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Blizzard CEO promises Diablo III fixes on the way but offers few specifics

In the two months since Diablo III’s release, the dialogue surrounding the game has transformed more than once. Before it was out, the story surrounding Diablo was about its prolonged development and its controversial economy. For a brief moment, as reviews trickled out, the story shifted to being about the series’ triumphant return to quality. Since then though, the narrative born or Diablo III has been one of turmoil. From the lingering bugs keeping people from playing the game to its disappointing end-game content, Diablo III has been haunted. Just look at its problems in Korea!

Blizzard is promising a better future for the game. On Thursday morning, Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime released a statement via the Diablo III forums on Battle.net to address the game’s players and their concerns.

First up is an explanation as to why Blizzard was unprepared for the strain on Diablo’s servers when the game released in May. “We’ve never gone from 0 to more than 6 million players across multiple continents within a few days with a brand-new game,” explains Morhaime, “For Diablo III, we looked at historical sales for Blizzard games and other top-selling PC games and watched pre-order numbers. We even upped our estimates to ensure we had additional capacity, or so we thought. In the end, it just wasn’t enough, and that is something we will work hard to conquer for future releases. In response to the immediate and overwhelming demand for the game, the team worked around the clock to support all regions, increase capacity, ship additional hardware to our datacenters, and troubleshoot and fix bugs as they sprang up.

“While things have by and large been running smoothly for several weeks now, various game-related issues have come up that we have either already responded to or are continuing to investigate (such as the latency issue some of you are experiencing) and make adjustments for. Rather than address every subject individually, I’ll just say that even as we work to address or resolve current issues, it’s always possible that further issues will crop up.”

Fixing the game’s problems will be an ongoing effort. Morhaime says the impending 1.0.4 patch for the game will bring balance tweaks to hopefully improve the utility of underused class abilities and buffs, as well as a new influx of Legendary items that will hopefully alleviate some of the bigger issues with plumbing into the game’s higher difficulty modes. High level players can even look forward to “new goals to strive for as an alternative to the ‘item hunt.’”

The common criticism against those end modes is that Diablo III is explicitly designed to force players to purchase adequate weapons and armor through the game’s auction houses, to the point of needing to spend real world money to succeed. Morhaime does say in his message that criticisms of the real-money auction house have been heard, but that no specific changes to it are forthcoming.

Will Diablo III be a less troubled game going forward? It’s unclear. Beyond promised balance tweaks, Morhaime has only said, “We know you’re displeased.”