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Diablo > Diablo 4 > DiscussionFeb 20, 2024 8:00 am CT

What does Blizzard need to do to regain player faith in Diablo 4?

There aren’t a lot of game franchises with fan bases as dedicated as the Diablo player base was come Diablo 4 launch day in 2023. With 12 million units sold in the first month, it was Blizzard’s fastest selling game, and players finished the extremely  polished campaign and found… nothing… waiting for them at the other end.

Diablo 4 nearly felt like it was two seperate games from two development houses. One was a highly polished, largely single player, story-based RPG. The other was a clunky ARPG using outdated designs, with a number of poorly thought out system architecture decisions that limited the ways devs could address issues raised through player feedback. These two games made an awkward match, and many players seemed to lose interest quickly, around level 50 when the game makes a hard transition from single-player RPG to ARPG gear grind. The seasonal model only accelerated this, as gameplay feels superficial (particularly after the strong initial story campaign) and less impactful than the previous Diablo 3 seasonal play.

But there are other frustrations with Diablo 4. After years of calling out for a new version of Diablo that harked back to the grim world of Diablo 2, and away form the brightly colored world of Diablo 3, players found the new world grim and unrelenting — just as they had asked for — but found that they missed the sparks of neon joy they had found in Diablo 3. And while Blizzard has kept its word about not being able to pay for power upgrades through the online store, it’s hard to ignore that the game has a never-ending stream of shiny new high-resolution appearances in the store at hefty prices. As the store cycles, we watch player complaints about game systems and balance go unaddressed.

Against this backdrop, several other ARPGs are launching in 2024, such as Last Epoch and Path of Exile 2. The games’ developers seem to have learned from the feedback made by Diablo players and their own beta testers, so they’re bringing games to the market that seem more in line with modern live service games. I feel like there’s a germ of a great game in Diablo 4, and I personally love the environments, even though would like some more variety from the constant fetid feel of a grim and dying world. I’m hoping the expansion Vessel of Hatred will address some of the issues with the game and give us a chance to start fresh.

Did you play Diablo 4 at launch, and if so are you still playing? If you stopped playing, why did you stop? Are you considering playing one of the other ARPGs hitting the market? What does Blizzard need to do for you to continue playing Diablo 4 and its expansions?

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