Diablo® III

Indie studio vs AAA studio (or Passion vs Bottom Line)

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but I found this comparative information interesting, primarily due to the fact that the public usually expects bigger things out of a AAA studio (since there is a LOT more money tied into the development of the game). With more money comes more responsibility...or is it a fatter paycheck? Hmmm...

Diablo III:

Core development team size: 75 people
Patches released in 2013: 5
News Updates for community from website in 2013: 248
Original News updates specifically related to the game: 88

Choosable avatars on forums: no
Custom Avatars: only for CMs

Path of Exile:

Core development team size: 35 people
Patches released in 2013: 87
News Updates for community from website in 2013: 222
Original News updates specifically related to the game: 222

Choosable avatars on forums: yes
Custom Avatars: yes, if you pay for it


The compiled information is from my own research and asking around for verifiable links, so all of these totals are my own work (therefore, if you use this list somewhere else, please cite me if you don't mind)...

What I want to accomplish with this post here is not to have a "developer vs. developer skill" bashing contest... It is merely to get this information out there in order to encourage people to hold game developers accountable for their time and money. How much is spent actually working, and how much of our money is spent on "new gym facilities?"

There are a lot of people out there that got upset by the banks playing around with people's money like it didn't matter, but we don't seem to have the same problem with big-name game developers.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for game developers doing whatever they feel necessary to "take breaks" from writing code for hours at a time. However, they also need to be reminded that there are certain responsibilities that a game developer has to his audience--that is, if the game developer expects to make money off of them.

Diablo 3's development team number source:

http://diablo.incgamers.com/forums/showthread.php?850544-D3-Dev-team-size-75-when-shipped

Diablo 3's 2013 patch numbers:

http://us.battle.net/d3/en/game/patch-notes/

and

http://diablo.gamepedia.com/Diablo_III_Patches

Diablo 3's news updates for 2013 source:

http://us.battle.net/d3/en/

and

Me (I counted every single one from Diablo 3's "official news releases" on the main page except for ones having to do with their other games--like World of Warcraft. My mindset was to only count updates that had anything to do with Diablo 3, Battle.Net, or actual news on upcoming patches related to the game--my numbers may be very slightly off here--margin of error of 5-10 posts--but the point will remain the same regardless)

Source on Avatars:

Self-evident (I'm assuming you all have eyes)

Source on Path of Exile dev team size, patches, and news updates (from PoE's Lead Developer):

http://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/733852

Source on PoE's forum avatars:

Also self evident

I suppose it's also important to mention that Path of Exile's development team started out with about 16 or 17 people, whereas Diablo 3's development team started out with....well....Just sit through the 10-minute credit sequence.

So, all that said...

Do you believe Diablo 3's development team needs to step up efforts in keeping the community happy via several smaller updates/reasons to put out news releases throughout this year, or are you perfectly content with the amount of updates Diablo 3 had in its second year of existence?
Edited by AlienOne#1844 on 1/22/2014 9:42 AM PST
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No one interested?
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You are right OP. The problem is you assume Blizzard is a company wanting to make good games. Blizzard is now a company wanting to make money, and hype and appealing to a wide audience is a lot more profitable then actually making a good game.

Oh and also, less updates and less content is a handy way to cut costs huh!
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I can only speculate at what the failings are

Mismanagement
Too many teams
Poor communication between the teams
Sales still living off other games like WoW, D2 and that is from Blizzard
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01/22/2014 10:46 AMPosted by DaFemaleBoss
I can only speculate at what the failings are

Mismanagement
Too many teams
Poor communication between the teams
Sales still living off other games like WoW, D2 and that is from Blizzard


You may actually have a point with the "too many teams" thing... There may be issues that crop up once a studio gets too big, especially if you add in the "poor communication" possibility...

There may be something to having a smaller team that communicates well with each other. Perhaps a game of this size would do better with dividing up the core team into smaller teams, and maybe hiring a couple of people whos job is only to facilitate communication amongst all the smaller teams, it would clear up some issues? I've seen some companies have problems when they have too many leaders... What usually happens is there is too many "visions" for the game, instead of a singular vision that a large group of people are all on board with.
Edited by AlienOne#1844 on 1/22/2014 12:05 PM PST
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To many chef's in the kitchen. You need one or two chef's, everybody else, is just doing the hard work for them, prepping and stuff. Right now, it feels like the whole team are chef's, and no one wants to do the dishes....Same story once game makers gets to big. Which is why, we people turn to indie games and kick-starter projects.

Apropos Kick-starter....one mind, one vision and what a vision happening as we speak!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=06Un1pEr5tA
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PoE lol....not even in the same solar system as d3. Maybe can compare to d1 if it were actually a good game worthy of the hours one puts into the genre.
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82 Draenei Paladin
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Posts: 294
01/22/2014 09:38 AMPosted by AlienOne
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but I found this comparative information interesting, primarily due to the fact that the public usually expects bigger things out of a AAA studio (since there is a LOT more money tied into the development of the game). With more money comes more responsibility...or is it a fatter paycheck? Hmmm...

Diablo III:

Core development team size: 75 people
Patches released in 2013: 5
News Updates for community from website in 2013: 248
Original News updates specifically related to the game: 88

Choosable avatars on forums: no
Custom Avatars: only for CMs

Path of Exile:

Core development team size: 35 people
Patches released in 2013: 87
News Updates for community from website in 2013: 222
Original News updates specifically related to the game: 222

Choosable avatars on forums: yes
Custom Avatars: yes, if you pay for it


The compiled information is from my own research and asking around for verifiable links, so all of these totals are my own work (therefore, if you use this list somewhere else, please cite me if you don't mind)...

What I want to accomplish with this post here is not to have a "developer vs. developer skill" bashing contest... It is merely to get this information out there in order to encourage people to hold game developers accountable for their time and money. How much is spent actually working, and how much of our money is spent on "new gym facilities?"

There are a lot of people out there that got upset by the banks playing around with people's money like it didn't matter, but we don't seem to have the same problem with big-name game developers.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for game developers doing whatever they feel necessary to "take breaks" from writing code for hours at a time. However, they also need to be reminded that there are certain responsibilities that a game developer has to his audience--that is, if the game developer expects to make money off of them.

Diablo 3's development team number source:

http://diablo.incgamers.com/forums/showthread.php?850544-D3-Dev-team-size-75-when-shipped

Diablo 3's 2013 patch numbers:

http://us.battle.net/d3/en/game/patch-notes/

and

http://diablo.gamepedia.com/Diablo_III_Patches

Diablo 3's news updates for 2013 source:

http://us.battle.net/d3/en/

and

Me (I counted every single one from Diablo 3's "official news releases" on the main page except for ones having to do with their other games--like World of Warcraft. My mindset was to only count updates that had anything to do with Diablo 3, Battle.Net, or actual news on upcoming patches related to the game--my numbers may be very slightly off here--margin of error of 5-10 posts--but the point will remain the same regardless)

Source on Avatars:

Self-evident (I'm assuming you all have eyes)

Source on Path of Exile dev team size, patches, and news updates (from PoE's Lead Developer):

http://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/733852

Source on PoE's forum avatars:

Also self evident

I suppose it's also important to mention that Path of Exile's development team started out with about 16 or 17 people, whereas Diablo 3's development team started out with....well....Just sit through the 10-minute credit sequence.

So, all that said...

Do you believe Diablo 3's development team needs to step up efforts in keeping the community happy via several smaller updates/reasons to put out news releases throughout this year, or are you perfectly content with the amount of updates Diablo 3 had in its second year of existence?


I definately checked out path of exile during grim beta and am currently checking out Grim Dawn atm. I was very impressed with the passion their epployees are showing in the development process. SO many games these days are cutting out the stream of information in game release and updates and its dissapointing. I personally like it when the community and the devs can mash their heads together and both feel pride for their help on the product being released. It used to be an open door with devs when it came to games. Now its more like "shut up and ppay money for our game"
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Posts: 413
The entire premise of your post is flawed.

It isn't about developer laziness ... it's about the culture of the company starting from the VERY top (Bobby Kotick).

The only thing this company listens to or cares about is their bottom line. The only feedback they care about is their bottom line. That's it. If your post doesn't show them how they can make more money immediately/directly (right now) then you are just wasting your time.
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Posts: 1,802
Video games apparently cost so much money to make and game companies are now beholden to shareholders.

The way games used to be made was simply "let's make the best game possible and the sales will come".

Now, because of the cost of producing these high-end games, return on investment is the first concern and making the game actually good is secondary.

Don't get me wrong, they have always wanted to make money. But there is a huge difference between the first and second ideal.

To be completely honest, the consumers' concern with graphical quality, voice acting, etc. has driven developers to focus more on things that will hype or sell the game than actually being concerned with quality. In other words, we are getting what we asked for.

D3 is one of the most glaring examples of this in recent memory.
Edited by Altruistic#1452 on 1/22/2014 12:45 PM PST
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01/22/2014 12:34 PMPosted by TeRRaRiZeR
The entire premise of your post is flawed.

It isn't about developer laziness ... it's about the culture of the company starting from the VERY top (Bobby Kotick).

The only thing this company listens to or cares about is their bottom line. The only feedback they care about is their bottom line. That's it. If your post doesn't show them how they can make more money immediately/directly (right now) then you are just wasting your time.


It is flawed if you assume that my purpose was to somehow get the president of the company to "take notice and change his ways"...

However, the purpose of the post was actually to get the community to talk about the responsibility that game developers have to their audience, and what the community can do (together) to get them to take notice and not squander their time/money.

The numbers were there merely to provide an example/contrast/setting for which to broach the subject, in order to appeal to those of us out there who require facts/premises for discussions.
Edited by AlienOne#1844 on 1/22/2014 12:47 PM PST
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01/22/2014 12:20 PMPosted by TheChemicals
PoE lol....not even in the same solar system as d3. Maybe can compare to d1 if it were actually a good game worthy of the hours one puts into the genre.


What someone thinks about a game as being fun or not is relative. It's all opinion and personal preference. Arguing if a game is fun or not is like arguing why red is better than blue.

Also, POE and D3 are both ARPG's. I'm pretty sure that qualifies as being "in the same solar system".
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01/22/2014 12:46 PMPosted by Forge
PoE lol....not even in the same solar system as d3. Maybe can compare to d1 if it were actually a good game worthy of the hours one puts into the genre.


What someone thinks about a game as being fun or not is relative. It's all opinion and personal preference. Arguing if a game is fun or not is like arguing why red is better than blue.

Also, POE and D3 are both ARPG's. I'm pretty sure that qualifies as being "in the same solar system".


Precisely.

This is why I didn't even address that post at all. This isn't a thread to try to compare/contrast whether you like one game over the other--the numbers were provided merely as the "setting" in which to have the discussion of whether or not the D3 team is doing its job to the best of its ability to not only update/fix their game, but keep their community informed.
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@OP

Wow, my mind is blown by this information.

So, if a company's bottom line is money, how are we as a concerned customer supposed to demand a higher quality product when they make lots of money anyway from the masses who will inevitably buy their product regardless?

We post on the forums about it all day long and they'll just ignore it unless it will benefit them some way?

I mean, what's a few thousand upset customers to 4.5 million (or whatever the release number was)?

I'm not debating or arguing against you. I really do agree. But I just would like to know what we are supposed to do about it? How can we actually get Blizzard to step up their game (ha)?

I'd love to see the Diablo franchise return to it's former glory. Oh, to see that day...
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I never played WoW D2 or any other of the Blizz games but they seem highly polished but very simplistic. Seems to work for them on a mass appeal. Serious gamers should look elsewhere though. This is my last one unless DRASTIC changes are made to RoS from difficulty to itemization.

Blizz Diablo is made for 4 year olds and old men who's wife lets them play 4 hours a week. Just accept that and move on.
Edited by Aimless#1700 on 1/22/2014 1:06 PM PST
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It is a decline in Total Quality Management. Every company in history eventually starts to lose quality as it grows because it saves them money. Collective greed is only a part of it.

It happens with restaurants, it happens in government, it happens with pretty much everything.
Edited by Zemini#1614 on 1/22/2014 1:09 PM PST
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01/22/2014 12:51 PMPosted by Forge

We post on the forums about it all day long and they'll just ignore it unless it will benefit them some way?

I mean, what's a few thousand upset customers to 4.5 million (or whatever the release number was)?

I'm not debating or arguing against you. I really do agree. But I just would like to know what we are supposed to do about it? How can we actually get Blizzard to step up their game (ha)?


I fear that is precisely the issue here. When it comes to AAA studios, "majority rules," so unless they fear that they will lose a HUGE portion of their playerbase with a change, several thousand people would be considered an "acceptable loss" in the grand scheme of things when related to their bottom line...

I think really the only way to get them to take notice is by persuading the "community influencers" (read: YouTube/Twitch/media streamers/Forum MVPs) to listen to you and complain themselves, and influence their audience to their cause. Then greater numbers of people would speak up, and Blizzard would take notice.

As it stands, those "community influencers" are treated pretty well by Blizzard (most likely because they know it affects their bottom line), so sometimes it is hard to get through to anyone.

01/22/2014 01:01 PMPosted by Aimless

Blizz Diablo is made for 4 year olds and old men who's wife lets them play 4 hours a week. Just accept that and move on.


What I find humorous about this statement is I am an older man whos gf only lets them play about 4 hours a week, and all the changes (worse drop rates for legendaries etc. already covered in length by Droth and others) are actually much worse for me than it is for people like them who have time to play--and are still complaining about the drop rate!
Edited by AlienOne#1844 on 1/22/2014 1:08 PM PST
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I never played WoW or any other the Blizz games but they seem highly polished but very simplistic. Seems to work for them on a mass appeal. Serious gamers should look elsewhere though.


WoW for its time was incredible. Ask any veteran and most will tell you the best was either Vanilla or Burning Crusade. Blizzard has definitely lost their passion for games, and traded it for passion for money.

Example: Warcraft III was so popular that within it, an entirely new genre of game was spawned which lead to games like League of Legends. And just think, had it not been for WC3, LoL might not even exist! And look how big that game is now. And now look at all these other games trying to mimic LoL's success.

Look at how many MMO's mimic WoW style visuals and gameplay from the time WoW started.

Blizzard used to be other company's source of inspiration and benchmark for quality comparison. But over time, Blizzard has lost that benchmark and consumer respect, and now indie companies are popping up all over the place to fill that desire for quality that players so desperately want.
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I didnt mean it as a insult. I mean simplistic casual. That can be good. Like tetris was simple and entertaining.
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Something that I find funny and ironic is, if you think about it...

LoL came from WC3.
Now Blizzard is making Heroes of the Storm, which came from LoL, which came from their own game.

That amuses the hell out of me.
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