “s/he did that” instead of some vague group of people who all work together behind closed doors. Look at any president/prime minister/whatever who gets the vast brunt of blame/praise for actions that mostly take place in congress/parliament/insert governing body here.

    Oh, and nostalgia. D3 has flaws. D2 has flaws that have gone unaddressed for much longer. Rune hunting, synergies as a band-aid fix for terrible skill balance, and charms are the big ones that everyone just accepts because they’ve been around for years and won’t change. That doesn’t make them good gameplay elements. Who do we blame that on? I mean, it certainly can’t be that we’ve matured as gamers in the years since D2’s release. It must be someone’s fault.

    I picked 5, but it’s a combination of 5 and 6. There was a group effort that the fans weren’t privy to; blaming someone when we don’t know the development details is just wasted energy that could be put towards more constructive things.

  13. I need another option in this vote:

    O He did a good job short-term and financially for the company Blizzard, but an awful job long-term for everything and everyone related to, or interested in Diablo, (perhaps) most of all: damaging Blizzard’s good name as a brand, irreversibly, in the process.

    (How I hate looking back at those 4 years desperately searching every day for some new info about Diablo 3 which never came. And when it came, I now realize, it was all a lie and the opposite. That is what I dislike about Jay the most: the absence of good, normal, decent, polite and humane communi… Well, lets say he just incapable to communicate at all. Always. He exactly did EVERYTHING wrong when he did try to.)

  14. WOW!!! Great news for the franchise. Especially promising for the expansion pack. I feel bad for whoever takes over though. It would be like if Captain Smith handed over the wheel of the Titanic post iceberg collision like “Here let’s see if you can do better *scoff* I need to go change my pants now…”

    I hope the new guy is someone with real talent and has the courage to move the development in a totally new direction. Jay left a huge mess but I think it can be fixed in time. More than likely though we will get another Bobby Kotick “yes” man and it will be back to business as usual for D3. Slow development on issues that do jack to make the game fun again.

    Well at least there’s a glimmer of hope for old D3 now…

  15. I had to give it a poor job vote, technically I want to say horrible and ruined…but its hard to call a game thats average..horrible and ruined, its just not as good as it could have been. Which is really far from horrible and ruined, its the whole trying to be reasonable thing..he didn’t make it great he made it only a poor job when so much of the series had so much figured out already.

    AS for why say he did for why blame him. He was the director..he signed off on all decisions, or chose who got to sign off on decisions. If he didn’t directly decide on a change..he chose the person who made that change and said ‘hey everything you think is good..I agree with by default’. Like it or not at the end of the day it’s him who had to say ‘yes do this’ or ‘no don’t do this’. He had to sign off and say ‘yes the RMAH is a good idea’. He had to sign off and say ‘yes no offline is a good idea’. He had to sign off and say ‘get rid of picking up runes’. He had to sign off and say ‘the only unique things about characters should be the gear picked up’.

    End of the day he chose to sit there, he chose to say yes to decisions…even ones ‘handed down from on high’. He could have said ‘no I won’t do it’ and then decided to leave the company.

    Above all else, remember, he got paid, he got paid big bucks, to help make Diablo III the way it is right now, weather you like it as is or not. Everything had to meet his approval.

    • Your argument is actually, that someone should quit their job in this economy because they don’t like something their boss says? In the entertainment sector? I don’t even know how to respond to that.

      • Nah, my comment is. he agreed to the job, he agreed to sign off on all of that. And he got paid for it. If he didn’t like what was being done, he could have said no and accepted the consequences.

        He didn’t, and he’s given no indication he doesn’t like the direction things went into. So yes, he can be held accountable for being the director and for the bad choices made in production. That is, afterall, what he got paid to do.

  16. I really didn’t want to demonize Jay Wilson as much as half of you guys, probably didn’t deserve vitriolic hate he was getting. But as the game director, he’s ultimately responsible for the quality we receive.

    He’s the general – the guy in charge of what passes through and what doesn’t. The guy who approves or disapproves of the stuff his staff comes up with. It was his job to give his team and the game direction.

    The fact that there are so many things about D3 and the decisions the devteam has made that us, as fans, up in arms is a testament of his failure. The abysmal story, its presentation, the laughably bad characters, the RMAH (regular AH too I suppose), itemization, drop rates, Uniques/Legendary fiasco (and the lies beforehand), the endgame, character progression, PVP, (anti-)social aspects of the game, draconic DRM, even the art direction, etc. are ultimately his responsibility.

    When an organization succeeds or fails, people generally look at its leader. I mean look at any government institution. Movies? Who gets the most praise or blame?

    To top it all off, his (and his copatriots’) utter disrespect for his predecessors (and reason for their success), the dismissive attitude towards fan complaints, and their smugness through all of this was the final straw for me. Like how he summed it all up so eloquently: Fuck that loser.

  17. Maybe Blizzard has some good news saved up to be brought by the new man/woman. Prepare a great start for the newcomer by letting that person present some good changes. They clearly let Jay take the blame for the terrible state of PvP.
    Just hoping of course.

  18. I voted that he was neutral but im not sure anymore. i think the gameplay itself and my “feel” of the game was overall ok, i played alot when it was released, then when rmah came out i was out of there and recently came back in 1.0.5 cuz i wanted to have that hellfire ring, now i just hopes there gonna be some intressting new content in the future, i just read that there is going to be more Bind on Account stuff later on, and i think that is pretty good though its only achieved by actually play the game ^^ just my opinion not a fact ^^

  19. Most of the awful chioces they made with the gameplay aspect of the game can be fixed if they want to. Custom attribute and skill leveling can be brought back. Beeing able to actually fight with the weapon you equip (ie: not through using skills only but _actual_ hand to hand combat) can be brought back. Decent items can most certainly be brought back (without having to use RMAH).

    That would be a start.

    But they _cannot_ undo the absolutely terrible story and they _cannot_ undo the damage they have done to the story of the _previous_ games by their moronic retcons. The Warior was _not_ a god damn prince and brother to Albrecht, he was a stranger, and he did _not_ hook up with Adria after the events of Tristram. And if they think making Adria evil was a clever plot-twist, duuuh, everyone expects a witch to be evil, but Condor did it way better in 1996 by making her appear “shady” while _not_ beeing evil.
    And finally, they _cannot_ undo the worst damage of all by making the abomination Sheablo that was supposedly all evils merged into one, but looked like a frail schoolgirl and was easier to defeat than Belial or Azmodan alone.

    That damage, and more, cannot be undone unless Diablo3 is declared non-canon and ignored, as it should be.

    It’s a half-decent ARPG, but it’s not Diablo.
    People are pissed at George Lucas for destroying Star Wars with the prequels and “updating” the original movies.
    What Blizzard did with Diablo3 is very similar and since Jay was the Game Director, it makes sense to blame him atleast partly for it.

    Hey Blizzard: Wanna know how to make a good ARPG? See: Torchlight 2. Relatively tiny budget, mostly crap story and _still_ lightyears better than Diablo3.
    Outsource all future development of Diablo to Runic or Gazillion so we might actually get a good Diablo game sometime this century.

    Sorry for the rant.

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