Diablo – Out On a Limb and a Lifeline

Hack, slash, slaughter, survive – oh, and don’t forget loot. What would Diablo be if not for the loot?

Diablo has held a special place in the hearts of gamers for generations. With quick, responsive, and intuitive combat married to the infinite progression of seeking the next best piece of gear or higher tier of demon to slay, it’s no wonder that fans from all over the globe have been flocking to Blizzard to stock up on a plethora of potions and town portal scrolls.

Why, then, does Blizzard seem so deaf to the wants of the community?

By now, nary a soul exists that hasn’t witnessed what transpired at Blizzcon 2018. Upon the very end of the opening ceremony, Blizzard saw it fit to announce the most recent instalment in the Diablo franchise – a mobile game that is more of reskin than an original product. The reaction to the product was overwhelming negative, to say the least.

Now, before we dive into the nitty-gritty, we need to take a look at the climate that Blizzard has generated over the last couple of years. Many may have forgotten the tumultuous beginnings that Diablo 3 had – and with how much effort Blizzard has expanded to whip the game up into something worth playing, one would be forgiven for forgetting.

For many fans, it wasn’t until Reaper of Souls released that they felt they had finally received the version of Diablo 3 that they were promised for years. Unfortunately, things haven’t look that good since then.

Keeping in line with Blizzard’s past policy of supporting games for as long as humanly possible, the release of Reaper of Souls saw a crowd that was hungry for more finally fed – and yet those appetites were not sated for long.

Over the next several years, the only “big” patch that Diablo 3 received was the addition of the Necromancer class – a class that many argued should have been included in the release of Reaper of Souls – and they were right.

Since then, the only “updates” that Diablo 3 has received have been “new” season and small quality of life updates here and there. A far cry from the continued support that the rest of the Blizzard catalogue has received.

Yet, despite all of the sleights that the community has felt handed their way, many remained incredibly optimistic that something, anything, would finally be revealed about Diablo IV, the next instalment of Blizzard’s only M-Rated demonic-slaying franchise.

Alas, Blizzcon 2018 came and went, and the only thing that the Diablo fanbase had handed their way was a mobile game re-skin of another NetEase game known as Endless of God. A far cry from the tantalizing future that could be Diablo IV.

Since the crowds incredibly negative reaction – at Blizzcon no less – Blizzard has pushed several of their PR people out to the airwaves to placate the masses, even going so far as to push rumors that Diablo IV is more certainly under development and was intended to be shown, but was pulled last-minute due to the team feeling “unprepared” to show off their work in its currents state.

Now, it’s tempting to dive into the truth of Blizzard’s statements regarding D4, but the truly important matter lies slightly to the side of that conversation. The real problem that Blizzard is facing is that it has neglected its Diablo audience for far too long.

It’s easy to sympathize with the devs and say that Diablo is a very tricky franchise to keep fresh and exciting – but you wouldn’t get that impression from the tidal wave of suggestions that litter the game’s official forums; some dating back years.

Ultimately, Blizzard have no one to blame for the reaction they received for Diablo: Immortal than themselves. The franchise still holds some of the most polished and beloved ARPG gameplay to date – and to see Blizz leave it to die on the vine.

One thing’s for certain: the time for Blizz to throw a bone to the Diablo community is now – lest they be torn up by a horde more ravenous than any of their fictional demons.

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