For PC gamers, the latest news out of Blizzcon is likely music to the ears. With more and more announcements and reveals concerning the long-awaited Diablo 3, the message has become clear that PC gaming is far from dead. While many might look at the list of most successful game releases this year and conclude that consoles are where it's at, true gamers know that Diablo is far from obscure. And with Blizzard's announcement of their plans for PvP matchmaking, game modes, and upgrades in Diablo 3, more heads may begin to turn.Some of you may think that the heart of the franchise is in its single player, and the ability to fashion one of the game's mind-blowing player classes into your very own character. The good news there is that we've already gotten our first look at one of the new classes, and so far it seems promising. The truth is that player against player in online matches has long been a popular aspect of Diablo's community, but Blizzard is planning to expand on their previous installments with a richer matchmaking system they hope will make the game more inviting than ever to newcomers. The experience is being carefully crafted according to Blizzard's release, from the battleground to the equipment:
"Diablo 3's PvP battles are fought in arenas spread out across the world of Sanctuary. These arenas aren't random - they're all unique, designed with differing amounts of terrain and cover. You participate in PvP using the character of your choice, with access to all of the gear and skills you've accumulated playing the game in single-player or cooperative mode."
Before we get to any more details, have a look at exactly what they've been working on:
While the plan may be to create a game that welcomes new players instead of punishing them, the footage still looks intimidating. Blizzard knows how to create a sizable game community, and looks to do the same for Diablo 3. Blizzard has shown that expanding their player base is a priority going forward, as seen by Starcraft 2's tutorials designed to educate players on the subtleties of online play. They were clearly satisfied with that result, since the same system will be combined with other elements to make PvP matches more fun than frustrating:
"You'll learn many of the fundamentals of PvP (like how to avoid attacks or target specific foes) by playing the single-player game, but PvP differs in that it isn't an ideal venue for gathering new weapons and armor. Your rewards for shedding blood in the arena are purer than that: bragging rights, the joy of sending friends old and new to their swift and inglorious deaths, and points that represent how far you've progressed on the path to fame and glory.
When you participate in ranked games (fights that pit two opposing teams of players against each other in 'best of' matches), you'll earn points for advancement based on kills, accomplished objectives, wins, and other factors. Points lead to multiplayer achievements, titles, and more. Our system is focused on encouraging furious combat and multiplayer progression, not stringent competitive rankings, so you'll earn points after every match and Battle.net matchmaking will pit you against similarly skilled opponents.
Our aim for Diablo 3's PvP is to set you up with dangerous, exciting gladiatorial matches, let you battle it out with other players at your own pace, and allow you to proudly display your rewards. We've added a robust system to remove the obstructions that may have kept you out of the action, so that you can focus on what really matters: answering the age-old question of 'who would win in a fight' - with a gauntlet to the face."
As someone who enjoyed their brief time with Diablo 2, knowing that Blizzard is aware of how terrifying a prospect it is to jump back into online competitive play is a little comforting. Blizzard is also planning to include a variety of unranked matches, designed for groups of friends to determine their own teams and matches, which will undoubtedly be a preferred choice for many casual players.
Hopefully more developers will follow Blizzard's example of doing their best to please every one of their fans. It's easy to get distracted by the obsessively competitive segments of gamers, and the so-called "hardcore" players make it difficult for developers to create a streamlined social environment.
Hopefully the plan of creating a more accepting and inviting online experience will be successful, since this game is likely to gain more fans with every release. It will be interesting to see just how much the difficulty factor acted as a barrier to entry for Diablo players, or if the game already possesses the largest fanbase they can get.
This can only be the beginning of the publicity, since the release of Diablo 3 on PC is still months away. But rest assured, we're just as excited as you are.