Diablo® III

Dear Mike, Actions Speak Louder than Words P2

Re-posted a new thread since the first hit its limit, as requested so people could continue to add their thoughts, ideas and constructive comments.

Original thread can be found here: http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/6146794668?page=1

Best regards,
Joules

********************************

Dear Mike,

Thank you for having a CM post your letter to us this morning. At the minimum, having the President of Blizzard attempting communication with this forum audience said what you did not directly say in your post: 'Houston, we have a problem.'

You may have said we're not perfect but you failed to acknowledge the real issues in this game or take any real responsibility for how they came to be or commit to any real, meaningful or timely fixes of them. You gave us 13+- paragraphs of no real or new information.

Frankly, your email felt a bit contrived and insulting to your audience of adult professionals who've been around the block for more than 10 years, and aren't just 'some kids playing games in their mother's basements.' This is perhaps a bummer for you in that your audience does include a demographic of many older, more mature gamers who have higher expectations than the younger ones because we remember vividly what Blizzard Games used to stand for.

If you want us to believe you are listening, then you need your actions to speak louder than your words and your words to not sound like marketing fluff.

You’ve seen some of that work already in patch 1.0.3, and you’ll see additional improvements with patch 1.0.4. 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. Another topic we’ve seen actively discussed is the fact that better, more distinct Legendary items are needed. We agree. Patch 1.0.4 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.


This statement in particular is troubling. Thus far, the vast majority of players would argue that you have done more to harm the game than to help it with the patching & hot fixes you've done since launch. I would argue that there are few players who think 1.0.3 was a huge improvement. IAS was over-nerfed, repair costs raised too high, enrage timers have no place in an ARPG, nerfing object loot tables, magic find on chests and world objects, rare bosses with garbage loot, resplendent chests with garbage loot and nerfing xp for quest turn ins for people who chose to power level that way. Along the way these patches broke more of the games core mechanics like hit boxes, resistances and rubber banding to name a few items none of which were acknowledged in your statement.

Some of these 'design decisions' would be akin to Mojang 'tuning' Minecraft on the backend so that I can only build houses with Cobblestone because it's the strongest and the Big Bad Wolf can't blow down houses made of stone. But what if I want to fight the Wolf? What if for me, building a house of wood and engaging the Wolf is what's fun? What if I want to build a glass house so I can see the Wolf coming? (Or throw stones through my own walls? :P) You see Diablo, like Minecraft is about allowing individuals find and express their own fun in the game. Some people's fun is smashing vases and getting legendaries. Others by flagging hostile and hunting the ears of their friends. Yet others want to find a goblin in the Underbridge, kill him, make a new game and kill him again and again. Blizzard North got this. Blizzard Activision does not.

This is not an MMO, I don't want to always be online. I don't give a hoot about balance and your striving for it is also imho the wrong way to approach Diablo. I don't want to use the AH, ever. Others may like to but if the game was done right, I NEVER would. And even though we're always online, this is the least multi-player friendly game at high level I have ever encountered. The way it stands today you literally punish people for trying to play coop. My magic find gets butchered down for my individual loot drops if my friends haven't committed to the same level of expense to get combat capable MF gear and the difficulty scaling in Inferno makes it completely pointless to group. Its far more efficient to play solo. And that, sucks.

What I really want Mike, what I really, REALLY want is the freedom to play Diablo how I want to play it today which could be totally different than how I want to play it 6 months from now when I'm all about Hardcore. Or maybe PvP. Whatever. I want to decide. In D3, you keep deciding and dictating to me how I should have fun and that's not fun, not in the least. Please, stop doing this.

We have been waiting for weeks for some sort of meaningful dialogue with Blizzard regarding these issues and this is what you give us? You've been jacking with things that aren't broken behind the scenes (ie. nerfing farm spots? Why? Diablo has ALWAYS been about farming) and ignoring things that matter like fixing loot drops, rubber banding, legendaries, PVP, INFERNO beyond act I, UNID's code busting, Duping, Trade Window Scams, etc.

While I'm genuinely pleased to see communication that you would have us believe comes from you, because that does at least lead me to believe that all of the rage here and media coverage there of is getting your attention, your email gives me little faith that you're going to act appropriately to make amends adequately with this community. You need to talk WITH us Mike, not AT us. How about a panel, a massive webex with players or some sort of dialogue about what the urgent issues are and what you can realistically get fixed now and what we should expect later? Take a lesson from BIOWARE; when they realized SWTOR was sinking faster than the TITANIC they called a player summit in Texas to try and save it. Judging by the layoffs continuing over there and the loss of 400k subscribers since January that was probably too little too late as well. I'd hate to see Blizzard make the same mistake and do too little to save this community too late. I truly am a fan of yours Mike, even in spite of this colossal disappointment.

Bottom line, actions speak louder than words and your post read mostly like empty marketing speak with no real signs of 'hearing' us, understanding what our issues are or how the players see D3 as fundamentally flawed. If you're only gonna talk at us Mike, and not truly engage with us, then I fear the Blizzard we used to know and love really is a lost cause.

There is so much anger on these forums because at the heart of it many are passionate about our past time of choice and feeling disappointed at how far off the mark you delivered the next chapter in this franchise to us. You said you delivered an epic game that wasn't quite perfect. I'd argue you delivered an average game with a few epic moments but many more fell way short of its predecessors. I'd like to believe you are going to fix the problems and make D3 the great game it could be but until you start showing me with your actions that the old Blizzard passion for quality is still alive, your words aren't holding a whole lot of meaning for me.

Please Mike, DO something meaningful, quickly.

Edited: typo & cross referencing threads.
Edited by Joules#1462 on 7/24/2012 6:00 AM PDT
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agreed
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Nice way to sum it up. I am with you 100% on this and if the coming patches dont address these issues that majority of players complain about (yet blizzard does not recognize) then I am done with this game.
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07/21/2012 05:32 PMPosted by Sylak
LMAO there are so many arm chair CEO's on these forums! LOL You cute!


Like being a CEO is hard. Screw up royally? Just float away on your golden parachute.
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Kinda funny cuz I spend more time on the d3 forums as well than the time I actually spend playing the game lol. Just not fun, I sign for freedom and a rollback patch that allows people to break stuff for loot, open chests with MF gear, have attack speed be the way it was (I play monk and sorely miss it and the millions I spent on IAS gear).

I just think overall the amount of nerfs to actual additions to the game in its early weeks of release vastly overshadowed things that players really wanted which ultimately landed the game at where it is right now; a 'two month' game. Fun for two months then quit to play something else.

GG blizzard good thing you still have other titles that were done right for us to fall back on while you fix this steaming pile of Sh!t
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Like being a CEO is hard. Screw up royally? Just float away on your golden parachute.


Some of the most interesting blunders in American business history were directly at the hands of CEOs. For Example:

Thomas Edison Embraces "Not Invented Here"

Edison may have been a genius when it came to his inventions, but he often bumbled when it came to business. His most stupid decision came when he insisted that the products that he invented were superior to competitive products that were, quite frankly, a generation ahead.

Two examples come to mind. First, Edison kept promoting direct current (DC) over alternating current (AC), claiming that AC created a danger of electrocution when, in fact, DC was far, far more dangerous. Second, Edison kept promoting his wax cylinder technology for audio recording long after it was clear that flat disks were much more convenient.

None of this detracts from Edison's brilliance as an inventor, but his inability to see beyond his own inventions are a warning to any engineering-type CEO who feels too much ownership of his own ideas.

>>>>Almost sounds a touch Jay Wilson like....it's not fun unless he says it's fun. <<<<<<

John Sculley & Apple Fires Steve Jobs
A while back, I sat next to John Sculley at a dinner hosted by my old friend Jonathan Seybold. Sculley seemed like a nice enough guy, but there's no question that getting rid of Steve Jobs after taking over as CEO was one of the true bonehead moves of the business world.

In a way, I get it. Jobs isn't the kind of guy who's going to play second fiddle to a professional manager. But one of the challenges of that kind "I'll take over the day-to-day stuff while the founder gets all creative" management position is dealing with the constant meddling.

No matter how annoying it gets, when you're working with an icon, you don't give the icon the boot. And you certainly don't pretend (as Sculley did when he made himself Apple CTO) that you've got the creative chops to fill in his shoes. Sad to say, when you're working with a genius like Jobs, you can't afford to get uppity. Sculley never figured that out.

>>>>>>"No matter how annoying it gets, when you're working with an icon, you don't give the icon the boot." Really I think this is very relevant because this team was working with an icon too, namely the Diablo series which truly earned iconic status in the PC Gaming world. Jay Wilson and company effectively tried to give Diablo the boot by changing just about every philosophical pillar the game was built on. <<<<<<<<<<<

And lastly how about:
Gerald Ratner Decides He's a Comedian

Ratner was the ex-CEO of Ratners Group, a low-end but very successful UK jewelry group with 2500 shops. In a 'private' speech in 1991 to 5000 members of the UK Institute of Directors , which of course became public the next day, he said - as a way of adding some jokes to the speech:

"We do cut-glass sherry decanters complete with six glasses on a silver-plated tray that your butler can serve you drinks on, all for 4.95. People say, 'How can you sell this for such a low price?', I say, 'because it's total crap'.

The share price went from 4.20 to 0.07, wiping off about 500 million pounds. The business never recovered. Some joke, eh?

>>>>This one to me sounded a bit like Blizzard telling me:

07/19/2012 05:00 AMPosted by Nethaera
Regarding the real-money auction house, our primary goal for including this in the game was to provide convenience and peace of mind for those players who might otherwise turn to third-party services to buy items. Black market trading sites can put accounts at risk and create many customer service challenges.


I'm sorry but that sorta feels like total crap to borrow from Gerald. You did it to make money.

Now here's the rub, I have no problem with you trying to find a way to monetize the game over several years when you're providing servers for coop etc. I'd have a heck of a lot more respect for Blizzard if they just said "We need a way to create revenue with non-mmo rpg's moving forward that help us build a revenue stream to continue to provide excellent games for years to come."

I'm not against companies making money, ethically. But don't try to tell me this was for my benefit because it wasn't. I never was and never will be the person who buys armor or gears with real money on a black market or legit one to play an ARPG. There may be tons of people with more money than time that want to do that but I would argue there are plenty of us who want nothing to do with that mess. Not to mention, it was implemented totally wrong. There are other, better, more sane ways to add transactional revenue to your game than just sloppily throwing in a real money auction house the way this was done and have the gall to expect people to blindly trust you with their cash especially when you're taking a steep cut of each and every transaction.

Clearly they had no idea the can of worms or International hot water the RMAH & always online design was going to get them into around the globe.

I further maintain that had they done a real, complete, full game beta with a large sampling of real players not internal testers (too close, can't see the forest through the trees) that they may have been able to save themselves much of this hornets nest. But they chose to offer a demo of Act One Lite.
Edited by Joules#1462 on 7/21/2012 6:23 PM PDT
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90 Human Priest
0
bump for justice and for sake of other one reaching limit and not being made sticky.
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07/21/2012 06:23 PMPosted by Suriako
bump for justice and for sake of other one reaching limit and not being made sticky.


Which is curious cause Droths post is over the 500 replies mark the last one hit and got locked.....perhaps MVPs threads get a higher limit. Ah well, what are ya gonna do?
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I had to add this guys thoughts to my thread because I think when you read this and consider how the team 'fired Steve Jobs' in that they were so hell bent on not building a Diablo game like the other two....you start to see why this game is the disaster it is.

Bootes Said:

http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/6079612558

Now that D3 and I are on a trial separation, I wanted to have a spirited conversation about where design for D3 may have gone astray. I've been a lead/senior software and sw q/a engineer for almost a decade.

First fundamental premise: The current state of the game (at level 60) is almost completely unintentional. (Tin-foil hatters will not be getting their conspiracy-pants-tent from this post).

Simply put, it looks to me like D3 development was extremely focused on systems, and un-focused on the game as a whole. It's also possible there were fundamental disagreements within the producers and/or senior dev team about what D3 actually is and should be.

Second fundamental premise: Agile/Scrum iterative development ran amok, and iterations were used as a crutch to support a lack of conviction in initial conceptual design.

Bottom line, I started getting really worried when the senior team KEPT saying in interviews "Well, it turned out so-and-so system just really wasn't very fun." This is clear evidence of a fundamental lack of vision, imo.

Third fundamental premise: Because iteration was used so rapidly and seemingly had no real restrictions, testers did not have enough time to adequately scale and soak test the final version of the game. They were changing fundamental systems at the last minute, and they are still doing it now!!

I ranted early and often about the caveats of iterative development, and I think we are seeing the fruits:

1. philosophy/vision impermanence (not fun! let's just change it next iter!)
2. design/requirements impermanence (not working! too hard to fix, let's re-write next iter!)
3. inadequate system/scale/soak testing (no time to play for long enough to actually test systems! Must start next iter because we're re-writing everything anyway!)

Iterative design makes you very flexible, and it allows you to react to broken or changing functional specifications. BUT, it also psychologically dissuades you from committing to one vision, one philosophy, one cohesive THING.

Overall assessment:
Blizzard tried to make D3 too many things to too many people. Ultimately, the incredibly negative impact the AH has on the item hunt, on skills and balancing, and on longevity/reward systems, is absolutely game-breaking. The fact that Blizzard could not see that coming indicates to me that they did not soak their finalized game vision for nearly long enough, if indeed they soaked it at all.


I think these are all parts of the same problem because this team was working with an icon too, namely the Diablo series which truly earned iconic status in the PC Gaming world. Jay Wilson and company effectively tried to give Diablo the boot by changing just about every philosophical pillar the game was built on.

What they told the fans they were making was the next installment of the Diablo series. This should have been relatively simple to do as the guys at Blizzard North already had begun development on it ages ago. But they weren't building a new game from scratch, they did not need to invent a new wheel here...all they needed to do was stick with the already time tested, proven and hugely successful formula they OWNED in Diablo 1, 2 and LoD.

But instead of doing THAT, somebodies ego got in the way. The game feels like it was made by people who not only didn't play or love the original series but possibly resented it and it's success. Maybe that's because the guys who built those games had moved on and where dancing to the beat of their own drum elsewhere but you cannot help but get the sense that this Diablo 3 team was hell bent on making THIS Diablo game THEIR version of Diablo and NOTHING like the previous ones.

That is a tragedy of epic proportion and when the rest of the corporations ego was also so invested in proving they did not need the talent that left to make another Diablo...so hell bent on making it their own well they fired Steve Jobs. And effectively cut off their nose and are now very publically grasping at straws to save face as the entire industry is watching the previously infallible Blizzard flail like a fish out of water.

You had the formula for a successful game, you blew it when you threw that formula in the trash pile.
Edited by Joules#1462 on 7/21/2012 7:16 PM PDT
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Slimp

thanks for pointing out this thread Joules, kinda tired didn't see it.

I want to add, that I am pretty sure the last one didn't get a sticky for 2 reasons.

1. We only have one blue that strolls around once a week.
2. It had way too much useful information in it, applying all of that would cost them at least one person. Refraining from the fact they're probably scared of you knowing that a !@#$load of people feel the same way.

-Rubzje


Go easy on the blues, I wouldn't want their job for all the money in the world. I try to think of them like the employees of BP during the spill in the Gulf. The vast majority of the employees are just trying to pay their bills, do their best to enjoy life and get through the week. Don't blame them because the company has lost it's way. The problem is way beyond the guys who watch these boards. All they can do is relay right now and it's got to make them feel awful to read so much negativity about their company. Plus, I really don't think anyone knows how to fix this mess atm which is why nothing concrete is being said.

It wasn't that many years ago that I thought Blizzard employees must feel like the luckiest gamers in the world to work for one of the biggest and best producers. We're still here, perusing the forums because even with all our anger & disappointment...more than that, we want Blizzard to be the Blizzard we knew and loved not too terribly long ago.

If Mike Tyson or Charlie Sheen can make a come back....maybe Blizzard and Diablo 3 can too. :)
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+1

agree with everything you've said here op.
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I think these are all parts of the same problem because this team was working with an icon too, namely the Diablo series which truly earned iconic status in the PC Gaming world. Jay Wilson and company effectively tried to give Diablo the boot by changing just about every philosophical pillar the game was built on.

What they told the fans they were making was the next installment of the Diablo series. This should have been relatively simple to do as the guys at Blizzard North already had begun development on it ages ago. But they weren't building a new game from scratch, they did not need to invent a new wheel here...all they needed to do was stick with the already time tested, proven and hugely successful formula they OWNED in Diablo 1, 2 and LoD.

But instead of doing THAT, somebodies ego got in the way. The game feels like it was made by people who not only didn't play or love the original series but possibly resented it and it's success. Maybe that's because the guys who built those games had moved on and where dancing to the beat of their own drum elsewhere but you cannot help but get the sense that this Diablo 3 team was hell bent on making THIS Diablo game THEIR version of Diablo and NOTHING like the previous ones.

That is a tragedy of epic proportion and when the rest of the corporations ego was also so invested in proving they did not need the talent that left to make another Diablo...so hell bent on making it their own well they fired Steve Jobs. And effectively cut off their nose and are now very publically grasping at straws to save face as the entire industry is watching the previously infallible Blizzard flail like a fish out of water.

You had the formula for a successful game, you blew it when you threw that formula in the trash pile.


Very good posts, much of what I feel is there too. Thank you for summing it up so well.
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While I agree that hating on Blues WOULD be bad. I don't think it's bad to criticize them for the (lack of) and the things they say. They're not doing their jobs, that's what bothering me. I'm a European player and we get 1-2 Blues a week, not kidding go check. That's just for the stuff that's not important, like informing us not to bump stuff.
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07/21/2012 07:49 PMPosted by Slimp
While I agree that hating on Blues WOULD be bad. I don't think it's bad to criticize them for the (lack of) and the things they say. They're not doing their jobs, that's what bothering me. I'm a European player and we get 1-2 Blues a week, not kidding go check. That's just for the stuff that's not important, like informing us not to bump stuff.


I hear ya Slimp....it can be maddening at times. I just can't help but feel bad for them. Many years ago I worked for a company that made a horrible and huge customer effecting error, the stress was so bad for the employees trying to work with customers to make things right that people were literally having nervous breakdowns in the hallway. That left an impression on me so I'm probably erring on the side of sympathetic because I felt a bit of PTSD from that experience myself.
Edited by Joules#1462 on 7/21/2012 7:57 PM PDT
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Well, at least the game itself - i.e. killing Demons, is sound and good. Mechanics won't need much work other than skill balance (which is going to mean buffing up to the current staple skills the unused skills, and not nerfing the staple skills to the ground, which will worsen the loot problem)

The problem with D3 is all that surrounds the game. (I won't talk about the RMAH. I don't need to talk about it to talk about what's wrong right now. I didn't use it to complete the game, so I think it's sufficiently optionnal to not be included in discussions in how to improve the game, although I will add that microtransaction games strive only if they do not sell power. See - LoL)

The team that did the mechanics knew what they were doing. As always, Blizzard dominates in their bread and butter, solid, crisp gameplay (if you cut out the rubberbanding, which is quite unacceptable after the population has dropped so much). The other teams tried too hard to make something that was awesome better, and at some point lost the entire plot.

The plot in these games is the end game. In Diablo 3, all the effort was put into Normal, Nightmare and Hell, and very little thought was put into inferno except "hay let's make it hard". Well, yup, it's hard, but it's also uninterresting.

Now, we could just say okay, we get to finish Hell with our character, and then we're happy. But we can't. The main reason we can't? Somehow, somebody at Blizzard came to the epic conclusion that having a reason to reroll was a bad thing, while it's actually what gave D2 it's longevity. That was a boneheaded decision.

Somehow, somebody at Blizzard came to the epic conclusion that having a character itself that's very weak but that's almost entirely defined by his gear would be appealing to big time Diablo fans, who all like to feel a deep connection to their characters. Pro tip Blizz - You don't feel a deep connection to a bracer. End game alternate advancement is required to save this game. Characters must have meaning, they must have, I don't know, character.

Somehow, somebody at Blizzard came to the epic conclusion that having a stable, manageable gold economy was more important than giving players the good feeling of finding awesome gear, without having anything Soulbound. That one's cute, because you can blame many players too, who were upset that gold was useless in D2, and didn't want the MMO staple mechanic Soulbound to appear in D3. Well, there's 2 sides to a medal, and the dark side to that one is gamebreaking. Solution? Personally, anything iLvl 61+ and Rare/Legendary should be Account bound ON EQUIP, and then drop rates must increase significantly. Gear will then remain rare in the AH because it will not stick around. That's also why the Hardcore economy is healthy - gear regularily leaves the system due to a happy dose of Jailer+Desecrator Act 2 bugs (I hate you. So. Much.). A good use must also be found for white gear. I'm sure Headrig would agree.

I'll be adding to the Economy point. If a stable gold economy wasn't such an important point for Blizz, we wouldn't have seen the game (and heart) breaking changes to pots/chests and MF interraction. We wouldn't have seens to complete neutering of ash pots and Act 4 vases. We wouldn't have seen so many changes causing Blizzard to do everything to limit the flow of gear into the game to keep a stable gold economy. Personnal message to Blizzard - just make the game fun.

Ah, yeah, fun.

Somehow, somebody at Blizzard came to the epic conclusion that being pigeonholed into a single way of farming would feel great to old school D2 players who were used to the much more sandboxy feel it had. Because, it's how you feel the game is most fun. That's one of the reason why 1.03 is lauded as one of the worst patches you ever made in your long history (except maybe 1.03 in WC3 - what's up with you and that patch number?!?). You force us to have what you believe is fun, because it's also the most convenient to keep a stable economy. The problem is that while, yes, killing elites is probably the most fun way to farm, it being the ONLY way to farm makes it very boring. And not after a while - very quickly. Generally, D2 players didn't farm Baal for 1 month straight. They did other stuff too. D3, though, the "other stuff" has been entirely neutered because it was considered "unfun". I would have been okay with slightly lowering the amount of gold received when farming pots, so that it's in line with Elite farming for gold expected. But no. A solid economy and being bot safe was more important. Ah, yes, bots.

Somehow, somebody at Blizzard came to the epic conclusion that protecting the game against bots farming easily was worth kicking the fun away from the game. It's not. It just means you gotta work harder at identifying bots and kicking them out. You did a good job lately with that, from that I hear. Now please revert a few changes that were explicitely pointed at bots like game limitm some of us would like to farm achievements!

Seriously Blizz, you took boneheaded decisions without thinking of the consequences, and you created a perfect storm. The game itself, deep down, is so good that despite all it's problems, many of us dunked more than 200 hours in it. That's a testament to how well your team that did the core of the game worked. Now you gotta get the rest of the damn game in order, else you're going to have the stablest economy you can have - a dead one.

Adding - you want to make money? Hand over fist? Close the RMAH. Buff drop rates when a party of 4 is playing by 100% (33% when it's a duo, 66% when it's a trio). Sell character skins. Making people WANT to play with other people a lot because it's very benificial to them and also allowing people to buy customisation for how their character looks will have you swimming in epic mountains of cash in no time. Trust me.
Edited by MoveZig#1527 on 7/21/2012 8:19 PM PDT
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