In response to the heated comment he made on Facebook regarding David Brevik’s criticism of D3 and Blizzard’s dev team (see below), Jay Wilson addressed the Diablo 3 community today with an official apology. The apology itself was a class act – with Jay demonstrating a lot of humility – but even better were the comments that went along with it.
In his forum post, Jay commented on some of the glaring flaws and weaknesses of the game in its current state. He also reassured the community that the development team is far from satisfied with the game in its current state, and they will continually work at getting it to where it needs to be.
This is good news.
Although he’s quite proud of the game they produced, as he should be, it’s nice to know that he’s not recognizing it as anywhere near where it needs to be in order to carry on the Diablo legacy.
Diablo 3 will likely require another year of patches, and possibly even an expansion, before it can even begin to compare to the first two games in the series. Of course, this is my opinion, but as evidenced by thousands of blog posts, reviews, forum posts, and most notably…the Diablo 3 community feedback on the official D3 forums, this opinion is shared by many. Diablo 3 game play is not nearly as engaging or compelling as either Diablo or Diablo II.
However…I have faith that, in time, it will be. Jay’s comments have helped reinforce that belief.
Here are a few noteworthy excerpts from Jay’s post…
Quote from Jay Wilson
Joining the Diablo team was a dream come true for me. In my house, the name Diablo was always spoken in hushed tones. It meant late nights that turned into early mornings, moments of pure adrenaline and pure joy. It meant countless conversations, debates, scouring websites for good builds, and more than one or two sick days. 🙂 When Diablo II was released, I took a week off work and sent my wife out of state… and she was pregnant at the time! I played Diablo II with my dad during one of the most difficult times of his life, and the experience brought me closer to him, and I hope helped him through it. I joined the Diablo team because the idea of a world without more Diablo seemed like a pretty crappy world to me. I wasn’t sure if I’d be good enough. I’m still not sure. But I felt I had to try.
There were rumors going around that Jay was not passionate about the Diablo franchise, and that he had very little prior experience playing it. Based on this excerpt from his post, I think he’s done a good job of dismissing those rumors. His passion seems genuine – at least I think so.
Here he comments on the lack of variety in terms of fun things to do in the game…
Quote from Jay Wilson
I don’t think there’s a silver-bullet solution to this problem, but I do think we can make this aspect of the game better, and as such we’re planning more than just PvP for the next major patch. Not trying to be coy, but we’re still firming things up and will talk about this as soon as we can.
This is exciting. PvP will definitely give the game a shot in the arm, but this new unannounced game system sounds quite interesting. It’d be nice if they added some larger-scale random events – similar to Uber Diablo from Diablo II. More event unlocking would be nice as well…something along the lines of Uber Tristram, with the lure of premium loot being the motivating factor, along with the ability to solo such an event. Uber Tristram runs were a definite highlight of the D2 end game.
This next quote hints at individual-based difficulty scaling that may arrive in a future patch…
Quote from Jay Wilson
Difficulty has been a constant source of division when discussing the game. Some players believe Diablo has never been about crushing challenges, but more about efficiency and farming. Some players want a game that tests them to their limits. Neither player is wrong. As it stands, Diablo III simply does not provide the tools to allow players to scale the game challenge to something appropriate for them. We set Inferno as the high watermark and took a one-size-fits-all approach to game challenge. Later in the development of Diablo II, the ‘players 8’ command — which let people set monster difficulty — was added to address this issue, and we’re considering something similar for the next major Diablo III patch to allow players to make up their own minds about how hard or how easy is right for them.
This would be a nice component, for sure, especially if there were achievements and titles associated with it. It would not only make the game accessible and “more fun” for the casuals, but it would also provide the hardcores with a reason to continually strive to distinguish themselves as the elite D3 players. This sounds good.
And finally, Jay on the auction house…
Quote from Jay Wilson
The Auction House has also proven to be a big challenge. It adds a lot of power for players to trade and acquire items. Getting a great Monk drop that you can trade for better gear for your Wizard is obviously a great benefit, but it does come with a downside. The Auction House can short circuit the natural pace of item drops, making the game feel less rewarding for some players. This is a problem we recognize. At this point we’re not sure of the exact way to fix it, but we’re discussing it constantly, and we believe it’s a problem we can overcome.
I think the auction house needs to really be made a more “optional”, “support” component of the game, rather than the necessity is now. Players are pretty much 100% reliant upon it in order to progress their gear, and that just flat-out sucks. Having to visit the auction house constantly to upgrade ones gear makes the process seem so mundane and soulless.
Item drops desperately need to be tuned to the quality and frequency that was common in Diablo 2. I disagree with their decision to randomize the drops so much – making boss runs a non-factor in the item hunt. Boss runs were awesome! Making it so bosses are guaranteed to drop at least one Legendary would be a welcome update, in my opinion. Even with the guarantee of at least one exceptional item, the real rush would come in the form of the random stat values. Diablo is all about the gear. I think players would jump at the chance to return to doing marathon boss runs in the pursuit of that perfect weapon, armor piece, or ideal follower trinket.
At any rate…I feel much better about what the future holds for Diablo 3 after reading this post from Jay Wilson. Were he patting himself on the back for a job well done then I’d be disappointed, but that’s not the case.
He and his team will continue to work at getting this game where it needs to be. I have faith.
Chances are, if you’re reading this post then you probably are aware of the drama that resulted in Jay’s apology earlier today. If not, then here’s a brief recap of what went down…
David Brevik, a former Blizzard North employee and creator of Diablo and Diablo II, criticized Diablo 3 and the Diablo 3 development team in a recent interview with IncGamers. This resulted in a stir of back and forth facebook comments from the Diablo 3 development team, which went like this…
As you can see…Jay took offense to David Brevik’s comments. To understand why Jay was so upset, visit IncGamers to see a transcript of David Brevik’s interview.