Monday, April 30, 2012

"The Delay" Retrospect

It was last September, I remember the feeling of excitement after hearing the D3 beta announcement.  "The decade long wait was over, Diablo III would soon be in my hands" I thought.  From then till now, my interest in the game waxed and waned several times.  An eight month beta will do that to you.  With the beta coming to an end and the game only two weeks away from release (feels great to say that), I thought it was a good time to write about these last eight months.

One of the biggest controversies of the Diablo III beta was its unfortunate delay.  Many became furious at the announcement that the game would be delayed by a further few months.  "When its done" was the last thing that fans wanted to hear from Blizzard at the time.  However, now we are on the cusp of the release and we have the advantage of looking at the events in hindsight. 

Many of us have different opinions about the decisions made by Blizzard during the Beta. Was the delay worth it?, are the game systems, and overall game, better now than it was months ago?  Jay Wilson, continues to argue the end the players and the community will not care whether or not the game was late,  they will care whether or not the game was great.

I tend to agree with this sentiment as Blizzard games normally score very high marks on my personal evaluation and their development process is very long and thorough.  Considering all the systems and other in game changes made due to the delay, I think that the final product is in much better shape than it was orginally presented in the beta.  The systems are cleaner and less cumbersome to use, and seems to fit with the "Easy to learn, hard to master" feel that we have come to expect from Blizzard games.  There are always elements of a game that we would have done differently, but on the whole I think they did an excellent job and I give a hat tip to the dev team and the rest of the staff for their great work.

In the comments below, let me know what you think about the delay.  Was it worth it?  Is the game in better shape now than without it?  Did it change your perspective on the game and/or Blizzard's development process?  I would love to hear your thoughts/comments.

Thanks for reading,


  1. To be really honest the game seemed better back in September. The Mystic, arena pvp, runes as findable items and all the way up to level 7.

    Also the game still seems in some ways quite unpolished. There are some aspects of the Auction House UI that don't really work or don't seem to have been iterated enough. Some of the character abilities are odd, Soul Harvest for instance seems far too powerful.

    What I don't know is all the under the hood stuff that has been going on. If the game being delayed means that people won't be able to dupe and cheat that makes it worth the wait for me.

    I also to some extent take the long view. I've had a lot of fun playing games over the last several months. So I haven't missed D3. I don't mind them releasing it whenever they want to release it, I would never put my life on hold waiting for something like this.

  2. The loss of the arena was one of my biggest disappointments to be honest. It was something that I was really looking forward to in order to break up some of the grind. The Mystic, I didn't know much about so I can't say either way, a third crafting option would have definitely been fun though. Hopefully they bring her back.

    I think runes would have added too much "clutter" to the game. You would have to have a whole stash tab just for runes, seemed a bit cumbersome. Unless they created a seperate stash just for runes. Clutter is one of the things that really annoyed me about D2.

    Judging the skills right now is difficult I feel. Most skills are going to be balanced for the later levels and the dynamics will change I feel. I remember some abilities at WOW release were a bit OP to start off but didn't scale as strongly at higher levels.

    I wasn't able to utilize the AH much in the beta, the little I did use it, I noticed that it was a bit shakey. It is a lot better now than it was when it was first released though, so hopefully that trend continues into release.