In a recent live stream, Blizzard developers acknowledged that Diablo 4's latest update disappointed fans, claiming they don't "plan on doing a patch like this ever again."
In a fireside chat, Diablo 4's senior developers took an apologetic tone in light of a glut of negative feedback from fans in the wake of the game's latest update: the Season of the Malignant. Though we at TRG were unimpressed with the nerfs to the sorcerer class, fan indignation went further, responding to the update's across-the-board nerfs aimed at preventing players from "blasting through content."
The trio of senior developers took the time to "acknowledge everyone's feedback... We know it's bad. We know it is not fun."
The Campfire Chat was a surprisingly candid affair, with the developers taking the time to "talk about what we were trying to achieve specifically with this patch and with the changes that players ended up seeing." Crucially, however, the team was keen to stress "how we don't plan on doing a patch like that ever again."
Adam Fletcher, associate director of community management for Diablo 4, elaborated on this point, stressing that "we've heard the feedback on that front." He also went on to discuss "how we can talk better and communicate with the community better."
What this amounted to was a long, but fascinating discussion about the game's design philosophy from three highly experienced game developers. You can see the full live stream below.
Perhaps the most significant takeaway was the team's commitment to ensure that "when making changes to increase build diversity, [we would] let some builds be overpowered until we have provided compelling alternatives."
This approach stands in stark contrast to previous operating procedures, where Diablo 4 classes have often found their best endgame builds pared down with little to replace them. This is certainly true of the Sorcerer, which relied on skills that were heavily nerfed in the recent patch to make up for its relative lack of survivability.
While many would rather that Blizzard never made these missteps in the first place, the Diablo 4's team's honest acknowledgment of player concerns is one of the better outcomes of the patch's controversy. The Campfire Chat could set a precedent for openness and transparency that bodes well for Diablo 4's future.
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Cat Bussell is a Staff Writer at TechRadar Gaming. Hailing from the crooked spires of London, Cat is an experienced writer and journalist. As seen on Wargamer.com, TheGamer.com, and Superjumpmagazine.com, Cat is here to bring you coverage from all corners of the video game world. An inveterate RPG maven and strategy game enjoyer, Cat is known for her love of rich narratives; both story-driven and emergent.
Before migrating to the green pastures of games journalism, Cat worked as a political advisor and academic. She has three degrees and has studied and worked at Cambridge University, University College London, and Queen Mary University of London. She's also been an art gallery curator, an ice cream maker, and a cocktail mixologist. This crash course in NPC lifestyles uniquely qualifies her to pick apart only the juiciest video games for your reading pleasure.
Cat cut her teeth on MMOs in the heyday of World of Warcraft before giving in to her love of JRPGs and becoming embedded in Final Fantasy XIV. When she's not doing that, you might find her running a tabletop RPG or two, perhaps even voluntarily.