Over this past weekend Blizzard Entertainment held their BlizzCon in Anaheim. (I think it's still in Anaheim.) The company has faithfully stood by their product line: they added Ashe to Overwatch; another DLC is soon due for World of Warcraft; and a completely new character named Orphea was added to Heroes of the Storm. So far in all their product lines they have faithfully stood by the title and given players of nearly all caliber a reason to play and a reason to rejoice. For a nearly rabid fan base that has stood by the company for these over twenty years the company has done well, even in leadership transition.
But the negative reaction to Diablo: Immortal is not a surprise to me. I knew going into the weekend that Diablo IV was not going to be announced. I knew that they had some sort of project reveal for the weekend. I knew to temper my expectations with a company who must look for opportunities to increase their bottom line, even if they are loyal to their fan base. Blizzard even published an announcement that what will be revealed will be different from expectations. But when the reveal came there was an immediate backlash in that room. I did not watch so I am relying on reporting from various news sources.
The initial reaction: "Blizzard! You're killing Diablo!"
During the weekend the reports on the Immortal demo does not confirm customers' fears that the game is a rip off; they confirm that the control mechanics are taken from the common control scheme that is prevalent in China, the scheme for touch phone interaction. What the initial reports of the demo also say is that the game seems to play deeper than any other ARPG in China. This should be the important part of the discussion.
Unfortunately too many people knee-jerked to the reveal and immediately condemned Blizzard for "abandoning" the PC players and many players are gathering effort to kill the project. All that good will with the other game titles, all the effort to rebuild Diablo III after the initial release, all the good times we players have in killing Diablo himself over and over and over in Rifts and Adventure Mode and with the Seasons implementation; all that history of dedication to their titles went out the door because players don't control Blizzard.
First and foremost, Diablo is a AAA title. It has all the hallmarks of the genre: highly detailed and nearly realistic modeling; 3D game engine despite only having one viewpoint (I've thrown many fireballs at my own viewpoint in hectic fights); a very good implementation of multiplayer; and a loot system that has been tuned all this time. Despite all the work and effort and years thrown behind Diablo III, a game that does not have a loot box system or any in game transactions, the player backlash is overwhelmingly negative.
So here is what I have to say to those players: trust Blizzard. Trust that they have a plan for the intellectual property beyond "IV". They are trying to grow the customer base for Diablo and this is one way to do so. A few gaming news outlets have pointed out that this mobile version will bring more fans into the fold. More fans equates to more money in Blizzard's pocket; more money means more content put out; more money means "IV" could become reality sooner.
I've been with the series since the original Diablo with its sinister and lethal Butcher. (Firewall was the demon killer for me and my friends.) Diablo II was a blast but showed its dull fangs a bit too early for me. But Blizzard has been updating and incrementing on Diablo III these past years and they have been doing fine with it. So stop crapping on them for showing a mobile version to increase the player base. Let them be and trust in their decisions. They haven't done much wrong and that is one of the reasons why I will continue playing Diablo III.
That, and also dropping rocks is cool.
Note: Edited for grammatical errors.