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Diablo III PVP stalled

Blizzard going back to the drawing board for dungeon-crawler's Team Deathmatch mode; dueling option coming with next patch.


Gamers holding out for a Diablo III player-versus-player mode may want to get comfortable. Blizzard Entertainment announced through a new blog post that the dungeon-crawler's Team Deathmatch mode "isn't where we want it to be," noting it "falls short" of company expectations.

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"In continuing to develop this mode, playtest it, and put it in front of other developers within the company, we've found that it falls short of our expectations for a high-quality Blizzard experience," Diablo III game director Jay Wilson said.

Wilson further explained that the shortcomings are the result of a "few issues," the first of which is depth. The designer said the PVP experience in place "gets old" quickly, and though some playtesters enjoyed their time with it, overall this was not the case.

"Simply fighting each other with no other objectives or choices to make gets old relatively quickly," Wilson said. "We've brought a lot of people in to try out Team Deathmatch and, while some found it entertaining, most of our testers didn't feel like it was something they'd want to do beyond a few hours. Without more varied objectives, or very lucrative rewards, few saw our current iteration as something they'd want spend a lot of time in."

A second issue with Diablo III's Team Deathmatch mode is that of class balance.

"Like Diablo II, Diablo III was designed to be a PvE-first kind of game, where we never compromised on player abilities in the name of future PvP balance. We want to be able to carry over as many of the crazy runes, items, and skills as possible, with their crazy effects, and alter them as little as possible," Wilson said. "In a casual PvP mode, something equivalent to a WoW Battleground, this would be fine, but Team Deathmatch felt very hardcore, and it put a laser focus on class balance in a way that we didn’t think would be good for the game as a whole."

Though Blizzard is no longer pursuing a Team Deathmatch mode for Diablo III, Wilson said time spent developing it has not gone to waste, as it has provided unspecified benefits in the areas of controls and combat model tuning. However, "at this point, we don't believe it's the experience we feel it needs to be in order to ship, so we will be shelving it for now and exploring other options."

Wilson also explained in the blog post that Diablo III will soon support dueling options for players. This will be added to the game through patch 1.0.7, which is expected to arrive sometime in 2013.

However, a full replacement for Team Deathmatch is further away, as Blizzard is now exploring "new modes that play up to the strengths of the character classes, focus on objectives beyond just defeating other players, and possibly even integrate PvE elements and rewards." Whatever this turns out to be, it will be offered a free download, Blizzard said.

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