When you make a masterpiece that gamers love and enjoy, the one thing that usually follows that masterpiece around are fanboys and admirers. Diablo II has a lot of fanboys and admirers. Diablo III was made by a different group of people and abandoned a lot of what made Diablo II a masterpiece. So when one of the Diablo II designers, David Brevik, echos comments made by the community on why people dislike Diablo III, the lead designer of Diablo III, Jay Wilson, said to “F*ck that loser.”
Quick history lesson: Blizzard North designed Diablo I and Diablo II. They departed from Blizzard back in 2005 and eventually went to work on Torchlight. Blizzard South took over for development for Diablo III and bam, we have Real-Money Auction House: The Game.
Now here's where things get ugly. In an interview with Inc Gamers, Diablo II designer David Brevik speaks truth. In fact, he speaks about the very thing that a lot of gamers feel are wrong with Diablo III, including the auction house, saying...
[Blizzard South] made some decisions with the loot system that were very different than the way that we did it in Diablo 2 and I think that obviously the community has been upset with some of the decisions they made. Having all of your powers work off your main weapon and things like that, to having blues that are more powerful than yellows. Eventually the auction house and how that worked, even something as simple as when you equip an item and it’s bound to your character permanently would have totally changed the dynamic of the game.
The entire interview is superb. Absolutely superb. Brevik keeps it civil but poignant, making points and bringing out things that gamers have been complaining about and suggesting to Blizzard to fix on the forums since the release of Daiblo III.
Now check out this image of Facebook chatter from the Blizzard South group and Jay Wilson's now meme-worthy “F*ck that loser.” comment courtesy of user Auto_Aim.
Well that was cheery.
And Mr. Hughston, the tone irritates you because it's your conscience feeling burdened by this little thing called “Truth”. Don't worry, after you bask in the glory of greed long enough you'll get to a point where you'll be just like Bobby Kotick, a guy who regularly walks by homeless, legless children begging on street corners and he completely ignores them while saying to himself “I have no conscience. I embrace the Dark Side.”
Despite Blizzard North not being a part of Diablo III's design, Brevik was actually happy about it. Why? Well, with Blizzard South taking over the reins it brought to light why people loved Blizzard North so much...
...it shows that the people that were involved in Diablo really did matter, and so I am happy that it has come to light that how talented that group was and how unique and special that group was. I am hoping that, as this happens very often in the industry, you see it with Call of Duty and things like that , when the people leave the game changes and it shows how critical people are in this industry.
The real kicker is that everything Brevik says is true and the criticisms have real-world reactions to them, specifically with the player drop-off rate, which was reported by several different independent firms at being close to 65%. Blizzard blamed the drop-off on a lack of end-game content, but I'm sorry, if you lose that many gamers within a two-month span and the general consensus amongst Diablo II fans and the lead designer is that your game is decent but heavily flawed, you need to come off your high-horse and realize that there are no long-term sales for a game like Diablo III unless you get to fixing.
I'd also like to point out that ARPGs and loot-grinding games don't need end-game content to keep players playing...heck, Borderlands, Torchlight and Diablo II are proof that as long as the loot is interesting and the grind is fun, gamers will keep lootin' and grindin'.
Of course, the other problem is the always-on DRM and the accompanying Real-Money Auction House -- both of which have caused Blizzard a number of legal problems in France, Germany and Korea -- and are the prime culprits for a lot of the outrage. That's not to mention all the other people who have had their accounts banned and their money usurped by shady Real-Money Auction House policies and still have no resolution to their problems.
Ultimately, I disagree with Jay Wilson. Despite selling 10 million copies on name alone and having a bunch of websites that don't really mean much anymore when it comes to representing the interest of the gaming community give your game high scores, there's still the reality that a lot of gamers aren't happy and everything that's wrong with the game stems from a problem Blizzard doesn't want to fix.
Jay Wilson saying to Brevik to “F*ck that loser” is basically Wilson telling the entire Diablo III community to go “F*ck off”. I'm also inclined to side a bit more with the guy who made Diablo a legendary name as opposed to the guy who helped bury that name under Real-Money Auction House: The Game.
(UPDATE: Jay Wilson has issued an apology to David Brevik and the Diablo Community)