Message from Mike Morhaime to Diablo Players

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Message from Mike Morhaime to Diablo Players
Mike Morhaime (president and a co-founder of Blizzard) has wrote a long letter to the players of Diablo III about the release, and the future of Diablo III. There is a lot of info here, and suggest you read the full article. However there are a few key points for those interested in future patches.
  • (1.0.4) "will also include new and improved Legendary items that are more interesting, more powerful, and more epic in ways you probably won’t be expecting."
  • (1.0.4) " this update will contain changes designed to further deliver on the team’s goal of promoting “build diversity,” with buffs to many rarely used, underpowered class abilities."
  • (1.1) This patch will also build on the social and auction house changes (Talked about in the article)
  • (End-Game) "We’re also working on a gameplay system that will provide players who have max-level, high-powered characters new goals to strive for as an alternative to the “item hunt.” We’re not ready to get into specifics just yet, but I can say that we’re actively taking your feedback into account as we plan out the future of the game."

Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Dear Diablo Players,

Now that Diablo III has been out for two months, I would like to take a step back and discuss the launch, the feedback from the community, and talk about what the future holds for the game.

We’ve had an enormous amount of feedback since the launch. I speak for everyone at Blizzard when I say that we appreciate the passion and affection many of you have for the Diablo series. We truly believe “Every Voice Matters,” so I want to thank you for sharing your experiences in an effort to help us improve the game. Your support makes it possible for us to continue doing what we do, and we never take that for granted.

The launch week of Diablo III was memorable for many reasons — some positive, and some not so positive. We were thrilled that Diablo III had the biggest PC-game launch ever, surpassing the lifetime sales of Cataclysm (the previous record holder for biggest PC-game launch) in a matter of weeks. We’ve been floored by the response.

However, the launch had many challenges as well. It has always been difficult to forecast how many players we will have. With World of Warcraft, it was a challenge to handle the immediate demand when we launched back in 2004, and that was just in North America. We eventually expanded to other regions and reached nearly 5 million players by the end of the first year, and there were a lot of growing pains with that. However, we’ve never gone from 0 to more than 6 million players across multiple continents within a few days with a brand-new game. 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.

In response to the immediate and overwhelming demand for the game, the team worked around the clock to support all regions, increase capacity, ship additional hardware to our datacenters, and troubleshoot and fix bugs as they sprang up. While things have by and large been running smoothly for several weeks now, various game-related issues have come up that we have either already responded to or are continuing to investigate (such as the latency issue some of you are experiencing) and make adjustments for. Rather than address every subject individually, I’ll just say that even as we work to address or resolve current issues, it’s always possible that further issues will crop up. We hope that our actions in the past have demonstrated that above all else, we’re committed to delivering an awesome game experience, and we hope you’ll have faith that we will continue to keep that commitment and respond to any new or outstanding issues quickly.

We are not satisfied with breaking launch records; we want people to continue playing and enjoying Blizzard games for a very long time. The Diablo III team has made an epic, entertaining, and beautiful gaming experience. That being said, we know that it isn’t perfect. 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.

You’ve seen some of that work already in patch 1.0.3, and you’ll see additional improvements with patch 1.0.4. On the game balance front, this update will contain changes designed to further deliver on the team’s goal of promoting “build diversity,” with buffs to many rarely used, underpowered class abilities. Another topic we’ve seen actively discussed is the fact that better, more distinct Legendary items are needed. We agree. Patch 1.0.4 will also include new and improved Legendary items that are more interesting, more powerful, and more epic in ways you probably won’t be expecting.

We’re also working on a number of interface updates, including social improvements that will allow players to more easily view their friends’ achievements, more quickly join games, and more efficiently communicate with each other. In addition, we’ll be making updates to the auction house in the future to provide players with better information through tooltips and notices, offer improved search functionality, and more.

Regarding 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. Black market trading sites can put accounts at risk and create many customer service challenges. We felt that the players themselves also deserved the opportunity to benefit from the extra loot they found, as opposed to having all of the benefit go to the black market/illegal trading organizations. We know the auction house isn’t perfect, but with your help and feedback, we’ll be able to continue making it a better experience for those who choose to use it. On the flipside, we are also committed to ensuring you have a great experience with Diablo III without feeling like the auction house is mandatory, which was never our intention. Thank you for all the feedback about that.

One other common topic we’ve seen in the forums is the always-connected experience, and the perception that the online requirement is nothing but an ineffective form of copy protection that has already been cracked. 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. I fully understand the desire to play Diablo III offline; however, Diablo III was designed from the beginning to be an online game that can be enjoyed with friends, and the always-online requirement is the best way for us to support that 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. These and other online-enabled features are essential to our design for Diablo III. 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.

I know many of you are also looking forward to patch 1.1, our PvP update, which will provide new experiences and give you a whole new way to apply the skills you’ve picked up while battling demons. This patch will also build on the social and auction house changes I mentioned above, and the team will continue to fix bugs and further tune game balance as well.

We’re also working on a gameplay system that will provide players who have max-level, high-powered characters new goals to strive for as an alternative to the “item hunt.” We’re not ready to get into specifics just yet, but I can say that we’re actively taking your feedback into account as we plan out the future of the game.

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.

Sincerely,

Mike Morhaime

Comments

  • #1 Thesqa
    More endgame or lots of people will leave really soon.
  • #2 Doorsfan
    Good.

    As for the AH changes coming 1.1.. Not so good. But that is a small matter in comparing to the build diversity problem. The thing that really surprises me with this is as if they actually live up to their word to take the major concerns in mind and actually apply them to the game.

    Not as i do not take their word for "Every voice matters" - I suppose i've just become so jaded over time with bad developers and publishers/hate on the forums, that i could no longer distinguish between a company that actually time upon time prove to be the best at what they do and a company that just has a fancy PR Company. Blizzard truly do deliver.

    And i do like that they recognize the imperfection of it. That they are in fact somehow human about it and don't go to say "But we did perfect, world best sellin' yo". Beyond this i can't think of many arguments against Blizzard, beyond perhaps personal grudges and what not that stem from passion. Very rare is it to see that anyone actually can claim that Blizzard themselves did a bad job, with the sense of objective point of view - Just considering that there ALWAYS was a audience that followed their product and that these products did sell.

    Now that is not to say they were perfect, once again - But overall i think that perhaps Blizzard is one of the most successful gaming companies/publishers (I don't know what of a category they are, tbh) in our modern day of age.
  • #3 Ducha
    Quote from Deathbyaccident

    More endgame or lots of people will leave really soon.
    Hah! endgame?! more like.......mendgame!
    Amirite
  • #4 Mau2Due
    I think they are doing a great job and the game will be almost perfect in a couple of months... Anyway this is one of the most awesome pc games ever made.
  • #5 FreddyBenson
    ive always liked mike

    we havent seen him much in the last two years, but hey, if i was as rich as him you wouldnt see me lol
  • #6 Molster
    Its 8:22 am have yet to sleep

    NOW I CAN SLEEP, ROAR zzz

    Quote from Deathbyaccident

    More endgame or lots of people will leave really soon.


    Just read this.

    Great thing about Diablo III, its not subscription based. you can leave, and then come back with the patch. No one should burn themselves out if they are not happy atm. Diablo III will always be here.

    Eng-game is coming, great legendary items are coming. If you make yourself board to death now, you won't be able to enjoy the awesome that is coming.
  • #7 Suite307
    "We’re also working on a gameplay system that will provide players who have max-level, high-powered characters new goals to strive for as an alternative to the “item hunt.” We’re not ready to get into specifics just yet, but I can say that we’re actively taking your feedback into account as we plan out the future of the game."
  • #8 Thesqa
    Quote from Ducha

    Quote from Deathbyaccident

    More endgame or lots of people will leave really soon.
    Hah! endgame?! more like.......mendgame!
    Amirite


    True. There is no endgame atm. Its obsolete.
  • #9 AlucardIX
    I like the game,i had and have faith that it will get better and i will be here for the next 10 years :D
  • #10 ZeroEdgeir
    Quote from Deathbyaccident

    Quote from Ducha

    Quote from Deathbyaccident

    More endgame or lots of people will leave really soon.
    Hah! endgame?! more like.......mendgame!
    Amirite


    True. There is no endgame atm. Its obsolete.


    You mean grinding for items... just like Diablo 2... Diablo... Titan's Quest... DarkSpore... once you reach level cap and story's end, isn't what the game is about?

    I'm sorry, when did Diablo 3 become an MMO with content updates and extensions, on a 3-4 month basis? Where is the subscription fee you pay for such developments? Not to mention, even if this WAS an MMO (which seems to be the implication by many with the whole "there is no endgame" or "endgame is dead"), you'd be still waiting at LEAST 2 more months for any new content.

    You are a better player now than you were when Diablo 2 first came out. Experience and Skill did make the game "easier" for you. Blizzard, or any game company, cannot design games around "the elite" players only, because that is not a profitable market (no matter how much you try to claim otherwise, it isn't).

    OT: Glad to hear about many things that are coming out for the game. I just hope at least Patch 1.0.4 comes soon, like end of July/beginning of August time-frame. I don't wanna find any more pre-buff Legendaries!
  • #11 csense
    "improved Legendary items .. epic in ways you probably won’t be expecting."
    let me guess, legendarys get a % proc chance to increase dmg for xx seconds just like in wow, yea I'm totally not expecting that
  • #12 Molster
    Quote from csense

    "improved Legendary items .. epic in ways you probably won’t be expecting."
    let me guess, legendarys get a % proc chance to increase dmg for xx seconds just like in wow, yea I'm totally not expecting that


    they are getting procs... but we already know that. So I don't think thats the "wont be expecting" part

    http://www.diablofan...2/page__st__20/

    Originally Posted by (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

    Will we, at some point in the near future, be seeing a reworking of affixes, SPECIFICALLY mechanical affixes (ctc on hit, on struck, ignore monster d, prevent monster heal which would be AWESOME for elites) and whatnot as I inquired here:
    As you may be aware we're working on pumping up Legendary items, and that includes a few different changes, one of which is some proc effects. That isn't to say it'll be the specific proc effects you're listing, though. We'll be sharing a few sneak peeks at some of what we are adding in the nearish future. As far as non-Legendary items, it's something we're considering but there's no concrete plans.

    To give a little background: The skill system in Diablo III adds a ton of options and variety to what your character can do. At any time you can completely switch things around and be doing something completely different. So the idea was really embracing the new skill system, and taking those procs and seeing which ones would fit into skills. Granted, there's some tweaking to do there to try to make some more of the skill options viable, but that's the intent. Obviously now we're also looking to expand that to Legendary items, but in addition to skill changes that are coming I think we'll be interested to see how we effect builds and items before we take any further steps.
  • #13 KiriONE
    Interesting that we're seeing a response from him. As someone else pointed out we don't really see much of him. While I appreciate the gesture I have to scratch my head at its motives. Why wouldn't Jay Wilson make this? Why wouldn't it just come in the form of a developer blog? I'm guessing that the developer blog is still a ways off and that's why we're getting this.

    This must be an olive branch to let players know that they are listening, Morhaime has a lot more stock than Jay Wilson and Bashiok right now. It's getting closer to that point where the next thing out of their mouths needs to be a concrete developer blog or the community will revolt.

    What I really get from this post is that "wink wink, yeah we know the game wasn't exactly finished". But hey, that's the digital age.

    Still a nice gesture to see the heads of state acknowledge us mere mortals!
  • #14 Harmonica39
    gotta love how ppl still cry about endgame in this thread after mike morhaime said that they are working on it.
  • #15 omgitsbees
    The only thing I don't agree with, is the reasoning behind the always online DRM. I don't agree their reasons are enough to justify making Diablo III online only. And we know the game was not designed from the ground up to be online only. Back in 2010, Blizzard said themselves the game had an offline option.

    At least Blizzard is able to admit that their game just isn't that fun. I played Diablo 2 for all of last weekend, and I had more fun with that in two days than I did with all of Diablo III in two months.
  • #16 Molster
    Quote from KiriONE

    Interesting that we're seeing a response from him. As someone else pointed out we don't really see much of him. While I appreciate the gesture I have to scratch my head at its motives. Why wouldn't Jay Wilson make this? Why wouldn't it just come in the form of a developer blog? I'm guessing that the developer blog is still a ways off and that's why we're getting this.

    This must be an olive branch to let players know that they are listening, Morhaime has a lot more stock than Jay Wilson and Bashiok right now. It's getting closer to that point where the next thing out of their mouths needs to be a concrete developer blog or the community will revolt.

    What I really get from this post is that "wink wink, yeah we know the game wasn't exactly finished". But hey, that's the digital age.

    Still a nice gesture to see the heads of state acknowledge us mere mortals!

    because this wasnt the dev blog (even though it does talk about some patches and such). This is more of a reach out from the CEO to the fans of the games.

    The dev blog will be by jay, or Wyatt for sure
  • #17 Gnub
    I liked this post, a lot. Good stuff - looking forward to the coming times of the game :)
  • #18 KiriONE
    Quote from Harmonica39

    gotta love how ppl still cry about endgame in this thread after mike morhaime said that they are working on it.


    I think you also have to consider the fact that "end game" doesn't come out over night. If it wasn't in release, and they only acknowledge that it wasn't well after the game came out (http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/6019511928#17) it's safe to say that we probably won't be seeing something for at least a few more months. They needed to make this move to help assuage concerns of the community before they completely write htem off.
  • #19 Moda
    We got endgame at the release. then u hit lvl 60 u can enter Inferno but not before u hit lvl 60, isnt that end game?

    One content then u have hit max level u can progress threw and then kill diablo for the fourth time :)
  • #20 Fubar
    Looks promising. They can see the fan base are getting desperate and are taking action.

    I wish they would give some indication as to when 1.0.4 is coming out though. Even saying next month would suffice, just some indication!

    They have also moved the legendary buffs forward from 1.1 to 1.04? (Could be wrong about that though)
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