Dear Mike, Actions Speak Louder than Words

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Highly Rated
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

Highly Rated
This communicates the way I feel pretty well. I thought 1.03 was the worst thing that happened to this game, and to hear that Blizzard is using that as some kind of example that they mean well and we can expect more of it is troubling to hear.
I thought his communication read like someone who'd never played the game through to Inferno myself.

These reviewers etc who only play the game through a single pass on normal....well of course it's great.

It's not until you hit nightmare that you really start to realize that the rares that are dropping aren't keeping up with the blues stat wise and as you progress in the game instead of feeling you approach max level you actually feel weaker than you did on Normal Mode.

That's so backwards.
Don't be fooled, this is all supposed to be fun.
Well said.
07/19/2012 12:37 PMPosted by Rah9
Don't be fooled, this is all supposed to be fun.

Sadly, the only real fun left is reading the forums. At least I know I'm not alone being so utterly disappointed in Blizzard. But even that is only meh, and not really fun.
Highly Rated
This guy said it in even more detail than I could but they are all valid, well described points:

You can't just buff legendaries/sets or keep increasing drop rates.. it's all about the affix scaling and relevance.

Items should be dropping according to some sort of bell curve with viable items from the peak, awesome-to-perfect items from the near right, and vendor-noPickup items to the left.

What we have currently feels like vendor items right of the peak, viable items from the near-right, awesome-to-perfect items at the extreme right, and noPickup items from peak to the left.

Correcting this requires adjusting all sorts of things such as level range of the drops in a given level-environment (mob +/-3?), frequency of each iLevel dropped, and, perhaps most importantly, the viability of each affix roll. By viability, I mean not rolling 50dps 2h iLvl 63 toothpicks. Not rolling DH affixes on Mighty Weapons. I don't mean not rolling STR/DEX on a Wizard Source.

What would these changes mean for the RMAH? Viable items will sell for slightly above vendor prices and most items will disappear from the AH as people realise what it takes to sell something. You'll find the awesome/perfect items in the AH as intended. Who went to 3rd party sites for barely viable items in D2? Why are they so hard to loot in D3 forcing them to be posted/acquired in the AH?


Your notion of difficulty and fun needs a rethink.

Inferno is not difficult. You can spawn champs with every single affix all at once and they're the same as if you spawned them with four. Either you have the gear to drop them in a few seconds or you don't and they drop you unless you're lucky enough to be able to kite (read: Run, Forrest!! Run!!) them. Inferno would be more difficult if mobs were scaled more appropriately with the averagely obtainable loot but there were a much higher mob density.

Running away from everything is not fun. Punishment for death beyond having died (and running back) is not fun. Spending hours hunting for loot while running away from things and ultimately getting nothing of value despite not even being Act IV viable is not fun.

Endgame is not about beating Inferno.. it's about finding (a) set(s) of perfect items with which you can clear areas faster and faster than last time. That, is fun.


The blacksmith is still a worthless gold sink.

Gems are boring and essentially broken. They don't affect enough stats (only 4 types) and no multiple effects (Jewels) resulting in what are essentially class-specific gems. You can put a top level gem in a bottom level socket to be insanely OP - fun, but broken.


Zerging.. your "fix" to zerging, and such decision making needs attention.

Increasing repair costs doesn't fix zerging. Such players can just move to Indestructible sets. The main problem here is that, instead of attacking the "problem" head-on, you took an indirect path that has numerous side-effects to people who were not zerging. If you don't want zerging, you need to take such action as I mentioned previously. Give champion spawns a kill count whereby they can call in reinforcements and/or completely reset (with revived minions) at a given threshhold - you did at least replenish their health after several seconds but that's not generally enough.


But why is player behaviour a concern to you in a game that is largely uncompetitive, if not single player?

D3 should be a sandbox but you're making it a theme park with unreasonable height restrictions and rigged games.

Why do breakables no longer drop items? Why do treasure chests (even Resplendent) now drop nothign but trash? Why do weapon racks no longer guarantee at least a white?

I think you've lost touch with the community and what this game is really about to us.


Where are the large random maps?
The unending progressively-difficult-by-floor dungeons?
Enchants? You took out the most useful crafter who could have made up somewhat for your awful broken loot system!


You overthink things trying to aim at ideals.. trying to force people into playing by your ideals.. even if your ideals are not considered fun.

You remove good things because you feel they're not good enough and leave a hole that affects other aspects of the game/experience.

You crippled an elegant skill UI from the beta with the awful UI you launched with. The AH UI is years behind WoW and the "selection script" (starting with a player/class?!) is bad.

Yet all the time you spent messing with systems, and the story is predictable and blah with acts largely ported from D2 except with non-random narrow maps. But truth be told, the game isn't really about the story in the end.. so why can't I have a setting to never show cutscenes and to silence follower dialog?


D3, despite my continued grinding, in its current state is really bad and I think an embarassment for Blizzard despite the consistent insistence from inside that it was well done. As a whole, it was not well done. Few parts of it were very well done but it's a shell of a game that punishes players for trying to have fun and/or trying to overcome a gross misdesign general loot quality. It is an AH where a few lucky people can make a buck.

D3 didn't make sales records at launch because it is a good game. It made sales records because folk expected it to be a good game - we now know differently for next time. Your future sales depend on your reputation from past games and the content you leak. You leaked some great content for D3 from 20008 that was eventually cut for release. Our expectations were high and your sales reflected that. I think it's fair to say that most of your fanbase is disappointed with D3 despite the relatively few (from release numbers) hanging on.

I sincerely hope you can fix D3.. I very much like the mindless hack & slash and know there's potential. But D3 currently really is more aptly named AH Tycoon III and, by far, isn't worthy of the Diablo name. In the meantime, I'll be looking to other games in the genre from companies more in tune with the community.

Amen and 100% agree with each and every point made. Well said.
*Thumbs up*
07/19/2012 01:38 PMPosted by solodeath
just be happy a CM posted anything, won't hear from them again for another week.

Sadly I fear this is true.
Great post. I also gave it a "thumbs up" and requested a sticky.

I felt the same way when reading Morhaime's letter this morning.

On one end I am glad that he wrote it.. and at least partially is acknowledging that there are problems.

Overall though, I felt that the letter was overtly vague and largely filled with a lot of fluff (nothing of real true substance).

Still though, the letter WAS written and that's a good start.

Much like the OP, I truly DO want to hold faith in Blizzard and I truly want to believe they will "get it right."

So I say the same thing: Mike, please put your words into action... and please at least admit that you guys "messed up" in some key areas with this game and then actually fix those problems.
Great post. I also gave it a "thumbs up" and requested a sticky.

I felt the same way when reading Morhaime's letter this morning.

On one end I am glad that he wrote it.. and at least partially is acknowledging that there are problems.

Overall though, I felt that the letter was overtly vague and largely filled with a lot of fluff (nothing of real true substance).

Still though, the letter WAS written and that's a good start.

Much like the OP, I truly DO want to hold faith in Blizzard and I truly want to believe they will "get it right."

So I say the same thing: Mike, please put your words into action... and please at least admit that you guys "messed up" in some key areas with this game and then actually fix those problems.

Thanks, appreciate the support. I hope someone official actually is reading the response to his post today if not Mike himself. I want to believe they are and intend to fix it....but everything they've done to the game since launch has degraded it for the players and not been an improvement so what little faith I have left is hanging on by a thread.

*Thumbs up*

Thank you Shien & others for your support!
07/19/2012 12:15 PMPosted by Joules
insulting to your audience

The moment someone adds this into a missive about a game, it pretty much renders anything and everything completely worthless.

To over dramatize your position just speaks of something akin to a 13 year old girl who just found her first pimple.

You want to be taken seriously? Don't sprinkle your comments with emotion... it is really hard to take someone seriously, even someone with good ideas, when you couch it within a "Dear John" letter filled with angst rather than facts and figures.

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