Has Blizzard given up on Diablo III
Blizzcon begins this weekend and, after five years since the release of Diablo III, there has been no major conference or announcement scheduled for Diablo III at Blizzcon. There will, however, be a panel for attendees and virtual ticket holders where they may discuss upcoming features in the game and the upcoming Patch 2.6.1, but we want something bigger.
Diablo is one of Blizzard’s most defining franchises which started back in the early 90s as an RPG putting players in the hands of Nephilim, the offspring of demons and angels. Its rich lore and captivating story were introduced in an age which revolutionized the genre and set the pace for many other games which followed. Diablo II, some will argue, still remains the best title in the trilogy, and players waited anxiously for the release of Diablo III, which took 12 years to complete.
Diablo III came in hot back in 2012, but soon stagnated with repetitive content and no player vs. player (PvP) capability. A number of features which were present and popular in Diablo II were not immediately brought into the game, and many players expressed their concerns over the game’s outlook and many gave up soon enough. For those of us who stuck it out, grinding Act III Grom runs for loot to sell on the then available Auction House rejoiced upon the announcement of Diablo III’s first expansion - Reaper of Souls.
Reaper of Souls brought in a new Hero, new level cap, new boss, and Rifts which added to the perpetual grind offered in Diablo - and it was great! For the hardcore fans, the content was a great change but soon became stale once again. Next, Blizzard announced the Greater Rifts and the reintroduction of seasonal ladders. This was exactly what we wanted, and every season players would return to push themselves to the limit on the leaderboards. New items, new sets, and new legendaries began pouring in along with some much-needed changes to the game. This kept content somewhat fresh, but in the past few years not much has changed and again the game became stagnant. There was a recent Necromancer expansion but, behind a paywall, it didn’t go as well as we’d thought. Diablo III’s 12th season begins on November 9th - and nothing has changed.
Diablo’s biggest issue, despite slow support and lack of content, was that those expansions came at a price for players. Reaper of Souls was an expansion at full price, while the recent Necromance update was slightly cheaper. Despite the introduction of the Necromancer, nothing has changed between recent seasons. It’s still the same grind which offers roughly three weeks of play before it becomes stale. I know this because I play almost every season. It’s hard to exactly pinpoint what needs to be done to bring in, or bring back, players, but it’s clear that something has to be done.
Has Blizzard given up? Short answer - no, I don’t think so. But their other projects seem to require a lot more time and effort from the company. If we look at other titles under the Blizzard banner, they’re all heavily funded by the gamers who play them. World of Warcraft has millions of subscribers, Hearthstone has the option to buy packs and small expansions, and Overwatch has a massive driving esports development. This seems to allow Blizzard a lot more time and effort to further develop and update these titles while Diablo III seems to have fallen behind. There have been recent rumors circulating about a Diablo II HD remaster, and some users spotted job listings on the Blizzard website for Diablo, but nothing coming out of Blizzcon hints at any such announcement. In conclusion, the game is still fun in its own way, but for die-hard fans, we’re honestly aching for something.