Diablo III (Blizzard)Login error messages aside, there weren't a lot of early complaints about Blizzard's Diablo III. But as players get more time with the game, they're finding a few things that are less than perfect.
That's not surprising, especially with a game that's played as obsessively as the role-playing hit. Blizzard, though, is acknowledging that those players are right. And that's pretty unusual.
The problem is with the endgame. While defeating Diablo himself is a satisfying end point for the story, the secret to the franchise's previous success has been that players were able to keep hunting for rare items and fighting tough enemies.
Diablo III, though, isn't scratching that itch for some players.
"Killing enemies and finding items is a lot of fun, and we think we have a lot of the systems surrounding that right, or at least on the right path with a few corrections and tweaks," writes Blizzard's community manager Bashiok in the game's forums. "But honestly Diablo 3 is not World of Warcraft. We aren't going to be able to pump out tons of new systems and content every couple months. There needs to be something else that keeps people engaged, and we know it's not there right now."
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A patch is on the way to correct some of the problems, with another scheduled to follow which will include PvP arenas. But Bashiok says neither will cure all ills, and any fix that might truly satisfy people for the long run is still a ways away.
"I think both those patches will do a lot to give people things to do, and get them excited about playing, but they're not going to be a real end-game solution, at least not what we would expect out of a proper end-game," he says. "We have some ideas for progression systems, but honestly it's a huge feature if we want to try to do it right, and not something we could envision being possible until well after 1.1 which it itself still a ways out."
Not too many years ago, developers wouldn't have paid much attention to complaints about an endgame, but customer service is changing as the industry evolves. Bioware recently released a patch to address player concerns about the ending of their role-playing hit Mass Effect 3.
Blizzard has an additional reason to address these complaints, though. Beyond keeping its very loyal player base happy, the company stands to make a considerable amount from the game's real money auction house. The more players keep playing, the more likely they are to spend cash on virtual goods.