It’s Diablo 3’s birthday today, and the plucky little chap has turned eight years old. It feels like eons ago that fans eagerly awaited for the servers to go live. The question is, has it stood the test of time with fans? Are you just as passionate about the game?
The way I view Diablo 3 is that it’s an OK game. After a day or so playing after launch, it felt like a game I was going to play through a few times with a few classes and then move on. Of course, that’s just my opinion, there are still plenty of players enjoying the Seasons and the occasional updates today. That in itself makes the game a success eight years on. It’s also sold a bucket-load of copies across multiple platforms.
A Rocky Start
We have to remember Diablo 3 had a rocky start with the classic Error 37 message. Remember that? After 12 years of waiting for a sequel, players couldn’t play. Then there was the auction house. I have to admit I thought it was a pretty good idea prior to launch, but when you started playing and remembered that the core of the franchise was about finding great items. Buying items just seemed wrong and unworkable. Perhaps my long break from Diablo 2 helped me forget about core elements that made the first two games so great. Replaying Diablo 1 recently with Elly reminded me of why Diablo 1 captured gamers’ imaginations.
We were so hopeful for a smooth launch and solid Diablo gameplay with the third game. Our live stream launch show just before the servers opened was great fun to put together. We had input from devs influenced by the franchise including Chris Wilson from GGG (PoE) and Arthur Bruno from Crate Entertainment (Grim Dawn). Both shared their thoughts and expectations of Diablo 3 in advance of the launch. Like us, these guys were huge fans of the franchise and were just as eager to get playing as the rest of the community. However, events in the hours ahead were simply frustrating for fans and I’m sure just as frustrating for the Diablo 3 development team. Damn you Error 37!
Despite the numerous problems at launch, Blizzard did manage to salvage the game somewhat with the Reaper of Souls expansion. Thanks to their work on the expansion and addressing some of the concerns, Diablo 3 was saved for an audience that was perhaps less au fait with the first two games.
On the other hand, it was 20 years ago almost to the month, June 2000, that Diablo 2 was released. Now, what I do know about Diablo 2 is that there is still a solid core of players actively playing. Our forums are a testament to the passion of the Diablo 2 player base. It’s probably why so many people are talking about this rumoured Diablo 2 remaster with such excitement. Whether it materialises is another story.
Whatever side of the fence you are sitting on, Diablo 3 was a respectable game, even if it’s not what die-hard Diablo 1 and 2 players were expecting. Will it still be played in another eight years’ time? I’m not so sure, and I don’t think Blizzard is either, hence the quicker than usual move to announce Diablo IV.
Not everyone may be as passionate about Diablo 3 as the other two games but we should wish it a happy birthday. If anything, it’s helped Blizzard developers understand community expectations a little better.
Now we look forward to Diablo IV. Blizzard will be hoping that they get the next game 100% right for both new and old fans of the franchise.