On Blizzard’s official forums for Diablo 3, community managers have admitted item collecting isn’t a long-term strategy to maintaining the player base. So, what’s coming?
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Diablo 3 players are moving away, because grinding for weapons ultimately isn’t fun. And Blizzard agrees
The problem with Diablo 3 is that once you’ve played through the game, and even played through up to Nightmare, is repetitive by nature and once players have complete the game there’s really nothing to complete. Players vs player isn’t out, and grinding for items isn’t a long-term draw for players, but Blizzard is aware of the need to retain players.
On the official Diablo 3 forums, community manager Bashiok said that item collecting isn’t a long-term draw for players. Diablo 3 also isn’t World of Warcraft, Bashiok said, so rapid iteration and continual content expansion over a decade probably isn’t going to happen. And that’s a problem with Diablo 3: it gives the illusion of an MMOG with it’s local chat and ability to use an Auction House, and its always-online connection, further creates the illusion.
But ultimately Diablo 3 is a single-player game; that’s demonstrated by the fact the main draw is built around playing through the difficulties as the level of your character rises.
Developing Long-Term Retention, In Single-Player Content
Bashiok also said the team is working the 1.0.4 patch with a lot of number of fixes. There’s also the 1.1 patch with brings Player vs Player arenas, though it’s up for debate whether the interest is still there to retain players even with Player vs Player. It just doesn’t seem like a long-term draw for a single-player game. It’s like bundling multiplayer on a single-player game: most of the time, it’ll be a temporary distraction. What you want is more single-player content (and yes, I realise Mass Effect 3 is an exception to the claim).
And Bashiok admitted that’s not going to be a proper end-game solution, which is something to be done after the 1.1. patch. He said the team has some ideas for progression systems in place, but it seems like only the most hardcore users will stay for whatever form the content takes. And 1.1 itself it still far outt.
Diablo 3 is out now for PC and Mac.