Diablo 3 PvP Dueling Coming

After the mixed reception to Diablo 3, which was met with generally favorable reviews

but loudly rejected by many hardcore Diablo 2 fans (who turned up the volume with the

release of the Real-Money Auction House) I have to wonder if Blizzard has become too

gunshy about releasing PvP features. While I certainly appreciate a focus on quality,

and the saying “better late than never” remains true, the returns are diminishing all

the time.

So, here we are about to hit 2013, and we still can’t kill each other in Diablo 3. It

launched way back on May 15th, so that’s over seven months. 226 days. 5,424 hours.

Not that we’re counting. Anyway, D3 Lead Designer Jay Wilson says it won’t be much

longer before your Barbarian can beat my Monk over the head with something heavy in a

duel, a feature that will launch with the 1.07 patch “set to hit sometime after the

new year,” (so… between Jan 1st 2013 and when the sun burns out). However, the Team

Deathmatch mode that was shown off at BlizzCons past has been shelved due to simply

not being “good enough,” and the team is looking at other modes. After all this

time… is Blizzard just being too perfectionist about this?

Jay Wilson: So, our core problem is that our Team Deathmatch mode doesn’t feel like a

great addition to Diablo III. It’s not up to the quality that Blizzard gamers expect

or that we feel you deserve, and it doesn’t really fit with our goals for the rest of

the game.

Wilson also admits that “most of our testers didn’t feel like it was something they’d

want to do beyond a few hours,” citing lack of varied objectives or rewards, and

problems with the PvE-focused class balance. That’s some fairly harsh self-criticism

for a game mode Blizzard’s been working on for the better part of a year after the

launch (way longer if you count all the pre-launch work).

Wilson says Blizzard’s way forward will be to look at other modes that “play up to

the strengths of the character classes, focus on objectives beyond just defeating

other players, and possibly even integrate PvE elements and rewards.” Could that

point to a MOBA-style game mode?

Before you say it: Wilson does promise that these PvP features will come as a free

update, so they won’t require us to buy the planned Diablo 3 expansion.

After the mixed reception to Diablo 3, which was met with generally favorable reviews

but loudly rejected by many hardcore Diablo 2 fans (who turned up the volume with the

release of the Real-Money Auction House) I have to wonder if Blizzard has become too

gunshy about releasing PvP features. While I certainly appreciate a focus on quality,

and the saying “better late than never” remains true, the returns are diminishing all

the time. 

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