Diablo 3 has been out for a full two months now, and Blizzard co-founder Mike Morhaime is taking a look back at the game's launch. In a lengthy note, he cops to some struggles, makes promises about the future, and sticks by the company's decision to have an always-online requirement.
"We know that it isn't perfect," he says. "Our teams are working hard to improve the game balance, build on our design, and listen to what players are saying to make it the best game it can be."
For example, Morhaime offered yet another explanation for the game's always-on requirement. He says that it does stem the problem of cracks, even if it doesn't eliminate it completely, and the always-online requirement is the easiest way to support its connected game design. "The effectiveness of the online elements - including the friends list and cross-game communication; co-op matchmaking; persistent characters that you can use by yourself, with others, and in PvP; and some of our customer support, service, and security components -- is tied directly to the online nature of the game," he said on the Diablo forums. "While there are some downsides to the online-only approach, I still believe this was the best long-term decision for the game."
Going forward, patch 1.0.4 will include buffs to underused abilities, and more diverse Legendary items to encourage people to keep grinding for new loot. Future updates on the docket, though not necessarily 1.0.4, will also include improvements to viewing friends' achievements, quickly joining games, and auction house functionality updates. Patch 1.1 will add PvP, and the team is working on giving high-powered characters new goals to deal with the recent admission that the game ends.