- Diablo 2 producer Mark Kern posted a tweet criticizing Diablo 4 and other live-service games for using manipulative tactics to keep their games relevant.
- Kern says that it should be okay to finish a game, but it’s avoided because it’s a “non-optimal profit outcome.”
It seems the producer of Diablo 2 has strong words for the Diablo 4 development team and live-service games in general. Mark Kern (or Grummz on Twitter) posted a tweet criticizing Diablo 4 and its live-service nature as well as the manipulative nature of live-service games. Kern cited the fact that many live service games use predatory tactics in order to maximize the time a player spends in-game as that directly contributes to the analytics and metrics of a live-service title’s success.
“We know it’s not fun”
“people were blasting through content”
This is the curse of live service games.
You make deliberate bad design decisions to milk the money/keep active users high.
It should be okay to finish a game. But that’s a non optimal profit outcome. https://t.co/oMfZDgZSHd
— Grummz (@Grummz) July 21, 2023
When discussing Diablo 4, Kern drops a damming bombshell that live-service games are deliberately released in half-unfinished state as that is deemed more profitable over time. To compound that, they also make bad design decisions to keep their game relevant over time.
It should be okay to finish a game. But that’s a non optimal profit outcome.”
This goes a long way in explaining one of the most common problems with live-service titles, half-finished, undercooked titles that takes months or a whole year of patching before they’re finally in a playable state. He talks about how slow it is to teleport out of dungeons, saying that there is no reason for teleportation to be as slow as it is in the game.
What’s particularly interesting is that Kern highlights that the balancing is actively adjusted for better or worse in order to manipulate analytics and live-service metrics.
You can’t defend this. It makes no sense to slow down the teleports out of dungeons in Diablo 4.
It was done to milk seconds of play time. They had a target time goal they had to meet through nerfs and timers.
Analytics and live service metrics to max profits ruins gameplay. https://t.co/nTSymlS0O3
— Grummz (@Grummz) July 21, 2023
This can also be attributed to why so many live-service games are outright bad. Games such as Godfall, Marvel’s Avengers, and Babylon’s Fall to name a few launched to a resounding thud. The thud represents them landing face first into a pavement thinking they were gonna stick the landing with the bare minimum.
Kern also states that it’s inexcusable for a game made by a “multi-billion dollar game company” when it comes to many of the baffling design decisions made in Diablo 4, stating that it “makes zero sense.”
“We nerfed the players but forgot to nerf the monsters”
makes zero sense for a multi billion dollar game company with a team of hundreds of top devs.
It should never happen.
That said, the hotfix should be out for Diablo 4 tonight.
— Grummz (@Grummz) July 22, 2023
Diablo 4 launched last month to critical acclaim for critics. However, the game has been divisive among many of the series fans who have cited disappointment over the game’s focus on quantity over quality. Another notable gripe for many is the game’s lack of difficulty, with players complaining that they were essentially able to breeze through the entire story mode with little to no pushback from the game.
The issues are further compounded by the game’s balance patches. Players have complained that the nerfs have arguably made the game less fun and enjoyable, with some even mentioning that their entire builds were rendered useless thanks to the blatant nerfs.
Despite it all, however, Diablo 4 has been a massive commercial success, surpassing even titles like Final Fantasy 16 to be June’s most downloaded game on the PlayStation 5.
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