Diablo 3 Design Time Travel

An interesting article about ex-D3 lead Jay Wilson talking about the original launch of the game. I won’t shy away from thinking he did a poor job and is exceedingly good at deflecting any responsibility from being you know, the actual LEAD.

First in the area of dumb, is that the RMAH was honestly thought to be a good idea to fix the 3rd party market…clearly a solution in search of a problem as 3rd party sites launched at 1/3rd the price of the AH. Duping was fixed with the always online bit, way back in 2012 when cloud computing and dynamic demand management wasn’t yet a thing. The AH was a bad idea from the start, every metric said so, and the gameplay loop clearly pushed people towards it. The truly bonkers reason for keeping the RMAH though… that it was on the box. For fear of being sued and the lawyers needed to confer on this. It took 2 years to remove it. Amazing. I’m all for innovating and taking risks, but you need a back-out plan. Which leads me to…

Jay mentioning that Blizzard’s design approach was iterative perfection, rather than good enough. The old saying of “it’s ready when it’s ready”. Which I think with rose coloured glasses is certainly a valid point and most assuredly delayed a lot of the work on D3. And yet, in that exact same train of thought, the RMAH was therefore “perfected”. Indeed.

Today’s Blizzard is not what once was. The pipeline to delivery is ultra long and their release quality does not indicate perfection. Which I think people are willing to take in stride if the cadence is reasonable, and the corrections doubly so. The last few years of WoW certainly was certainly a head scratcher, where the beta feedback was pretty darn clear about the faults, followed with a “trust us”. And history certainly tells us how that has gone.

It’s a fickle world, where the smallest of soundbytes can be taken out of context. Jay Wilson has spent the last 10 years trying to find every reason why the launch of D3 and its design was someone else’s fault. This older interview with Kevin Martens is a much better take on listening to feedback and an iterative focus on content in Reaper of Souls. Wild how much better than expansion was/is.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s