The blunder of BlizzCon: How ‘Diablo: Immortal’ exposed Blizzard’s ugly side


Courtesy Blizzard

By Brooke Nicholson, Arts and Entertainment Editor

Originally published November 7, 2018.


This past weekend, Blizzard held its yearly Blizzcon convention in Anaheim, Ca., to announce what new things fans can expect to see in the gaming company’s future. Fans came from all over the world to experience the worlds of Blizzard’s games in person, and to be some of the first to hear about the ground-breaking content Blizzard has been working on.


There were a few worthwhile announcements fans were thrilled to hear, like a new hero for the multiplayer game, “Overwatch.”


But there had been one thing on fans’ minds about one of Blizzard’s most famous games, “Diablo.” Will they get a first look on the next “Diablo” game six years after the release of “Diablo 3,” or even something smaller like a remaster of “Diablo 2″?


The rumor about expecting anything “Diablo 4” was quickly debunked before the convention even started, coming from an open letter published to fans on the “Diablo” website. Although the letter told fans not to expect anything regarding the next big “Diablo” game, it did tell them to expect other announcements about the franchise, and that there are “multiple “Diablo” projects in the works.”


Even though it wasn’t what fans were expecting, people were still excited to see what they were going to be playing next in the entry of the “Diablo” franchise.


After the opening ceremonies on Friday, Blizzcon held a session completely dedicated to “Diablo.” Wyatt Cheng, Blizzard developer, graced the stage as red lights illuminated the buzzing exhibit hall. But the buzz would quickly be killed off as soon as Wyatt announces the idea of “Diablo” being a mobile game.


Following a short gameplay trailer and cinematic trailer, the session ended and a Q&A session came soon after. It’s obvious from the lack of noise and excitement in the room that this session wasn’t what Blizzard was expecting.


The crowd became so angry at the announcement of a “Diablo” game coming to mobile that one fan asks if it was an “out of season April Fool’s joke,” that some people deemed inappropriate, but ultimately seemed fitting and best represented what fans in the audience were feeling.


Another came to the mic and asked the developers if they ever plan to bring this game to PC, and sported an absolutely crushed look when developers tell him they had no plans to ever bring the game to any other platform. This was followed by intense booing from the crowd, in which Wyatt Cheng responded, “Don’t you guys have phones?”


This question not only misses the entire point of why fans are angry, but shows how out of touch Blizzard has become with its consumers.

‘Diablo: Immortal’ Q&A Session at Blizzcon, courtesy Blizzplanet

But the backlash at Blizzcon was only half the battle for Blizzard. After the two trailers were uploaded to YouTube, viewers quickly flooded the videos with an overwhelming amount of dislikes, over 30,000 dislikes in an hour compared to a mere 1,900 likes. Currently the videos have reached over 500,000 dislikes, with Blizzard re-uploading the videos to try and reset the likes and dislikes.


It’s very easy to see why fans of the infamous “Diablo” franchise are so angry. “Diablo” started off on PC, and there are more fans that are willing to wait to play a great, skillfully developed game on the PC, rather than take a dumbed down, almost cartoonish looking second-rate “Diablo” game that won’t run that well on a phone.


After the convention, Blizzard said that they were expecting backlash over the game, but “not to this degree.” Just a day after the convention ended, IGN published a statement on its Instagram that Blizzard originally planned on teasing “Diablo 4,” but pulled it at the last minute. The decision to keep this tease in the session could have saved Blizzard a world of hurt, and wouldn’t have received as much heat as they got.


The announcement was not only bad timing on Blizzard’s part, but exposed the company for wanting to reach the most wide-spread audience with a sub-par game at best to try and make the most money.


Instead of having the fans in mind first, Blizzard showed everyone who’s played one of their games that they’d rather please investors and make the most money with a game that everyone can play.

What hurts fans the most is how Blizzard can’t seem to grasp why they’ve grown angry over the mediocre news and are overlooking the reaction they got.