A senior Diablo 4 figure has responded to criticism surrounding the game's ongoing Season 1, outlining what Blizzard can do to improve its messaging.
GamesRadar+ has spoken to Rod Fergusson, Diablo general manager, at Gamescom 2023. When asked about the Diablo 4 player base's overwhelmingly negative reaction to its debut season, Fergusson states that "one of the things we recognised early on was that we had made some sort of mistake in managing expectations. It was hard because we felt like what we were doing for the game were the right things to do."
"But there were other parts that needed to go along with it," the Diablo franchise lead continues. "We were trying to move a little fast, we were trying to be very responsive and agile. So we were like 'hey, we have two-thirds of a solution. So let's give them the two thirds, and we'll do the other third later.' And that didn't work out in our favour."
Fergusson also adds that "the previous couple of updates were very buff-oriented, and so the notion of getting out in front and saying 'hey, we need to have all builds be viable, we want a level playing field so everybody can be successful with all kinds of builds' - we didn't get out in front of that enough."
"And so because we realised it was an expectation management problem, we had to just own that and recognise we have to do better to get patch notes out before that. We were doing patch notes at the moment the patch dropped, we weren't doing live streams ahead of time to talk about it," the Diablo lead says. It's true that Blizzard was delivering patch notes with rapid cadence in the weeks after Diablo 4 first launched in June, constantly trying to keep its player base informed as to what to expect.
"And so that's something we really learned as we're going through Season 1 and into Season 2 - we have our own surveys and we have our telemetry, we have our roundtables, and we have our dev streams, and we have all the research we're doing in our own play as well," Fergusson adds.
Going forward, at least, Fergusson acknowledges that the "biggest thing for us was just really like 'hey, we have to manage expectations correctly.' And we're going to do better, and we're just going to keep making a better game."
Fergusson comments come hot on the heels of Blizzard unveiling Diablo 4 Season 2 yesterday at the Gamescom Opening Night Live showcase, complete with an October 17 release date. Fergusson and company will certainly be hoping they can right the ship, and so far at least, things are looking up, as the sophomore season looks set to exorcise one of Diablo 4's most tedious grinds.
A Diablo 4 hotfix took aim at trading glitches just earlier this week.