Blizzard: Diablo 3 PvP 'falling short of expectations'

Only two months before the release of Diablo 3 in May, Blizzard unceremoniously cut the planned PvP Arena system from the game, promising a patch at some later date. Nine months later, it appears the Team Deathmatch planned is no closer to release.

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Only two months before the release of Diablo 3, Blizzard unceremoniously cut the planned PvP Arena system from the game, promising a patch at a later date. Nine months later, it appears Team Deathmatch is no closer to release.

Game director Jay Wilson said that dueling will come some time after the new year in patch 1.07, but the team is going back to the drawing board on Team Deathmatch. "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," he said, adding that depth and balance are key factors in the delay and need for a revamp.

Players have had a chance to play the mode at previous BlizzCons, and it was generally well received, but Wilson said internal testing revealed that the mode was probably not something people would continue to play in its current form, as they do in World of Warcraft's Battlegrounds. "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," he said.

On the positive side, more news on the dueling patch should be forthcoming in the next few days.

Contributing Editor
From The Chatty
  • reply
    December 27, 2012 11:10 AM

    John Keefer posted a new article, Blizzard: Diablo 3 PvP 'falling short of expectations'.

    Only two months before the release of Diablo 3 in May, Blizzard unceremoniously cut the planned PvP Arena system from the game, promising a patch at some later date. Nine months later, it appears the Team Deathmatch planned is no closer to release.

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      December 27, 2012 11:25 AM

      so they've been lying to us for 9 months and realized they had no idea how to make PvP fun. THANKS GUYS!

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        December 27, 2012 11:33 AM

        does it really matter anyway? most quit roughly within 2 months after release.

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          December 27, 2012 12:52 PM

          so only twice as long as most AAA titles. bastards.

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            December 27, 2012 1:08 PM

            while being less than half as fun as most AAA titles. cunts.

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        December 27, 2012 11:40 AM

        They are probably at a loss trying to figure out how to balance PVP in Diablo 3 in general, which isn't possible unless you want to make the game boring and also there is virtually no way to balance a pay to win system.

        Overall Blizzard really screwed up Diablo 3. The last few patches were a step in the correct direction and I enjoy the game much more now because of them. However it's aggravating because they had a step by step guide how to make Diablo 3. It was called Diablo and Diablo 2.

        It's downright amazing that they don't even have the hardcore ladders implemented yet.

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          December 27, 2012 12:04 PM

          Haven't played it so.... Diablo 3 is pay to win?

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            December 27, 2012 12:12 PM

            Yes, there is a real money auction house.

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              December 27, 2012 12:35 PM

              There's real money item trading in every game with a virtual economy. Diablo 3 just put the interface in the game instead of leaving it to third party websites.

              Blizzard isn't actually selling anything -- it's all player driven. This is not "pay to win."

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                December 27, 2012 12:42 PM

                They make a percentage on every transaction. I think it's about 15% to 30% depending on how you count it.

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                  December 27, 2012 12:49 PM

                  That has nothing to do with a game being "pay to win."

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                December 27, 2012 2:47 PM

                I can pay real money to get the best stats on items etc. Thats pay to win

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                  December 27, 2012 2:48 PM

                  Sorry, to clarify my point I mean only if PVP was implemented. D3 as it currently stands is not P2W

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                  December 27, 2012 3:45 PM

                  By that definition, every Diablo game has been pay to win. D2 had (probably still has) a very active and thriving real money market on ebay and similar places.

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                    December 27, 2012 5:37 PM

                    it was actively discouraged though. pay to win only applies if its endorsed by the dev

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                      December 27, 2012 5:47 PM

                      You have to have a very interesting definition of "actively" to make that sort of statement.

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                      December 28, 2012 12:35 AM

                      So game balance issues only become game balance issues if the developer was involved?

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            December 27, 2012 12:33 PM

            No.

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              December 27, 2012 12:40 PM

              I've been playing quite a bit of D3 lately and enjoying it, but how is going onto the RMAH or AH via purchased gold and buying an uber-60 set not pay to win?

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                December 27, 2012 12:46 PM

                Pay-to-win refers to having to pay money to the developers for perks not otherwise found in the game that directly increase your effectiveness in the game. These are out of economy things injected by the developer for money.

                Diablo 3's is completely player driven and only offers an in-game version to the sort of trading that always exists and has existed outside the game. The game is no more pay-to-win than Guild Wars 2, Diablo 2, World of Warcraft, or any other MMO.

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                  December 27, 2012 12:56 PM

                  Yes, it is. I can, right now, on a character with no armour, spend my money to buy a full set of the very best armour and faceroll through inferno. That's absolutely not possible in Guild Wars 2 or World of Warcraft. At least, not with the ease I can in D3. WoW is pay to win in the same way Skyrim is pay to win, i.e. there's always someone willing to sell you their account or save game with the very best equipment, but you have to seek them out yourself. The paying to win is supported with the in game interface in D3. I pay for armour, I win game.

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                    December 27, 2012 1:02 PM

                    You can actually do that with WoW or Guild Wars 2. So.. your definition of pay to win is an in-game interface to buy the items? I'm sorry, but that's an irrelevant detail and defeats the original intent behind the phrase "pay to win."

                    Diablo 3's real money trading is entirely player driven. This is no different than what exists in the games I mentioned, as well as any other game with persistent stats. Claiming D3 is somehow different because there's an in-game interface to that segment of the player driven economy doesn't work because doesn't fundamentally change its existence in this or any other game.

                    Look, you either define "play to win" so broadly that every game is considered play to win or you define it so narrowly that the term loses all meaning. Or you conclude Diablo 3 is not play to win.

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                      December 27, 2012 1:07 PM

                      I define "pay to win" as any game that supports paying to win. I can pay to win in the confines of D3, therefore it's pay to win.

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                        December 27, 2012 1:09 PM

                        So.. we're back to every game being pay to win.

                        Fantastic.

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                          December 27, 2012 1:10 PM

                          "I can pay to win in the confines of D3" I.e. the game has paying integrated in it.

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                            December 27, 2012 1:12 PM

                            If no one else was playing Diablo 3, could you pay money to get a better character?

                            That's the key difference between what Diablo 3 (and every other game with real money trading) and "pay to win" is. Blizzard isn't creating shit to give to you in exchange for money -- it's all player driven. That item you paid $5 for was found by another player.

                            The only reason you want it to be "pay to win" is because you want to throw another negative phrase at it.

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                              December 27, 2012 1:18 PM

                              It doesn't matter who is creating the items. The point is that someone can spend money to win. Isn't that the important thing? The problem with pay to win games isn't that the devs are creating items I can buy, it's the fact that I can buy power with money, and it's sanctioned by the devs. The origin of the items doesn't matter. Sure, you can buy accounts in WoW, but it's not an approved route of acquiring high level items. When I'm running around the World of Warcraft, I'm not thinking, that dude with the awesome armour probably bought all of it, whereas in D3, it may very well be.

                              And why would I care about throwing negative phrases?

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                                December 27, 2012 1:28 PM

                                Now we're back to it ultimately being arbitrary.

                                You can always trade money for power. Buying accounts in WoW is one way -- there's also buying gold, paying for grinding services, and paying for raid spots. The lack of it being "sanctioned" means a higher chance of the customer getting screwed over, which results in more support tickets on Blizzard's end.

                                ... and yes, it does matter who is creating the items because that's what the phrase is used to describe. The ability to spend money to win has been a consistent in gaming since persistence became a thing. Sanctioned or not, fighting against it is a losing battle, and the devs can either ignore it or try to secure it. The later has an added benefit if being another potential revenue stream, which can help sustain future development.

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                                  December 27, 2012 1:51 PM

                                  So you mean it would be fine if WoW came with an interface for you to buy accounts, buy gold, pay for grinding, and pay for raid spots, just as long as the services came from players? Or to make the comparison clearer, it would be fine if it allowed you to pay money for bind on equip items as long as it came from a player? It would be fine if there was a Valve approved system for you to pay and a pro would play in place for you in DOTA2?

                                  Why do you think WoW doesn't have an interface for players to sell items? The distinction of where the item comes from is meaningless. The fact that the game allows it, is the important thing. Players would be outraged if there were a real money WoW auction house, as many D3 players are about D3. There would be a great deal less buying of items with real money if the game didn't allow it. The small hurdle of finding the items you want to buy would deter a lot of people. The RMAH is the reason why D3 will never have a ladder system. It wouldn't be taken seriously. You'd pay, and you'd win the ladder.

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                                    December 27, 2012 2:07 PM

                                    Sure, why not? You're already a simple internet search away from all of those features, so it's not like it requires some special or magical knowledge only a chosen few possess to get those services.

                                    I think WoW doesn't have that built in for two reasons -- one is the game came out in 2004 before people realized just how wide-spread these player driven economies can be, and two it's still a subscription-based game and adding on more fees to the $15/month charge would cause more outrage than its worth. Fuck, you already get outrage for literally anything and everything.

                                    The RMAH is the reason why D3 will never have a ladder system? I thought it was because at release D3 had a level cap that can be achieved after 20 hours of play with no other real way of measuring progress. Or that Blizzard realized players have changed significantly in the past 12 years and now grow way too attached to characters, so (semi-)annual resets would have more problematic than their worth.

                                    Funny how the reason why changes depending on the point someone is trying to make.

                                    I'll say it again, the phrase "pay to win" refers to Hellgate: London style models where players are given the option of paying for power-related items that are otherwise unobtainable in the regular game. Real-money player driven economies are just part of the deal now (and have been way before D3), and are not "pay to win."

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                                      December 27, 2012 2:46 PM

                                      Many people won't go for that shady shit, I thought everyone knew that. The hassle of searching for items on third party sites is a deterrence enough for many people. And, excuse me, RMAH is one of the reasons why D3 will never have a ladder system.

                                      I think the distinction between paying on shady sites and paying in game is clear, and for me, is what defines which game is pay to win. Anyway, I have to go out now. How about a compromise? D3 is definitely not Pay to Win in the walker270 definition, but if you have some loose change, you can boot up D3 tonight, log on to your level 60, and buy an Andariel's Visage.

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                                  December 27, 2012 2:03 PM

                                  it's the difference between doing it out of game and in game, in a way designed and expected by the developers. It's not a hard difference to spot

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                                    December 27, 2012 5:23 PM

                                    After the rampant item selling and buying in D2 how could they not expect it? Unless they made everything soulbound which would have resulted in just as much gnashing of teeth by the community there's nothing they could do to curb it from happening. Fact is, D2 may not have been designed for RMT, but everyone knew it was there and that's how a lot of people played. Trying to say that D3 is P2W and D2 isn't is ridiculous.

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                    December 27, 2012 1:46 PM

                    Has no one pointed out that gear has level caps so you can't actually do this?

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                      December 27, 2012 1:52 PM

                      On a max level character, of course. You'd never pay for gear before inferno. That'd be silly.

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            December 27, 2012 1:09 PM

            You could go through the whole game without ever paying a cent past the initial game cost, and as far as equipment goes, beat it on Inferno difficulty. Even Monster Power 10, without paying is doable, it will just take you forever.

            As far as always online goes, well as long as you pay your net bill every month, I guess that could be considered pay to win. lol

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        December 27, 2012 11:54 PM

        They need to make the released game fun first.

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      December 27, 2012 11:31 AM

      I keep repeating:

      This isn't Blizzard North, this is Blizzard Activision. The old guys that made good Diablo are now all over the place and also in Torchlight 2.

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        December 27, 2012 11:37 AM

        I think a horde style co-op mode would work really well. Different waves, settings, leader boards, etc.

        • Zek legacy 10 years
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          December 27, 2012 12:00 PM

          Yes, I really really hope they get around to doing this. It was never promised though so probably an expansion thing.

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            December 27, 2012 12:09 PM

            Just rip it straight from Dawn of War 2's Last Stand mode. I would pay a moderate fee and then play the fuuuck out of that.

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              December 27, 2012 12:38 PM

              WoW has a long tradition of "extracting" fun elements from other games. I don't see why they can't just take a bunch of MP modes and ideas from other games and add them like they usually do. Hell, they even put Pokémon in MoP.

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          December 27, 2012 12:53 PM

          Are the mod tools out for Torchlight 2? I was really hoping that someone would duplicate Nox multiplayer in that game.

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        December 27, 2012 12:34 PM

        1. They keep talking about WoW like it's their ultimate goal and it's going to fix their problems, when in reality, it's what caused them. 2. Time league events that can be restricted, customized and tweaked, will help balance MP and make it more meaningful.

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        December 27, 2012 4:55 PM

        The guy who originally started the idea behind Diablo is still with Blizzard. Why they didn't give him head spot for the development of Diablo 3 over Jay Wilson I will never know. But what I do know is: fuck Jay Wilson. He belongs with EA and the rest of the baddie developers.

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        December 27, 2012 5:47 PM

        Even the modern day WoW is a very dumbed down version of the original.

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        December 27, 2012 11:41 PM

        How's Torchlight 2 popularity going lately? I never picked it up in the end.

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      December 27, 2012 11:36 AM

      This ain't the Blizzard we used to know. I guess there's been a slow or not so slow degradation as time has gone on and ownership and direction have changed. Shitty.

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        December 27, 2012 12:05 PM

        Great now I got that Goyte song stuck in my head reading your post. I bet someone here can remake the lyrics to be Blizzard/Diablo 3 centric.

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      December 27, 2012 12:38 PM

      So PVP mirrors the PVE game then in falling short of expectations. At least they're consistent.

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        December 27, 2012 4:58 PM

        See, I can't really blame the developers here; just Jay Wilson because I'll bet you money he tossed everything about Diablo and Diablo II he didn't like: everything.

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      December 27, 2012 12:39 PM

      Lol I was really excited about PvP. Time to fire up a new game.

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      December 27, 2012 12:46 PM

      they should just copy the multiplayer from Nox

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      December 27, 2012 12:48 PM

      wasn't there some leaked footage? wasn't it throw 'em in an arena and call it a day? why didn't they just launch that? it's never going to be good or fun or anything, it will be 99.9% unkillable barbs and monks shredding the FUCK out of everything! :D

      I don't know what people are expecting from D3 PvP.

      Unless they have plans to reboot alterac valley or something with PvE elements in it, pure PvP would royally suck balls. Unless you are a barb or monk. :D

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      December 27, 2012 1:10 PM

      PvE sounds fun.

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        December 27, 2012 2:24 PM

        Agreed. I mean yeah, at this point I don't expect much, but new game modes for free? Hell yeah I'll try 'em out.

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      December 27, 2012 1:23 PM

      I dunno why they didn't just make a Diablo MOBA, it seems like it would be the perfect game world and genre for that type of action, diablo 3 basicaly has moba esque mechanics as it is.

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        December 27, 2012 2:05 PM

        Blizzard North had just a MOBA-style mode planned for its Diablo 3. People I talked with, including Rick Seis, who led Blizz North from 2003 through 2005, said Blizzard South seemed lukewarm to the mode. That, and most of the team down south was busy launching WoW.

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        December 28, 2012 12:36 AM

        This!

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      December 27, 2012 2:10 PM

      Is there a list of "whats changed" since the update? I havent reinstalled in while. Im sure illget the itch in a few months.

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        December 27, 2012 5:56 PM

        i've been playing it again since i bought it for my brother for xmas and the major improvment that sticks out is monster power. its fucking great,

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          December 27, 2012 6:11 PM

          what is "monster power"

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            December 27, 2012 6:51 PM

            basically the old D2 simulating more players, its a scale you set that increased monster hp, dmg, xp and mf. you can basically set the challenge of the game to your liking from the get go.

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      December 27, 2012 6:08 PM

      The fact that players could spend real money on items and use them in PvP would keep me from playing, anyway.

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        December 27, 2012 10:20 PM

        They'd have to normalize all damage and make weapons/armor do a baseline. Throw it out there and then tweak it a couple months later after the players beta test it.

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          December 28, 2012 3:39 AM

          I supposed they could make it so that weapons that aren't earned in PvP suck for PvP.

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            December 28, 2012 4:08 AM

            PvP based on gear in any way would be forever uneven, and uneven PvP is stupid.

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      December 27, 2012 7:12 PM

      AKA, we haven't figured out how to somehow monetize the pvp arena's yet.

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      December 27, 2012 9:05 PM

      As a long time D2 dueler, and also an ex-wow Arena player, I gotta say I am looking forward to pvp much more now. The arena stuff falls short, especially without rewards like in WoW. Now I'm getting all nostalgic for some old school outside town free for alls.

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      December 28, 2012 12:20 AM

      This makes no sense to me, as the PvP I played at blizzcon some years ago before D3 came out was totally functional, and REALLY fun.

      it's also silly to think balance is holding this back, who gives a shit if it's balanced it isn't wow

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        December 28, 2012 8:06 AM

        Heh, you played it for a brief time at Blizzcon.. that must mean it's going to be a ton of fun for hundreds of hours.

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      December 28, 2012 2:43 AM

      Meh, I've moved on anyway. I found the game to be a horrific disappointment, after spending hundreds (thousand?) of hours in I and II. Torchlight II has been far more enjoyable.

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      December 28, 2012 3:15 AM

      Considering PvP helped ruin all the classes in WoW I'm not surprised they are dragging their feet.

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      December 28, 2012 3:58 AM

      You guys are right on, Torchlight 2 is a hell of a game.

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      December 28, 2012 10:45 AM

      As a software engineer for EA, I am curious, sometimes jealous, of what the apparently schedule-be-damned environment at Blizzard is like. From the outside Blizzard has been making/supporting their games at a loss, spending exorbitant amounts of time and money to make their games great. I appreciate that as a fan but I am interested to see how they evolve the business in a post-WoW era in which other products/franchises have to be profit centers and just loss leaders for the Blizzard brand.

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        December 28, 2012 12:48 PM

        operating at a loss? You're aware that almost every game they make is a long running income stream? Aside from SC2, WoW and Diablo 3 are constant revenue streams.

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      December 28, 2012 10:56 PM

      Been a diablo fan since I was 12 years old when the first one came out. Honestly who the fuck cares Diablo was never a pvp game anyways.
      Im reallly tired of all the hate diablo 3 gets too. Its a really good game and people just shit all over it because its alot harder to cheat and become real powerful over night. Then the haters who "remember" how diablo2(2008 battle chest edition) was and think there is some big problem with D3. Really it took years of updates and an expansion to get D2 ware it is now. Blizz has an awesome record for supporting their games long long after rls and have even already added a bunch of stuff to D3 to make it better in the paragon system, monster power and uber bosses.

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      December 29, 2012 6:53 AM

      i would say diablo3 is falling short in terms of diablo

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