Blizzard president and co-founder Mike Morhaime has addressed many Diablo III player concerns in a lengthy post on the game’s official forums.
“I speak for everyone at Blizzard when I say that we appreciate the passion and affection many of you have for the Diablo series,” he began, before discussing the difficulties of such a massive launch.
“We were thrilled that Diablo III had the biggest PC-game launch ever, surpassing the lifetime sales of Cataclysm (the previous record holder for biggest PC-game launch) in a matter of weeks.
“However, the launch had many challenges as well. It has always been difficult to forecast how many players we will have… we’ve never gone from 0 to more than 6 million players across multiple continents within a few days with a brand-new game,” said Morhaime.
Even generous estimates of player numbers ended up being too low, he said.
“In the end, it just wasn’t enough, and that is something we will work hard to conquer for future releases…we want people to continue playing and enjoying Blizzard games for a very long time.”
Morhaime then detailed some of the changes that patch 1.0.4 would bring, including tweaks to balance and items.
“On the game balance front, this update will contain changes designed to further deliver on the team’s goal of promoting ‘build diversity’, with buffs to many rarely used, underpowered class abilities.”
“[The patch] will also include new and improved Legendary items that are more interesting, more powerful, and more epic in ways you probably won’t be expecting,” he said.
There would soon be more for high-level players to do, said Morhaime.
“We’re also working on a gameplay system that will provide players who have max-level, high-powered characters new goals to strive for as an alternative to the ‘item hunt’.
“We’re not ready to get into specifics just yet, but I can say that we’re actively taking your feedback into account as we plan out the future of the game,” he said.
The game’s infamous always-on requirement had been incredibly successful at keeping out cheats and pirates, said Morhaime.
“I fully understand the desire to play Diablo III offline; however, Diablo III was designed from the beginning to be an online game that can be enjoyed with friends, and the always-online requirement is the best way for us to support that design.
“The effectiveness of the online elements – including the friends list and cross-game communication; co-op matchmaking; persistent characters that you can use by yourself, with others, and in PvP; and some of our customer support, service, and security components -- is tied directly to the online nature of the game,” he said.
A date for Diablo III's 1.0.4 patch is yet to be announced.