Watch Diablo 3’s Josh Mosqueira Explain How They Fixed It

Pictures: Mosqueira ascending to the role of lead designer.

The official launch of Diablo 3 [official site], uhhhh, it could have been better, yeah? Game Director Josh Mosqueira, who joined the team as the console lead in 2012, did a talk at GDC yesterday about how things were internally at this time and going forward into developing the expansion, Reaper of Souls. Check it out below, along with the latest details on the upcoming patch.

What’s most interesting to me is how often Blizzard manage to underestimate both the size and skill of their community. While Reaper of Souls and Heart of the Swarm both had impressively flawless launches, WoW’s Warlords of Draenor was a Diablo-tier mess. Massive queues, people unable to login, community and support teams working 18+ hour days for a solid week trying to get it fixed. Somebody, somewhere is consistently underestimating demand for everything the studio puts out.

In a similar vein, as Josh discusses, the players – and this is true everywhere, but Blizzzard’s ravenous fanbase has a particular talent for it – will find the easiest, most efficient and often least fun method to play a game. Bioshock’s lightning wrench build, Destiny’s loot cave, people gathered around timed spawns or rare mobs in every MMO you’ve ever touched. None are as fun as playing those games in other ways and sometimes they aren’t even more efficient, but people love to feel like they’ve ‘broken’ the game, tricked it out of its goods – even at the cost of their own enjoyment.

The full talk is well worth a watch if you’ve any interest in Diablo and its impressive turnaround, or game design in general. Thanks to Gamespot for getting it uploaded.

Meanwhile the game itself is currently gearing up for the latest patch, 2.2, which has begun public testing. There’s a run-down of the changes here and full patch notes here. There’s nothing particularly huge, especially in comparison to the second-expansion feel of patch 2.1, but enough to keep the hardcore entertained and some lapsed players thinking about a rerun. Plus, they’ve removed that fucking armour debuff from those god damn succubi, praise Satan.

Cheers, PCGamesN.


  1. gunny1993 says:

    YAAAAY, now the debuff is gone my Skype might be just a little bit less filled with expletives

    • FuriKuri says:

      Remember the good ol’ days when it would also damage you as you spent resource? Fun times.

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        Ben Barrett says:

        I remember showing up in hell and just immediately dying. It was some hardcore BS.

        • Horg says:

          Due to popular demand, the ”Minions of Hell” have been replaced by the ”Minions of Heck”. Gamers rejoice.

  2. Morcane says:

    This game has survived 3+ years on one of my harddrives and I’m still playing it regularly.

    Despite all of the flaws the original D3 had, they indeed recuperated with RoS – at least, for ‘casual’ players. No matter how much time you have, there’s always a bounty to run and the chance to get a fun piece of loot.

    Looking forward to the 2.2 patch!

  3. Ivan says:

    I played D3 for more or less about an hour day from release until a few months ago, and it was great fun (that’s about 2.5 years). But I’m pretty much done; Greater Rifts and the fact that the game seems to now be oriented around “doing things faster” instead of “doing things well” has pretty much killed off my interest. I don’t think that’s a popular opinion or anything, and I’m sure everyone’s having fun hitting Greater Rift 519 or whatever with 12 stacked set bonuses and the Ring of Even More Royal Grandeur or whatever, but my desire to play was just quickly sucked away by the fact that the game was telling me to rush in order to hit harder content.

    I’m looking forward to whatever content they eventually add in, whether that be via content patch or expansion, but as of right now I have no itch to load the game because I know that eventually I’ll just get suckered back into doing Greater Rifts and feeling frustrated instead of relaxed.

  4. Arren says:

    people love to feel like they’ve ‘broken’ the game, tricked it out of its goods

    Not all people. This behavior is one of the most salient reasons for my alienation from gaming culture.

    • Capt. Bumchum McMerryweather says:

      Ooohh, sir! Thine flowery language doth give me a right throbbing bone-on!

  5. barelyhomosapien says:

    Not often you hear someone talk so frankly about mistakes made, especially in a public setting.

    It was disheartening to hear that my PS4 demon hunter and PC wizard will likely never be on the same character select screen, partially because of just how good playing the game on a console is, it really does feel like a very different experience, and one I’m leaning towards having a console preference for (please don’t lynch me)

    Features like the legendary gifts for friends, and the nemesis’ plus the more empowered buffs from getting large kill combo/scenery destruction combo’s should really already be in the PC version…

  6. iainl says:

    I don’t get it. I ran Diablo III for 30 minutes to an hour a day from when I bought it to when I cleared the story. Then I tried looping on a higher difficulty, as well as running a second character. Neither saw me get more than a handful of missions through before I got bored of repeating myself; sure I’m dealing bigger damage numbers, but the monsters absorb more at about the same rate, so there’s no real difference.

    What am I missing?

    • Mungrul says:

      Well the game’s completely different now, mostly thanks to the introduction of Adventure mode, Rifts and Greater Rift. There’s a neat variety of things to do, and the frequent loot table tinkering by Blizzard regularly shakes up the game and provides interesting new ways of playing.
      They’ve made loot in general much more rewarding, and drops are more frequent.
      Seasons provide incentive to start again from scratch with cosmetic rewards at the end, and they also introduce completely new Legendaries, as well as refreshing some of the more stale old ones.
      It’s my go-to game when I’ve got nothing else to play, as there’s always something to do, some character to improve.

      • iainl says:

        Hmm. I suspect that’s the problem, then – I failed to make any sort of attachment to my gear; they’re a bunch of numbers. So playing through missions I’ve done in order to get better gear doesn’t appeal, and most of the other things to do seem limited to the expansion which is as expensive as the base game was. Ah well, not every game has to be for everyone, and even the amount of fun I got out of it was an order of magnitude than I’ve had with other RPG-style games.

        • JM says:

          Thing is, the max level gear isn’t just better numbers, it often significantly alters how your skills work and gives you a very different experience.

          • rusty5pork says:

            GOOD. What finally burned me out of regular D3 was the fact that your gear at endgame really WAS just a collection of numbers that went up as you farmed more. I might have to pick up RoS.

        • Michael Anson says:

          The changes that improved the game were introduced in a patch prior to the RoS expansion, so I recommend updating your game and giving it another go. On top of other changes, you can set your difficulty level on the fly now, which can lead to some pretty intense battles.

          • iainl says:

            Thanks – I should probably do that, then. I died three times in my first run through the game, on the highest difficulty I could select at the time. All three were because I lagged out in the middle of a battle, and when I regained control I was dead already.

  7. BirdsUseStars says:

    Okay, so I played D3 when it first came out, beat it a couple times and then moved on. Never played any of the new patches or expansions. If I fired it up again I’d be starting fresh for all practical purposes. Is there anything there for me or should I just let it lie? Most of the updates seem to be either focused on the console version or on the later game.

    • Michael Anson says:

      You can now set the difficulty to any setting from the beginning, and even play adventure mode from level 1. It’s worth another look.

      • Mungrul says:

        Well not quite; until you get at least one character to level 60 or complete the game (whichever comes first), the highest difficulty you can select is Expert. Upon reaching 60 or completing the game, you unlock Master, and Torment 1-6 requires you have a character at 60.
        But to be honest, you don’t want to be trying Torment 1 until you’ve got at least one character at 70 that has had a chance to get some decent loot.

        Once you have a character like that, chances are you’ll have some high level gems too, and these can help massively when levelling other characters. On a normal new character, I usually shove a ruby in their helmet to accelerate levelling, class stat gems in their chest, leg armour and rings and a ruby for a damage boost in the main weapon slot. This makes the first 55 levels or so go a lot quicker and easier so the game’s less of a grind. See, normal gems have no level restriction ;)

        Of course, with seasonal characters, you have to start from scratch at the start of every season, but I’m treating it as a good excuse to level hardcore characters.

  8. Kaeoschassis says:

    Have to watch that later when I have the time. Quick thought that frequently comes to mind when somebody brings up a topic like this, though – is it really the responsibility of the devs to prevent people from doing boring stuff and having no fun just because it’s “optimal” (or indeed sometimes isn’t even that)? So many times I’ve seen people complain because they spent a couple of hours grinding x exploit in y game and didn’t have any fun, and all I can ever think to say is “well, if you weren’t having fun, why did you do it?”
    Obviously I’m not talking about games that are just inherently bad (i.e. all grind and no fun at all), but games where there are all sorts of ways to have fun, but also ways to totally break them if you can stand the tedium of doing so. Skyrim comes to mind as a recent example, Deus Ex as a much older one (although honestly breaking that one never gets dull).

  9. Radiant says:

    If your whole game is based around the premise of wasting my time before I can get the good stuff then please don’t cry when I try and short cut that process.

  10. Chaoslord AJ says:

    Ah I played it since day one, on and off usually when a better patch came out. I like reading the toxic D3 forums. Would be interested to learn how they “fixed” it.
    Fact is the game is good, it’s not endless though. It has good graphics – it’s just not horror or gothic. It’s fun but also really casual and childish from storyline to gameplay. People talk about builds when every barb is actually the same character in different configurations. People play 12 hours a day and how they “worked” for their achievements like it was work. Skill is never necessary – it’ just a gear check and a loot roulette but very very entertaining and addictive.
    I can’t be “fixed” because it’s not broken – it’s what it’s meant to be – not difficult according to player skill. No complex item system.

  11. peterako1989 says:

    Its still always online. They ain’t fixed shit.