Mike Morhaime responds to fans about Diablo IIIPosted 10:16 am on Thursday, July 19th, 2012 by Michael Revis
Despite breaking records in sales and having received praise all around, many people are still find things to criticize about Diablo III. Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime actually took the time to post on the Battle.net forums to respond to these concerns in a lengthy letter.
Of the many topics, he first touches on the rough launch, and how difficult it was to provide for 6 million players logging in at once all over the world. “We’ve never gone from 0 to more than 6 million players across multiple continents within a few days with a brand-new game,” he says. “For Diablo III, we looked at historical sales for Blizzard games and other top-selling PC games and watched preorder numbers. We even upped our estimates to ensure we had additional capacity, or so we thought. In the end, it just wasn’t enough, and that is something we will work hard to conquer for future releases.” He also says that the team has been working hard to address the numerous issues the game has had, admitting that the epic addition to the Diablo franchise isn’t perfect. Morhaime also noted some things coming in 1.04, such as buffing some of the weaker class skills, as well as the inclusion of more legendary level items.
Morhaime then touches on the Real-Money Auction House. “Our primary goal for including this in the game was to provide convenience and peace of mind for those players who might otherwise turn to third-party services to buy items.” Again, he says the RMAH system isn’t perfect, and that the team is constantly working on improvements, while making sure that it isn’t necessary for anyone to actually use it.
The next topic he tackles is the controversy of the always-online DRM, referring to those who believe the system “is nothing but an ineffective form of copy protection that has already been cracked.” He goes on, saying, “While we’ve never said that this requirement guarantees that there will be no cheating or game cracks, it does help us battle those problems (we have not found any fully functional cracks). More important to us is that the online requirement is critical for the long-term integrity of the game experience.” Overall, while he understands the desire to be able to play solo offline, the always-online system was their best means of providing the tools that they desired, such as co-op, friends list functionality, and communication. He concludes on this note with, “That said, there are still improvements we believe we can make to expand the online experience and make co-op play even more rewarding, and this will remain one of our priorities moving forward. Overall, while there are some downsides to the online-only approach, I still believe this was the best long-term decision for the game.”
Morhaime closes his open letter by noting that they’re still working on patch 1.1, which will introduce the PvP portion of the game (they originally took it out for release to further improve on it), as well as additional social and auction house improvements. He says they are also working on new things for max level players to take part in, in order to keep them interested when the item hunt gets dull.
Finally, the Blizzard CEO ends his statement with the following passage; “As always, we appreciate your candor and passion. Your constructive feedback and thoughts are valuable — they will continue to help us be a better company. I just want to reiterate that while we can’t claim to have ever shipped a perfect game, we are committed to supporting our games relentlessly and making improvements where we can. Thank you for your support.”
Michael is a man of many things. Journalist, writer, gamer, professional procrastinator, cosplayer, super hero, whale wrestler, evil mastermind, and robot master. And that’s just on the weekends.