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Diablo 3 Was Originally an MMOG, Says Former Developer

By - Source: I.Eat.Games | B 29 comments

Former Blizzard developer and current CEO of Runic Games, Max Schaefer, said Diablo 3 was originally an MMOG like World of Warcraft.

In a recent interview, Max Schaefer, CEO of Runic Games, talked about his time working at Blizzard and his experience developing Diablo 3. He admitted that the team originally set out to create the Diablo version of World of Warcraft. He also said the release of the final product actually helped the pre-sales of his current game, Torchlight 2.

"When I was working at Blizzard a million years ago, we were working on Diablo 3 and it was an MMO," he said. "We were going to do the Diablo version of World of Warcraft. Blizzard obviously changed that pretty quickly, so we left to start Flagship Studios and we brought in a lot of the guys, so they rebooted with their own team."

He added that the game changed back to an isometric hack-n-slash presentation once Blizzard hired on the new team. "They had different design priorities and goals than we did. Again I totally approve of that," he said.

Naturally the interview focused on his upcoming game, Torchlight 2. So far it's slated for a "late summer" release, but he was unable to pin down anything more specific. What the team didn't want to do was release the action-RPG the same time Blizzard unleashed Diablo 3. Yet at the same time, Runic Games has seen a 40-percent increase in pre-sales on Steam since Blizzard's release.

"It’s a subject of debate within the studio and our partners but I think it actually helps us," he said, regarding Diablo 3's release. "I think when someone like Blizzard comes out with something like Diablo 3 -- where they’re doing TV commercials on ESPN, real mass market stuff -- they’re bringing in millions of new gamers into the gaming community, and that makes our audience bigger. They’re bringing in lots of people into this genre, and people are becoming aware of what we’re doing through them. We’re kind of piggybacking on their marketing."

As for the rocky Diablo 3 launch, Schaefer knew there would be trouble. After all, it happened to Diablo 2, it happened to World of Warcraft and it happened to Starcraft.

"You cannot test and prepare for that many millions of people pounding on your stuff on day one," he said. "It didn’t surprise us at all. Obviously they were trying to prepare for it, they’re not dumb guys at all. It’s just impossible to prepare for that [much traffic]. We were actually relieved that the game didn’t suck. It’s a good game, and we want our genre to be hot."

To read the full interview, head here.

Discuss
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  • 7 Hide
    erunion , June 19, 2012 3:27 AM
    Pretty much stuff we already knew. He left in 2005. Blizzard North was closed that same year and the original Diablo 3 died with it.
  • 6 Hide
    leongrado , June 19, 2012 3:44 AM
    I'm rooting for Torchlight 2! An actually fair priced game! Plus you get Torchlight one if you pre-order on steam right now!
  • 4 Hide
    DroKing , June 19, 2012 3:56 AM
    HURRRRYYYYYYY TL2 come out =D
  • -9 Hide
    christarp , June 19, 2012 4:08 AM
    So glad blizzard north didn't make Diablo 3.
  • 2 Hide
    lashabane , June 19, 2012 4:41 AM
    Quote:
    Yet at the same time, Runic Games has seen a 40-percent increase in pre-sales on Steam since Blizzard's release.
    I myself got a refund for D3 and then pre-ordered T2. I played the beta of both and can say without a doubt that my pre-order of T2 is more inline with my values than my post beta purchase of D3.

    The beta of D3 was fantastic but they should've had the world test all of their content instead of 3/4 of Act I.
  • 3 Hide
    masterjaw , June 19, 2012 4:51 AM
    Looking forward to Torchlight 2.

    Diablo 3 is still MMOG-like with an emphasis to the letter "O" in the sense that you have to be online all the time to play the game.
  • 3 Hide
    SuckRaven , June 19, 2012 4:59 AM
    Duh... I mean just look at the game play. After playing for a while, I forget that I am playing a Diablo title, and suddenly cringe when I think "oh sh*t !!!" am I playing Warcraft III? (Yes, I know Warcraft III is not a MMORPG). Nevertheless, the story-line is predictable and thus boring and not engaging at all. I did "peek" before the game was released, and I was able to peg every single major plot element. This made it feel like...damn...get to the point already, and induced no sense of mystery or surprise.

    In addition, they went way overboard with lighting effects and glows and other crap, which contributes to the Warcraft III similarities, not to mention the horrible polygonal craptacular graphics, and a somewhat clumsy inventory and stats interface. Is it just me, or does no one actually want to see the artwork of the items they find in a slightly bigger graphic? Guess they just can't re-capture the magic of the original Diablo so many years ago that I loved. I was highly anticipating this game. Bought it. Played it through once, and.... mehh.... I'm over it. Even Diablo II (at least after the LoD Expansion) has more replay value than Diablo III.

    The whole real money auction house also detracts from the "core" of what the game should be. Multiplayer is fine, but seems like everyone gets their panties all in a bunch if they don't include some sort of lame-ass attempt at including some form of social media in heir games. I understand that not everyone will use these features, but it still cheapens the essence of what a lot of people thought the game would be.

    Oh yeah...then there is the whole "always connected/authentication" nonsense, even for single player.

    In short, it does not surprise me one bit that Diablo III was initially conceived as, and perhaps even started development as a MMOG.
  • 6 Hide
    Anonymous , June 19, 2012 7:31 AM
    Tochlight 2
    Grim Dawn
    Path of Exile

    these are the last hope for the RPG market. and i pre ordered all of them ^^. highly recommend for any hack and slash fan to check these three titles out.
  • -2 Hide
    memadmax , June 19, 2012 7:54 AM
    Aye Play STO....
    =P
  • 8 Hide
    The_Trutherizer , June 19, 2012 7:57 AM
    Nope... You are getting good pre sales because D3 sucks. I love the D3 storyline. The graphics are awesome. But it's not anywhere near as good as D2 when you rate it on RPG player satisfaction. The game revolves around the auction house. They balance the game around the auction house. And with the inevitability of gold farmers and punks who are willing to spend cash on in-game currency and now finally with the addition of the real money auction house the 'Game' has turned into a joke. Everybody loved D1 and D2 exactly for the fact that it was not an MMO, but with D3 you have got the worst of MMO's added to an RPG. Basically imho D3 is a mixed genre fail. The sales figures are meaningless. They did not sell D3. The players thought they were buying a better D2. Instead they got screwed. They should not have balanced drops and game difficulty so that you have to use the auction house to finish inferno. They should have let PVP drive AH sales. All good MMOs show that PVP lives in the endgame so they could have given PvE players the actual damned game so that they don't have to feel they wasted $60. Fail...
  • -4 Hide
    icepick314 , June 19, 2012 1:10 PM
    what?

    you mean it's NOT MMOG?

    you NEED to be ONLINE to play the game!

    so it's MMOG!!
  • 1 Hide
    of the way , June 19, 2012 1:52 PM
    The_TrutherizerThe game revolves around the auction house. They balance the game around the auction house....They should not have balanced drops and game difficulty so that you have to use the auction house to finish inferno.



    They have repeatedly stated that they did not do this. They're working on 'fixing' inferno for you, but one of the blues stated that one of the things he dislikes the most is how they balanced the game around not using the auction house. Thinks it is ruining the economy.
  • -1 Hide
    hoofhearted , June 19, 2012 2:04 PM
    Should be considered a SOG too.
  • 1 Hide
    theonlydz , June 19, 2012 2:32 PM
    The storyline isn't that predictable, I had no idea what the "meteor" really was... And as far as the RMAH i'm making real money hand over fist.

    SuckRavenDuh... I mean just look at the game play. After playing for a while, I forget that I am playing a Diablo title, and suddenly cringe when I think "oh sh*t !!!" am I playing Warcraft III? (Yes, I know Warcraft III is not a MMORPG). Nevertheless, the story-line is predictable and thus boring and not engaging at all. I did "peek" before the game was released, and I was able to peg every single major plot element. This made it feel like...damn...get to the point already, and induced no sense of mystery or surprise. In addition, they went way overboard with lighting effects and glows and other crap, which contributes to the Warcraft III similarities, not to mention the horrible polygonal craptacular graphics, and a somewhat clumsy inventory and stats interface. Is it just me, or does no one actually want to see the artwork of the items they find in a slightly bigger graphic? Guess they just can't re-capture the magic of the original Diablo so many years ago that I loved. I was highly anticipating this game. Bought it. Played it through once, and.... mehh.... I'm over it. Even Diablo II (at least after the LoD Expansion) has more replay value than Diablo III.The whole real money auction house also detracts from the "core" of what the game should be. Multiplayer is fine, but seems like everyone gets their panties all in a bunch if they don't include some sort of lame-ass attempt at including some form of social media in heir games. I understand that not everyone will use these features, but it still cheapens the essence of what a lot of people thought the game would be.Oh yeah...then there is the whole "always connected/authentication" nonsense, even for single player.In short, it does not surprise me one bit that Diablo III was initially conceived as, and perhaps even started development as a MMOG.

  • 3 Hide
    buddhabelly34 , June 19, 2012 3:48 PM
    Say what you will about D3. I will refrain from posting my opinion (it's mixed). But Covetous Shen should win the award for best video game character for the year!
  • 0 Hide
    d_kuhn , June 19, 2012 4:07 PM
    I'm with Trutherizer... I thought the graphics were fine and like the fact that it ran great at 2440 on even my relatively old C2Q box, and the story was pretty much the same as you go in D1 and D2 (which is to say... not much). What I didn't like was how short the game was relative to D2, and IMO the game balance has suffered enormously due to the AH bias. I could give a crap less about having an AH on a SP game (much less are RMAH... which is a HORRIBLE idea that will most likely ruin any replayability of the game as they tweak drop probabilities to make it challenging in a world of farmers). My wife and kids have been playing coop-mp and I think it was worth the price for that... but I could have lived without D3.
  • -2 Hide
    Phog , June 19, 2012 4:18 PM
    D3 needs a lot of work. it's getting hammered by players already.
  • -2 Hide
    Anonymous , June 19, 2012 4:48 PM
    Was lucky and sold my copy of D3 10 days after launch . I expected a gear grind , but I also expected atmosphere , a good story , and a final difficulty level that didnt involve so much running :p  I mean a wizard can run , it comes natural , whats a poor melee monk supposed to do ? watch?v=PEyk63UaBI4
  • 0 Hide
    eddieroolz , June 19, 2012 5:04 PM
    My friend bought Torchlight and Torchlight 2 after buying Diablo 3 as well.
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