Diablo 3 and Classic Games
A community discussion point over the past few days has been a recent Blizzard job posting for a Senior Software Engineer on the Classic Games team. Blizzard's Classic Games team is charged with supporting, patching, and maintaining legacy titles. This matters because one of the responsibilities for the job is specifically Diablo III development, but Team 3 has traditionally been the development team working on Diablo III. While many in the community are claiming that Diablo III is now considered a "Classic" title, in actuality Diablo III has been a Classic game for over a year now as Team 3 has been moved onto other projects.
The last major involvement of Team 3 can be traced to patch 2.6.1 in October 2017. Patch 2.6.1 followed shortly after the launch of the Rise of the Necromancer, implementing sweeping class balance changes that buffed many outlier builds as well as added a great deal of new items to help supplement builds. After many seasons of smaller patches, the back-to-back changes in 2.6.0 and 2.6.1 was heralded by the community as exactly what we had been asking for--new items, better build variety, and other changes broad enough to shake up high end "meta" play. But what wasn't known was that after Patch 2.6.1 launched, development on Diablo III would come to a standstill. There were some major changes going on in the background during this time, and we've since learned that production on Diablo IV had begun ramping up again after its development restarted the previous year.
We didn't have any major news on Diablo III or its future for almost a full year until Diablo III began themed Seasons in June 2018, and later when they announced the Nintendo Switch version of the game in August 2018. While no new features for the PC or previous console versions were announced, there was still something very odd about this announcement for those of whom were paying attention. The press release was handled by Pete Stilwel, Senior Producer for Classic Games. Throughout the entire news cycle for the release of Diablo III on Nintendo Switch everything was handled by Classic Games, not Team 3. At some point between Patch 2.6.1 and the Switch announcement, Classic Games had taken developmental control of Diablo III, all while Team 3 quietly began working on Diablo IV. There was no announcement of the change in development teams, but at a time when everyone was concerned about the game being forgotten or in maintenance mode (not receiving any future updates/patches), then an announcement of the game being handed over to the Classic Games team would have had the community convinced that Diablo III had been abandoned.
The first thing Classic Games appeared to tackle for Diablo III was the release of the Nintendo Switch version and the implementation of themed seasons. After the Nintendo Switch version of Diablo III released, they put their full effort into the game and have since put out patches 2.6.4, 2.6.5, and 2.6.6. If you've enjoyed the features or balance changes in those patches, then you should feel confident in the Classic Games commitment to keep Diablo III a top notch ARPG. Classic Games has already stated they intended to keep support for the foreseeable future and have even promised new armor sets for each class. We're hoping to hear more about what's planned for Diablo III at BlizzCon 2019, and maybe, just maybe, something about Diablo IV as well.
Diablo With Hellfire Expansion On Sale!
For anyone unaware, the original Diablo and Hellfire expansion is available for purchase on GoG.com. Additionally, the game is on sale for 15% off for the next three days! While this isn't a massive change in the $9.99 price tag, it still is a good opportunity for people to return to the game that started it all!