Jay Wilson’s PVP Update Blog Post

Well, the PVP blog we’ve been waiting for has been posted and it was definitely not what we were hoping it would be (this seems to be trend with PVP). Jay teased us tweeting that the PVP blog post would be up “shortly” then soon changed his tune stating it would be delayed. I really wonder if the post he thought he was originally going to write was what has now been published, or if things really escalated that quick to warrant this response. Whatever the case, here is the blog post in its entirety.

Diablo III PvP Update

“Hey everyone,

The development team has been working really hard on the features, content, and systems for PvP in Diablo III and I wanted to take some time to give an update on where we’re at.

Of course, our goal has been to release our Team Deathmatch mode as soon as possible, but we don’t want to put anything out there before it’s ready. Right now, Team Deathmatch isn’t yet where we want it to be, so I want to provide some insight into where we are at in the development process.


The State of PvP

Our original intent with PvP for Diablo III was to provide more formal support for the dueling community that existed in Diablo II. We wanted to give players some kind of structure that would not only make it easier for you to duel with one another, but also allow you to have duels that were team-based. This is how our Team Deathmatch mode emerged, and it’s been instrumental in making a lot of improvements to Diablo III. But in continuing to develop this mode, playtest it, and put it in front of other developers within the company, we’ve found that it falls short of our expectations for a high-quality Blizzard experience.

Putting people into an arena and letting them hurl fireballs and swing crazy-ass swords at one another always has an element of fun to it.  I imagine it’s no surprise to anyone reading this blog that people like battling each other in video games, so if you had the chance to play our Team Deathmatch at one of the BlizzCons where we featured it you might not understand why we’d say that we don’t feel the current mode is good enough.


Well, Here’s Why…

For us it comes to a few issues, one of which is depth.  Simply fighting each other with no other objectives or choices to make gets old relatively quickly.  We’ve brought a lot of people in to try out Team Deathmatch and, while some found it entertaining, most of our testers didn’t feel like it was something they’d want to do beyond a few hours. Without more varied objectives, or very lucrative rewards, few saw our current iteration as something they’d want spend a lot of time in.

Another is class balance. Like Diablo II, Diablo III was designed to be a PvE-first kind of game, where we never compromised on player abilities in the name of future PvP balance.  We want to be able to carry over as many of the crazy runes, items, and skills as possible, with their crazy effects, and alter them as little as possible. In a casual PvP mode, something equivalent to a WoW Battleground, this would be fine, but Team Deathmatch felt very hardcore, and it put a laser focus on class balance in a way that we didn’t think would be good for the game as a whole.

Certainly, we’ve gotten a lot of benefits from the development of Team Deathmatch, especially in the areas of controls and combat model tuning, but at this point we don’t believe it’s the experience we feel it needs to be in order to ship, so we will be shelving it for now and exploring other options.


What’s Next

So, our core problem is that our Team Deathmatch mode doesn’t feel like a great addition to Diablo III. It’s not up to the quality that Blizzard gamers expect or that we feel you deserve, and it doesn’t really fit with our goals for the rest of the game. The question now is what are we going to do about it?

First and foremost, if our original goal was to support dueling, then we’re not achieving that goal very well if we don’t actually give players a way to duel in-game. You’ve been asking us for dueling for a while, so we’re going to add it to the game soon. Dueling is currently scheduled to release with patch 1.0.7, which is set to hit sometime after the new year. (We’ll be providing details about that feature very soon, so stay tuned.)

But as I mentioned before, we are going back to the drawing board on a new replacement for Team Deathmatch, something that feels more appropriate for Diablo III.  And as we stated previously, regardless of when we release it, it’ll be a free addition to the game. Team Deathmatch provided us with the foundation that we needed and served us well. Hell, it may even still be added in some form in the future. For now, though, we’re going to first be looking at new modes that play up to the strengths of the character classes, focus on objectives beyond just defeating other players, and possibly even integrate PvE elements and rewards.


Keepin’ It Real

We wanted to be upfront and honest with the community about where this particular project is at. It’s certainly not ideal, and I know some of you got to play Team Deathmatch at BlizzCon and are probably thinking, “It seemed good enough! Just give us that.” I also know how I feel whenever a game or game feature I’m looking forward to is delayed, but, as with all things Blizzard, we want to be sure that the features we add to Diablo III are actually worth it and will make the game better, and PvP is no exception.

While we don’t have any further information to share right now about our plans for additional PvP modes, we really look forward to posting more about dueling in the next few days.


5 Pro Tips for Diablo 3

I know you, you’re sitting at your computer thinking “Blasphemery, I cut my baby teeth on Archbishop Lazarus. I did so many Mephisto runs that the Durance of Hate is practically my second home. There’s nothing you can possibly tell me about the world of Sanctuary that I don’t already know.” Well mister, you’ve got quite an attitude. Diablo III is a much different beast than the previous titles, and there are quite a few things that even an experienced player like yourself might miss out on due to being caught up in the excitement of this decade-in-the-making title.

1) TURN ON ELECTIVE MODE AND ADVANCED TOOLTIPS. This eliminates some of the obligatory dumbing down that we have in modern video games, lets you use any skills you want in any slot, and helps in figuring out how to gear your characters. This should be the very first thing you do when you start up D3. Well, after you know, making your awesome new Hero.

2) PICK UP GOLD. For the love of Tyreal, pick up every single gold pile that drops on the ground, it’s not worthless anymore! White/grey items sell for about 1-10 gold each and do nothing but clog up your inventory, so picking up gold piles is actually the best way to acquire currency! You don’t even have to click it! Just walk over it! Stop being lazy, you need gold! Why
do you need gold you ask? Well…

To upgrade your stash 7 slots: (10k each.)
To buy another stash tab: (100k, 200k, respectively.)
To upgrade your blacksmith
To craft blacksmith items
To upgrade your jewelcrafter
To upgrade the quality of jewels
To buy vendor items
And of course to buy items off the fancy new Auction House.
(Oh and you can also sell gold on the Real Money Auction House once it’s implemented.)

3) LEARN HOW TO GEAR YOUR CHARACTER EARLY. Again, this is much much different than Diablo 2. Gone are the days where you wanted to stack as many +skill levels as possible. There AREN’T any skill levels! Your character’s prime stat is what upgrades your damage and is generally what you want to be focusing on. This means strength for Barbarians, dexterity for Demon Hunters and Monks and intelligence for Witch Doctors and Wizards. Also WEAPON DAMAGE ACTUALLY MATTERS FOR CASTERS. Thats right Witch Doctors and Wizards, many of your spells do a percentage of your weapon damage so you want to be rocking the highest DPS weapon you can- even if that means a two-handed axe. Keep in mind attack speed affects cast speed as well though.

4) BOSS FARMING FOR LOOT DOESN’T WORK. The more elites/uniques/bosses you kill in a single game increases your chances of finding better loot. This means joining a new game and right as they kill diablo will probably only net you a few blue items and thats it. Sorry Mephisto and Pindleskin, looks like your record for number of times killed by loot hungry adventurers won’t be broken anytime soon. In fact once you hit level 60 you get a buff that stacks up to 5 times that reflects this.


Latest Blue Response on PVP

The latest blue post regarding PVP comes from Zarhym who said:

“We want PvP to be incredibly challenging and fun, but we want to avoid turning it into a truly competitive leagues/ladders eSport. We just don’t think Diablo gameplay is very conducive for that type of controlled environment where balance is paramount.

That said, we want to develop PvP as an engaging and rewarding system. What we don’t want to do is take a traditional eSports approach to PvP, where balance will become so important to a competitive ranking system that solo and cooperative gameplay feel a bit neutered as a result. 

We want your characters to feel totally imba. Then we want you to enter some Arenas, send the scorched remains of other players’ corpses flying, and let the satisfaction wash over you — until your opponents take similar care of your hero, that is. ;)”

This response is very clear about their intent to keep Diablo 3 out of the eSports arenas, however, we are still waiting for MLG to announce what their potential partnership is regarding (we should find out sometime around E3 in June or before). Zarhym also stated that D3 PVP is going to be very similar to Diablo 2 in the balance category- so make sure to keep checking back here to see which builds will cause you to ‘gibber’ rather than the ‘gibbee’ once the PVP patch is released.

Open Beta Weekend Draws to a Close

The open beta weekend ended this morning and while most the participants would have loved to have more time ridding Sanctuary of the demonic invasion, the good majority of the comments posted on their experiences have been very positive. Sure, there were some problems (especially early on) but it was a stress test after all and to read so many excited posts is rather amazing.

Those of us in the closed beta still have until May 1st but I think it’s safe to say we’re all ready for release.