Starfield | Securing The Scientist
I’ve seen some bad game launches in my day. I however was not expecting a season launch to go this sideways. Even more so for a large company that should have zero issues on the scale and scope a second season should have entailed. I blame a lot of the community's frustration on the lack of communication.
For whatever reason Diablo IV had the bright idea of ending season 1 and starting season 2 in what can only be seen as around the same time. If I had to guess, it was more than likely to save some money. Unless they were trying to tout some kind of programming superiority that other season-based games simply lack; which if that was the case backfired hard.
As a gamer, I was hoping that the night before we would have a pre-patch of the game ready to go and download. When that was not the case, I turned off my computer for the night a bit disappointed. It also left me wondering if they painted themselves into the corner of not being ready in time. After all, trying to end a season and start a new one is quite a daunting task at hand.
I wish I could say that was the only issue that would arise but that ended up not being the case. Things would quickly turn bad quite fast. It became quite clear to me quickly they did not take the proper time to work out anything and properly vet a whole host of things beforehand. Almost like they had some massive breakdown of internal communication going on.
A couple of hours before the launch I started up my computer and finally noticed an update option for Diablo IV. I was thrilled to see if Diablo could beat the patching speed, I was getting on some games over on Steam. With my new computer I've noticed some games where I can reach 400+ MB/s download speeds and 1+ GB/s drive speeds. Was Diablo IV up to the task?
The portals to hell must have opened up as Diablo IV on their launcher failed to even get close to any recorded patching speeds for a game. It crawled to the earth-shattering stop of a snail. I think a snail can move faster than the speeds I was getting.
While once in a while I'd get speeds of 13 mb/s. I was in shock it would drop down to as low as 50 kb/s a second. I don’t even want to think how long the tiny 10 GB patch or so would take. Something was wrong. Far beyond just their servers getting hit hard. As many like to point out, the population for Diablo IV was expected to not be that great.
At some point, the clock ticked launch time. Diablo's website still showed that the last season was still activated. I like many just assumed that perhaps they had a glitch or needed to press a button to update the website manually and the season must really have started.
Many gamers then went off to make new characters and they started to run around as if the new season was underway. It was quite commercial seeing many live streamers refute anyone telling them they were playing on standard. Despite the fact they never had to click an option to make their new character seasonal. Since Season of Blood was not even active yet that was not even an option.
I decided to do a quick test. I created a new character. Selected to skip the campaign. Right after I loaded into the game, I logged back out to character select. Sure, enough, it showed my character being in standard Eternal.
I just assumed they were running a tad late. Yhey could of just said before the launch but they did not. So, I read through some information being given about the end of season one. I was wondering how they were going to handle transferring characters and items in the stash to standard.
As my eyes darted across the announcement, I could hear the screams of tens if not hundreds of pack rats across the globe screaming in terror. While it’s understandable that stash items from a season would need to be placed into remove-only tabs as are standard in the industry these days. You only had till the end of Season of Blood to remove anything you wanted to keep before it would vanish for good.
Now is it true that many players give zero about standard and the items they have over there. Sure, however, sometimes you do just get bored and want to go test things out with any left-over items you have been banking for quite a long time from season play. I guess if you don’t somehow make room for anything worth keeping you are just out of luck.
I for one find it rather strange just how little actual storage we are getting in Diablo IV. It’s almost like they have massive scaling and perforce issues if they give us too much space. As if it’s one thing gamers always want, it’s more storage space. Heck, many games out there like Path of Exile make a decent chunk of cash selling extra storage space. You would think this is something Diablo would follow up on.
After far too long of players waiting around Diablo declared there was an issue, and they were working on it. You always hope there is some kind of ETA that would indicate they actually knew what the issue was and were just resolving it or getting close. No such indication occurred.
If it’s one thing I feel Blizzard and all their games suck at doing. It is decent player communication. This was even seen in the new season mechanics and other updates as well. It even took them quite some time to display banners across the Battlenet launcher to inform the player base there were issues. There are still issues even 24 hours later.
Since the first couple of times, I played Diablo IV I have known to just disable crossplay. For whatever reason even on my new computer it can at times cause random rubber banding and other annoying issues with performance. This was long before this season.
This was, however, not the only thing that was broken. Instead of them being clear there were other issues. They again just held off certain kinds of announcements. How do I know they knew the season journey and other things were broken at launch?
Well, it was quite telling the official Diablo account on formerly Twitter now X waited to push the sales of Season of Blood Battle Pass. Shortly after they did, they also announced that hey they fixed issues with progress not being updated and saved. Kind of odd for them to not have promoted at the release of the game, right? I thought so as well. This is how they expect to make the most of their money during the season.
The other sign was that something was up on the forums. They again failed to inform the community that they already knew issues were going on with the Battle Pass and Season Journey. Instead, lots of those posts bringing up these issues simply went off into the void. This then caused a flurry of posts about posts getting deleted, which naturally went missing as well.
When will game developers learn? Be a little more honest and upfront with the community. Going on a massive delete season of the forums should not be the only form of communication we get out of them for hours on an end.
I also feel they did a bad job at making sure the player base understood how and what was going to fully transfer over from the renowned system. While I'm sure it's buried deep in some massive, long posts that most only skimmed through.
Even I overlooked the checkmark on the renowned page and just assumed since all the completed quests and many other actives I've done did not carry over. That I was missing out. This is where the community expectation and the way it was explained or lack of had a clear breakdown due to communication on Diablo's part.
How hard would it have been for them to have a pop-up on the first time you opened the renowned page to say “Hey, this is what is going on.” instead the forums were yet again getting flooded with people wondering what was going on.
It also appeared at some point someone at Blizzard gave up trying to moderate the forums. It is also possible that the person's shift was over, and they lacked further staff for the evening to whack down the number of players bringing this up. They could have resolved it with a single official response about how it worked, and whether it was working as intended.
I’m sure this kind of stuff flooding their ticket system was quite unwanted. It would been so easy for them to inform the player base so they could get to actual broken things quicker.
You know it’s bad when everyone has to finish chapter 1 of the Season Journey to progress through the season storyline and no one can because it’s broken. I just can’t believe they launched the game with something so basic being broken. You can only wonder what lack of testing went on. Is there a total breakdown in communication between their staff members?
I can only hope internal communication is not as bad as the explanation of vampiric powers. They are short pages giving almost no information whatsoever. I dare say the storyline is just as disappointing and as lacking as their attempt at a tutorial for the new season mechanic.
Thanks for just showing the icon for the three different pact requirements that could be required to make a vampire power active. Thankfully for many of us, it was not that hard to work out. It’s just a shame more effort was not put into it. Many players are confused by the entire system, and I don’t blame them.
Now, where are all of Blizzard and Diablo IV staff members silent and lacking in giving information during the first day? There were other places to look beyond the official forums and Twitter account to find such information. Players should, however, not have to go on a wild goose hunt to search the internet for updated information. It would not been that hard for an employee to click repost or quote one of those staff members' responses on an officially marked easy-to-be-found account.
I would say I hope they learn from this disaster. I, however, doubt. I can only assume after a few paychecks have been cashed they might see further employees going elsewhere to work. An issue a lot of these larger companies keep running into.
I do wonder how many players flat-out noticed all this nonsense going on and are now just going to skip this season. I don’t blame them. I went and took a nap while I was waiting for them to fix the Season Journey. I’d be quite angry if I took time off to have my day free to play Diablo IV and this went down. Then again, I'm used to the day one of the launches going badly. It seems companies can’t even get a season correct now.
It was the Season of Blood alright. Just not in the way anyone was hoping. The player's base bleed must have been insane. Which at the end of the day hurts the bottom line for Diablo IV. I wonder how much money they lost saving a couple of bucks between trying to do everything at once and the lack of communication to the community in a timely manner.