Diablo 3 Won’t Launch With PvP

2 weeks ago, Blizzard Community Manager Bashiok briefly caused a minor freak-out after he posted a terse plea to the battle.net forums urging players to “lower those expectations” regarding Diablo 3. Comparing their work to the films of M. Night Shyamalan, he seemed to be laying the groundwork for Diablo 3 to simply be terrible. The community was rightly confused, and soon enough Bashiok posted that he had been misunderstood, that in fact he was just kidding. It’s possible he was telling the truth, but an announcement yesterday by Diablo 3 game director Jay Wilson suggests there may have been more to Bashiok’s pleas than they’re letting on: Diablo 3 won’t launch with PvP.

As we’re counting down the days until we’re ready to announce a release date for Diablo III, we’ve come to realize that the PvP game and systems aren’t yet living up to our standards. Today, we wanted to let you know that we’ve made the difficult decision to hold back the PvP Arena system and release it in a patch following the game’s launch. After a lot of consideration and discussion, we ultimately felt that delaying the whole game purely for PvP would just be punishing to everyone who’s waiting to enjoy the campaign and core solo/co-op content, all of which is just about complete.

While we work on making sure PvP lives up to its full potential, we hope you’ll find some consolation in the fact that soon, you’ll be having a blast leveling characters, finding items, learning the classes, and perfecting builds…and that when the Arenas do arrive, you’ll be all the better prepared for battle.

When the PvP patch is ultimately ready, it will add multiple Arena maps with themed locations and layouts, PvP-centric achievements, and a matchmaking system that will help you and your team get into fairly matched games quickly and easily. We’ll also be adding a personal progression system that will reward you for successfully bashing in the other team’s skulls.

We know a lot of you are looking forward to PvP, and we’ll be focusing our post-launch efforts on making sure the Arenas are as brutal, bloody, fast-paced, and awesome as we know they can be. In the meantime, we’re in the process of putting the finishing touches on what we think is a truly epic campaign and co-op experience for launch.

We’ll have a lot more info to share on the PvP system in the future, and we look forward to the moment we can get the game into your hands.

Regardless of the spin they’re putting on this, this news is not good. Blizzard’s game releases have always been on a “when they’re ready” schedule, but this is the third time in a month that a huge component of Diablo 3 has just been scrapped. In January, companion pets were removed entirely, and at the end of February the rune system was changed into a clone of the skill level-up system. Blizzard has also laid off 600 employees; factor in the removal of PvP from the final release, and the weird obsession with sticking to a specific release date despite the fact that the company has never done business that way, one is forced to conclude that the company’s woes are fairly serious. It looks like D3 is being rushed out to make the shareholders happy. That might make their end of year finances look better, but it’s a recipe for a terrible game.

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7 Comments on Diablo 3 Won’t Launch With PvP

Brandon J. Clark

On March 10, 2012 at 6:55 pm

OK, is anything feeling like this is going to be ?

If Blizzard:
a) Charges for MP as DLC$
b) Expects us to wait more than a month or two for multiplayer….

…they can count on this sale never happening.


On March 11, 2012 at 1:01 am

“It looks like D3 is being rushed out to make the shareholders happy. That might make their end of year finances look better, but it’s a recipe for a terrible game.”

Thats exactly why i cant stand Blizzard anymore and wont buy any of their games.


On March 11, 2012 at 9:50 am

Focusing more on the financial earnings is an unfortunate side effect of their merging with Activision. All that considered, this is still Blizzard we’re talking about.

While it makes me worried to see such massive changes to a game this close to release, the inverse is also true. How many developers would see that one of the biggest portions of the game experience was not as cool as they had intended it to be, and turn around and scrap it in favor of a cooler system? How many would just say “screw it, that system is kinda lame but let’s just release the game now and deal with it later”?

That Blizzard is willing to take the time to make sure that their game is as enjoyable as possible before release, and that they’re not giving their fans something they know does not meet our expectations, is a sign of the old Blizzard we all know and love. That they’re actually trying to stick to a release date instead of just delaying the games for multiple years (remember Diablo 2 was original supposed to come out about two years before it actually did) is a sign of the new Activision-Blizzard.

I’d rather have them focus on the core game for release than to have a “okay you can attack each other here, but the classes aren’t really balanced at all for it” version of pvp tacked on. The thing to remember is that Blizzard keeps updating their games. Hell, Diablo 2 is still receiving patches ten years after its release. Just because something has been “scrapped” for the release version doesn’t mean that it won’t be polished and added to the game later.

It doesn’t mean we’ll be getting a terrible game. It just means that we won’t be getting aspects of the game that would have been terrible, and instead will be getting a game that is polished and balanced. I’m personally sad to see some of the changes made to the final game, but I think that those changes will make for a more enjoyable play experience in the end.

Brandon J. Clark

On March 11, 2012 at 5:18 pm

None of you are addressing my first question.

Blizzard will be charging for this content later, mark my words!


On March 11, 2012 at 7:52 pm

Blizzard charges for superfluous type things. (mounts / pets in wow, avatars in SC2) The only way they charge for actual content or gameplay type things is in expansions.

The only way they could really charge extra would be in a League of Legends style new characters / outfits transactions… but since new classes would be saved to help sell an expansion and the physical appearance of your character is determined by the gear you wear, neither of those would make sense.

Also, Blizzard wouldn’t hold back a pvp system to polish it which they said would be included in the game at release, only to charge for it later. The backlash from the community would be so high that they would end up just releasing it for free anyways, and then they’d lose money in the long run from the bad will and negative public perception they’d gain from the community.

Blizzard knows this. They’re not idiots, regardless if Activision is influencing their decisions for the sake of finances. Blizzard would say “We can’t do this, we’d lose money, and fast!” and Activision would say “Crap, we don’t like losing money. Okay, patch that stuff in for free and get more people to buy the game.”

It is possible that they’d spend more than two months balancing pvp if only to make sure the classes were being balanced around the feedback from the players.

I think nobody addressed the first part of the question because its not logical, and not something Blizzard as a company has ever done nor shown any intention of doing.

And seriously, do you really think that “I’m going to have to wait more than two months for a pvp system that really doesn’t add anything but a multiplayer dueling system” is going to affect the decision to purchase a game that people have been looking forward to for over a decade?

People still play Diablo 2 to this day, and it doesn’t have an arena style pvp. If the game is good the people will play it. If it isn’t, they won’t. That’s why it doesn’t make sense to release a non-subscription based game with content that doesn’t meet the players’ expectations. All they need is for people to buy the box. If the game is solid at release, people will buy the box.

Of course you could be right. Activision may have completely corrupted them and Blizzard might decide to charge for everything under the sun. If that is the case then, good sir, I shall eat my hat piece by leathery piece.


On March 12, 2012 at 7:07 am

If there is a missing multiplayer element to a AAA game, then there shouldn’t be a requirement to play online. I should be able to play my game offline.

I love how they litterly use the word solo in their blog. If you are to play a game solo, WHY should you need to connect online to play it?


On March 12, 2012 at 11:45 am

Activision being Activision. They drive the ship, Blizz fans suffer.

The Acti-Blizz merger was the worst thing to happen to Blizz fans (pre-Pandas).