Category Archives: PVP

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.

Will Diablo 3 PVP Become an eSport After All?

A recent interview on an episode of The Losers Bracket featured Sundance DiGiovanni , the co-founder and CEO of Major League Gaming. During the lengthy interview, some questions were asked regarding Diablo 3 and the answers were quite… exciting.

Sundance hinted at some very big news but was careful not to give much away. When specifically asked about what future titles MLG is planning to work with, DiGiovanni avoided directly answering the question. Instead, he stated that “there’s stuff in the works” and that a company based out of Anaheim “might be working with us. So, uh, you can piece that together. I can’t really comment.”

He also clarified that a recent tweet referencing going to Anaheim after E3 (which takes place in Los Angeles from June 5-7) did have something to do with an event at the Anaheim Convention Center with the unspecified company (Blizzard) and the unnamed new MLG title- implying Diablo 3.

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PVP Update: No PVP at Release

We recently received some PVP-specific news from Jay Wilson, but it wasn’t at all what we were hoping to hear. Here is the entirety of what Jay had to say:

“As we’re counting down the days until we’re ready to announce a release date for Diablo III, we’ve come to realize that the PvP game and systems aren’t yet living up to our standards. Today, we wanted to let you know that we’ve made the difficult decision to hold back the PvP Arena system and release it in a patch following the game’s launch. After a lot of consideration and discussion, we ultimately felt that delaying the whole game purely for PvP would just be punishing to everyone who’s waiting to enjoy the campaign and core solo/co-op content, all of which is just about complete.

While we work on making sure PvP lives up to its full potential, we hope you’ll find some consolation in the fact that soon, you’ll be having a blast leveling characters, finding items, learning the classes, and perfecting builds…and that when the Arenas do arrive, you’ll be all the better prepared for battle.

When the PvP patch is ultimately ready, it will add multiple Arena maps with themed locations and layouts, PvP-centric achievements, and a matchmaking system that will help you and your team get into fairly matched games quickly and easily. We’ll also be adding a personal progression system that will reward you for successfully bashing in the other team’s skulls.

We know a lot of you are looking forward to PvP, and we’ll be focusing our post-launch efforts on making sure the Arenas are as brutal, bloody, fast-paced, and awesome as we know they can be. In the meantime, we’re in the process of putting the finishing touches on what we think is a truly epic campaign and co-op experience for launch.

We’ll have a lot more info to share on the PvP system in the future, and we look forward to the moment we can get the game into your hands.”

I can’t say I was entirely surprised to read this announcement since there hasn’t been any external PVP testing besides the Blizzcon demo. Not to mention, there have also been massive changes to many of the skills and runes (as well as the overall system) in the last couple of patches. And as Jay pointed out, this isn’t all bad news.

I have no doubt that the campaign and storyline are going to be amazing (part of the reason that they limited the beta to only the first part of act 1, avoiding spoilers). However, with PVP content being patched in sometime after release we can now use that time to enjoy the PVE content we’ll have available to us at launch. This also means that we’ll have more time to get our characters battle ready for the arena patch- helping ensure that we’ve got our ideal class leveled/geared up and rocking a great build.

Another interesting thing that Jay brings up is the “personal progression system”. We’ve heard a bit about these rewards previously but never much more than mentions of the possibility of PVP-specific titles, ranks, points (towards advancement in the system), banner decor, cosmetic options, and the potential of the reemergence of severed ears. Hopefully Jay’s reference to sharing more info in the future will come sooner rather than later.

Bashiok on PVP Balance

Bashiok chimed in on a forum post regarding who would win in a PVP situation between the Wizard and the Monk stating the following:

“If it’s balanced perfectly it’d be 50/50. :)

I don’t know, ranged does have a damage advantage just because … its ranged. A melee oriented class like the monk has to close the gap to do any damage, but luckily the monk has a few options to close the gap. The monk is going to be beefier though with more defense and vitality over the wizard, ideally that’d negate any extra damage the wizard is able to pull off before getting pommeled.

There isn’t a right answer, though. It comes down to skill selection, gear, and the players. Everything being equal it comes down to balance, and that should be equal as well if we do our jobs right, and if we don’t you can expect some hotfixes or patches to try to make it that way. ;)”

Just as my 2 cents, I’m willing to bet that we’ll be seeing quite a few more Wizards wreaking havoc in the arena than Monks, at least initially. One of the reasons I say this is because the Wizard is more of a classic design and many of the people who were adamant Sorceress players will have a slight advantage early on. The same holds true with the Barbarian, and both of these classes were very strong in the arena matches at the most recent Blizzcon. Since the Monk is a new class for Diablo 3, it may require more time to become familiar with the playstyle, abilities, and resources.

What do you think? Am I completely off-base? Will Blizzard be able to keep the classes balanced anywhere close to the 50/50 mark if they don’t plan on supporting PVP on an eSport level?