The latest blow to the Diablo franchise hit a few weeks ago when Blizzard announced that it will not be releasing a Team Deathmatch PvP mode for Diablo 3. Game director Jay Wilson confirmed the cancellation on the Diablo 3 website earlier this month.
Although shown off at conventions and promised as a soon-to-be-released feature, Team Deathmatch has been axed by the developer because the feature, according to Wilson, “wasn’t good enough.” This revelation has come quite far along in the process, and makes you wonder what the developer has been doing this whole time. How is it that Blizzard has taken this long to realize that a major aspect of the eagerly anticipated PvP was not up to their standards? This situation seems to be an extension of the greater issue Blizzard is having with a game that has proven to be unsustainable as a continual experience.
Although they do not have TD, they tell us they are set to introduce PvP dueling in the 1.0.7 patch, but this announcement seems like yet another over-promise and under-deliver from the respected developer. In the posting they mentioned that they are “going back to the drawing board” to find a a better alternative to TD. It may just be me, but it is crazy to think that a 10 year dev cycle still requires primary features to go back to the beginning and redone.
The question to ask is, “what is going on at Blizzard?” Although WoW continues to bring consistent profits from well-received content releases (for the time being), their other IP’s like Diablo and Starcraft seem to be lacking the charm of the past iterations. Does this have to do with their merger with Activision? Or are they diverting more time and resources on to other projects, like their yet-to-be announced Titan MMO? We may never know, but it does seem strange that such a high-performing dev house would drop the ball, particularly when they have such a loyal and ravenous fan base.
This is yet another hit to the “unsustainable endgame” that has been the thorn of Diablo 3’s side since launch in May. Although it seems to be common nowadays for developers to release games for purchase that are still in Beta, Blizzard should be held to a higher standard, particularly when it comes to one of their most cherished IP’s. Please get it together fellas.
As a gamer, this type of announcement is frustrating to say the least. Does anyone believe the Diablo team can salvage this mess and turn Diablo 3 into a long-term sustainable success, or has the damage already been done? What do you think they need to do in order to get back in the good graces of their fans? I have a feeling the Xfire community will have a lot to say on the subject….