Every year, Blizzard fans look up to Blizzcon, the company’s biggest event, for something fresh, new and incredible. Fans have been following Blizzard passionately since the days of Orcs and Humans and remained loyal whenever the company went through its ups and downs. But at Blizzcon 2018 when Blizzard announced Diablo Immortal, a fresh and new Diablo experience for mobile, “cause don’t we have mobile phones?”, Blizzard’s chapter of The Tragic Blunder began.
It isn’t a theory or speculation, but the decline in Activision’s stock proves it. Post-controversy, Activision’s stocks closed down nearly 7%. Which factors are contributing to this decline? Poor Black Ops 4 sales and of course, Diablo Immortal.
Fans are disappointed like never before and users on discussion sites are raging over the disaster and how their expectations were thrown in the trash. Attendees barely clapped or appreciated the Diablo Immortal announcement as they had nothing to be impressed about.
I’m slightly late to this party, so I’ll assume you already know about the “off-season April’s fool joke” comment by the red-shirt guy. Many considered his query to be rude and obnoxious, but being an attendant, going in with high hopes, it’s his right to question them the way he did. Only non-scripted questions like his could pull out clear-cut answers.
Blizzard didn’t only mess up their conference but messed with their fans alongside. They kept Diablo Immortal to be revealed at the end of the show, presuming it to be their showstopper. The management decided to close Blizzcon 2018 with Immortal’s announcement. Now, this is obnoxious.
Suppose you’re a merchant. Your buyers know you for your esteemed cloth pieces and world-famous ale. One day, you collect all your buyers to give them a surprise that “you’re excited about”. It’s natural for your buyers to expect something extraordinary and extravagant, but in the same category as they know you for.
“Surprise!”, you exclaimed. What was it? A pair of socks. Okay, let’s have it from both perspectives. Your buyers would be madly pissed at you for taking them for fools. But you’re an innocent man. You wanted to serve something new.
But, but… hold on. Seeing that your buyers are annoyed at you, you shout, “Do you guys not have feet?”. That’s when you know you’ve messed up big.
Blizzard was a company that fans could trust and relate to. They knew, no other company would consider and encourage fans’ feedback as Blizzard does. But most recently, Blizzard failed its dedicated community.
Diablo 4, an announcement for which could have cheered up the depressed audience, wasn’t made. Even a short teaser, like Bethesda’s for Elder Scrolls VI, would have infused great joy into the conference’s lifeless audience. But, a mobile version was of utmost importance.
The main reasons I could think as to why Blizzard went with a mobile port, are godlike in-game monetisation, more reach, easy development process and… did I mention money?
You might disagree with my view on an “easy development process”, so here’s what happened. NetEase, the creators of Endless of God which itself is a Diablo III rip-off, is co-developing Diablo Immortal. What a fun time to be alive.
Abacus News reporter Josh Ye went hands-on with Endless of God and called it “not a fun game.” The aspects and mechanics are similar to that of Diablo III, apart from the “fun to play” part. The game kinda sucks.
Blizzard doesn’t understand or care about its community anymore. This isn’t just my thought, but Blizzard ex-employee and Diablo 2 producer Mark Kern agrees with it as well. A mobile version is no big deal, unless and until it isn’t prioritised as the showstopping announcement.
While Blizzard admitted that they’ve been working on multiple Diablo projects, nothing except Immortal was hinted throughout the conference. This isn’t just how you manage and present things.
“Blizzard never used to have to ask, because it was made up of hard core gamers from top to bottom. We used to say we were our own harshest audience for our games. I would have had a line of devs outside my door telling me this was a bad move”, Mark wrote in a tweet.
Blizzard has surely grown into a big company but in the process, lost touch with its fans and gamers as a whole. Even when they announced Diablo Immortal, they didn’t hint literally anything except for a “Do you guys not have phones?”, which wasn’t really helpful.
Attendees got the privilege to try out Diablo Immortal’s demo, but only a few went on to try it out. And of those who did play it, had no clue of the important stuff.
EA: We are the most hated Game Company Blizzard: Hold My Beer
The whole debacle could go on for days and weeks, but what’s really obnoxious is major media outlets calling gamers “entitled”. Yes, that’s obnoxious, not the red-shirt guy’s query.
“Game companies owe you nothing. You don’t just get to have whatever you want and then throw a tantrum when your own personal dreams don’t come true”, Mashable’s Kellen Back wrote.
Wow. So we stick with these companies for decades, support them on every stage and when we get disappointed for their wrong moves, we’re wrong? I won’t say much. You’re a better judge.
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