The roller coaster of emotions that fans of Diablo 3 have experienced over the past several months is not surprising, considering all that has been put forth by Blizzard.
Fans were undoubtedly excited when what appeared to be an official launch date was advertised by Best Buy, only to have that rumor squashed. From key personnel leaving the project during development, to the constant reconfiguration of systems, the removal of several gameplay elements, it's hard to put a positive spin on Diablo 3's development for anxious players. We at Game Rant have openly questioned Blizzard's strategy in the development of this game, basically boiling down to the point of "why is it taking so long to make?"
Jay Wilson, Diablo 3 Game Director, in response to a post made on Blizzard's forums about the developers being unsteady about where Diablo 3 currently stands, has issued an open letter to the Diablo 3 fan community, trying to pacify some of the concerns running around gaming circles.
"As those of you in the beta have seen, the game is in good shape. Actually, I should say that the beta version of the game is in good shape. The latest full build we've been testing here in the office is in great shape."
Wilson explained that the Diablo 3 development team is working extremely long hours, playing through the game for fine tuning, bug fixing, and optimization. While it's a lot of work, Wilson said that the play-testing "is a real joy," stating that they know the game is almost finished when they can't get Blizzard employees to actually work and stop playing the game.
As for a release date, Wilson didn't use the dreaded "soon," but one has to wonder if the actual phrasing is any different.
"We think you're going to love Diablo 3 when it's released, and speaking of release plans, you can seriously expect a launch-date announcement from us in the near future. See, I didn’t say 'soon,' so I’m not taunting you. You’ll know as soon as I know for sure the exact date."
Blizzard stated a few weeks ago that the game would launch anywhere from April to June. If this holds to be true, an announcement should be forthcoming very shortly on the exact date, considering it is the end of February. Wilson wrapped up his open letter addressing the fan expectations.
"We want you to have high expectations for Diablo 3 and all Blizzard games. That’s what pushes us to try to make the best gaming experiences we possibly can. If Diablo 3 wasn’t a worthy next installment in the Diablo series, we wouldn’t release it. That’s the way we do it. That’s the way we’ve always done it."
While I understand the need to make the gaming experience the best possible one for players, players expect further updates and patches; they also understand that playing the game finds issues that go completely unnoticed during development. Those familiar with Diablo 2 know of the changes it went through, from balancing issues to the reworking of the skill trees (and bonuses they gave to other skills). Other than the obvious cheating that was taking place (which theoretically has been eliminated for Diablo 3), I don't recall that much angst about any one patch over another.
Ranters, what are your expectations for Diablo 3 at this point? Has the long development time done anything to sour your impression of the game?
Diablo 3 will supposedly be released between April and June for the PC, Mac, and unconfirmed consoles.
Follow me on Twitter @mattrowland1.