Curse Interview with Rob Pardo
Curse recently interviewed Rob Pardo, Blizzard's Chief Creative Officer, at the Mists of Pandaria launch. While most of the interview is about World of Warcraft, Pardo did answer a few questions about Diablo.
Diablo 3 sold very well but received mixed reception at release because of various problems. Blizzard worked really hard and greatly improved the game over the last few months but do you feel that the launch was rushed? Would you hold it a few more months if you had to do it again?
The tricky thing about the Diablo 3 launch was the new codebase. Diablo 3 was a whole new engine and Battle.net had just done a new major revision. It is very hard with the way that we launch games with millions and millions of players to test it. We had hundreds of thousands of players in the open beta without a lot of problems, but when we launched the game we had ten or twenty times that amount of players. Lots of things show up with that many players that don't show up with one tenth of them. I'm not sure holding it back would have uncovered a lot of those things. If you think back to World of Warcraft it was very similar. It was a whole new engine and battle.net platform, so it took us a while to plug all of the leaks and get the game completely stable.
Now that we're a few months away from the release of Diablo 3, can you tell us how the real money auction house worked out for Blizzard? Are you happy with the feature and how it was received by players? Would you consider adding the same feature to new games, or even existing games?
I would say that internally the way we look at the feature right now is mixed. I think it was really a big experiment and it is something that I think has done really well in some ways and in some ways has really changed the game a lot. I think it gets to be a very complex answer, because there is the component that is the real money auction house and there is the part that is the auction house.
When you see a lot of complaints on the forums, they are talking about how it has gotten so easy to skip to the best items in the game and how it devalues your progression or advancement. A lot of that would happen with any sort of auction house, even if you are paying gold you have that same sort of feeling. You have to separate that from the real money component of it, which also has its own unique issues.
Anyone that plays the game now looks at items with a dollar sign attached. With all of the different games out there that have microtransactions that is more acceptable, but in some peoples' minds it has damaged the purity of the game. One of the main reasons why we did it is that we knew there was going to be a lot of third party auction sites out there. We felt like it is already going to exist so we would rather give players a more safe and secure way of doing that. I think in that way it has been successful. We are really talking a lot internally though about the right way to evolve or iterate on the auction house.
Interview with Mike Morhaime
GamesIndustry interviewed Mike Morhaime, President of Blizzard, during the release of Mists of Pandaria. There were questions about all of the major titles including some about Diablo III. You can check out the entire interview over at GamesIndunstry.
With Diablo III there were some issues with balance, with PvP being delayed, with the auction house - would you redo that launch if you could?
Oh, there are definitely things we would do differently. It would be so helpful in advance to know how many people are going to want to play a game. Because we could plan things out a lot better: we can make sure we have enough capacity, we can buy the hardware that we need. The Diablo III launch exceeded out forecasts by an order of magnitude; we were very far off. We outsold our full-year forecast in the matter of a week.
The interesting thing about Diablo III was you had announced a specific ship date very far in advance, which is completely unlike any other launch you've done. And earlier in the year you tore the guts out of the stats system. As an RPG designer I realize how difficult that is. Did that all make it harder to get the Diablo III launch out?
I felt like we gave ourselves enough time in terms of the things we could test and the things that were feasible to test. We can't know how many people are going to come out and want to play. We ran an open beta where we let anyone in the world in who wanted to play the game for free for a weekend. But a lot of people were waiting for the release of the game so we really didn't have the indication that our forecasts would be off by so much.
In terms of how people are playing their content, are you seeing a lot of multiplayer or is it single player experiences with Diablo III?
I don't think the ratio has changed all that much in the past couple of months.
Do you think the future of gaming is multiplayer rather than single player? Is multiplayer where the market is headed?
We think the social aspects of gaming are really important, being able to share your experience with someone else. Even if you're soloing and not actually going through a dungeon with your friends, to be able to share that experience, to be online, to chat together, I think it adds dimension to the game. And that's important.
1.0.4 Wizard Guide
With patch 1.0.5 still awhile out, there is still plenty of time to build up your characters on patch 1.0.4. tryhardenmity is still at it showcasing a couple of builds and gear choices for your Wizards. He will also be creating additional guides for any 1.0.5 changes. You can check out his original thread here for additional comments.
Curse continually strives to improve and be the best gaming community out there. In order to do this, Curse wants to know what you, the players, are looking for? If you could please take a moment and complete the survey to make Curse an even better gaming community.
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Personally, I hope they learned that fan's opinion isn't always to be trusted, especially when it's pre-launch. I remembered the number of calls and whines about how D3 would be too easy, for casuals, etc. I also remembered the devs answer, the famous "and then we doubled it", only to half the damage in 1.0.4.
Diablo 3 sold very well but received mixed reception at release because of various problems.
-Goes on to comment on the server/login issues but nothing about the game itself.
-"Sales forecasts were off by an order of magnitude" on a game with millions of pre-orders and digital sales.
And earlier in the year you tore the guts out of the stats system. As an RPG designer I realise how difficult that is. Did that all make it harder to get the Diablo III launch out? Mike Morhaime: I felt like we gave ourselves enough time in terms of the things we could test and the things that were feasible to test.
-Design an RPG but don't have the core mechanics figured out?
-Didn't actually test major mechanics (attack speed anyone?)
You've announced you're working on Titan at the same time as you're working on other projects. Is that a strain on resources? Mike Morhaime: We always have to manage multiple projects and various resources; it's just something we've always had to do.
Gee wonder which one got more attention. Game that looks basically untouched compared to 2008 videos...or unreleased game that...used the former as:
a big experiment and it is something that I think has done really well in some ways and in some ways has really changed the game a lot
Personally, I hope they learned that fan's opinion isn't always to be trusted,
The vast majority of fans opinion was about 1/10th of the game. Which also happened to completely unrepresentative of the "end-game", not only in terms of difficulty but also in virtually every other aspect (itemization, balance, fun, polish of zones, actual content, storyline, I can go on)