Category Archives: News

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

–Jay”

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.

The Open Beta Weekend Has Begun!

With the release date fast approaching, the time for stress testing is here- and with it is your chance to give the first 13 levels a try before the beta ends! Here is the announcement Lylirra posted on the forums:

We’re pleased to announce the Diablo III open beta weekend, which offers open access to all players with a valid Battle.net account! Beginning this Friday everyone is invited to log in and help us put the game and servers through their paces in this three day stress test as we march toward the game’s release on May 15. You can begin downloading the Diablo III client right now!

From Friday, April 20 at 12:01 p.m. PDT (noon), until Monday, April 23 at 10:00 a.m. PDT you’ll be able to log in, team up with friends, and play each of the five heroic classes to level 13 as you fight to save the world from the impending demonic invasion.

FAQ

What steps do I need to take?

I don’t have a Battle.net account — can I still play?
Absolutely! Just visit http://www.battle.net to create a free Battle.net account. Next, download the client from https://us.battle.net/account/download/index.xml and install it. Create your BattleTag, and then log in to the game using your Battle.net account name (email address) and password to begin slaughtering the demonic hellspawn that dare stand in your way.

Are there any differences for stress test participants versus invited closed beta testers?
Stress test participants will only be able to access the beta between Friday, April 20 at 12:01 p.m. PDT (noon), and Monday, April 23 at 10:00 a.m. PDT. In addition, stress test participants will not have access to post in the beta forums and will not be provided Beta Bucks for use in testing the currency-based auction house.

Can all regions/countries participate?
Due to regional differences and features of the stress test client, Korean players will not be able to partake in the stress test weekend. However, beginning the week of April 23, we will be conducting a separate, invitation-only closed beta test that will give players in Korea a chance to try out the game, along with players in the regions of Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau.

What if the service is down/laggy/disconnecting me?
It’s very possible that players connecting to the stress test could experience issues with the service. While not ideal, this is exactly why we’re having a stress test. We want to catch and analyze as many bugs as possible during this stress test period, so that we can try to ensure a smooth launch on May 15.

I’m having an issue, how can I get help?
Due to the limited window of the stress test we encourage you to visit the Technical Support or Mac Technical Support forums if you’re having any issues running the game, and checking the Known Issues list if you’re running into a bug. As a stress test participant you will not be able to post in the beta forums.

What platforms and languages do you support?
For the stress test we’re offering the client in English, French, and German for both Windows and Mac. At release the game will be fully localized into English, Latin American Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, French, German, European Spanish, Italian, Polish, Korean, and Traditional Chinese for Windows, and English, French, and German for Mac.

I’m an invited closed beta tester, what happens after the stress test weekend ends?
As an invited closed beta tester you’ll continue to have access until the beta ends on May 1.

The End of the Beta is Nigh

The community site posted a new blog post discussing the inevitable- the end of the beta. However, it will be up until 2 weeks before launch so we can squeeze in some more pre-release Act 1 action until May 1st. Here is the official announcement:

The Diablo III Beta Draws to a Close

We’d like to thank everyone who has participated in the Diablo III beta. You’ve done an admirable job of testing, and we greatly appreciate all of the feedback you provided during this critical phase of development.

In preparation for the launch of Diablo III on Tuesday, May 15, the beta servers will be brought offline onTuesday, May 1. At that time, all beta accounts and character information will be reset. Leading up to Diablo’s May 15 launch date, players will only be able to create comments and forum posts on the official Diablo III community site if they have pre-purchased Diablo III or have a StarCraft II or an active World of Warcraft game license attached to their Battle.net account. In the meantime, we encourage everyone to stay tuned to this website for exciting news and updates regarding the upcoming release.

Thank you again for your participation, and we’ll see you soon on Battle.net!