Diablo III Director Defended By His Boss

Diablo III Director Defended By His Boss

Earlier this week, Jay Wilson, the director of Diablo III said he was leaving the title while still remaining at its publisher, Blizzard. There was a lot of cheering in the game’s official forums, because video games are not that different from sports, where fans openly root for people to lose their jobs after a disappointing year. And Diablo III, whose development history stretched more than a decade, was dogged by technical problems, a dissatisfying endgame, and an always-on Internet requirement deeply resented by those most likely to shout their disappointment.

Rob Pardo, Wilson’s boss and the game’s chief creative officer is sticking up for his former subordinate. If you want to blame someone for whatever upsets you about Diablo III, blame him, he says.

“I know that the Battle.net forums have earned a reputation for rough justice, but I do not believe justice is being served by how people are speaking about Jay’s departure from Diablo III,” he wrote. “If you still feel the need to dish out blame, then I would prefer you direct it at me. I was the executive producer on the project … I was ultimately responsible for the game we released and take full responsibility for the quality of the result.”

Even if the game’s shortcomings are seen as a matter of preference, it’s worth mentioning that Wilson doesn’t engender a lot of sympathy with longtime Diablo fans. Most notably, he said “fuck that loser,” when David Brevik, one of the original Diablo designers and co-founder of its original studio (though no longer working on the title) criticised some of the game’s design choices. Wilson not only apologized for that remark in a lengthy mea culpa, he apologized for controversial design choices like the game’s real-money auction house and its difficulty spikes.

Still, Pardo laments the treatment of his colleague, and guarantees this isn’t the last you’ll hear of Jay Wilson.

I’m the only person in this thread who has actually worked with Jay. I hired Jay to head up the Diablo project and had the pleasure of getting to work with him, both in building the team and designing the game. He has great design instincts and has added so much to the franchise with his feel for visceral combat, boss battles, and an unparalleled knack for making it fun to smash bad guys. I’ve worked with many, many designers at Blizzard and Jay is one of the best. He has a great career at Blizzard ahead of him and I guarantee that you will enjoy Jay’s game designs in future Blizzard games.

“This thread saddens me greatly …:”. [Battle.net Forums, via incgamers]


    • He’s being booed off stage. That’s part of working in the entertainment industry. When you screw up in the spotlight it hurts your reputation and career, and this guy played a key part in a lot of the Diablo III mistakes.
      The change may come with a better direction for Diablo III so naturally fans are going to be happy about it. I’m not normally the sort of person who insists people grow a thicker skin but this comes with the job (although he probably already has since he’s not the one responding here).
      Games, movies, TV, music, etc are not above criticism just because they’re made by people. When you make a sequel to a popular work you go in knowing that fans can have this sort of response, especially with an epic franchise like Diablo. You may not like how that feedback looks when things go this badly on this scale but it’s important that it’s there so Blizzard can learn from it for their next game.

      If I were him I’d accept that I screwed up, stay off the forums and try to avoid the same mistakes on my next project. I understand a lot of these mistakes were out of his hands, but next time he’s getting pressured to do that sort of stuff he just has to point at the forums and say ‘this is the response we got last time it happened, I think doing it [this way] will get a better result’.

      • You may not like how that feedback looks when things go this badly on this scale but it’s important that it’s there so Blizzard can learn from it for their next game.

        I agree with what you’ve said. I wanted to highlight what you said about feedback so that I could point out that they were getting this sort of feedback from at least as far back as the closed beta (since the alpha was in-house/fam+friends/etc, I assume that was just back-patting, circle-jerking).
        In short, the feedback and warning signs were apparent long before the game launched, long before the game went gold.

        I’ll keep an interested eye open for news of the coming expansion.

      • “He’s being booed off stage.”

        I love the way you think it is acceptable to boo someone off stage.

        That isn’t “working” in the entertainment industry and nobody should have to feel that kind of mob-like environment.

        Despite what you think, entertainment isn’t a two-way form of communication. You have your right to “walk-out” on a show, NOT-BUY a game or express your feedback in an appropriate manner via a forum etc.

        Nobody deserves abuse for doing their job. Grow up and stop being a neanderthal.

        • It IS acceptable to boo someone off stage. Have you ever gone to play/concert etc., and then the performer turns out on stage blind drunk and with a scratchy voice? I can’t get my money back, so how else do I express my disapproval?

        • Forums are specifically designed for feedback about games.

          Nobody ever said they were only for positive feedback. You don’t learn much from “good job”.

          • The criticism thrown his way was actually quite constructive. He chose to ignore it and even went out of his way to insult the series creator. After launch features were promised that still have not surfaced and his idea of fun included some pretty broken and non fun mechanics.

            He went out of his way to be different and changed things in the game for the worse. No fans of the series will miss him.

  • diablo 3, i was expecting improvement, but nope.
    no character customization (besides male or female), removed the talent tree to something boring, removed lan connection, forced internet connection to play this game, auction house, removed necromancer for a god damn witch doctor and crappy + short story.

    That’s all i remember about why i hated Diablo 3…

    • To be fair, the reason they removed the skill tree is because it no longer makes sense to do it that way. Unfortunately even allowing respec doesn’t help.

      Unless the skill tree is balanced for a variety of effective builds (are you kidding me?) then the min-maxers will crunch the numbers and spit out “perfect” builds. Then people like me will google for them and just build that. At the end of the day this removes player choice.

      It’s unfortunate, because in a vacum the assignment of skill points is a wonderful mechanic. It has choice, rewards and punishes you for mistakes.

      I still haven’t decided how they could have fixed the skill trees in d3, but assigning points is not the answer. I suspect that tying skills into the rune/weapon system in a deeper way would be the answer, something along the line of having the skill runes be socketable and have power levels and bonuses perhaps.
      This would make the item hunt a little more interesting and diverse, and possibly push you into different play styles due to a good drop that supercharges a rarely used skill.

      • my reply to that would be D2 and Torchlight. the mechanic of stat points may be pointless to some, but skill points are not. there’s no perfect build for an amazon in D2. javazon, spearazon and bowazon had many options. same goes for every class in D2. and finding what worked and didnt work was part of the fun. if you’re honestly someone who looks up builds, then i’m sure you’ve done that for D3. there are perfect builds in D3, once someone discovered that critical mass procs with wicked wind, everyone rushed to make a critical mass wizard, and the new skill system just became ‘easier’ to make an existing wizard critical mass, it was just costly for gear to make the perfect wizard. therefore the “problem” (as you call it) hasnt been solved at all. instead of investing a few days to level a level 80+ wizard to make an awesome CM/WW wizard, you grind out for gear (or as blizzard intended you use the auction house and pay-to-win). but why dont you see everyone playing Critical Mass Wizard? because the method of solving the “problem with balance” is to nerf stuff.

        also picking up gear which was useful to all classes made sense. what is this DPS nonsense? why does it carry so much weight? i should be looking at a 10 dmg sword with +100 strength vs a 20 dmg sword with +50 strength and really be thinking.. well which should i get. and not let DPS win every time. many complaints were also on the useless stats like pick-up radius.

        i havent played d3 since 1.05, i’ve gotten my 200+ hours of game, so im not complaining. just explaining why the design choices were not what people preferred compared to d2. they tried to fix a problem which didnt exist, and in turn created real problems which were frustrating – not to mention costly for people who spent money on gear which got nerfed. D3 should have been optional multiplayer and with no option for pay-to-win. resetting ladder would also make the game better.

  • All those people make me sick, he’s a person! Imagine if that was you in his shoes.

    His attitude towards d3 customers/fans have brought this on himself. Jay’s infamous “snarf that loser” wasn’t just directed at Brevik but the fans of the game as well. They had been posting the same feed back for months. If Jay had of treated people with just a modicum of respect i don’t think you’d see a backlash nearly quite as harsh.

    • to be completely honest, jay should never of had to appologise for saying “fuck that loser” when it was said on a private facebook page full of people he worked with. Id also just to everyone to remeber that the original Diablo Devs such as Roper and Brevik made Hellgate london which was 10times worse than D3

      • It wasn’t a private convo tho – It was viewable by the public, mistake obviously but even behind closed doors who would like a lead dev that belittles his core fan base. In regards to Hellgate London Flagship Studios never had the unlimited resources that blizzard do. They even admitted as much. The game was released in an unfinished state, shit as far as i’m concerned so was diablo 3 even after ~8 years of development.

  • Was glad i didn’t buy into the hype of this too much as i was disappointed enough with it already. Played through once and has been collecting virtual dust ever since.

  • “was dogged by technical problems, a dissatisfying endgame, and an always-on Internet requirement”

    They aren’t even the BIGGEST problems with the game.. Seriously, I don’t generally get into all the pitchfork wielding protests, but this is a game myself i’ve been looking forward to since, well Diablo 2!

    Diablo 2 is still the game i’ve logged the most time on ever – and considering Diablo 3 lasted me a mere couple of days speaks volumes.

    So we have Synergies – gone, Skill trees – gone, Story – dodgy at best (felt like the lore was just thrown out), Boss battles – tedious and boring, Level design – boring, MoB’s on screen – drastically down, Itemization – boring, and the fun part of what Synergies brought in D2 – individuality and diversity – non existant.

    Its a hollow shell of what it once was, shame considering Diablo 1 and 2 were epic titles for their times. Atleast StarCraft 2 is holding up for now.

    • Because individuality and diversity boiled down to looking at a particular build and making it point for point and then hunting down the gear required for that build. It was just a recipe fest that required difficult to acquire ingredients.

      The story? I didn’t play any ‘Diablo’ for the story. I bought it to smash shit over and over.

      I do despise the auction house though in it’s fake money and real money aspects.

      • But what they did was remove that, and replace it with:

        “Look up a skill build an then find the items with the highest +stat1/+stat2/+resistAll on the AH”

      • I still don’t follow the amazing logic of ‘Oh people are all building the same stats. Oh I know lets remove any ability to change the stats!’

    • Yeah it was pretty cool.
      To bad the awesome cinematic was not followed by two more that looked awesome and told an awesome tale…..

      As someone who played D1 and D2 and bought the Book of Cain (actually read it too) I just don’t understand how they could not easily come up with a great story rather than the F*** Deckard, F*** Leah and lets send Diablo out like a punk rubbish they made.

  • actually jay Wilson is exactly what’s wrong with the immature small minded leaders of the gaming industry. they’re representing a business and in such need to uphold the companies name by acting professional at all times. If this had been any other employee for a normal company they would’ve been fired over such un professionalism… but hey that’s the gaming industry sadly… run by a bunch of eltist five year old who think they’re really untouchable

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