Diablo Immortal: Criticism or Entitlement?

BlizzCon is over. For the most part, the event was successful. Most of the games received announcements that attendees (their players) were happy about, or at least hopeful about. Honestly, most thought World of Warcraft would be the problem game because of the complaints players have about the new expansion Battle for Azeroth. The developers for the game have been making tweaks and they showed off WoW Classic, which seems to be a success. Players, who purchased a Virtual Ticket, are able to play it at home for a short time. I haven’t heard any major complaints.

I’m mentioning this because it proves Blizzard knows how to implement damage control when it wants to, even if it includes a cash and grab. A Virtual Ticket costs $50, the price of a new game. Many people, happily, paid it for the opportunity to play WoW Classic – a game they already paid for once years ago. Blizzard knew even if they charged for it, the opportunity to play WoW Classic would (at least temporarily) squash the frustration players feel about Battle for Azeroth. A well-played move by Blizzard.

If Blizzard has experience putting out fires, what went wrong with Diablo?

What Happened?

Let’s discuss what happened. BlizzCon was announced and players made arrangements to attend (the tickets were expensive). One of the main reasons why players attend BlizzCon is to find out news about their favorite games for the platform they play it on. Players and fans also attend panels, have opportunities to meet and talk with developers and of course, meet other players/fans.

It was announced, before BlizzCon, there were multiple Diablo projects in the works. It was speculated that a port to Switch and perhaps a mobile game was in the works. Shortly after, they announced Diablo 3 was coming to Switch. All they had to do was read the comments on the Switch announcement video, from August, to get an idea of what to expect for BlizzCon in November. Perhaps they did and that is why they made an announcement, to clarify, what to expect at BlizzCon.

Note they did not say Diablo PC news.

They made this announcement in October. Leading up to BlizzCon, they obviously realized the expectation of what the Diablo team was releasing was not in sync with what the players expected. They knew there was a disconnect and tried to implement damage control. In October. Unfortunately, October was already too late because players had already purchased tickets to BlizzCon.

They were on their way.

What did the Diablo team announce? They were bringing Diablo to mobile, in partnership with NetEase, with Diablo Immortal. When asked if Diablo Immortal was being brought to PC, they were told no. There was no Diablo PC news.

Did I mention Diablo 3 came out six years ago?

Were Players Being Entitled?

Some are saying the people disgruntled about Diablo Immortal, and voicing their opinions in comments, are being entitled. First, let’s look at the definition of entitled, to ensure we’re all on the same page.

Were players, fans…customers entitled, after spending hundreds of dollars to attend the event, to expect the Diablo team to announce news about the game on the platform(s) they are currently playing on, like they’ve done in the past?

No.

The main news was Diablo Immortal. The attendees were in shock. Even though it was a couple of days ago, I still can’t believe Blizzard didn’t do anything to give their only Diablo fanbases, because the game is on PC, PS4 and Mac, anything. This release sent the message, “Go play it on your phone”, where it will be riddled with microtransactions.

If they are working on Diablo 4, it must a very very long ways off for them not to show some sort of teaser – concept art, screenshots, etc. Screenshots of Diablo 4, with confirmation they were working on it, would have left attendees floating with glee from the event. Knowing, for sure, it is coming would have avoided all this mess.

Kotaku claims they can confirm there is a Diablo 4 video.

Which leads me to wonder if it is. Allegedly, Kotaku can confirm there is a Diablo 4 video. Originally, they said the video was supposed to be shown at BlizzCon. They later updated their article to say they can confirm a video exists but it wasn’t planned to be shown at BlizzCon. This is where things do not make sense to me. Why make a video if they weren’t going to show it at an event? All the events for this year are done as it’s going into holiday season and if the video is done, it’s early for next year. The game would be further developed by then.

It saddens me because it didn’t use to be this way. When Vivendi owned Blizzard, the games were so good! That’s why players love them so much. It was said that there were management issues with Vivendi, quality was prioritized over profit to the point of taking losses. However, they created brands that are beloved today and have made ridiculous profits.

There used to be a standing joke with Vivendi games. They would announce something. If they missed a date, they would say “soon”. You know what we did? We growled and mumbled to ourselves but we shut up and waited. As long as it took, we’d wait. Why? Because we knew it was worth it. They had earned our trust and we all wanted the same thing: the best they could do. So we waited. The only time people were really annoyed when they missed a date was because they had to rearrange their vacation days. Days. Not day. Days because, when a Vivendi game dropped, you didn’t want to separate yourself from it for days. I remember the girlfriends and wives of my male friends complaining they lost their significant others when a new game came out. They would be jealous of the game.

Can you imagine, with memories like those, after spending money and time to attend the event that their beloved game was coming to mobile, not developed solely by Blizzard and there were no updates for the game they want to play on the platform they play it on?

They had every right to be pissed. They didn’t want to receive special treatment. They wanted and expected to be respected.

Where Do We Go From Here?

In my opinion, if I were them, I’d hold a stream and be honest about the status of Diablo 4. If it’s not coming, say so and withstand the storm. It’s not like the storm would never come. Get it over with. 

If Diablo 4 is in development, be honest about the state of it. If it’s 3 years off, say so. If it is further out, be clear about that. Supposedly, there are multiple Diablo projects in the works. We know about two of them. What’s left?

What I would not do is make an announcement for Diablo that is not on PC or PS4 until Diablo 4 has been announced. Or something viable for Diablo 3. It won’t be well received. There’s no point in destroying something that has the potential to be good. It needs the core Diablo fanbase to thrive.

Do you remember Titan? The game they mentioned and eventually canceled? They canceled it because they said they were unable to make the game fun. While it was sad to hear that news, most respected the decision. It took guts to admit that, and it’s better to be honest and cancel it than suffer the scandal of putting out a bad game. Their morals and ethics won out over a possibility for profit. It turned out for the best because developers were able to take the ideas from Titan which eventually became Overwatch.  

What if that is what is happening with Diablo? I heard people talking about that. They fear, deep down, the developers are unable to make the game fun anymore. And there’s no guarantee that if this is the case, a new game that’s similar to Diablo will rise from the ashes, just like we saw with Titan. They want to know the truth, no matter how painful the truth might be.

Tell the truth.