Diablo 3 Kicks Off Season 13, But Does Anyone Care?

Without any new content or a balance patch, what will bring the Nephalem back to the fight?

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Diablo 3 has had a wild run. From a seemingly endless development cycle, to the shaky launch and beyond the exceptional expansion, the game has seen more ups and downs than the back seat of your mom's car. As time marches on, the addictive loot-driven action-RPG loses some luster. Despite this, new hope and excitement has surrounded the start of each of the seasonal competitive ladder resets, but with the kickoff to Season 13, it feels less like a new race and more like the horse fell out of the starting gate and died.

In the absence of a major patch or item rebalance, Season 13 offers returning players a pair of armor cosmetics, a new portrait frame (that looks just like the other 150 frames), and another evil teddy bear. The gifted armor sets that new seasonal characters can receive have also rotated, but offer nothing we haven’t seen before.

Understandably, Blizzard is probably ready to put the project out to pasture. It is a single-purchase product that saw only one major expansion (and one new character expansion later on) and and offers the company no revenue for any new resources invested. It costs money to keep the servers up and running (and by nature of the game’s design, it is unplayable without these servers). Unlike their steady cash cows WoW, Hearthstone, or Overwatch, Diablo offers Blizzard no steady income. In its early years, the game had a real money auction house where Blizzard skimmed something off the top of every transaction, but it was shut down due to player backlash.

It may simply be time to say our goodbyes and begin hope that a new Diablo experience may be on the horizon. It is extremely unlikely that a Diablo 4 would be a one-and-done purchase offering now that Blizzard has proven that microtransactions are a much better return on their investment. A rumored Nintendo Switch port of Diablo 3 may help them wring out a few more bucks from the project, though.

Maybe Blizzcon 2018 will give series fans the treat they’ve been hoping for.

Contributing Tech Editor

Chris Jarrard likes playing games, crankin' tunes, and looking for fights on obscure online message boards. He understands that breakfast food is the only true food. Don't @ him.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    February 26, 2018 10:15 AM

    Chris Jarrard posted a new article, Diablo 3 Kicks Off Season 13, But Does Anyone Care?

    • reply
      February 26, 2018 10:20 AM

      Karen Empathy was a good shacker

    • reply
      February 26, 2018 10:32 AM

      What a lazy article.

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        February 26, 2018 10:34 AM

        It's not like there's much to report on though.

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        February 26, 2018 10:35 AM

        I dunno, I found it interesting. I agree that the game is largely forgotten, other than to hardcore fans, and the changes aren’t compelling - eve to fans. They could probably automate it at this point.

        It would have been interesting to explore what will become of the game once d4 comes out; I don’t expect it to be serviced nearly as long as d2.

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          February 26, 2018 12:19 PM

          How many games released in 2014 are not "forgotten" ?

          The whole idea that a $60 game should be played for life is so fucking stupid.

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            February 26, 2018 12:31 PM

            Agree.

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            February 26, 2018 1:08 PM

            Who's saying that the game should be supported forever? The article is reporting that a new season of D3 has started while also making clear that there's no new content, which is something that people usually want to know when they consider going back to D3. I myself played it just this past summer, but hearing that there's not going to be anything new only confirms that I have no reason to go back again. Until Blizz adds new stuff to D3 or announces D4, the series is pretty much dead at the moment.

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              February 26, 2018 1:11 PM

              The level of hostility and anger in the rhetoric surrounding the lack of changes for Season 13 seems to indicate people do expect them to be updated & enhanced for long periods of time.

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                February 26, 2018 1:18 PM

                You're getting this rhetoric from another site, I guess? I assumed we were discussing the article specifically, but if you meant the playerbase in general, I believe you. People wanna play Diablo, but they want either new stuff in D3 or a whole new game.

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                  February 26, 2018 1:29 PM

                  The title sets that tone, and the article is more just depressing and makes it sound like the project is being abandoned.

                  • reply
                    February 26, 2018 1:35 PM

                    I think you're reading too much into it. The title is for clicks. The article is part information, part opinion from a fan of the series who wants a reason to play more Diablo.

        • reply
          February 26, 2018 5:41 PM

          It had a shitton of fun with the game and played it many hours. At this point though, they need to release something new. I just can't be bothered to play it unless there's something new.

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            February 26, 2018 5:54 PM

            Oddly, I feel the exact same way, but somehow have no problem logging into world of Warcraft for the next 9 months without new content. Im actually considering unsubscribing and picking up destiny 2, though I hear it’s a shallow game.

      • reply
        February 26, 2018 10:37 AM

        the title made me laugh, because really who does care

      • reply
        February 26, 2018 11:13 AM

        I learned that there has been 13 seasons for a game i never played. Even diablo was boring for me.

      • reply
        February 26, 2018 6:00 PM

        I don't find it that way at all. It's THE question being asked about Diablo III right now. Do you have any constructive criticism or are you just airing things out under the bridge?

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          February 26, 2018 6:04 PM

          The article was basically asking itself why it was written. Write a story about Season 13 and give the details, but it's probably not newsworthy enough anyway. If you'd like to ask the question of how much is left in the tank for Diablo 3, write that instead.

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      February 26, 2018 10:38 AM

      Not I, I've come to learn that I can no longer get into loot games. The cycle of get better stuff to get better stuff to get better stuff just doesn't interest me anymore.

    • reply
      February 26, 2018 10:39 AM

      I hear the next NFL season is also going to have very few balance changes and even same uniforms. Time to put that failed experiment out to pasture too.

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      February 26, 2018 10:43 AM

      it would be hilarious if they were considering bringing the RMAH back for diablo 4, given EA is doing exactly that. oddly enough, blizzard's way is better because you buy exactly what you want. no RNG loot boxes.... hahaha.

    • Zek
      reply
      February 26, 2018 10:48 AM

      D3 is effectively in maintenance mode now. It's still better than what most devs do for their games this long after release, but the fans see it as a blemish on Blizzard's modern reputation of continuing to make real patches for their games forever. Thing is, this expectation is actually quite new - aside from WoW, they didn't start treating all their games as a service until Hearthstone, HotS and Overwatch. D3 is from the old school of Blizzard game design philosophy - put out a good expansion, support it for a while longer then move on. SC2 is similar but it got a small lease on life with co-op commanders, and that game is more competitive in nature anyway so it doesn't need so much new content.

      The solution is Diablo 4 being made with a more MMO style of development. Build the game from the ground up with cosmetic purchases and the expectation that it needs to remain fun for many years, which probably will influence their progression systems as well. Most people don't find restarting with Seasons very compelling, they want to keep progressing on one character. And make the content more distinct rather than everything feeling like a reskin of the same Rift gameplay.

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        February 26, 2018 12:25 PM

        There's also this weird belief that Diablo 2 was somehow massively different and Blizzard was constantly putting out updates for it.

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          February 26, 2018 4:02 PM

          I don't think anyone's asserted that. D2's changes were largely balance/bugfix/new tech updates. The fact that it's been patched for 16 years is what's notable. I don't expect D3 to live that long.

          • Zek
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            February 26, 2018 4:11 PM

            Saying that it's "been patched" is a stretch, they would come out of nowhere to add an event every few years. Other than that it was largely nothing after 2001. D3 on the other hand got quite a few huge patches spanning three years after RoS. I don't think they'll take the game down in the next decade, they'll probably still do a few small patches at least and put seasons on an auto rotation at some point.

      • reply
        February 26, 2018 12:30 PM

        StarCraft 1 and D2 got patches for a decade before HS, HotS, and Overwatch launched.

        • reply
          February 26, 2018 12:35 PM

          They got increasingly minor patches but not a lot in the way of new content after a couple years.

          • reply
            February 26, 2018 12:37 PM

            Wasn't there lots of rebalancing, though? A lot more than e.g. WoW PvP got in the early days, lol.

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              February 26, 2018 12:49 PM

              Initially for the first couple years, but eventually it got to the point where it was minor tweaks every few years.

              SC1 was mostly balanced by the community via maps.

            • reply
              February 26, 2018 12:52 PM

              The last meaningful patch Brood War got for balance was all the way back in 2001, so no

        • reply
          February 26, 2018 12:38 PM

          They were mostly small bug-fix and game-balance patches; peanuts compared to what HS, HotS, and Overwatch are getting. StarCraft and WarCraft RTS multiplayer maps are trivial to make compared to Overwatch levels.

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      February 26, 2018 10:52 AM

      Sounds lazy as hell compared to what Path of Exile is putting out in new seasons. BTW, new PoE season coming out in 4 days for anyone who somehow missed it.

      • reply
        February 26, 2018 11:01 AM

        d3 had a bunch of seasons early on with a lot of new content. Its really only been this past few where its dropped off

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          February 26, 2018 11:10 AM

          Well that's too bad. Every game comes to an end. Here's hoping they do the right thing and either keep the servers up, or send out an update that eliminates the online connection requirement (but would impact anyone wanting to do multiplayer/coop.

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        February 26, 2018 12:44 PM

        Yes, I am very excited for my wannabe-pokemon hunting league adventures.

      • reply
        February 26, 2018 4:18 PM

        Diablo 3 is more fun, tho

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      February 26, 2018 11:02 AM

      I've seen some folks on my friends list returning for season 13.

      Diablo 3 is the game I keep coming back to in between other games, or when I just want to turn off my brain and grind for a while. I can mentally process my work day while killing endless numbers of demon spawn.

      I don't typically play the seasons because I don't like to feel time constrained. I may skip weeks at a time but so far I always come back.

    • reply
      February 26, 2018 11:44 AM

      I haven't clicked, but is the body text of the article

      "Nope."

    • reply
      February 26, 2018 12:35 PM

      why does D3 have seasons? Asking for a friend

      • reply
        February 26, 2018 12:50 PM

        Just for racing up the ladder. That's it.

      • reply
        February 26, 2018 12:58 PM

        Some people like the new game smell and that's what seasons give them.

      • reply
        February 26, 2018 1:01 PM

        Also gives Blizz the opportunity to introduce big changes to gear without compromising anyone's enjoyment or creating weird bugs. Maybe they nerf a super powerful set bonus (or drastically change the design) and they don't want players who already farmed that set to have an advantage or disadvantage on climbing the ladder. So they do those changes in a new season, dump all the old characters and their old gear into a non-ladder bucket and start fresh.

      • reply
        February 26, 2018 1:38 PM

        Basically a way of periodically resetting everything for players that like to keep going through the same content over and over again.

      • Zek
        reply
        February 26, 2018 2:03 PM

        Diablo is all about progression, and because character power has a fairly finite limit (aside from farming Paragon levels), the longer you play the more and more difficult it is to find meaningful gear upgrades. Eventually there's just nothing left to do. So Seasons are just about hitting the reset button and giving players an incentive to start over. If you think starting over from scratch sounds boring you're not alone, but the hardcore fans enjoy the excuse to keep playing.

      • reply
        February 26, 2018 4:04 PM

        It's a way of making the game accessible to newcomers who haven't been grinding the same character for 6 years, though I doubt there's many newcomers at this point.

        • reply
          February 26, 2018 6:28 PM

          Newcomers can just do a normal character outside of the seasonal junk. Seasons seem designed for the people who know the game inside and out and want to the race everyone else to max level / power / gear against others on the ladder when it goes live.

          And of course used to be about acquiring whatever new season specific loot and set items were added, but that's not happening anymore I guess.

    • reply
      February 26, 2018 1:43 PM

      I liked D3 a lot, but yeah, without new items, there's not much reason to re-do a season and character all over again. I got more than my money's worth out of it, but it's time to move on now.

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      February 26, 2018 3:13 PM

      Blizzard will patch out the "Always Online" requirement eventually right? Or were they that stupid and the AI and/or RNG (Loot) is done server-side?

      • reply
        February 26, 2018 4:07 PM

        Never. They probably coded it as a purely client/server app from the get-go. It's such a non concern. When did you ever play Diablo on a PC that doesn't have internet? Maybe if you play from the North Pole or something

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          February 26, 2018 4:52 PM

          Mods....

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            February 26, 2018 4:53 PM

            Oh.... didnt even know d3 had mods

            • reply
              February 26, 2018 4:59 PM

              It doesn't.

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              February 26, 2018 5:00 PM

              Noo, I wish. I'm saying that's one reason why you would have it offline.

              I've always felt that if they allowed mods for D3, the game would be amazing. There are a few incredible D2 mods, and from what I understand it was damn tough to mod that game. If they gave full support of D3 offline and modding, I think people could really come up with something great.

        • reply
          February 27, 2018 4:29 AM

          Diablo 1 and 2? Quite a lot.

      • reply
        February 26, 2018 5:05 PM

        considering one of the biggest problems in D2 was hacking/duping related to it not being always online it seems like they made a pretty reasonable choice.

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        February 26, 2018 5:45 PM

        Originally, they put everything server side and gimped the loot to force people to use the AH in hopes of making their own real money AH loot. Unfortunately the huge pile of steaming pile of shit that they sold everybody generated enough rage that Jay "fuck those losers" Wilson moved on to fuck up WoW and then eventually on to his real passion (not games). They've been doing a pretty good job un-fucking up the game ever since, and have managed to remove the AH (which they said they couldn't do), create an off line mode for consoles (which they said they couldn't do). And aside from all that, playing whack-a-mole with hackers is really impossibe with a game that has an an off-line mode. So no, outside of consoles, I'd be genuinely surprised if Blizzard ever put out another game with an off-line mode.

      • Zek
        reply
        February 26, 2018 5:46 PM

        Everything is 100% server-side. It's fundamentally an online game, as will probably be the case for every game Blizzard makes from now on.

        • Zek
          reply
          February 26, 2018 5:47 PM

          That being said, the console versions are the opposite, they were built for offline first.

      • reply
        February 26, 2018 6:29 PM

        Why would they? Game sold like 32M copies as it stands.

    • reply
      February 26, 2018 3:36 PM

      In other news PoE season starts on friday.. but you coqs won't even try it.

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      February 26, 2018 4:06 PM

      PoE is so much better at this point.

      Although I would love the spit shine polish of Diablo 3 with the complexity of systems found in PoE.

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        February 26, 2018 5:44 PM

        ^^^^^^^^^

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        February 26, 2018 6:22 PM

        Except the gameplay/combat in PoE is terrible and the opposite of fun.

        • reply
          February 26, 2018 6:29 PM

          I don’t know if you’ve played in the past hear or two but this is absolutely not the case. Unless you want to expound?

          • reply
            February 26, 2018 6:40 PM

            I think the combat is passable in Path of Exile, but the feel is still pretty stiff and clunky compared to something like Diablo 3. Not too dissimilar from how Diablo 2 feels compared to Diablo 3 in some ways.

            Doesn't mean it's not any good, though. Diablo 2 is still great. I would say that Path of Exile definitely takes a lot longer to ramp up in speed, skills, and throwing large numbers of enemies at you than a D2. Also feels a bit more disconnected from action to hit than the later Diablos. It's not nearly as satisfying in the feel and feedback department.

            • reply
              February 26, 2018 6:55 PM

              I disagree on “stiff and clunky”. At first, yes, but certainly not once yo are powered up. Gives a much better sense of progression than diablo 3 which is precisely what makes it more enjoyable in the long run.

              • reply
                February 26, 2018 7:42 PM

                I dunno. I put a few dozen hours in, plenty fast and powerful at that point but still lacking all over in feel and satisfaction. I gave it more than a chance and while it grabbed me for a time it couldn't keep me interested, really. Something you'll either find a way to like or not. I'll probably try to get back into it after the next update but last time I tried I lasted all of 5 minutes before quitting out.

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              February 26, 2018 8:49 PM

              I'm with you. PoE scratches an itch for a while but it has yet to grip me strong enough so that I play the whole game through. Its sort of right there with Grim Dawn for me.

              That said I do wish Diablo 3 had a broader skill system because yea after 3 years or whatever there is really nothing left at this point.

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          February 26, 2018 9:22 PM

          pretty much agreed.

        • reply
          February 27, 2018 4:28 AM

          I find it more fun than D3 by a a mile.

    • reply
      February 26, 2018 5:40 PM

      no, no they don't

    • reply
      February 26, 2018 5:58 PM

      There is a slightly humorous typo in the article:

      It is a single-purchase product that saw only one major expansion (and one new character expansion later on) and and offers the company no revenue for any new resources invested.

      The "and and" redundancy lends the sentence an almost childlike quality.

    • reply
      February 26, 2018 6:35 PM

      Just one more patch to add the rune word system from D2 and call it a day. I'd be happy, but aware this is asking too much.

      Or announce D4 at Blizzcon coming in 2022. I've had fun with a few shackers here in hardcore, for a week or so at a time. But agree, hard to care about a new season without many notable changes.

    • reply
      February 26, 2018 8:28 PM

      I seriously doubt I'll play Diablo 4 if they go the microtrans route like they have with other games. I even noticed they changed StarCraft 2 into a game with microtrans. It's sad that this is what gaming has become. But I understand that money is money and for reasons I don't understand, people are willing to pay for stuff like this. I just hope Diablo 4 will stay pure. But probably no chance at that.

    • reply
      February 26, 2018 9:26 PM

      I THINK they banked a bit on the auction house being popular with players, taking off and giving them continuous revenue.

      turns out that didnt really work, so, honestly, good on them they killed it and didnt try to force it.

      i think the next Diablo or Warcraft / Starcraft RTS will have to have some sort of attractive micro transactions in there to keep the lights on.

      arguably SC2 has this, but the playerbase (seems) to just be too small.

      how do they adapt the IP and/or the genres to a sustainable model? how much will they have to change the games?

    • reply
      February 27, 2018 1:12 AM

      Please care

    • reply
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