Why I’m Afraid to Review Diablo 3
What does this mean for reviewers?
Given everything we’ve just gone over, a real possibility exists that Diablo 3 won’t be as hot as we hope. While I don’t believe reviewers are frequently paid off to write glowing reviews, it is possible that reviewers offer high scores in order to remain within a developer’s good graces for fear of upsetting them — and that’s what I bet has many Diablo 3 reviewers sweating.
For a complete analysis of historical review scores versus user ratings of Blizzard releases over the past 15 years, complete with charts and trend predictions, as well as an explanation of the critical importance of a 90% versus an 89% in the gaming industry, read my companion article, “The History of Blizzard Game Review Scores and the Magic 90%.”
In brief, trends may suggest that as Blizzard has become a powerhouse in the industry, reviewers have become increasingly leery of giving a Blizzard release less than a 90% score, despite the vocal, increasing disappointment of a significant portion of Blizzard’s fanbase.
Blizzard has earned itself a reputation of excellence for a reason, and I will imply no belief on my part that the company does not deserve the accolades it has received, but my questions is: if Diablo 3 doesn’t live up to those standards, will reviewers be honest?
An honest review?
Regardless of any potential ramifications, I intend to give Diablo 3 an honest review. By no means do I expect it to be a terrible game, but based on my experience with the beta, the fact that the game was developed by an entirely different team, and this rush to get the game released, I’m not convinced it’ll be as good as Diablo 2.
That said, I have not yet played the final product, and it is entirely possible that Diablo 3 will be the phenomenal game we’ve all hoped for. I will be immeasurably content if it is, but barring some surprise, I foresee trepidation in my future over condemning a franchise so close to my heart to a sub-90 score — and an ensuing irrational backlash of Blizzard fanboys.
I wonder how many reviewers will dare to be honest.