Diablo 3 is unfinished. Blizzard promised the game would release with player-versus-player modes, then said those modes would be released shortly after the game in 2012. With days left in the year, those modes still haven’t been released and now Blizzard is saying one of those modes won’t ship at all.
There will be no Team Deathmatch in Diablo 3. In a Thursday update on the official Diablo 3 website, director Jay Wilson explained why PvP modes for the game haven’t been released yet, how far along in development they are, and why there will no longer be Team Deathmatch in the game.
“Our original intent with PvP for Diablo 3 was to profide more formal support for the dueling community that existed in Diablo 2,” said Wilson, “This is how Team Deathmatch mode emerged, and it’s been instrumental in making a lot of improvements to Diablo 3. But in continuing to develop this mode, playtest it, and put it infront of other developers within the company, we’ve found that it falls short of our expectations for a high-quality Blizzard experience.”
“For us it comes to a few issues, one of which is depth. Simply fighting each other with no other objective or choices to make gets old relatively quickly,” Wilson went on, “Another is class balance. Like Diablo 2, Diablo 3 was designed to be a PvE-first kind of game, where we never compromised on player abilities in the name of future PvP balance.”
While dueling will make it into the game with patch 1.0.7 at an unspecified date in 2013, Team Deathmatch will not. Wilson explained that the studio plans to replace it with something and may eventually release the current version at some point, but for now there will be no Team Deathmatch.
Few games better represented the modern video game industry in 2012 than Blizzard’s Diablo 3. Every aspect of the business is in this sequel. The unchanging reliance on franchises for big sales; the volatile nature of monetizing games; piracy protection; the difficulty of embracing creativity while also satisfying an audience in constant dialogue with the creators; and the shifting expectations for single player games. Love it or hate it, Diablo 3 is the essential modern game, a lavish product with a severe identity crisis. It’s also been a changing game, updated consistently since its release despite more than four years of development and balancing.