Greedy Goblin

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Why Diablo 3 is beyond schedule?

Diablo III is late. It was promised for 2011, then early 2012, currently 2012 Q1 without release date. What the hell is going on? I mean it's not so hard to estimate a release date. The engine is complete, graphics is complete, gameplay needs some tweaking maybe that could be done via hotfixes, release it already!

The people who think that way don't see the problem. The problem is RMAH. RMAH is much more than it looks like. It's a new business model. It's the new business model. The thing that will make Blizzard extremely rich. The thing that will be industry standard - if it works.

Let me explain: The subscription model is bad because players who bring additional content (leading guilds, organizing events, writing guides, forum posts, blogs) are not rewarded at all. Also, it excludes those who can't pay $15 (but would pay $10) and doesn't get an extra cent from those who would pay $50.

Microtransaction model is bad because it's practically "pay to cheat", so many players refuse to play such game. Remember when I wrote that "players must respect each other to have fun". Losing to someone who just paid more and clearly sucks is damn annoying. Also, it makes those who can't pay enough to get behind X barrier to leave, so the company loses their few $.

The "perfect" model is what Blizzard is trying to build. Players don't need to pay for progression, you can win the game without paying a single $ in the RMAH. It's not a theoretical "can" like "you can pay for a T10 tank by farming 10000 matches on your T5 in World of Tanks". It's a real "can", I mean 10-20% of players will do so, without extensive farming, just by playing the game. Those who are ready to pay can skip fast forward by buying gear. All the gear comes from other players, so no one can point at you and say "lol a n00b in item shop gear", so buying gear has no negative social consequences. No one can actually prove that you gained your gear such way. Pro players are also rewarded for being pro, therefore the game is able to cultivate a positive community, where everyone prefers everyone to be there. I mean when I see a moron in WoW I see someone worthless to me and treat him likewise. The same guy will be a valued customer of my wares and no one insults customers. Likewise the pros are not considered "elitist no-lifers" but players who sell me stuff I need. Also, the selling decreases the difference between players without the developers "handing out welfare epics". Finally you can't buy your way into the "elite" as you can only buy what the top players sell and they will sell only the stuff that they wouldn't use or replaced. You can only pay to keep up, and not to get ahead.

So far, perfect. But the problem is "how"? No one ever did anything like it in a non-loss game. I mean EVE has it easy with PLEX-paid ships: noobs keep buying them, goons keep shooting them. But how to manage the same in a game where the items are just keep collecting? Markco found this problem with gems. Every gem can be transmuted into higher ones up to lvl 14. But what will happen if everyone has L14 gems? Then the prices will drop and people stop paying money for them, they go to gold AH, no income for Blizz. The droprates need to be perfect. If it's too high, prices drop. If it's too low, people consider it unreachable and don't even try to get it. The maturation of the game must also be considered as the more you play the more gems you get but won't get more sockets. The same must be considered, modeled in all possible markets.

If it works, it will be the industry standard. To make it work, every possible item class, every crafting path must be perfect. There are also no second chances. To every loophole $-hungry goblins jump and exploit it. You can't "hotfix" it as you can't take away gear that people paid $ for without losing your customers. It must be perfect at launch. There is no previous experience about it. Are you surprised that they have no idea when will it be ready?


Ray said...

can't blizzard just make gem have durability? gem will be destroyed or have decreased effect when durability became zero

Riptor said...

While i find your theory very interesting and plausible, you have to remember, that SC2 was "delayed" the same way D3 is now. The release date was pushed further and further back without any clear indication.
Also the D3 Beta showed some very seroiuse Balancing issues.
Also, as the Loot will be generated randomly (if not players will not grind half as much and lets be honest, D3 is all about endless grinding)
Other than that, RMAH will be the next big thing in milking the Online Cash Cow.

skeddar said...

Gems aren't the problem. Combining a level 14 gem when the highest drops are level 5 is tedious at best and only for the hardcore players.
Prices in the RMAH will drop so fast that it doesn't make sense to post every minor thing due to the fees. Only sets, uniques, a few runes, stacks of crafting materials and gold will be viable.
With good trading it might be possible to get enough gold from the gold auction house to sell in the RMAH to make a small profit, but I highly doubt anyone can match his own wage per hour. (Those who could theoretically are too stupid...besides taxi driving psychology graduates maybe.)
Without mod/addon-support like in WoW it will take a lot more time than a goblin would like to spend.

Gesh said...

"Are you surprised that they have no idea when will it be ready?"

No, I'm not surpised, this always has been the case with blizzard games, RMAH or not. One other just as plausible reason for holding the game is building up the hype. It is not as they are pressed to release the game or go bankrupt.

And by the way, about the gem issue, I'm pretty sure there will be gear reset at some point, WoW style and don't see why there won't be any gear inflation. You pointed it out - everybody has L14 gem, gem goes to the gold AH. So far so good, then a new patch comes - 'Hello, here are the L15 gems with 0.005% damage increase, have fun! Love, Blizzard!'. I mean, we are in the age of BNET 0.2 and Blizzard/Activision after all. (Typo about BNET is on purpose)

Anonymous said...

There is also another problem delaying Diablo.

Some game regulators consider the game GAMBLING online . And this is not allowed in some countries.

Basically the drops you get (RANDOM) is considered like a slot machine . When the random give you something and you can cash it for real money it is a slot machine.

This guy here explain it :

KhasDylar said...

Funnyly I was thinking the same. Blizzard made a seemingly revolutionary invention with RMAH: they will earn money while they are giving it away. I wonder how many articles will spawn across the internet when D3 comes out about Blizzard "selling money"...
Gev, in the post, you say "The thing that will make Blizzard extremely rich" - that's correct, but my question is: when will this make Blizz extremely rich? No, not with Diablo 3. With Titan. Frank Pearce stated several times that some new techniques which Titan uses, will be industry standard, the game will literally change the world. I'm pretty sure that RMAH was a Titan-only feature, which the management forced on them to implement in Diablo 3 as a test. Yes, I think, D3RMAH is only a test before they release Titan. I even think it possible, that you'll be able to buy your daily food with ingame currency via Titan.
About tests: take a look at epic gems currently in WoW. Their drop rate is low. How low? Low enough for an average player won't get full epic gems any time soon, maybe not even until the next expansion, when these gems are already "worthless". How does Blizzard increase droprates? By nerfing encounters, so more players can defeat them, giving away more Mote of Darkness/Essence of Corrupted Deathwing. The model here is the same as you described: pro players sell items to the lower progressed players.
About players getting L14 gems. I don't know how gem trasmuting works at the moment in Diablo 3, but if they keep the former recipe (3 lesser gems transmute into 1 higher gem), you'll need hell a lot of L1 gems for a single L14 gem - 1.594.323 L1 gem, if I calculated correctly. Okay, noone in his right mind would farm L1 gems for a single L14, but even if you collect, let's say, L7-8 gems, you'll need an average of 500 gems for a L14 one. That's a lot of time - of course according to drop rates, but here I won't copy the same thing what you already wrote above. What I'm afraid of a bit, that Blizzard will make the same mistake with gems, what they did in WoW: the best possible gems statwise are mostly red gems, so their prices are very high compared to, let's say, blue gems.

Voteformiles said...

I figure the gambling argument would be more focused on crafting than drops. There's no money investment in running a dungeon for drops. Buying expensive materials to craft an item with random stats? slightly more so.

Anonymous said...

Actually it problably is the same thing that delayed SC2 for a few years, cacelled Starcraft Ghost, and only blizz knows how many others.
Fact is, that no matter how much we bash on blizz for bugs, they do try to get the product as good as possible as it can be before release, going to the point of cancelling when not up to standards.

Anonymous said...

"What will happen if everyone has Lvl 14 gems?"

Expect the droprates to be so low that it takes hundreds (thousands?) of hours of playtime to create one single Lvl 14 gem. Only the top 1% of all players may ever be fully Lvl 14 gemmed.

Zod-runes in Diablo 2: one rune dropped in 8 million kills on average. Probably less than 1% of all players ever owned a (legit) zod rune.

And for those who try to get one the goblinish way, consider this:

quote: It is always interesting to see how many El Runes it would take to create just one Zod via Horadric Cube transmutations. If you are only counting the El runes, it would take exactly 14,281,868,906,496 (14 trillion).

However, El runes alone won't cut it. In addition, you would also need 362,797,056 Chipped Topazes, 120,932,352 Chipped Amethysts, 40,310,784 Chipped Sapphires, 13,436,928 Chipped Rubies, 4,478,976 Chipped Emeralds, 1,492,992 Chipped Diamonds, 497,664 Flawed Topazes, 165,888 Flawed Amethysts, 55,296 Flawed Sapphires, 18,432 Flawed Rubies, 6144 Flawed Emeralds, 2048 Flawed Diamonds, 1024 Topazes, 512 Amethysts, 256 Sapphires, 128 Rubies, 64 Emeralds, 32 Diamonds, 16 Flawless Topazes, 8 Flawless Amethysts, 4 Flawless Sapphires, 2 Flawless Rubies, and 1 Flawless Emerald.

To make it even more interesting, if you sold all of that to a trader rather than make 1 Zod, you would profit 3,999,059,720,467,380 gold (not quite 4 quadrillion), this would fill up your stash to its maximum gold capacity 1,599,623,888 times.

Anonymous said...

"But what will happen if everyone has L14 gems?"

Blizz will introduce L15 gems :-)

Ahtchu said...

I'm done believing that Blizzard's product delays are due to anything related to product quality (D2) or brand name reputation (SC Ghost). Over the course of many years of visibly reduced product quality (WoW BC onwards) and an ever stronger desire to milk customers for money (SCII released in 3 installments, hordes of microtransactions), it has become apparent that Blizzard's interests are no longer focused on game quality, but on market control (BC release timed for competitors, severely affecting player ability to experience Naxx1.0).

Why is D3 beyond schedule? Because 2 other action-RPG titles with gusto are set to release soon as well. One of the two no less being Torchlight 2 (history will show that the creators of TL were the creators of D1 and D2), which would give a clear indication of Blizzard's desire to push their marketing prowess against the true creative minds. We're witnessing the gaming powerhouse merely sitting, exerting market control, timing their product for optimum delivery and revenue generation.

JackTheManiac said...

People who say Diablo 3 has balancing issues; that it is delayed like SC2, etc...

Riptor, you aren't in the beta.

The beta is fine.

There is no(t much) balancing to be done in a singleplayer game.

The reason is because of Korea and their news in gambling.

Daeity explains it correctly:

Before you reply to me, let me quote Daeity... read this completly:

" For example, morons will have at least one of these mentioned in their response: "it's just a blog", "i didn't read it BUT", "some anonymous person", "conspiracy theory", "tin foil hat", "don't trust", "troll", "don't listen / don't take seriously". All of these responses will be done by people who cannot provide a counterargument or rebuttal, they're already defeated and they know it, so they resort to standard internet immaturity. These individuals can barely read, let alone comprehend what I've written. They're unimportant and clownlike.

If they haven't read something, they shouldn't comment on it. If they have no strong arguments, they shouldn't debate. They just look like fools when they do this. The smart ones will at the very least prepare a well written response, with evidence and sources supporting their own viewpoint. "

That means, read all the link I linked. If you didn't read them, you can't comment because you don't know anything.

As for what Gevlon wrote... the drop rates? Really? That is not holding the game back. I refer you to Daeity.

Markco said...

As you mentioned in your comment on the post: the only way to get gems out of the economy is through the creation of alts. Everything else, like weapons and armor, can be recycled or used up in Diablo 3.

And I totally agree that the rmah is the thing holding them back despite blizzard denying it.

Anonymous said...

Does anybody have up-to-date info on the RMAH fees?

The best I could find with a (short) google search was 65 cent per successful auction. So for Blizzard to get equal revenue to the WoW subscription, every player has to do 20 successful auctions per month. That also means every player must (on average) buy 20 items per month.

Considering 65 cent fee I claim that items will have to sell for at least 2$ to make the RMAH attractive. That's 40$ per month per player to spend on virtual items to make the RMAH as profitable as the subscription model of WoW.

Do you really think people will pay 40$ each month on virtual items?

I can see Blizzard making _goood_ money on this business model, but claiming them to get "VERY rich" on it and claiming it's far more profitable than the subscription model seems to be a rather bold statement to me.

Happy Forum said...

I'm not very sure about how Diablo works, but what about making some equips "Soulbound" as with Bind on equip (after equiping) and Bind on pick up items in WoW?

This is interesting because if an item is not Soulbound, then it can potentially be traded many times in the RMAH and Blizz can then collect a cut many times for a single item.

However, if an item is Soulbound, then that the number of that item wouldn't get out of hand as fast since that item couldn't be passed on to different characters.

It seems to me that a smart move might be to make common items Soulbound while allowing the best and rarest items to be passed on from character to character.

This is because if a common item is Soulbound, when players want to upgrade to something better they must destroy/vendor that item and that specific copy of that item is no longer available to other players. This causes the number of that item to be lower than if it were not Soulbound so that even though it is a common item there is still enough demand for it that people will buy it off the RMAH and Blizz can take a cut of the profits.

In the case of the rarest and best items, since their droprate is so low, the absolute number of those items will be low enough not to crowd the RMAH and make them worthless. Furthermore, since they are rare and good items, their RMAH price will likely be pretty high so Blizz can take a nice cut on them each time they are traded.

Deciding which items to make Soulbound or not would probably take some in-depth consideration lending support to Gevlon's claim that the RMAH is the reason D3 is being delayed as such.

p.s. I don't think this is too of topic but if it is, sorry.

Antivyris said...

Actually, to date the only game that has followed a real release date of blizzard (not Activision, Blizzard) has been WoW. Typically, especially with the diablo series, they take their time.

I still have my Diablo 2 poster that says it's coming in summer 1996. Although, I do agree that the RMAH is probably making them even more careful.

Targeter said...

The guys referencing Daeity and the Digital Castration blog are absolutely correct. D3 is slotted for a 'global release' and Korea is holding up the process over RMAH concerns. Seeing as how Korea is a pretty substantial chunk of users for Blizzard (the Koreans broadcast Starcraft tournaments on TV), Blizzard is obviously concerned about D3 being allowed in Korea. Why else would Mike Morhaime fly out personally to Korea to speak with the review board?

Daeity suggests that D3 may launch in a modified version in Korea with the RMAH cut out (which they would add a later date once it receives approval from the regulatory board). I tend to agree with him; D3 can't really afford to be kept back anymore. It's all about the money, not about competing products, release schedules, polishing game systems, etc etc.

Clockwork said...

While I am sure the RMAH is a factor; given that Blizzard relatively recently released a major WoW patch and I would imagine they have many many people who signed up for the year. Thus their incentive would be to hold back D3's release until a satisfactory number of people have finished Dragon Soul and begin to get bored. This makes it so they don't even have to bother releasing a "Ruby Sanctum" like raid; they'll just let their players hop over to D3 while they wait for Mists.

Releasing D3 right as Dragon Soul comes out would have been a "waste of content".

Anonymous said...

I think you have confused 'gambling' and 'investing'. While the two share many qualities, I think playing the RMAH in a game such as this hardly qualifies as gambling.

Bobbins said...

Diablo will be littered with unforeseen consequences. It is probably best to published and be damned rather than try to fix what they don't know yet. Only when D3 goes live will the model be tested, until then its just a big unknown.

Anonymous said...

DIII is "delayed" because every single Blizzard title ever is delayed. They spend hair rippingly frustrating amounts of time bug fixing and tweaking everything they release, it's their core ethic.

Anonymous said...

"I think you have confused 'gambling' and 'investing'. While the two share many qualities, I think playing the RMAH in a game such as this hardly qualifies as gambling."

It is gambling.

Look at WOW drop system. If you kill Ultraxion it will drop 4 from a limited 10 item loot table. Basicaly you can farm him until it drop what you want. If you kill a lvl 5 kobold it will have also specific drop table.

Now look at Diablo drop system. There are no specific loot tables. You can kill Diablo 1000 times and get 1000 diferent drops . If you kill a lvl 22 mob will have no specific loottable and will drop the same world drops like every other lvl 22 mob.

Basically in WOW you can farm a specific item . In Diablo everything is like a random world drop and you can't farm anything specific.

And the consequence is that your skill in kiling a mob is not important but your luck when the game is generating his loot.

And that luck mean Diablo droping an item wich can be sold at AH for 1 gold or droping ones selling for 150 dollars.

Basically kiling each mob is like rolling the slot fruit machine and hoping to be 3 of the same fruits on your slot machine. Hoping to be the item seling for 150 real dolars.

This is online gambling.

Rodos said...

I totally agree with Clockwork. I think the RMAH issue is very real, but given the choice of releasing without RMAH in Korea and delaying the global release, Blizzard chose the second path because the downsides are mitigated by better alignment with the WoW patch schedule.

James said...

I'm not sure if this has been said before, but with Starcraft having a map store "Coming soon" is it possible that the entire back end for the RMAH is linked to all the franchises?

If the other two games had to implement changes to match with the whole implementation (Whether that's blizzard point's or just preloaded money)that would obviously delay things further, to the point where HotS may come out nearly at the same time as D3.

Anonymous said...