Blizzard Shelves Diablo III Team Deathmatch Mode

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I'm still waiting for a high quality experience to be patched into DIII, since that was missing at launch amongst many other things, like fun and enjoyment...

CriticKitten:
See, I don't understand this decision. Mainly because of this part:

MikeWehner:
Blizzard cites several factors leading to its choice to halt work on the mode, including PvP balance issues and a lack of depth.

....so it would fit right in with the rest of the game, then?

*rimshot*

this.

as well as

Zenn3k:
Wait...people are still playing Diablo 3?!

that.

now.

if they'd release a patch that makes the game not a shallow, pointless waste of $60 then i might care, but then that might require them to put effort into it this time

Maybe Blizzard finally woke up and smelt the sad truth that nobody gives a shit about Diablo 3 anymore.

Tanis:
I thought everyone moved on to Torchlight 2 when it came out?

Why would you still be sinking time into an inferior game like D3?

Self deception at its peak I would say.

major_chaos:
So. Many. Torchlight. fanboys. Why do people come in just to gush about that steaming pile of gray goop every time someone mentions D3?

Probably because it is objectively better?

SmashLovesTitanQuest:

OT: Wait, is there any kind of PvP mode available right now? I've been meaning to go back to Diablo 3 to check it out when PvP hits.

Nope!
Still no PvP in D3.

What the hell is going on at Blizzard?
I thought Valve Time was bad, here we have a core, advertised feature of D3 still not existing 7 freaking months after launch.

Or how about Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm?
Where the fuck did that go? Did the team get shifted over to make WoW: Pandaland?
The excuse I keep hearing is "Playtesting and balancing". What game takes 2 years to balance, no, what EXPANSION to a game takes 2 years to develop and balance?

Starcraft 2: Wings of Liberty was delayed for a solid year due to the launch of Bnet 2.0, but HotS doesn't get that excuse. I get that developing assets and content takes time, but it shouldn't take nearly that long once the core game and its assets are already in place.

I mean, I don't even buy their products anymore, but I still want to know just so I can understand:
What the hell is going on at Blizzard? Seriously!

Atmos Duality:

SmashLovesTitanQuest:

OT: Wait, is there any kind of PvP mode available right now? I've been meaning to go back to Diablo 3 to check it out when PvP hits.

Nope!
Still no PvP in D3.

What the hell is going on at Blizzard?
I thought Valve Time was bad, here we have a core, advertised feature of D3 still not existing 7 freaking months after launch.

Or how about Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm?
Where the fuck did that go? Did the team get shifted over to make WoW: Pandaland?
The excuse I keep hearing is "Playtesting and balancing". What game takes 2 years to balance, no, what EXPANSION to a game takes 2 years to develop and balance?

Starcraft 2: Wings of Liberty was delayed for a solid year due to the launch of Bnet 2.0, but HotS doesn't get that excuse. I get that developing assets and content takes time, but it shouldn't take nearly that long once the core game and its assets are already in place.

I mean, I don't even buy their products anymore, but I still want to know just so I can understand:
What the hell is going on at Blizzard? Seriously!

They got restructured and boss change that's what happened. Apple was in the gutters until Steve Jobs came back, Blizzard was good until activision bought it and JW starts leading projects.

FelixG:

Probably because it is objectively better?

You and I have a very different opinion of TL2 and a very different definition of "objectively". The best thing I can say about TL2 is "its D2 but over all worse in every way" ranging from marginally inferior in some ways to significantly inferior in others. And if we are still all ironically moaning about the online requirement on an internet forum, then I'll say I would rather have that added layer of DRM than deal with the epidemic of cheating in TL2.

EDIT: Silly me how did I miss this smug litle gem

Self deception at its peak I would say.

Gotta love it. "some one liked a game that I didn't like? they must be lying to themselves, because I am the end all be all judge of quality and if I didn't like it, it must be objectively shit and no one could possibly have enjoyed it"

major_chaos:

FelixG:

Probably because it is objectively better?

You and I have a very different opinion of TL2 and a very different definition of "objectively". The best thing I can say about TL2 is "its D2 but over all worse in every way" ranging from marginally inferior in some ways to significantly inferior in others. And if we are still all ironically moaning about the online requirement on an internet forum, then I'll say I would rather have that added layer of DRM than deal with the epidemic of cheating in TL2.

EDIT: Silly me how did I miss this smug litle gem

Self deception at its peak I would say.

Gotta love it. "some one liked a game that I didn't like? they must be lying to themselves, because I am the end all be all judge of quality and if I didn't like it, it must be objectively shit and no one could possibly have enjoyed it"

You say TL2 is inferior to D2 overall yet lists no reason or why it is inferior at all. You clearly think highly of D3 but lists no positives of how it is better than TL2 or Path of Exile. You call people how say D3 is shit "Torchlight fanboys". Also arguing about the online requirement on an internet forum is not "ironic", it means you don't understand the argument and cheating in TL2 and online DRM has nothing to do with each other.

"some one liked a game that I didn't like? they must be lying to themselves, because I am the end all be all judge of quality" This is in every way the pot calling the kettle black.

Edit: As for the "rampant" hacking on TL2, there really isn't much and that point really holds no merits when you can play offline or *gasp* with your friends on your friend list/password your games, kinda like you know, D3.

Not surprising imo. That game was a massive disappointment in nearly every aspect. Especially as someone who read all of the Diablo books that got released years after. So much unused potential. Whoever was responsible for the story and characters a) did not put much effort in it in the first place, b) didn't care about the already established lore and c) ... nevermind, I just don't care anymore. Even if they could implement nice PvP, it doesn't change that D3 is just a soulless "meh" game for me. What a waste of my time and money.

If I could go back in time and tell my younger self that that's how I'm going to feel about freaking Diablo 3, it wouldn't stop laughing at me. :<

That's funny, because I don't think Diablo 3 itself "just doesn't fall in line with the high-quality Blizzard experience" either. I would say something about how it's also shallow and got old quickly like the PvP did, too, but I don't want to steal other people's jokes. Fucking incompetent buffoons, I love this.

DingoDoom:

You say TL2 is inferior to D2 overall yet lists no reason or why it is inferior at all.

I was trying to not totally derail this thread but fine:

You clearly think highly of D3 but lists no positives of how it is better than TL2 or Path of Exile.

I love the new skill system, its nice to see something new, I love how each class has thir own resouce that charges fast enough for skills to be used constantly instead of rationed for only tough fights, I love the abandonment of potion chugging ect. But that said I didn't directly compare it to TL2 because they were going for different things. while TL2 was trying and failing to just be D2.5, D3 was doing lots of new things even if not all of them worked out. And I didn't compare it to PoE because that game is in closed beta and I refuse to pay for the ability to get into a F2P game early especially when its in beta and I don't know if its any good, and it might be good, but when your big selling point is literally "all our classes have one skill-tree to share" you don't exactly bowl me over with hype.

You call people who say D3 is shit "Torchlight fanboys".

When you come into a thred about a feature in D3 with nothing to say but "hurrr d3 is teh sucks Torchlight 4ever" or, as the guy I was quoting did, blatantly say anyone who claims to enjoy the game is in denial, then yes you come accros as a fanboy. Not to mention that you criticized me for not giving reasons, almost none of the people I was calling out have given reason either, other then weak stabs at the much maligned online requirement.

Also arguing about the online requirement on an internet forum is not "ironic", it means you don't understand the argument

Then enlighten me, because complaining about the requirement to be online in an age where most people are connected 24/7, especially the people on a tech forum, seems fairly ironic.

and cheating in TL2 and online DRM has nothing to do with each other.

D3 went heavy on the DRM and created an unmodable closed system, which prevents people from cheating, partly because everything is sever side, TL2 went for open and modable, the problem is that people are shit so you get morons on the GFAQs and Steam boards bragging about who has the most outrageous modded weapons and stat hacks, which reflects in gameplay by me not being able to find a lobby that isn't ruined by those same jerks killing everything in one hit.

"some one liked a game that I didn't like? they must be lying to themselves, because I am the end all be all judge of quality" This is in every way the pot calling the kettle black.

I never called TL2 shit, IMO its purely average and unremarkable in every way, that's why I referred to it as "grey goop" and while I genuinely don't understand the love for it, I never said anything about other people liking it, I certainly did't say it was impossible to enjoy, and in fact I at no point even said that D3 was better, I just said that I don't think its any worse.

Edit: As for the "rampant" hacking on TL2, there really isn't much and that point really holds no merits when you can play offline or *gasp* with your friends on your friend list/password your games, kinda like you know, D3.

Most of my friends are console gamers, but even if I did have a huge PC gaming friend group I shouldn't need to hide a passwored lobby just to not deal with hackers. Now that I think about it, if we are complaining about things being behind schedule, where is that TL2 modkit and Steam workshop that fans promised would be the final nail in D3's coffin?

Poor Diablo 3. Most of my friends and clan mates, including me, thought the game was fun, really fun actually. I enjoyed it a lot when it first came out. This was, however, my very first Blizzard game, and I had no idea that they had ties with Activsiion, but whatever. Clocked a lot of hours in the game with my Wizard, which was great fun, but it got crappier, and crappier, and crappier after every single patch, to the point where I didn't even see the point of playing anymore. I was one of the last few of my friends who quit, and the friend list that started with 30 active people, went down to 1-2 active people per day. From the start, people were looking forward to PvP, and I kind of was too, although I prefer PvE more, but whatever, gives you something to do. Sad to see they abandoned the thing that people were looking most forward to, after all the bad stuff they were hit with. After seeing their behaviour, I have to say, Typical.

I just feel sorry for the fans of the franchise. I gave it a shot. It survived for 2 weeks before sawing its legs open slowly and painfully and falling onto the ground and bleeding out.

Who knows, maybe if they find a way suck more money out of people, then they'll drop something for the players. Maybe RMAH advertisements while you're actually playing. Aren't you all thankful?

Atmos Duality:

Or how about Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm?
Where the fuck did that go? Did the team get shifted over to make WoW: Pandaland?
The excuse I keep hearing is "Playtesting and balancing". What game takes 2 years to balance, no, what EXPANSION to a game takes 2 years to develop and balance?

Well, last I heard, HotS is coming out sometime in March, 2013. Unless someone has heard something else while I was passed out on the sofa with a belly full of meatballs, potatoes, sausages and pts.

Huh, so Diablo 3 won't suddenly become a great game after all? Too bad.
I'm just kidding of course, I didn't think it would ever become a great game in the first place.

major_chaos:

Well, I wouldn't call D2 an artistically beautiful game at all. It was pretty robust which was actually good because a lot was left for our imagination. And I wouldn't call TL2 low quality and stylistically bad. The texturing really reminds me of WoW, maybe a bit colourful at times, but giving enough contrast to be functional.

You are right about the music though. Most of the soundtrack of TL2 is a rip off from D2. I still liked it, but it was kind of weird.

About the skills in D2... Well. To be honest the D2 skill trees were crap. Especially pre-expansion. Full of filler skills that you would never use again after a couple of levels which was partially remedied by skill synergies. But the problem with synergies was that it added unnecessary complexity and they were just a patch for the bad skill tree design. Also 20 levels per skill made the leveling up of already taken skills too granular - all you got was about a 3% increase in the skills power per level. That's why I sometimes don't understand people complaining about D3 giving them skills that they don't use, while D3 gives you a bunch of skills every level, D2 gave you just a lousy skill point. And the stat points were just an illusion of customisation (except for druid - the most versatile class of all) - how many dexterity barbs did you see reach level 99? TL2 actually got the statpoints right. Focus berserker is actually a viable build.

The visual distinction is a very good thing, but it cost D3 a lot of interesting armor designs for it's characters. Just think about the sheer amount of armor models for every distinct character model. TL2 on the other hand with it's 'everybody looks the same' approach had to make separate models only for male and female armors, resulting in more armor designs per character. And TL2 armors are actually visually more interesting than D3, but of course D3 has a different and more serious mood so stone armor and such wouldn't really fit in.

And I guess I have to agree with the story part. TL2's story was very minimalistic to the point were it was sometimes difficult to follow. But I wouldn't call it laughable because a huge part of it was a rip off of D2's story, which was actually good. But then again D3's story wasn't a gem either.

OT: I don't play D3 anymore. Maybe waiting for an actual end game, but I guess it's not gonna happen (No paragon levels are not endgame). While I don't hate the game, it's just gets boring in the end. Maybe axing team PvP was a good call as it would probably be pay to win what with all the real money auction houses and everything. But the same problem could be with the Dueling mode. Maybe I'll check it out.

I didn't know Blizzard makes "High quality experiances"

So I suppose that Diablo 3 is failing to make money and that it's auction house is rapidly contracting have nothing to do with it?

Nah, can't be that.

Atmos Duality:

What the hell is going on at Blizzard? Seriously!

Activision is going on, every bad decision from 2008 onwards leads back to them.

I still fail to understand exactly what Blizzard got out of selling up to Activision. Granted it made Acti-Bliz the biggest publisher in the world, but Blizzard had no need of Activision and Activision still had the exact problems it has now (total reliance on a few headline franchises and no back up plan).

Blizzard already had WoW established as the best and biggest by that point, it's not as if they had any need of money or infrastructure. Bad decisions all round...

Lord_Jaroh:
I'm still waiting for a high quality experience to be patched into DIII, since that was missing at launch amongst many other things, like fun and enjoyment...

I like that concept, and it'd probably be in the patch notes if I were ever to update a game

"Fun and enjoyment have been added to the game. Also kittens, weeee"

Aw Blizzard. Maybe you should add kittens if you can't get fun and enjoyment down.

I miss the old high quality Blizzard so much. This new team is just hopeless, especially with the writing. Fucking Oath is it terrible!

Diablo 3 is such a flat game. I got sick of hearing about it a long time ago.

Easton Dark:

Lord_Jaroh:
I'm still waiting for a high quality experience to be patched into DIII, since that was missing at launch amongst many other things, like fun and enjoyment...

I like that concept, and it'd probably be in the patch notes if I were ever to update a game

"Fun and enjoyment have been added to the game. Also kittens, weeee"

Aw Blizzard. Maybe you should add kittens if you can't get fun and enjoyment down.

They tried unicorns and that didn't work. Maybe kittens would. I mean, it couldn't be worse, right?

'Hey, lets announce features, push them back after release and then scrap them entirely!'

They did this with WoW expansions since WotLK as far as I remember. I am not surprised they keep doing it.

It is basically just fucking false advertising. "We will have PvP deathmatches as teams!" "Well, they'll come in the future, trust us!" "Ah, we scrap it, you suckers bought the game already!".

"Simply fighting each other with no other objectives or choices to make gets old relatively quickly," the official notice explains.

Bleh. With Diablo 3, Blizzard did not and still does not understand their demo, as far as established players go. One of the main reasons there are still people playing Diablo 2 right now is "simply fighting each other," aka the rudimentary dueling system which the developers hated but players have been enjoying for 12 years.

major_chaos:
So. Many. Torchlight. fanboys. Why do people come in just to gush about that steaming pile of gray goop every time someone mentions D3? I'm still waiting to get my 20$ back even though its never gonna happen.

OT: Good, PvP was shit in D2 don't see why its wanted or needed, now get to work on that expansion pack Blizz.

Blizzard said they wouldn't be releasing any expansions for D3...

OT: Doesn't this remind anyone about another game that advertised features that weren't implemented and was barred from being sold on Steam for doing so?

Blizzard must actually hate people who give them money these days.

ExtraDebit:

Activision is going on, every bad decision from 2008 onwards leads back to them.

I still fail to understand exactly what Blizzard got out of selling up to Activision. Granted it made Acti-Bliz the biggest publisher in the world, but Blizzard had no need of Activision and Activision still had the exact problems it has now (total reliance on a few headline franchises and no back up plan).

Blizzard already had WoW established as the best and biggest by that point, it's not as if they had any need of money or infrastructure. Bad decisions all round...

I know that the merger wasn't entirely on Blizzard; parent company Vivendi Universal bought both companies, and merged them.

But whoever the hell is running Blizzard at this point has either run out of talent under them, or has let the power go to their head, because these decisions, even from a a simple logical perspective, do not make any sense to me.

Bnet 2.0, I get. It's a business strategy. It's a dirty business strategy, but I have come to expect that.
No, what's mind-blowing is that it takes them 7 months to come out and say they are not providing ONE major function for ONE game, and their reasoning for doing so is highly questionable at best.

A function that would take MODDERS maybe a week to create.

fix-the-spade:

Atmos Duality:

What the hell is going on at Blizzard? Seriously!

Activision is going on, every bad decision from 2008 onwards leads back to them.

I still fail to understand exactly what Blizzard got out of selling up to Activision. Granted it made Acti-Bliz the biggest publisher in the world, but Blizzard had no need of Activision and Activision still had the exact problems it has now (total reliance on a few headline franchises and no back up plan).

Blizzard already had WoW established as the best and biggest by that point, it's not as if they had any need of money or infrastructure. Bad decisions all round...

Everyone likes to scapegoat Activision. Blizzard has always been owned by Vivendi. Vivendi also owns Activision. Blizzard wasn't bought out by Activision, Vivendi decided to merger the two corporations together. The blame lies 100% with Mike Morhaime as much as fanboys will deny it. Blizzard learned to embrace corporate culture, where less is more.

Cue "LOL DIBLO 3 SUX I M SO CLEVR SO MNY GUD GAMS R BETR Y PEPLE PLAI IT SO BAD"
Seriously people, it's getting old.

OT: Well, there goes the last chance for a Diablo 3 revival. PvP was the only thing that could have had a chance of bringing in some new players.

Presumably it got stuck in development (for whatever reason) and was later sidelined when it was crunch-time for Mists of Pandaria. When WoW: MoP was out of the way Blizzard took a look at Diablo 3s player "velocity" (if you excuse the macroeconomic term), found it unsatisfactory and decided that the PvP wasn't worth the time or the expenses.

Atmos Duality:
Or how about Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm?
Where the fuck did that go? Did the team get shifted over to make WoW: Pandaland?
The excuse I keep hearing is "Playtesting and balancing". What game takes 2 years to balance, no, what EXPANSION to a game takes 2 years to develop and balance?

Let's turn around the question: What kind of development team needs two years (or more) to develop and playtest an expansion for balance?

Atmos Duality:
But whoever the hell is running Blizzard at this point has either run out of talent under them, or has let the power go to their head, because these decisions, even from a a simple logical perspective, do not make any sense to me.

Or they have made so much profit that they have gotten too big for their breeches. Then again, that ties in with your latter guess.

Bnet 2.0, I get. It's a business strategy. It's a dirty business strategy, but I have come to expect that.

Sorry for asking, but what was the dirty thing about it?
I had my attention on other things at the time that event took place, you see.

Hjalmar Fryklund:
Presumably it got stuck in development (for whatever reason) and was later sidelined when it was crunch-time for Mists of Pandaria. When WoW: MoP was out of the way Blizzard took a look at Diablo 3s player "velocity" (if you excuse the macroeconomic term), found it unsatisfactory and decided that the PvP wasn't worth the time or the expenses.

That sounds about right, though I'm curious as to just how dire things have become for D3 if they're cutting development for features.

Let's turn around the question: What kind of development team needs two years (or more) to develop and playtest an expansion for balance?

I have no idea. Either question at this point leads to an absurd answer...or an infuriating one.

Or they have made so much profit that they have gotten too big for their breeches. Then again, that ties in with your latter guess.

So much for reinvestment.

Sorry for asking, but what was the dirty thing about it?
I had my attention on other things at the time that event took place, you see.

Bnet 2.0's primary function is a DRM system. It has few benefits over Bnet 1.0, with many more drawbacks.
(and social profiles, VOIP, chat etc is done better elsewhere)

Nearly every technical problem I had with Starcraft 2 was directly related to Bnet 2.0. At least I was able to enjoy the campaign without needing to go online, but it's very obvious that they want you on their system at all times.

(and for the apologists in the peanut gallery: I know it's their "legal right" to implement such a system, and I know the business reasons behind it, but that doesn't mean I have to like it, nor does it excuse them from any criticism.)

Atmos Duality:

Hjalmar Fryklund:
Presumably it got stuck in development (for whatever reason) and was later sidelined when it was crunch-time for Mists of Pandaria. When WoW: MoP was out of the way Blizzard took a look at Diablo 3s player "velocity" (if you excuse the macroeconomic term), found it unsatisfactory and decided that the PvP wasn't worth the time or the expenses.

That sounds about right, though I'm curious as to just how dire things have become for D3 if they're cutting development for features.

That would be interesting to know, wouldn't it? Though, what Blizzard would do if things really went down the toilet for D3 would be even more interesting. And I'm not saying this because the idea of D3 tanking makes me salivate (Read: It doesn't), I am genuinely curious about the consequences that would follow.

I have no idea. Either question at this point leads to an absurd answer...or an infuriating one.

To answer my own question; it's (likely) either a very, very small dev team with a slow progression rate (due to, say, day jobs or family related matters), or a medium-to-large team that isn't very motivated at getting things done.

So much for reinvestment.

Indeed. Really, unless there are some serious financial issues that Blizzard are facing (which we are unaware of), I am willing to bet that they are just pocketing that money and living it off. Which is probably why they aren't all that motivated to actually get all the announced game features in working condition on launch date.

Oh, and thanks for the info on Bnet 2.0.

CAPTCHA: money lender

How very poetic indeed.

My basic opinion of Diablo III is that it's exactly what was advertised. The basic "click, loot, click, loot" system is pretty much the same that it's ever been, and what made the franchise famous. They dumbed it down to make it more approachable to casuals, which they also did to WoW, but to be fair that's not entirely unexpected nowadays. The core gameplay is still pretty much intact.

The problem seems to be mostly that the game didn't really innovate, if you've done clicking and looting before, you've done it here, and while more efficient, there isn't a lot more to it. Everyone had ideas for directions they would have liked Diablo to go in, but all they got was the same basic experience.

The new innovations like the real money auction house were always iffy, Diablo being a fairly solitary game (no persistant world) there really isn't a whole heck of a lot to do other than collect loot. Once you get up to the point where you can kill the strongest monsters, there isn't a lot left to do other than see how big you can get. In that kind of enviroment there is no real motivation for people to want to pay big bucks for epic loot from other players, because really, after a point, what's the big deal? The whole point is to get the loot, if someone sells it to you, you just paid to not play your own game, and in the end does it matter of you overkill a mob by an extra 50 points so maybe you and a friend can see it and apprecite how big your numbers get?

The flaw was simply that Diablo 3 wasn't ambitious enough, they decided to dumb down the core mechanics, but otherwise just do what they did before, eithout increasing the scope of the game.

I can easily see why team PVP was abandoned. It goes beyond simply the issue of reward (and making rewards worthwhile could disrupt the rest of the grind-infrastructure as far as it follows, as well as leas to situations where people would get together and throw matches just to grind PVP rewards and such), down to the basic issue of how you make it fair. Everything comes from loot, if you don't let people use their loot there is no point, if you do it comes down to people with the best loot always winning, which DOES provide some reason for people to farm for the real money AH, but then it just comes down to who is the richest to twink the most and while some people might do that, it's not something the whole community will get involved in.

Truthfully I think Blizzard should consider looking at what some other "loot clicker" games like Sacred 2 did, with open worlds, along with some of the refinements competitors in the pure dungeon crawler version like Torchlight pulled off. If they ever want to make a Diablo IV, they will need to learn from their competition.

I'll also say in response to some other posts, I suspect Blizzard might also not be too heavily involved here due to "Project Titan". If we assume Blizzard realizes D3 is kind od a dog at this point, one can see why they might not want to divert the resources there, especially if they are planning on getting their new MMO out in the next coupld of years and don't want to see it tank like just about every other MMO released in recent years. Time spent making a broken PVP battle arena for D3 is time they could spend polishing up the PVP in their new game for example, and hopefully learn from the mistakes they made with WoW.

Therumancer:
They dumbed it down to make it more approachable to casuals, which they also did to WoW, but to be fair that's not entirely unexpected nowadays.

To say Diablo III "dumbed down" the gameplay of the series would be to imply that said gameplay was ever intelligent to begin with.

Gameplay in Diablo II can be summed up as "Just spam your classes uber-skill[1] and just chug potions if by some miracle you actually manage to be in danger of dieing", you don't get much more "casual friendly" than that.

All D3 did was remove the horde of padding that was the skill & stat system that surrounded said gameplay.

[1] Like Frozen Orb & Sacred/Blessed Hammer, to name the biggest two

tehroc:
Everyone likes to scapegoat Activision. Blizzard has always been owned by Vivendi. Vivendi also owns Activision. Blizzard wasn't bought out by Activision, Vivendi decided to merger the two corporations together. The blame lies 100% with Mike Morhaime as much as fanboys will deny it. Blizzard learned to embrace corporate culture, where less is more.

I wouldn't say the blame lies completely with dear old Mikey, and I'm seriously almost as far as from a fanboy as it gets. Given that Vivendo had been in possession of Blizzard along with his ass, he didn't necessarily have a whole lot of say in the merger. He may have even been on the initiating end of the deal, but there were people above him. He may have just had the options of shutting up and dealing with it or retiring early.

Now, as far as the current operation of Blizzard, again, it's simply disingenuous to dismiss Activision's meddling out of hand. There are two people above the guy in the chain of command (dear old Bobby and, more immediately, a COO named Thomas Tippl), and from what I remember of Kotick talking about Blizzard, he seemed to feel like he owns them, which isn't entirely untrue. Right down to a certain quote going something like: "I could've bought them for a couple of millions a decade ago, now they cost me 7 billion".

All this to say, I don't necessarily disagree with the conclusion that the people at Blizzard have at least a substantial portion of the blame, but seriously, I wouldn't dismiss the higher-ups fucking with them at least to some degree, especially when they're basically owned by a company that doesn't have the best of reputations.

Aeshi:
To say Diablo III "dumbed down" the gameplay of the series would be to imply that said gameplay was ever intelligent to begin with.

Not really. To say it's been dumbed down is to say it's been dumbed down, regardless of whether the original status was "requires a Nobel prize" or "requires a pulse". Dumb games can indeed be made dumber.

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