Blizzard has decided to scrap their previous plans for Diablo 3 player-versus-player action. They've announced that the upcoming Team Deathmatch falls short of their own expectations for a "high-quality Blizzard experience."
On the game's official blog, D3 director Jay Wilson said that simply having two teams slug it out in an arena would be fun on some level. However, the developers doubt that such a mode would be complex enough to have staying power.
"Simply fighting each other with no other objectives or choices to make gets old relatively quickly," said Wilson. "We've brought a lot of people in to try out Team Deathmatch and, while some found it entertaining, most of our testers didn't feel like it was something they'd want to do beyond a few hours."
The dev team was also concerned about balance. The player classes of D3 were designed first and foremost for the single-player/co-op campaign. They didn't plan class abilities around the possibility of a future PvP mode. In a deathmatch setting, the imbalances between class skills, runes and items would be quickly apparent. Blizzard didn't want to cut out any items or abilities just to make this PvP work.
Still, Wilson says, they haven't given up on adding PvP to the game. For starters, they're going to enable dueling in the game with the 1.0.7. update. Team Deathmatch might make it into the game someday, but they're currently looking for a replacement mode that feels more appropriate to D3. "We're going to first be looking at new modes that play up to the strengths of the character classes, focus on objectives beyond just defeating other players, and possibly even integrate PvE elements and rewards."
The pursuit of a more complex PvP mode sounds like a noble cause. It's too bad that players will have to wait even longer, though. PvP was once supposed to be a launch day feature of the game but, five months later, we're still waiting. .