Two days ago all the rage was over a select number of Linux players being banned in Diablo III and Blizzard denying that it had anything to do with the fault of their security system Warden. There are still players permanently banned who are asking for a full investigation since they have been denied refunds. Well, all that aside, Blizzard wants to talk about Diablo III's lack of end-game content.
While some people are still having problems with missing cash in a grey area of the Real-Money Auction House, botters still seem to be playing and a couple of players are still trying to figure why they can't play, Blizzard sent loyal henchman and community manager, Bashiok, to the forums to address a concern over...end-game content?
A bunch of websites are currently reporting on the forum thread where players ask about Diablo III's end-game and what Blizzard plans to do for the long term. In the Diablo III post [via GameRanx], Bashiok responds, saying...
We recognize that the item hunt is just not enough for a long-term sustainable end-game. There are still tons of people playing every day and week, and playing a lot, but eventually they're going to run out of stuff to do (if they haven't already). Killing enemies and finding items is a lot of fun, and we think we have a lot of the systems surrounding that right, or at least on the right path with a few corrections and tweaks. But honestly Diablo III is not World of Warcraft. We aren't going to be able to pump out tons of new systems and content every couple months. There needs to be something else that keeps people engaged, and we know it's not there right now.
Congratulations, the news about the Linux scenario, the RMAH issues and all that other stuff is effectively derailed.
Before everyone jumps up saying how cynical it is to take this perspective, let us consider that Diablo is not an MMO. The end-game content was never a priority in previous Diablo games. Ever. Everyone played Diablo because it's a loot grinding game. It's popular for grinding and looting. That's basically it. When did Diablo become an MMO where end-game became essential?
Look, I used to be one of those douche bags who played the original Diablo just to loot and player-kill (back then public games would usually say "NO PK" but I would go in and help some players kill a boss and then player-kill because I was a douche). Diablo 2 for me, was more about the atmosphere and just playing a cool gothic ARPG. I played Borderlands for the kick-butt loot and to regularly check the Jackob's vendor for rare revolvers. I've never come across another player insisting that either of the aforementioned games required better end-game content. This is mainly because loot-grinding games are about loot grinding!
Regardless, if Bashiok thought that addressing "end-game" was essential for keeping the community pleased then obviously it's a top-priority issue. According to the forum stats, there's about 51,287 comments about end-game content. So it is an important issue according to the forum goers. This is compared to only 10,587 comments about the topic of loot drops. So yeah, apparently people on the forums are more worried about end-game than loot.
Rumors around the interwebs is that it's possible the game's lack of end-game intermixed with a lot of the bad press could be what led to Xfire's stats showing a massive decline in the core players leaving Diablo III.
I'm pretty sure gamers are now worried about Diablo III's end-game not because it's an MMO but because every single feature is facilitated as an MMO, thus restricting players to play according to Blizzard's standards (i.e,. no mods, no cheats, no LAN, etc., etc.,). I'm curious if Blizzard considered that such restrictions would lead to players getting bored so quickly?
Now if only we can get some updates on the players who lost money to the grey areas of the Real-Money Auction House, the Linux players who claim to be wrongfully banned, or maybe an offline mode in a future update for players who aren't too keen on a future where gaming is controlled by corporate authoritarians.