Blizzard Says It Wasn't Expecting Fans To Be This Angry About Diablo Immortal

Yesterday, during a BlizzCon Q&A shortly after the announcement of mobile game Diablo Immortal, a fan in a red shirt approached the mic. "Just was wondering," he said in a deadpan tone, "is this an out-of-season April Fool's joke?" The audience cheered.

It was just the beginning of a very long weekend for Blizzard. The company was expecting fans to react passionately, one of its co-founders told Kotaku in an interview today, but it wasn't prepared for the level of vitriol that ensued.

During yesterday's on-stage Q&A, a developer on stage let the fan down gently. "No," he replied to the facetiously phrased question, "it's a fully fledged Diablo experience on mobile, which everybody will get to play, and hopefully, which will bring new heroes to Sanctuary as well as welcoming our community back into it and something we're very excited about."

Backlash to Diablo Immortal, however, has continued to rage across social media, YouTube, Reddit, and other sites since then. It stems, for the most part, from a pre-BlizzCon Blizzard blog post that was meant to temper fans' expectations and clarify that there are multiple Diablo projects in the works, but which did say that "we do intend to share some Diablo-related news with you at the show."

The blog post got many fans' hopes up for even a low-level loot drop of information about Diablo IV. Failing that, they were at least holding out for a remaster of a classic Diablo game. Instead, they got a mobile game that's being developed in collaboration with Chinese company NetEase.

Some fans have taken this as a sign that Blizzard has forsaken PC and console in favour of greener mobile pastures — and thus, that they've forsaken the fans that they built their foundation on.

The Diablo subreddit, especially, is an avalanche of outrage right now. "Blizzard used to cancel games like Ghost and Titan for not meeting Blizzard quality," reads the current top thread, which has over 12,000 upvotes. "Now they are outsourcing and reskinning games. I'm not sad, just disappointed and angry."

Fans are especially focused on a joking remark principal designer Wyatt Cheng made during yesterday's Q&A after getting booed for saying Immortal isn't coming to PC. "Do you guys not have phones?" he asked the audience in a faux-incredulous tone. Fans have decided this is the ultimate example of Blizzard's tone-deafness.

Riffing on that comment, a thread with nearly 4000 upvotes reads, "Everyone is saying that Blizzard is out touch with their fans. Except touch is the only way you'll be able to play the next Diablo game. Don't you all have phones anyway?"

Other threads on the subreddit accuse Blizzard of "killing" Diablo, call the game a "slap in the face," and justify being disrespectful to Blizzard employees, while people on Diablo's official forum call for boycotts and petition to get Immortal canceled.

There have also been accusations that Blizzard is removing dislikes from Diablo Immortal's cinematic and gameplay trailers — which currently have 215,000 and 132,000 dislikes on YouTube, respectively — but others have suggested that the number fluctuations are an algorithm issue or an adjustment after multi-account votes were removed.

Unsurprisingly, Gamergate subreddit Kotaku In Action has also lent its considerable numbers to the more culture-wars-adjacent and conspiratorial elements of this backlash wave — in effect, amplifying them.

Speaking to Kotaku in an interview at BlizzCon, executive producer and Blizzard co-founder Allen Adham admitted that Blizzard was expecting some backlash, but "not to this degree."

"We know our audience here is passionately PC- and console-focused," he said. "We've also seen this before. We saw a similar response when we announced that we were bringing Diablo to console, and we saw a similar response to the announcement of Hearthstone."

But, of course, there's also the elephant-sized lord of darkness and torment in the room: People thought they were going to see Diablo IV. "That being said, we knew our audience here desperately wants to see and hear about one thing in particular," Adham said in reference to whatever major Diablo game is coming after Diablo III.

In theory, the aforementioned blog post was supposed to head that thinking off at the pass, but it backfired. Big video game companies have a way of talking around things they haven't announced, and the post exemplifies that. If you read through it with the benefit of hindsight, it's pretty obvious that it's telling people not to get their hopes up for anything too big at BlizzCon.

However, it's easy to see how fans could also interpret it as though it's saying the complete opposite. Nowhere does it just directly state that people shouldn't expect to see the next big Diablo game at BlizzCon.

Adham, though, feels like he and his team did the best they could. "At Blizzard, we don't announce things until we're ready. It's all about game quality, less about timing, all about delivering an overwhelming experience to our players," he said. "We tried to get ahead of that a little bit with the blog post to let that group know that we are working on multiple things and continue to work on multiple things. But it's pretty clear that their incredible passion for Diablo manifests in interesting ways."

Adham also talked about the structure of the Diablo Immortal team, explaining that it's a joint effort between a team at Blizzard and a team at NetEase in China. While those teams do interact with the main Diablo team, the Immortal team and the main Diablo team are separate and working on separate projects.

"There are actually two distinct teams," Adham said. "That's something we tried to communicate. I know our community here, there's a concern that we are focused on this instead of that. The truth is that we have multiple Diablo teams working on multiple unannounced Diablo projects even after announcing [Immortal]."

Some fans have gone so far as to claim that Diablo Immortal is a reskin of a previous NetEase action RPG. Adham refuted that, saying that even the art and assets — which look like they came straight from Diablo III — were made for Immortal and Immortal alone.

"I want to assure you that Diablo Immortal is purpose-built from the ground up," he said. He went on to further clarify the similarities between NetEase's old game and Diablo Immortal, especially the touch-based control scheme, which is basically identical to that of NetEase's previous action-RPG: "In the East, that control method is becoming ubiquitous, and it's becoming ubiquitous because it's very natural, and it feels great. Less so in the West, but we're now starting to see some games that are bringing that mechanic to the West. So it's us taking inspiration from some of the work they've done already."

That's not to say that Diablo fans' fears are entirely misplaced. The world of mobile gaming is distressingly under-regulated and rife with exploitative business practices that prey on very real issues like gambling addiction. Blizzard, meanwhile, is a giant corporation that has implemented systems in its games that are, at heart, exploitative — even if its approach has generally been more innocuous than others'. As a result, people are worried that Blizzard will end up embracing the dark side of microtransactions with its mobile game about the dark lord. On that front, Adham wasn't able to offer any concrete reassurances. He instead pointed to Blizzard's track record.

"If you think about Blizzard over the last three decades, we've made lots of different games using different models: boxed products that we sell, digital downloads, WoW is subscription-based, Hearthstone and Overwatch have loot boxes and loot packs," he said.

"Heroes of the Storm is another free-to-play game. So I hope our community can see that, over that time, there are a few central themes that drive us at Blizzard, and they are always 'Make an amazing game and deliver overwhelming value ethically to our players.' That drives the way we think about this. So whether it's free-to-play or premium, that remains our north star."

The explosion of outrage has many on social media discussing the extent to which video game culture enables entitlement. It's not surprising, after all, that there's been some pushback on the idea of a mobile Diablo game. What's shocking here is the sheer amount of molten vitriol that's pouring in over what seems to be a pretty cut-and-dry situation: A proper new Diablo has been and continues to be in the works, and Diablo Immortal is its own thing that's not detracting from that.

Also, the game itself is fine, if a little too shallow. No harm, no foul — aside from maybe some hurt feelings over unfulfilled expectations. And yet, people have decided that this is the ultimate betrayal, all because a single game isn't hyper-focused on the diehard PC and console crowd. It's fine and understandable to be sceptical of a big company, but the reaction here is wildly disproportionate to what Blizzard's actually done.

Adham chalked it up not to entitlement, but instead to passion. "They love what they love and want what they want," he said of the fans raging at BlizzCon and across the internet. "That passion, it's actually what drives us, and we feel it too. It's why we make games and why we've made games for almost three decades now — and why our community is so passionate about our franchises. I understand their feeling and wish we could share more about all the amazing things we're doing, not just with the Diablo franchise but across the company as a whole."

Unfortunately, this kind of rhetoric — obviously well-meaning and frequently employed by developers with vocal fanbases — can contribute to the problem. It positions the "passion" that leads to disrespect and even outright abuse as a virtue, which in turn begets subsequent cycles of vitriolic uproar when developers don't give their core crowds exactly what they demand. If even massive companies like Blizzard laud these fans' outbursts, after all, they must be justified.

Still, Adham hopes that, in the end, Blizzard is able to please everyone.

"Our hope is that our existing hardcore fans will play this game and love it, learn new things about the lore, but engage with a similar kind of gameplay that they know and love," he said. "The main difference now being that they can walk around with this in their pocket and play it anytime, anywhere. But then also bring in a new, broader audience that maybe likes action-RPGs but hasn't experienced Diablo. And then if we're really good at our jobs, bring in an entirely new mobile audience that has never played a mobile action-RPG or any RPG before. To get all of that right is a challenge we think about every day."


Comments

    I don't understand how they could not see this outrage coming....

      Thats the thing I dont understand... someone in marketing thought it was a good idea to stand in a room full of hardcore gamers and announce a Mobile Game... and folliw it up with nothing else.

      There is precedent for this... Valves Artifact, where they announced a card game to a room full of Moba fans... the gifs are epic.

      ...and EA who announced a Command and Conquer game onstage at E3. It got slammed in social media and youtube.

      They needed to announce more and sadly Blizzcon was light with new content, new updates and sadly a lack of apology for messing up BfA.

      They really needed to temper the announcement... or not announce it at all. Mobile games dont have a pre-order and dont need hype marketing. Release it and let the fans decide, if they like it it will be a #1 download like Fallout Shelter or PokemonGo, both of which were released the day they were announced.

      I do, they don't care and/or are super shortsighted with poor memory. There have been multiple examples of fan backlash over stuff they've done, not just in Diablo but in WoW and Starcraft, and probably their other games too. Every time it blows up in their face they say "wow we weren't expecting that response." Yet it happens at least a couple times a year. So all I can assume is that they don't care.

    There have also been accusations that Blizzard is removing dislikes from Diablo Immortal's cinematic and gameplay trailers

    Last time I checked there were 3 versions of the same cinematic trailer uploaded to their account, with 2 being unlisted. In the Bnet launcher the links now points to the newer videos which have less dislikes. This is just pure damage control.

      More plausible explanation for that is Google's systems working in the background to counter botting, which is the only realistic way likes/dislikes can suddenly disappear. You can disable likes/dislikes on a video but you can't remove them at will.

        Re-uploading videos and changing links in the Blizzard launcher is another story though...

        You could be right. I wondered about this myself. However, we've seen posts from people claiming their dislikes have been removed. So either the automated system is screwing up and catching innocent dislikes or they're lying. Maybe it's to do with the popularity of VPNs? They're seeing 1000 dislikes from the same IP but the reality is it's 1000 different people all using the same VPN?

        Personally, my dislike has been on there since the first day and not been removed so *shrugs* I'm not sure.

          Did not know about the dislike removal so I checked the cinematic trailer I disliked when it came out and sure enough my dislike was not there. Not even using a VPN or anything like that. GG Blizzard.

            Another suggestion is that you can't vote if you don't watch the video the whole way through.

            There are possibly valid reasons to remove dislikes. Just need to work through them to decide whether they are doing something dodgy or not.

            For the record, the vid is up to 450k dislikes so it's not like they're removing *all* the dislikes.

        You can suggest that, but they're still definitely removing comments though and that's not paranoia nor 'counter botting'. People have absolutely been recommenting when their original ones have been removed. I myself know two people who had comments removed. When they went into their histories on Youtube, *gone* mysteriously but the videos were still there.

    I think that, if Blizzard had announced this at an Asian-focused gaming event, the reaction would be a lot different. The game is very clearly aimed at the Chinese market, and while BlizzCon has a huge audience in that region, that audience wasn't the one in the theatre at the time.

    Personally, I'm fully on-board with a mobile Diablo game, and it's something I've wanted on my phone for years. I can't wait to try it out when it does arrive.

    If Blizzard had developed this totally themselves in house I think the backlash would be a fraction what it is. And I actually think the game probably would be good. But they have given it off to a company known for monetising the hell out of all their games (NetEase) so it doesnt bode well for the game.

    Also a hands on and AMA from the legendary red shirt guy that asked the April Fools question https://www.reddit.com/r/Diablo/comments/9tvw1k/i_played_diablo_immortal_ama/

    Will check it out, like a lot will, but probably wont give any money to it or play it for long.

      There are a few things they needed to do to reduce the backlash.

      1. First and foremost not build any hype beforehand. Don't even mention Diablo prior to the con.
      2. Temper the announcement with more information about the other projects. They should have started the session with information pertaining to their core product and core audience ie: PC based Diablo.
      3. Don't disrespect the fans. I'm sure the "Don't you guys have phones" comment was spur of the moment but it came as a real slap in the face. They made it worse the next day by having a Q&A session with practically NO Q&A.
      4. Which brings up the final point, own the mistake. They could have redeemed themselves by holding a genuine Q&A session where they addressed people concerns like monetization of the mobile game, whether we'd see a PC version, whats happening with D4 and so on.

        Number 1 was definitely important. Had they not leaked and built up any sort of hype for a Diablo announcement? This likely wouldn't have been an issue at all.

        Number 3, holy crap. That comment, he may have just as well pulled out a pistol and shot his own foot on stage at that point...

    It bothers me that these are the hills that people make their stand on.

    It was a reasonable assumption to assume that a Diablo 4 was in development. If there was no buildup or hype around a Diablo announcement, people would have went about their business.

    Blizzard generally don't announce products that are more than a year away, and they wouldn't (well they usually wouldn't, but may now) pull a Bethesda where they drop a teaser for a game still some years off just to shut their fans up (Elder Scrolls 6). Sure, a mobile Diablo is not everyone's cup of tea, but it's going to have an audience, and it is kind of a big deal, the audience is different to the E3 audience, it's a Blizzard audience so this was the time to announce it.

    Soon TM

    It's basically Blizzard's motto. Announcing a Diablo 4 now, when there's probably little to no meaty news would be wasteful, and it certainly wouldn't speed up development. The game will be done when it's done, and the game will be announced when it gets announced. To think that things would be any different is folly.

      And on a quick side-note, the backlash over not being developed in house and the quality may suffer is a reasonable argument. But by that same token, those that are claiming that developing the mobile game is taking away from D4 development, whilst also crying foul of Blizzard outsourcing the development of a game should probably take a step back.

      You're missing the context of why people are upset. It was the first day of Blizzcon where major announcements get made, it was the opening ceremony when the biggest impact can be made, and it was the final announcement where they finish it off with the best new announcement they can make. It is as much about the context of the reveal as the reveal itself. As many have pointed out that if they did it earlier or even not at Blizzcon I doubt many people would have even cared, but context always matters in every message.

        to add to this, Hearthstone was not announced at Blizzcon. it was announced at its own little event. yes some people were upset about it because they though it would be something related to WoW or Diablo at the time

      They also announced D3 way too early, and I imagine are very reluctant to make the same mistake with D4.

        D3 wasnt announced 'early' it was reworked numerous times and we ended up with sub par excuse of an rpg. Lacking its soul of the previous 2 and this 'immortal' looks like the same direction which to me means D4 may also be diluted further from its original source. Gothic, dark, demonic and a constant feeling of dread and despair.

          Yeah, so in other words.... they announced a product too early because they needed to rework it multiple times.

        you could say they announced starcraft 2 too early if you really wanted to. i was at blizzcon in 07 when it was announced and the version that i played there could have honestly been shipped there and then if it had been developed by anyone other than blizzard

          That's fair. I say more so with Diablo 3 given how many systems they discussed at the BlizzCon it was announced that then completely changed, or were scrapped by final release.

          Starcraft 2 definitely seemed further along at announcement than Diablo 3 did.

            that's just normal blizzard work though, i mean the build of SC2 that played in 07 the Thor had to build by an SCV and along with the Queen and Mothership, they acted like Super units you have in Total Annhilation and Supreme Commander.

            Its also Im im so pissed off about immoral. Blizzard some how felt that this meets their standards when Lord of the Clans, Starcraft Ghost and Titan didnt. Hell titan was never even offically announced but blizzard was never shy about talking about it

    What's shocking here is the sheer amount of molten vitriol that's pouring in over what seems to be a pretty cut-and-dry situation: A proper new Diablo has been and continues to be in the works, and Diablo Immortal is its own thing that's not detracting from that.

    Do you have a link to them announcing Diablo IV in an official capacity or are you just making this statement up? This is why I can most fans upset, they, until they announce it do not have Diablo IV in the works and to say otherwise is false unless you have proof.

      Can you point to any part of
      Immortal that infers that it is Diablo 4? They've indicated multiple projects in the works and while this is not the best release news, they aren't stupid. Diablo 4 and a remaster are huge potential cash cows that the babyragers will slap down cash for.

      Last edited 05/11/18 11:14 am

      Exactly. All they have said is that they have other Diablo projects in the works which is not in anyway confirming D4. The reason people are so pissed off is that they called the panel "Diablo: Whats next?" and then only announce a mobile game made by another company. There is just no way this isn't going to be micro transaction riddled.

        What's next for diablo? A Chinese reskin mobile game. That's what's next!

          no news on the rumored diablo netflix show not news about any big content patches for d3 ( we havent had one since the necromance pack went live) no news about a diablo 1 or 2 remaster and no news about another class pack (druid being one most often asked for)

      Yep. This. They have explicitly NOT said there is D4 in the works, just that there are other diablo projects in the works. Probably more mobile games hopefully. I know that's what the fans are really hanging out for.

        I assume (hope) that's sarcasm.

        I wouldn't have minded if they'd announced a Diablo TV show (or movie) or more comics. I quite enjoyed the comics they did a few years ago. I'd be more forgiving of them continuing the story in other media when it's *story* not *game*.

          Yeah man. Strong sarcasm. Everyone knows the only diablo game ppl are really hanging out for is 'Diablo Go'. Android and iOS. Can't wait!

    "Adham chalked it up not to entitlement, but instead to passion. "
    Nice to see some sense. These days "entitlement" is just a buzzword that means "people shouldn't be allowed to be angry at something I'm not angry at".

      And yet Kotaku had no issue dragging out the old 'entitlement' trope once more.

    First world problems eh?

    As someone who doesn't care about Diablo in the slightest I find this whole uproar amusing. Not sure which side of the fence I should sit on honestly. Might just grab the popcorn and enjoy the ride.

      You do realize people paid hundreds of dollars, took days off of their lives, for this event. It was a slap in the face in all but the actual way.

        That may be the case but it doesn't change my perspective on it.

    "Let people enjoy things," and, "If you don't like it, you don't have to play it," and, "This garbage doesn't mean you're any farther away from getting the game you actually want," etc, etc, are fine... but they're missing the main point.

    Like almost every outrage ever, like every customer complaint, like every PR mis-step, it's about setting expectations appropriately. And in this case, Blizzard royally screwed the pooch.

    Blizzard took a beloved franchise which fans consider well overdue for a new game, which has lived on PC as a 'core' gameplay experience since its inception, then teased that there would be big news for that franchise, to the point that they actually declared that the upcoming real life convention that they hold would be Diablo-focused...

    And around the fact of the ' annual convention' is something I really think people constantly underestimate - about what this signals about not only the amount of fans' emotional-investment, but how much Blizzard works and spends in fostering that investment - when you foment this kind of fervor for profit, you're a god damn hypocrite not to understand, expect, and accept ALL aspects of that fervor, not just the fucking profits. Which includes passionate reactions.

    So they whip up this Diablo-themed Blizzcon, for fans of the franchise on PC and console who are so dedicated that they are actually willing to SPEND MONEY ON SEEING IT... and then they have nothing to announce to those fans except for a shitty mobile game that current fans are clearly not interested in, on account of how they, y'know... are currently fans, meaning that they have access to overwhelmingly more powerful dedicated hardware for playing a grander scope of game.

    Expectations. It's always about expectations.

    You buy a figurine and it's missing an arm, most folks complain. You buy it from the, 'Defective figurines' bin, and most folks don't complain. The train runs an hour late? Most folks complain. There's signs up all over the station for months in advance, saying that the trains aren't going to run during that very specific hour? most folks don't complain.

    Etc, etc, etc. Expectations. Communicate clearly, in advance, with an understanding of how it will be received, and you eliminate the overwhelming majority of reasonable complaints. We have fucking laws about misrepresenting a product for fuck's sake, it's very, very clearly the cornerstone of the consumer-supplier relationship.

    When they twigged, a couple weeks ago, that what they were working on was not what everyone was super excited about seeing, they abso-fucking-lutely should have set the gears in motion to throw fans a bone that they'd actually want to chew, so that their time, travel, accommodation, and all associated plus ticket costs were not rewarded with some bullshit they actively dislike. I can't believe there weren't insiders screaming bloody murder well in advance, predicting exactly how this was received.

      to the point that they actually declared that the upcoming real life convention that they hold would be Diablo-focused...

      Do you have a source on this? You've said this a few times now and I went looking but couldn't find anything. In fact, even as late as October fans were speculating that Blizzcon might be Diablo focused based on the panel schedules.

        Only the ephemeral social media advertising that I saw and largely ignored (because I've stopped caring about Blizzcon, let alone paying to see it), but which is now... gone? If not buried. And after typing a dozen paragraphs about this garbage, that's about all I'm interested in following up... so. Let's step it back, do a retraction, and say it wasn't Diablo-themed, but instead spent months teasing 'big reveals'. How's that? The point remains intact.

          I don't think the point does remain intact. You say Blizzard deliberately teased a big Diablo reveal, but they didn't. You say people bought tickets specifically for Diablo news, but if they did it was based on rumour and nothing official. I follow Blizzard's news and announcements and I remember seeing nothing at all about big Diablo news at Blizzcon, only a statement earlier this year that multiple Diablo projects are in the works, some take longer than others, and that some news 'might' be ready 'later this year'.

          The centrepiece of your argument is setting expectations, but evidence points to the fact these expectations didn't come from Blizzard but from fans' own speculation. Perhaps Blizzard could have done more to temper false expectations, but that's a lot less dramatic than actively setting false expectations, and wouldn't justify the vitriol this has attracted.

            I think it's a combo of facts that Blizzard controlled, and fan expectations surrounding those facts.

            For example (from pre-Blizzcon gamerant article I found on google):
            After the BlizzCon 2018 opening ceremony ends on Friday, November 2, Blizzard has a panel scheduled thereafter called “Diablo: What’s Next”, and due to the fact that this spot at the event is often reserved for the company’s “big announcement”, fans are expecting a new project related to the action-RPG to be announced.

            I've seen many similar expectations mentioned on other articles and sites as well. By having the "Diablo: What's next" panel in the slot traditionally filled with big announcements, expectations were set.

            It just turns out that this year, at a convention for the hardest of hardcore fans, they didn't stick with their "precedent", and that resulted in a backlash.

            Personally, I gave up paying attention to E3, Blizzcon and other similarly styled events long ago, as they are mostly just hype machines. I just wait for the game(s) to actually arrive and check out what players are actually saying then.

            Pete's sake, now you've got me looking shit up, exactly like I didn't want to bother with. 'Later this year' just happening to coincidentally line up with their annual convention (how much later do we actually have LEFT in this year, btw?). Community managers posting tweets promising news, that last-minute press release shooting down Diablo 4 were surely the only OFFICIAL indicators I could find. The rest is fan-sites, which I clearly didn't examine closely enough at the time.

            The centrepiece of your argument is setting expectations, but evidence points to the fact these expectations didn't come from Blizzard but from fans' own speculation.

            Yeah, no: I'm going to argue this point.

            If I'm browsing Michael Hill and Goldmark catalogues, leaving them on the coffee table, talking about how I'm putting a lot of thought into my girlfriend's anniversary present, and she asks if she's getting a ring, and I coyly reply, "Oho, you'll just have to see! It's definitely going to be shiny! Can't say more, don't want to ruin the surprise!" and get her a Joni Mitchell CD, she'd be entirely right to be fucking pissed.

            Maybe if you pretended that they weren't spending tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars annually on social media and PR management, it'd be at least somewhat plausible to pretend they hadn't heard the rumours... up until the point that they went into damage control to partially-deny them.

            And again, this brings me back to the responsibility for hype snowball that they kicked off with their posts and tweets. You want to pretend they weren't banking on that hype? They weren't happy about it? They weren't carefully caging their words to preserve it, knowing full well they could set the record straight with authority and one sentence?

              What exactly in your analogy is the jewelry catalogue Blizzard supposedly left out for everyone to see? You're ascribing actions and behaviour here that don't seem to exist; the only thing Blizzard said, in your analogy's terms, is "I've got a few gifts lined up for you and I'll let you know more about them later this year". If you told your girlfriend you were getting her a gift, and she assumed of her own accord that it was going to be a ring, no she doesn't have a right to be pissed. Disappointed, sure.

                In this analogy, I am getting her some jewelry! Just... not now. And the catalogue is the hiring of developers, the 'year of Diablo' and the fact that she already watched me buy the other items that I've had catalogues out for... (eg: the TV series, the book, the switch port with a release date) except for the jewelry... and the CD.

                And she has a right to be pissed she asked about jewelry, indicating that this was an expectation she had, and I didn't appropriately manage that expectation, despite fully knowing that those were her expectations.

                  This is where the analogy falls apart, because your girlfriend is a single person with singular expectations, while the community is millions of people with a gamut of expectations.

                  From what I remember seeing back in August when that video announcement was made, most people expected Blizzcon to be about the Diablo TV show, more Diablo figurines, or another class expansion for D3 (druid is what most people seemed to think). Diablo 4 and Diablo 2 remaster were definitely mixed in there, but middle-of-the-pool, certainly not the main expectations. More people were convinced Blizzcon would have no new Diablo news than thought there would be a Diablo 4.

                  If you expect Blizzard to say 'no it's not Diablo 4' as soon as fans start speculating about Diablo 4, then by the same logic you have to expect Blizzard to say 'no it's not X' as soon as fans start speculating about any X. That'd be like your girlfriend asking "is it a ring", "is it a video game", "is it a car", "is it a ..." and you having to answer honestly every time. But of course you wouldn't do that, you'd say "I'm not telling you, it's a surprise".

                Well, no analogy is perfect, which is why it is an analogy and not the actual thing, used to highlight an underlying principle. And in these circumstances, Blizzard knew full well that the hype snowball they started was picking up speed. "Year of Diablo," last spot at the Blizzcon reveal, the press release that attempted to dampen expectations without actually saying anything, and the word of the major fan-sites who they absolutely collaborate with (Blizzardwatch, Massively OP, to name a couple), building their own hype. A community might be millions of individuals each with their own thoughts, but there are always stand-out data-points that serve as reliable indicators of the 'voice' of a community of millions. Trends are real, they do matter, they are factored... usually.

                  Well, I think we've both said our piece on this particular line, and I really don't want to make you feel compelled to reply to something you're done with, so we can leave it here. I do want to make clear, I disagree with your reasoning on this occasion, but I still enjoy reading your comments most other times. Sometimes disagreement can generate hostility and put people at odds but that's not where I'm at.

                Well, I think we've both said our piece on this particular line, and I really don't want to make you feel compelled to reply to something you're done with, so we can leave it here. I do want to make clear, I disagree with your reasoning on this occasion, but I still enjoy reading your comments most other times. Sometimes disagreement can generate hostility and put people at odds but that's not where I'm at.

                Well-said.

                I disagree in general, and while I don't share the vitriol, I sympathize with it and can't believe Blizzard not only didn't control the damage, but claim they didn't see it coming; and think both of those things were their responsibility. Seems that to you, the tone of displeasure matters more than the message itself does for me.

                  This exchange was the most gentlemanly argument I've ever seen on the internet... Seriously, bravo!

                  IMO whoever is responsible for this marketing disaster needs to be sacked. This thoroughly demonstrates a lack of understanding for their client...

        There are a bunch of hints like https://www.diablofans.com/news/49060-diablo-at-blizzcon-2018

        Like most comments they can be viewed two ways. In hindsight they hint that there'll be no D4 news. But without the benefit of hindsight they can easily be interpreted to mean that there'll be some sort of announcement at blizzcon. That's just one easy to find article. There were a few others doing the rounds.

    2 things..

    First of all... let me repeat myself. Did no one at Blizzard at all look at what happened to EA and the CnC announcement mere months back? The reaction to that and the more nuanced discussion of "well it wouldnt be bad if they also gave us x?" That speaks to a massive amount of either complete disconnect or utter arrogance ro whomever approved and thought the anouncement was " a good thing"

    Second I will be the devils advocate a bit and goa against the grain here....as someone who has played these mobile arpgs before ithink its a bit unfair to call Immortal a reskin per se... most of these games are designed a specific way with the ui almost exactly the same due to the nature of the medium. Will it look the same to someone just looking in? Of course it will...but then you can say the same if you take a cursory look at Diablo, Grim Dawn, Torchlight and PoE.. its the nuances of gameplay that will differentitate it. Until release then we can make an informed decision on whether it is an original work or its a very cheaply done by the numbers mobage arpg

      Agreed on the second paragraph. The main reason people seem to think it's a reskin is the control UI, but that's really shallow reasoning. There's always best practice when it comes to controls and the fact they're using that best practice is on par with how basically all FPS games use WASD for movement and right-click for aim.

      The other problem is saying 'it resembles Crusaders of Light' seems to ignore the fact that Crusaders of Light was specifically designed to resemble Diablo. This might as well be like complaining the Galaxy S9 resembles the Oppo F5, ignoring that the F5 was deliberately designed to resemble the S8 in the first place.

      None of this is to say the game will be good or bad, we don't know yet. Just that the justifications most people seem to have for calling it a reskin are faulty.

    Lol, PC gamers. forever the shining light in the darkness that is hate for non-PC based progress in the gaming industry

    Blizzard hyped up this year's blizzcon, even saying themselves this is the year of diablo.
    People don't just pay for tickets to blizzcon, they fly from far and wide, pay for hotels and flights.
    Diablo fans are coming because blizzard themselves make it centre stage and also the closing announcement of the day.

    ... Then somehow blizz themselves are shocked that people are upset it was all about a mobile game?
    OK.

    Then shitty gaming "journalists" sook and swear at those who called bullshit when they saw it. I think even kotakus own Jason saying how bad the red shirt guy is... Because he sarcastically asked if this announcement was an April fools joke. Red shirt dude didn't swear, didn't ride it, wasn't harping on. Simply was saying absolute minimal critique and kotakus own shit on him hard.

    Mind you the hypocrisy is mind blowing as Jason himself critiques and rants in huge posts and even has a podcast dedicated to talking about what he does and mostly what he doesn't like in games. Yet he turns around and says red shirt is somehow "disrespectful". What does that even mean??

    Anyway, tldr; blizz hyped up blizzcon saying they had big diablo news, realised they fucked up 2 weeks before blizzcon and tried to settle expectations without outright saying no d4 and got smashed for sitting in an echochamber for too long.

      I commented on this to transientmind above, but as far as I can tell Blizzard made no official comment on 'big news' or 'year of Diablo' regarding Blizzcon. The only recent announcement (other than the one tempering expectations last month) was a video in August saying that multiple Diablo projects were underway and more info might be available later this year. Blizzardwatch published an article at the end of August saying this might be the year of Diablo, but made concerted effort to explain that it was just speculation.

      If Blizzard did make any official statements about it being the year of Diablo, or saying there was big news for Diablo at Blizzcon, I genuinely want to see it so I can get a better picture of the whole. Do you have any links to official statements?

        This kinda reminds me of the recent Smash Ultimate leaks. The final few characters "leaked" (the infamous "grinch leak") and looked like the genuine article to many people. It had a lot of sceptics but it had just as many if not more believers. This raised a lot of expectations from fans that characters like Banjo, Shadow and Geno would make it into the roster.

        When it was revealed in the direct that only Ken and Incineroar (the former being the only character the "leak" got right) were the final characters at launch, many of those fans that believed the leaks were pissed. For some reason, they blamed Nintendo and Sakurai. It wasn't Nintendo's fault someone decided to make a very convincing fake, but that didn't stop some fans complaining and blaming them anyway.

      Also just a side note, I agree with you regarding Red Shirt Guy. His question wasn't disrespectful, it was certainly what a lot of people in the room were wondering. So many rumours floated about that that he had to clarify on Reddit that he wasn't ejected, nobody bothered him, the only repercussion was he wasn't allowed to ask a question at the Starcraft panel because he'd lied to the question filterer on the Diablo panel about what he was going to ask.

        See this raises an issue with me; a question filterer. As long as you're not being obscene or asking something completely off topic (like a WOW question in a Diablo session) why should the question be filtered?

          The filterer is there to make sure you're not asking personal questions, or questions that aren't related to the panel, or general trolling, and just basic shitbag removal. The panel has a limited amount of time to answer questions and it pisses off people with genuine questions when the floor gets taken up by jokes and trolling and stuff.

          Sure, they shouldn't be needed, but a convention the size of Blizzcon really does need them.

            Which I'd agree with if that wasn't patently NOT the case with the Q&A session on the final day. They filtered out basically all the legit questions that people had about Immortal and selected a few tame questions to let through.

              What are some examples of acceptable questions that were filtered?

              I don't want to suggest truth or lie, but it's worth keeping in mind that people who get denied for being a dick don't like admitting it was because they were being a dick.

                They allowed, I think 6 questions, maybe 8. So anything not covered in those questions. There were no questions allowed about D4 (or other "diablo projects"), very little about the monetization or problems people foresaw with a mobile version of Diablo. There was one but it got a pretty deflective answer.

                  Do you have a link to stories/claims that only 6-8 predetermined questions were allowed? They've never done this at any other Blizzcon, and considering they were expecting a less acidic reaction it's difficult to believe they'd suddenly start running off a list now.

                  Stopping questions about Diablo 4 or other Diablo projects is reasonable. Blizzard doesn't talk about unannounced projects at Q&A panels, that policy has been there for as long as I can remember. Using floor time on it when the answer is always going to be 'we'll have more to talk about in the future but nothing at this time' would be wasteful.

                  @ZombieJesus: People live annotated the Q&A on reddit and a few other places as it was happening. They spent a huge amount of time rehashing stuff and chewed up almost the entire session before they actually got into allowing the audience to ask questions.

                  A couple interesting links:

                  Blizcon live blog: Six questions... SIX! Total of 8 minutes of Q&A in a 45 minute session. The first two questions came from people who *apologised* about the behaviour of fans about the Immortal announcement.
                  https://blizzardwatch.com/2018/11/03/blizzcon-2018-diablo-qa-liveblog/

                  https://www.reddit.com/r/videos/comments/9u2m3r/blizzard_using_paid_actors_for_their_diablo/

                  Annoyingly I couldn't find the live log of the session I watched when it was happening. Not sure what happened to it. But basically it matched the blog in the first link, just with more detail (what was actually said).

                  I'd argue that stopping questions about other Diablo projects was not a good move when they were already facing tremendous backlash. It would have served as an opportunity to assuage some of the fan fears and outrage.

                  So it's not 'Blizzard had a list of 8 acceptable questions', but 'Blizzard ran out of time and only 8 questions got asked'? That's a lot less conspiratorial than how I read your post originally. People apologising for others doesn't lend itself to a filtering conspiracy, and neither does the fact the questions were limited by time.

                  Bottom line is if we don't know what questions were knocked back, it's invalid to assume that they must have been permissible and were denied because Blizzard wanted to tightly control what got asked. There's zero evidence for that, and if that's the basis of your claim that they "filtered out basically all the legit questions" people had then your claim is unsupported, and certainly not "patently" the case.

                  Also the 'paid actor' thing was immediately debunked, the guy is Neinball, a long time Diablo community member and co-host of the Westmarch Workshop podcast for like 4 years now. He appeared in promotional material because Blizzard always includes well-known fans in Blizzcon promotional material. There was even a video a few years ago that had a few dozen fans talking about how much Blizzard games changed their lives. They're not paid, it's something they ask fans and fans volunteer to do.

                  @Zombiejesus: yeah moderation makes editing a pain.

                  I never said there was a predefined list, though I suspect they have one internally when you look at how tame the questions were and how few they allowed. The simple "conspiracy" if you like is how little time they allowed for questions. They basically ran the time right down before allowing anyone to ask anything. In contrast the WOW Q&A had ~25 questions.

                  As for the evidence, it's pretty simple when you look at the questions people are asking online about Diablo since the announcement. But none of them were asked in the Q&A. The only one that was (monetization) was brushed off with a vague answer.

                  Whether the guy is a paid actor or not, he's still a "tame" fan in that blizzard know what to expect from him. My apologies to the guy himself, but that's the reality of it. He could be a great guy but blizzard also knows what to expect from him.

                  I hold that your conclusion relies on too many assumptions. Shortening question time is the only really feasible thing here and that doesn't relate to the original point of all this which was (if you'll forgive the flippant language) whether Blizzard was censoring honest joes through their network of gestapo question filterers.

                  Sorry man, it's no disrespect to you and of course you can believe what you like, but what you've presented just doesn't come close to being probable. I think it's a theory at best, and not one deserving of being presented as if it were patent fact.

                  I'm not saying they're the gestapo. To be honest, it's understandable why they're blocking certain questions because they're in damage control mode. This isn't some "jet fuel can't melt steel beams" type conspiracy. It's actually very believable and quite probable that they said "We don't have good answers to these questions and we don't want any more bad press. If someone wants to ask them they're not allowed."

                  That's every bit as likely as the possibility that NO ONE in the hall (who are supposedly diehard fans including a bunch from the earlier debacle) had any questions. And again, the fact they flannelled on about stuff they'd already covered just reinforces that possibility.

      Kotaku is just a PoS corporate shill, if you didn't gather that already.

    So I'm guessing Blizzard will win the "worst company in america" award this year.

    Can Blizzard still produce quality games?

    I think that's my biggest issue with Diablo Immortal. It was the final straw... "proof" that my once-loved Blizzard North now only makes simplified casual games designed only to sell microtransactions, and that their "remasters" are all I have to look forward to from them in the future (Wow Classic / WarCraft 3: Reforged).

    Simply "announcing" Diablo 4 isn't enough anymore. At Blizzcon, I needed to be convinced that Blizzard hadn't lost its soul. Instead, they proved the exact opposite.

    I'm sure they'll announce Diablo 4 eventually. But I no longer have faith in their ability to deliver what their core audience truly wants.

      Can Blizzard still produce quality games?

      I'll say yes. Yes they can. You only need to look at their past decade to show that.

      Overwatch, 2016. As well received a game as ever, and kinda popular.

      Heroes of the Storm, 2015. MOBA, kinda popular as well.

      Hearthstone, 2014. CCG, again kinda popular.

      Diablo 3, 2012. Had its bad moments at release, well and truly sorted as time went on.

      StarCraft 2, 2010. Followup to an absolute legend of a game, just as good. Still being played actively 8 years later, and a posterchild for how to do expansions.

      None of those are bad games. So why the instant hate? And what IS their core audience? That's not even mentioning Warcraft games. You've heard of them haven't you?

        All those games are good but you're not looking at the current state of the games.

        D3 - well overdue for an update/D4

        Hearthstone - Lots of complaints here by the community about it's lack of support/new features/updates etc. Balence changes take far too long. The last expansion barely added any new cards to the meta. Game has had no real features in years, stagnating quite a bit feature wise. Only card updates every 3-4 months for $$.

        WoW- BFA widely considered to be a pile of crap. Player feedback in general completely ignored. Devs increasingly out of touch with the player base.

        They had some hits sure, but current blizzard is really missing the mark.

          So people pick and choose what releases they get to use as examples, picking the ones that tell their story and ignore the ones that don't, without recourse? Sorry, not buying it.

          People want to whinge, and find a scapegoat for their butthurts, and that's about it. BfA was a weak product, Legion in 2017 wasn't. Overwatch in 2016 wasn't either, neither was HotS in 2015. Hearthstone in 2014 has been mixed, I'll give you that, even though theres still as much interest in it as anything else in that genre. But Reaper of Souls came out around the same time, which totally turned D3 around. Going back even that far is pushing the term "recent".

          ...current blizzard is really missing the mark. is what I disagree with. The only product directly justifiable to that statement is an expansion for a 14 year old game. Using that as the justification for the hate totally ignores every other win they've had as far back as you choose to go.

          And where theres loose justification, like Hearthstone, its not really the product, but the lack of new things to do, something most games never offer.

            I guess we have different measures of what we consider quality

            I strongly disliked legion. In fact the longest break I've had from WOW was inspired by the pre-patch for Legion when they changed all the systems *again*. I came back really later into the life of Legion and played it's last few months. Not super enamored with BFA but I feel it's generally better than Legion. That said, it's full of problems that should have been resolved during beta, not 6 months in (if ever).

            As for the other games, I feel like they're not really innovating. HoTS seems like a knockoff, same with Overwatch. Sure they have their own flavours and they may even be decent games in their own right. But it feels like Blizzard saw what other companies were doing and said "We want a slice of that pie" not "Hey I've got a cool idea for a game".

            Maybe that's an incorrect assessment of what happened but that's how it looks to me (and a lot of others).

              As for the other games, I feel like they're not really innovating. HoTS seems like a knockoff, same with Overwatch. Sure they have their own flavours and they may even be decent games in their own right. But it feels like Blizzard saw what other companies were doing and said "We want a slice of that pie" not "Hey I've got a cool idea for a game".

              In fairness this is what Blizzard has always done, even if you go as far back as the original Warcraft. They've never really been known as an "innovating" developer, they never really come up with their own ideas. They just take what others have done and build upon them. About the most original game I can think of them doing was The Lost Vikings and that was very early in their life before they were even called Blizzard. Warcraft, Starcraft, Diablo, Heroes of the Storm, Hearthstone, Overwatch, World of Warcraft, even Blackthorne and Rock 'n Roll Racing - none of these were original ideas.

              Granted they have been pretty damn good at what they've been doing all these years, and their games are often considered genre defining because they are so highly refined and polished, but they never come up with original ideas.

              I feel like they're not really innovating Yeah, I dont really see them as innovators either tbh. They're very good at polishing their versions of existing ideas though. There were some innovations with WoW in the MMO space, and Diablo is an early example of action RPG's, but really most of their games are as you say - them getting a slice of the pie.

              But man they're good at polishing those games to be something memorable. Apple does the same thing with tech, and while they occasionally misstep as well, you dont write them off just because the magic mouse failed to set the world on fire, or because AirPower has quietly fallen off their radar.

              I was replying to chinesefoods belief that Blizzard
              now only makes simplified casual games designed only to sell microtransactions which should be obviously false to anyone considering even their past 5 years of releases, let alone earlier.

              For you personally, if you found BfA better than Legion, thats fine. It doesnt change what I said, and should only question more why Blizzard is being vilified so much. I havent played BfA so have no reference, but Legion kept me playing months longer than I expected, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

                I'd say that their earlier game at least did something interesting with the genres. Warcraft has a different feel and style to C&C for example. Diablo felt different to other ARPGs (I can't really remember a predecessor). In contrast if I looked at screenshots for HotS I wouldn't be able to tell it apart from it's competitors. Same with Overwatch.

                Maybe part of the problem is how saturated the industry is now so there is no truly new and unique game left to make. Maybe they're *all* just small variations on a theme.

                  Fair call. I was reluctant to call Diablo the first ARPG as history suggests there were others, but for me it was the ARPG that really kicked things off. We had dungeon crawlers before though, although maybe not as hack and slash as Diablo.

                  Other games were only different in setting to their contemporaries though. Warcraft was just a fantasy version of C&C at the start, StarCraft a space version. They were where Blizzard showed how good they were are refining a game to be genre defining.

                  I look at HotS and Hearthstone and kinda see them as games, but not really new. They're leveraging off the lore of other franchises, which I don't mind, but it puts them in some sort of middle ground as new to Blizzard, but familiar. The genre is new, the characters aren't. But they're still as good as anything else in those genres, ditto Overwatch, which was their first real new IP in 20 years.

                  I think its more that their games are never FAILURES. They might not live up to everyones expectations, but that's just because expectations are always high.

                  @grunt: Yeah I feel SC was very derivative in that it was not just a knock-off of C&C (and other RTS) but a knock off of WC itself. Sure WC was a knock off but it had character.

                  I remember a couple dungeon hacks but none of them had that action feel of Diablo. I could be wrong, but I think it started the trend.

        Yes, but Blizzard used to be the "best".

        Overwatch, I'll give you. While I personally dislike their predatory lootbox mechanics, I understand it's been a very popular game.

        HOTS is a simplistic DOTA clone. Significantly less popular than LoL and DOTA 2. Designed to cynically cash-in on the same market as Riot and Valve.

        Hearthstone, a "jackpot" for Blizzard, is horrendously predatory in it's design. Successful? Sure. But not the sort of game which endears a company to it's fans.

        StarCraft 2 was, overall, a bit of a letdown. The single player story is considered much worse than the original - and it's already less popular than the first in multiplayer. But not a bad game by any means.

        Diablo 3 is a tricky one. It has enormous sales figures (12th highest selling game of all time, I believe), but it was disappointing for it's original fans for a myriad of reasons, mostly to do with its simplicity.
        I personally believe you'd be hard pressed to find many fans who think D3 is better than D2. Meanwhile, PoE continues to go in popularity, going from strength to strength with constant updates - while Diablo 3 slides into obscurity.

        So I wouldn't say it's instant hate. It's seeing a once great developer slide into mediocrity, because that's where the most consumers are.

        It's natural - I understand they are a business... but they will not stay at the top if they continue in their current direction.

          I think they're making that much money they think they can do whatever the hell they like. Which has been their motto for as long as I can remember :) WoW generates that much money for them they don't need to rush anything.

          Look, I get the anger, I really do. I wanted something more concrete with Diablo myself, but the hate just seems so unjustified to me given their record. They don't release games quickly, and until Overwatch only had 3 IP's, which they'd milked for 20 years.

          They branched out, so we got Hearthstone and HotS, and frankly I think they did their usual with those - took an established genre (MOBA and CCG), and polished the hell out of it. That's what they do, and every product is an example of it. StarCraft was a polished RTS, WoW a polished MMO, Diablo a polished dungeon crawler/action RPG.

          And I just don't see the slide you guys see. Seriously. Yes, Battle for Azeroth is a misstep, but a year ago Legion was a triumph. I can forgive one misstep, and even with BfA, its more the high standard people expect than the product truly being bad. Draenor wasn't received greatly either, but it wasn't that bad.

          I don't see delaying a game like Diablo a misstep though. It was 12 years between D2 and D3, and I still recall the hatred for D3 even before release simply because they dared to try and replace what was over a decade old.

          Personally I prefer D3. Theres a lot more to do that repeat the same runs over and over like D2. I put plenty of hours into D2 as well, but once reaper of souls hit D3 was clearly the better product for me. They hid that loot grind so much better, and behind so many options.

          I'm just not seeing how this is such a misstep that Blizzard is now seen as losing their mojo. And recent releases are why I think that.

            You ignore that Wow hasn't just had one misstep, it's had several. WotLK is widely regarded as the greatest expansion in the game's history. Cataclysm, by comparison, is considered a disaster. MoP is still well regarded, but WoD is widely panned. Legion is a fan favourite but BfA is widely criticised. That's 3 missteps in the past 6 expansions. Further, many of the issues people have with BfA are more like the tipping point after years of neglect. You only need to look at the almost yearly mea culpa's on the forums where blizzard admit they don't communicate well enough and they will try harder. Yet, it happens again and again.

            Class balance fails(poor shamans) and the gradual culling of spells, combined with the GCD changes and the failure to acknowledge any of the alpha and beta complaints before rushing BfA out the door has people really wondering about the change in culture at blizzard.

              Havent ignored those, but you're going back nearly 10 years to make your point. How far back do you want to go? Do you vilify Blizzard because Rock n' Roll Racing in 1993 was visually a step backwards from RPM Racing 2 years earlier? Of course not.

              You're selectively choosing examples and ignoring the positives that happened along the way with other games. As I pointed out earlier, that same time period is littered with successes, and yet you decide to bring up Cataclysm from 2010 as evidence they've failed now...

              If that's all you have, move on. You aint changing my opinion. Even Cataclysm wasn't BAD, just a disappointment after WotLK. Which should have been expected given how damn good that was. Nothing was going to get near it.

                I'll go back to July 1, 2003(15 years ago).

                That was the last time Blizzard released a Warcraft RTS, in The Frozen Throne expansion. In the time since, they found a 'better' way to monetise the IP and have never looked back.

                I can look at every product that they have made in the past 15 years and see the experiment they tried with monetising it. You talk about WoW as the cash cow that lets them keep pumping out titles, but that money is DWARFED by the amount that Hearthstone/Overwatch bring in.

                Because, who knows? Maybe the announcement of Diablo Immortal means the death of traditional Diablo ARPGs, simply because they can't figure out a way to monetise the PC ARPG genre, just as they have failed to monetise the PC RTS genre.

                Now, I'm a fan of Blizzard, I'm not trying to make you hate them.

                Finishing my comment because I don't want my other comment to get stuck in moderation limbo:

                Now, I'm a fan of Blizzard, I'm not trying to make you hate them. I'm not someone who is angry about the announcement of Diablo Immortal, I couldn't care less: PoE fills all my needs in the ARPG category. I'm trying to explain some of my fears about Blizzard as a whole. After waiting 15 years (half of my life) for a new Warcraft RTS, it's safe to say they are not planning to make a new one.

                On some level, you really should be worried that will happen to Diablo as well.

                  Never looked into what Overwatch or Hearthstone generates so could be right, but WoW is still generating a shit ton of money. ~5 million subs, at $10 each is $50m a month or $600m a year.

                  Cant be sure of the subs, but that would be the low side - some guestimates suggest 10m still because BfA would have brought people back. They wouldn't have stuck around in huge numbers but would have been a bump, along with the xpack cost itself.

                  Even at half that in paying subs, and allowing for how Asia works, its still not a small number. And never has been - its been delivering for 13 years now. First year not so much as it grew, but after that its insane.

                  If Overwatch and/or Hearthstone beat that, it just adds to that pool of cash to make games. End of the day the main point was that they aint poor.

                  As for Diablo Immortal, don't for a second think I was satisfied with it being the focus either. I'm defending Blizzard's track record more than anything, and because of that am more than willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.

                  If their products suck or don't appeal to me, I simply don't buy them, so no skin off my nose. I dont like MOBA's or CCG's so put minimal time into Heathstone and HotS. No real point shooting them down for a failed announcement when I'll decide at release if I want it.

                  I suspect their Diablo 4 announcement they apparently pulled was because its similar to Fallout 76. They've commented before how they'd like to do Diablo Online, and a small population online mode fits well into Battle.Net.

                  Its the next trend I think, we're just seeing the start of it. But given the negative press with FO76, I wouldn't want to announce something similar just yet either. So who knows, FO76 may make them think they need to change the whole game, which pushes it back years. Just my theory, but everything fits into it.

                  But given there was 12 years between D2 and D3, I still don't worry. Was 12 years between StarCraft games as well. People getting worried because they aren't rushing it don't seem to understand how this company works. They don't rush things.

                  I expect there hasn't been a new Warcraft RTS simply because theres no interest in it. One group wants a new one, one wants a remaster, another group wants some crossover with StarCraft or Diablo, and tie the franchises together.

                  I guess we'll have to agree to disagree though. I don't see Blizzard as making such massive mistakes they'll lose the player base. I see a couple of errors, that are mostly received poorly because so many other products have been so damn good.

                  I also don't see a problem with them monetising things either. They're a business, its what they do. Even when they make a mistake, like the RMAH, they get rid of it. I thought the idea was great myself, its a shame it didn't work.

                  But the fact they voluntarily got rid of it shows they aren't afraid to admit it when they're wrong. Unlike the EA's and Ubisofts of the world. That alone should be respected and appreciated.

    Let be honest here, people ARE going to play it. Hell I'm going to play it when its released, however at this point in time I will not be spending a single cent on it.

      The problem is that lots of people do> :(
      They get addicted and spend WAY to much money, because companies exploit them; we're talking many hundreds, and even several thousand dollars.

      And lets be honest, while I wouldn't say Blizzard are worst offenders, they are pretty bad when it comes to 'micro' transactions.

      im not and i know many others who wont touch it.but heres the thing, even if every single diablo fan in the western world doesnt touch it, it will still be a smashing success because of china and south east asia

    People are Saaaaah salty, its hilarious

    The weird thing is I am actually considering trying the mobile Diablo, depending on price.

    On that front, Adham wasn't able to offer any concrete reassurances. He instead pointed to Blizzard's track record.

    So like...
    $15-20? to change your account name (not totally against this one)
    $18 to change a character name (WoW)
    $47 to move a single character to a new realm (WoW)
    $47 to change your characters race (WoW)
    $27 to change the appearance of your character (WoW)
    $55 to change faction (WoW)
    $20ish for a single in-game pet (WoW)
    $47 for a in-game mount (WoW)
    $27 for an in-game helmet (WoW)

    $2.95(US) Loot Boxes (Overwatch)

    Hearthstone looks atrocious too.

    Surprisingly, nothing for D3 on the store.

    Yep..... I'm sure it won't be priced to skin people alive.

      Your prices are all about 35% too high. Did you convert them USD to AUD? Because Blizzard services sell in AUD directly, the prices listed on their shop are already in AUD if your credit card is Australian.

      All non-service WoW items (mounts, pets and transmogs) are purely cosmetic. They have no effect on the game whatsoever, it's entirely up to you if you want to buy them or not. That's quite different to what people are worried about with Immortal, which is fear that functional parts of the game might be purchasable.

      Hearthstone is just fine, it's cheaper than other CCG games I've played both physically and online. It costs nothing to buy and you can earn free card packs pretty consistently from quests, arena runs, weekly brawls, voting for Hearthstone pro players, and a few other mechanisms. Yeah it's slow, but it's a completely free game if you do it that way.

        https://us.shop.battle.net/en-us/product/world-of-warcraft-warforged-nightmare
        $40

        https://us.shop.battle.net/en-us/product/world-of-warcraft-service-appearance-change
        $20

        Just two examples from the main page of the blizzard store. In both cases it's not clear whether the price is in US or AU but considering the URL is "US.shop..." it's not unusual to expect them to be US dollars. Even if they are AU dollars the prices are still basically gouging. Especially the name change below.

        https://us.shop.battle.net/en-us/product/world-of-warcraft-service-name-change
        $13.50

        There is at least an argument that a race change might need more complex scripting (since it affects mounts, abilities and other items). However a name change is about the most simple change you could make. The only two questions that need to be applied are "is it on the offensive list" and "is it already being used". And both those functions would already exist in the game since they're utilised whenever you create a new character.

          They're AUD, they've done this for quite a while now but I double checked them before commenting, all the way through to the shopping cart where it does put 'AUD' in front. In-game pricing in WoW and Hearthstone is the same, they show AUD if your account has an Australian credit card.

          They've addressed why services are expensive before - it's to deliberately disincentivise their use. The game wasn't intended to have these services and was never designed with them in mind, and they only really added them grudgingly. They didn't want people doing things like name changes and server changes for a few reasons (maintaining sense of community was one of them), and that policy has been in place basically since services were added. Name change specifically was limited because the ignore list is name-based, not account-based, battletag-based (which would leak info to players which characters were on the same battletag) or token-based (which would require the server communicating other player tokens to each client, which is a security risk). The cost was, along with the general disincentive, to ensure it wasn't abused for harassment.

          Their systems have improved a lot since then, and their approach to community has changed with CRZ and group finder, so you could make a case to them that the disincentive isn't needed any more. But that's the official reason they cost what they do.

            I'm sorry, but no. There's no defending Blizzards prices on WoW services. They're atrocious and I would say borderline predatory.

            And if they didn't want people changing servers in order to 'maintain a sense of community' they would NEVER have implemented cross-realm phasing and battlegroups which is hands down the number one 'sense of community killer' I've EVER seen happen to a game.

              I don't agree. Their reasoning is sound, it's just old. The name change/harassment justification is still present, it's a legacy technical limitation.

              Companies aren't stagnant, their views and policies change over time. The policy on service pricing was in place long before CRZ was introduced. Like I said, you can make the case to them that the conditions the policy was created under don't apply any more, and I'd agree with you.

              Battlegroups existed then because they represented datacentres, the only thing they were used for was instanced PVP and early versions of Dungeon Finder, because of the logistics of pulling data from outside datacentres. They have nothing to do with community, they're technical implementations. Battlegroups today only apply to arena, the technical limitations of cross-datacentre communication have been resolved and so the technical limitation battlegroups were intended to solve has been lifted.

                Blizzard can spin it as 'intentionally designed to de-incentivise use' all they like.

                But you're kidding if you think paying the price of a new game for a single character boost or server & faction transfer is in any way not greedy as all hell.

                  I'm not kidding when I say I think it was appropriate when it was introduced, but the circumstances that made it appropriate at the time no longer apply. The fact it hasn't changed yet I ascribe to apathy over bothering to change a system that works and generates revenue, rather than malicious design from the outset.

                  Not that it matters all that much, but services can be paid for with in-game gold too, via the WoW token.

                  I think they should reconsider a lot of their prices. I'd also go as far as making pricing "smart". Take the character boost for example. They added a free character boost with the last couple expansions. That's a great idea to get new players in and up to level rather than forcing them to play for weeks or months to catch up. Why not be smart about character boosts and say something like "If you have more than three max level characters you get a 50% discount on a character boost". Or you can give away a character boost to a battlenet friend?

                  Similar logic with name changes. For every year of play you get X% of the cost of a name change. Or for every year played you get a free name change. The discount resets once you use it. Could apply to server changes and appearance changes. Hell, could apply to mount prices too. If you've been playing for 10 years the mounts cost 10% of the price.

                  Stops the scammy, just created accounts being used in a bad way and rewards long term fans.

                For me I think that the character race change and appearance change have no reason to be so high. If they really wanted to encourage people not to use them a lot they would put a timer on them so you couldn't spam them.

                I used to know some people on RP servers who would drop hundreds of dollars changing their character each week for various reasons and they really couldn't afford this they just looked at it as 10 payments of 20 instead of one payment of 200. Its really disgusting how much Blizzard is happy to take from a person for an automated service.

                Its similar to the way Blizzard manipulate these people in to spending hundreds of dollars on cosmetic lootboxes during timed events with the fear of missing out.

                  There is a timer on them as well (these days at least), but both of those were more recent service additions after the policy was set up. I don't want to sound repetitious but I do agree that the prices should be reviewed and lowered.

            I've heard the disincentivization (is that a word?) story before and while that may apply for say, name change and server change* what about pets and mounts or appearance? $40 for a single mount... holy crap that is gouging of the highest order.

            * limiting server changes makes sense since they're trying to maintain population balance. At least it did at the time, but now with cross-server a reality it should be a non-issue. As such the price should be lowered.

              There's only one mount that's $40 AUD, it's higher because it's temporarily shareable in-game. The others are $34 from memory. Pets are $14. As for the price, they're cosmetic and there's clearly a market willing to pay it, so I don't think it's a problem. This isn't even like Apple's high pricing being a bit extortionate because people who buy into the Apple ecosystem are effectively trapped by sunk cost into being unable to swap away, these cosmetics have no equivalent trap - they really do come down to buy it if you want, no loss if you don't.

          Yeah US based prices, I just had those in front of me - they seemed close to what I remembered in the past. But even minus 35%, they are still ridiculous.

          I understand there are some reasons which are based on limitations, but there are others that are waffle.

          All non-service WoW items (mounts, pets and transmogs) are purely cosmetic.
          I still don't think that is a fair reason to over price them.

          I do understand business is about money though.

          Personally I just think these items are Blizzard being extra greedy, as they milk fans who have already invested a lot (purchased the base game + expansions, and are then paying monthly). I have no doubt they could have sold them for 1/4 the price and still made a huge profit on each one.

          which is fear that functional parts of the game might be purchasable.
          I've been trying to give Blizzard the benefit of the doubt here, assuming they won't paywall it.

          Hearthstone is just fine
          I hear what you're saying, and since it's free I'm not completely upset about this one. In fact, when I play a F2P game that DOESN'T force me to pay by stonewalling me, then I generally go out of my way to purchase some things to support the dev.

          I still think it's over priced, and just because other games are worse, doesn't make it right.

    "Sense of entitlement"

    Yes, returning customers have that pesky way of wanting a certain product for which they have parted and will continue to part with their money.

    Not all "senses of entitlement" are negative because some of them are actually earned via a transactional contract. You get that, right?

    I reckon there's a good chance they fully intended to announce D4 at this years blizzcon but decided to yank it at the last minute, hence the last minute post trying to temper expectations.

    Awwww gamers brings over dramatic sooks, nothing new

      You don't need to try and puff yourself up by mocking other people.

      You can be critical of something without being a "dramatic sook". Being critical of things we love is what helps them stay things we love. If you don't complain these issues don't go away they only get worse.

    "Let's all laugh at an industry that never learns anything tee hee hee"

    Bethesda announces Skyrim on mobile ... crowd goes nuts!!! Blizzard release Diablo on mobile. Bring out the torches and angry mobs....interesting.

      Bethesda also announced a new fallout game and the next Elder Scrolls game. Then showed the Mobile game among other things.

      Big difference bud.

    Not sure why Gamergate was mentioned. Good to see they are living rent free in Kotaku’s head.

    And yet, people have decided that this is the ultimate betrayal, all because a single game isn't hyper-focused on the diehard PC and console crowd.

    That's a little unfair. I think that's downplaying what this kind of move shows about the company.

    I was never a huge Diablo fan, but I think the response is reasonable. It is a betrayal, and it's not because a game isn't going to be on a platform that people want it to be; it's more about the fact that Blizz here seems to only be "hyper-focused" on cashing in on a mobile Chinese market instead of the very fanbase that has supported them. That's pretty close to an ultimate betrayal in my book.

    Everything else, with the announcement's timing, location and being played up as if a reveal for the fans, plus every little meme-y mistake in the execution, that just ramps up how insulting it comes across -- exploiting the hungry fanbase only to turn their back on them for a more profitable venture.

    As always, sure, fans are not entitled to getting what they want, nor do they necessarily deserve it. You are not obligated to say thank you when given something, just as Blizz are not obligated to do anything for their fans. But that doesn't mean they shouldn't, and I still think they should have been able to give their fans something better to thank them for their support over the years, instead of taking it for granted and doing something which makes them seem as if they believe themselves to be above that.

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