The Diablo IV Early Access Weekend Gets Some Mixed Reviews

As I noted previously, I can wait for June and the real launch of the game.  But some people are keen to get in there early and see what the new version of Diablo is all about, so I have been keeping an eye on public comments about how things have been going.

It is here, this weekend and next

On the bright side, the opening game play sounds like it was compelling enough that people wanted to play and keep playing.

But the technical issues that cropped up… well… they were a problem.  There were apparently issues all along the path depending on when you logged in.  At peak hours there were queues… did Blizzard not know how many keys they had given out, and have they not been making live service games for 20 years… and once you got in there was a fair chance of being disconnected or having the game client simply crash.

Now, of course, finding these sorts of issues is why you have these events.  The company needs to get the live and chaotic sort of load that only actual end users can provide in order to test their game from end to end.  This was part of the reason I had little interest in this early access event.  I have my own software to test.  And they certainly want to get that all worked out before the actual launch.  Many of us remember the Diablo III launch.

Oh, I remember that

However, Blizzard reputation has been built on design and polish one of my early posts in the first week of the blog was in reference to Rob Pardo speaking at the Austin GDC about the design principles of Blizzard, and there is a whole section in there about polish.  And while there were some free keys given out for this weekend, a lot of people bought a copy of the game early to get in on it.  Paying customers have different expectations.

The price to get in

I know that polish doesn’t mean perfection.  But I do still wonder if this early access in Q1 was as much a stunt, rushed out early to assure Microsoft that the company is on track to its financial goals and commitments as agreed to in the acquisition fine print.

I will say, however, that the opinion of some I have seen is that, when they did get to play, that the game was very good, with references to the way Diablo II felt being brought up a few times.  And, of course, the game is available on PC and consoles, so sometimes it helps to know which platform the person is using.  My general take is that PC gamers are a bit happier with it than console gamers.

Anyway, we’re here at the last day and I hope those who jumped in are having a better time now than they were on opening night.  And I want to thank all of you… um… game individuals so eager to jump into those untested waters that those of us who might play in June will have a better experience.


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