Six years after the launch of Diablo 3, and with the franchise getting the bulk of love on the Blizzcon main stage for the first time in aeons, fans were hopeful for even a tease of a new Diablo.
And Blizzard delivered a mobile game. Unsurprisingly, the backlash was swift.
There's no reason Diablo can't, or won't, offer a substantial experience on the small screen. Dungeon crawlers are one genre that has ported over to mobiles well. Having a single virtual joystick and smaller icons for actions is a pretty common setup for mobile games now: you see it a lot in MOBAs, like Arena of Valor or Vainglory.
But a mobile Diablo was not what fans have been waiting for. So it's not surprising that, at the time of writing, the Diablo Immortal trailer had just under 400 likes, with the dislikes approaching almost 10,000. The cinematic trailer has copped the backlash even harder, with just over 600 likes to around 17,000 dislikes.
The reaction on the show floor has been harsh, too. During the Q&A section of the Diablo panel immediately after the opening ceremony, one fan asked: "Is this an out of season April Fool's joke?"
Combined with the confirmation that Immortal wasn't coming to PC, and that it's described as an MMOARPG rather than a straight ARPG, fans were furious. The d
You sure it is Immortal? Because you've just slaughtered it
— Mateusz (@Reithaz_) November 2, 2018
I am deeply disappointed and amazed at the same time. While I welcome with great honesty immortal, The lack of no new news for Diablo III is inexcusable. You should have at least had something prepare to present for D3.
— anton shields (@BknightKing42) November 2, 2018
So basically you decided to destroy a beloved franchise that many of us grew up with in order to catch the money of the few whales that will pour money into this joke of a game? Just curious really, will there be microtransactions in this joke?
— Purply (@PurpleOmen) November 2, 2018
well this franchise is now dead to me. you have lost a fan today :(
— MR. GOOD GUY (@MrFukingGoodGuy) November 2, 2018
#Diablo seems to be @Blizzard_Ent playground. They kept experimenting with new stuff during D3, which often made its way into #worldofwarcraft
So this mobile "game" experience shouldn't surprise - I just hoped it wouldn't be their main announcement.
— Esho | Alex ???? (@TranqOasis) November 2, 2018
Looks like we didn't kill Greed in the treasure vault... he's back and taken over blizzard
— Stuffsayer Gamer (@stuffsayergamer) November 2, 2018
What's staggering and mystifying about the booing and the disappointment generally is that Blizzard were open about multiple Diablo titles under development.
"We know what many of you are hoping for and we can only say that “good things come to those who wait,” but evil things often take longer. We appreciate your patience as our teams work tirelessly to create nightmarish experiences worthy of the Lord of Terror," Blizzard said in a blog post.
Basically: we're working on a new Diablo. It's just not ready for a big reveal yet.
That's not enough for some, however. Other fans took a more sage approach, noting that not every game is for everyone and Diablo was no exception. There's also multiple teams working on different Diablo projects, a detail that went underappreciated in the moments following Immortal's announcement.
— Alex (@Omniwaffle) November 2, 2018
Damn so many people whining. They're just opening up a way for more people to play. Quit your bitchin and play something else then. Sheesh!
— Karen Larissa (@DuskLilly) November 2, 2018
Gamers are fucking weird. We already knew that Diablo 4 wasn't going to be announced. We were explicitly told that. And we already knew a mobile game was in the works. We already know that multiple teams are working on multiple Diablo projects. Yet they're pissed. Fuck off
— Adam (@Raz0r13) November 2, 2018
Wow some #Diablo fans are jerks! Chill you will get the game you want. If this is not for you don't be unkind to the developers.
— Jesse Voted (@Thefrogpod) November 2, 2018
That's like saying Blizzard shat on the face of every person who wanted classic when they announced the last 3 expansions. They're separate teams. There was a guy on stage who was lead of the REMASTER team. Is the diablo team going to twiddle their thumbs until then? Once -
— Runeax (@RuneaxDoodles) November 2, 2018
Imagine working your ass off on a new #Diablo just to have someone ask if it's an April Fool's joke. That's gotta be a punch to the gut for the team behind the game.
Screw that guy. Like the game or not, fine, but there's no reason to be an entitled asshole about it. ????
— Rudeism (@rudeism) November 2, 2018
Part of the problem too is the nature of Blizzcon. It's billed not just as a convention, but a family event where people come together and listen. The fans at Blizzcon treat Blizzard more like a father figure than a corporate entity.
So in many ways, some disappointment is understandable. Fans have stuck by the developer for years, and not getting even a teaser of a mainline Diablo feels almost personal. Some noted that even just a public acknowledgement of what's in the works, much like Bethesda did with Starfield at E3, would have been appreciated.
Logically, however, Immortal makes all sorts of sense. The mobile platform suits that type of game well, and it lets Blizzard reach tons of fans that simply haven't been able to enjoy the existing Diablo games. Building out a mobile-focused MMO also opens up other kinds of opportunities down the road, too.
But that's not the narrative fans at Blizzcon, and Diablo fans who have been waiting in wings for years, want to hear.
Announcing the mobile Diablo Immortal in front of the BlizzCon crowd is like announcing a new golf-cart model in front of a crowd of Ferrari enthusiasts.
— Adam Melrose (@melroseadam) November 2, 2018
We'll have some impressions from Diablo Immortal this weekend after we get some hands on time. A Google Play listing for Immortal is live now.
The author travelled to Blizzcon 2018 as a guest of Blizzard.