Why did Diablo4 (D4) Fail?

26.09.2023 - 18:45:29
Diablo 4 , Game Guides

Why did Diablo4 (D4) Fail?

Blizzard's Diablo 4 was expected to be the company's saving grace after the controversies behind their corporate structure, as well as the mishaps related to Overwatch 2. Diablo 3 was considered a failure so a lot was expected from Diablo 4. The game has had a wild journey, to say the least.

In truth, Diablo 4 is a commercial and critical success. It surpassed sales records by Blizzard and it received praise from gamers and critics alike. Just a few months after release though, it seems like Hell literally froze over for Sanctuary and Diablo 4. Despite its successes, many deem it a failure.

Although the game did well in reviews and sales, there's no doubt that the fall off of concurrent players is drastic. Blizzard held a live event for the state of the game a few years back but the stream had very few viewers.

As a live-service game, Diablo 4's success can be measured by how long players stick to the game. At its current state, however, it's safe to say that the game is indeed a failure. Why did Diablo 4 fail, anyway?

Why Did Diablo 4 Fail?

Diablo 2 Just Feels Better

Diablo 2: Resurrected might just be a remake of Diablo 2 but oddly enough, the game feels more complete and engaging compared to Diablo 4. Blizzard's putting in resources to make sure that Diablo 2 gets its fair share of love too by giving it regular content.

If Diablo 2 feels better, why play Diablo 4 in the first place? We're not saying that Blizzard should stop supporting Diablo 2. However, if they want to give Diablo 4 more attention, they should at least work towards giving the game an equal amount of love and content variety too. 

The Diablo 2 formula works, there's no reason for Diablo 4 to spice things up, especially if it doesn't work.

Not Enough Reason To Go Back Each Season

Blizzard had a pretty solid plan at first - make the game seasonal with new content launching every three months. However, the new content that comes with the game is simply a few quests, some new items, and a new gameplay mechanic that grows old pretty quickly.

That said, there's really not enough reason to go back once you beat the game - or once you reach level 100. There are no leaderboards, no trading or economy - nothing. Players literally have no reason to jump back into the game. There are others who can probably waste a few more seasons with Diablo 4 but even that will grow old very quickly.

It's hard to honestly expand the game to have more content to keep players coming back but whatever it is that Blizzard is doing right now, it's not working. They should at least start with giving players a pretty sizable amount of story content everytime a new season arrives.

Unfair Nerfs

Look at this scenario. You've spent hours upon hours farming legendary gear and optimizing your skill tree for the Druid. All of a sudden, you get word that Blizzard's going to nerf most of what makes your build work. Believe it or not, this has happened to many Diablo 4 players already.

For a game where the loop is to get stronger and stronger, Blizzard has been pretty generous when it comes to nerfing builds. For players, this is a frustrating ordeal, especially if they've spent hours planning and grinding for a specific set of builds for their favorite classes.

We understand that Blizzard is just trying to balance the game. However, it would be much better if they'd polish the game's items and builds first so that they don't create something that's too powerful or game-breaking. Having players waste their time on making builds that will only get nerfed eventually is a sure way to lose more players.

Requires Online Connection All The Time

Say what you will about Diablo 3 but at least you don't need an internet connection to play it. When it was announced that Diablo 4 would always need an internet connection to run, gamers were pretty much disappointed. A lot of players were simply looking forward to enjoying the game's campaign.

From the get-go, Diablo 4 dropped from the radar of many gamers already. It's also probably one reason why there isn't a Switch version for the game.

This alone presents many problems for gamers. For starters, those who don't have a stable connection will suffer from stuttering and lag. Nothing's more frustrating to get disconnected while you're just about to finish a dungeon. You'll have to redo the entire dungeon again?

Another problem here is that your game will be affected by Blizzard, Sony, and Microsoft's servers too. DDoS attacks or even server maintenance will keep you locked out of the game, even if you just want to play through the story. Unfortunately, there's no way to circumvent this problem.

The Internet is accessible to almost everyone in the world right now but that isn't enough reason for Blizzard to require an internet connection for Diablo 4 all the time. Blizzard has implemented this to ensure that the player's copy of the game is legitimate, but surely there are other ways to do this.

Buy the Best Diablo 4 Rares, Gold, Services and Accounts

No Trading And Shared Economy

Yet another baffling choice by Blizzard when it comes to development is not giving the game a shared trading system and a shared economy. If they were going to make the game run online all the time, why not put these wanted features in the game? It could've made the entire loop of Diablo 4 better and more engaging.

Overall, it felt like the game was made purely as a single-player experience, with only multiplayer put in as an afterthought. Diablo 4 could have these wanted features in the future but it's really weird to see them not implemented in the first place.

With trading and shared economy, players could get hooked into the game for the sole purpose of grinding for gear that they can trade other players with. Blizzard is yet to say whether or not they're planning on adding these two things in the future but players are hoping that they will do it eventually.

Resetting Is A Bad Loop

Blizzard took inspiration from Path of Exile when it comes to seasons. With each season, you'll need to create a new account to grind with. This essentially resets your process as the character you created in the previous season won't be usable in the new ones.

You can skip a lot of things if you've already beat the campaign but the process of having to grind all over again from level 1 onwards isn't exactly enticing to players. It feels like whatever progress they make in a season won't be worth it considering that everything resets eventually.

This bad loop has pushed away some players who simply want to use a single character and progress with that for every content drop that Blizzard brings to the table. We can't imagine players actually putting up with this every season. If Blizzard wants to give the game more success, they should simply work on fixing how replayability works first.

Baldur's Gate 3 Took The World By Storm

There's no doubt that 2023 has been an amazing year for gamers. There's The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, Hogwarts Legacy, Diablo 4, and so many more games that keep us busy. In terms of competition though, it seems like Diablo 4 started to fall off gamer's radar when Baldur's Gate 3 launched.

Baldur's Gate 3 is a CRPG made by developer Larian Studios. Although the games are completely different from one another, it's hard not to make a difference. Both are RPGs where you get to build your own character and class. Both are played from a top-down perspective. And both are new entries to a long-running franchise.

When Baldur's Gate 3 launched in August, literally almost every player and streamer out there jumped ship. Many claimed that the game is the best RPG of the year and it was everything that Diablo 4 should be but isn't. Larian Studios definitely set a new bar for RPGs everywhere and it seems like they won't be able to beat Baldur's Gate 3.

On the bright side, Baldur's Gate 3 isn't a live service game. Although it has amazing replay value, players will eventually run out of things to do. On the other hand, Diablo 4 will continuously receive updates within a 3-month interval. There might come a time when Baldur's Gate 3 players will jump back into Diablo 4.

For now, however, it's clear as night and day that Baldur's Gate 3 is one of the reasons why Diablo 4 is suffering from a huge drop in players and popularity. It's not really that surprising though as the DnD masterpiece really is everything that Blizzard should've aimed for when developing Diablo 4.

Another Victim of Microtransactions

The best cosmetics in the game are locked behind microtransactions. Then if you want access to even more cool cosmetic items, you'll need to buy a battle pass. It seems pretty apparent that Blizzard wants us to spend more money to get cool things for a game that we already paid for.

A lot of games have already succumbed to the microtransaction curse but most of those are competitive multiplayer games. It's worth it buying skins for your character because you get a lot of chances to represent yourself or to show off what you got to other players. With Diablo 4, buying the coolest cosmetics feels almost worthless.

It's at least good that the game isn't pay-to-win. Still, it's very disappointing that Blizzard has taken this route with the game. A lot of players have expressed their disappointment with the microtransactions in the game but it seems like Blizzard won't be budging anytime soon.

Is It Worth Playing?

Its good reviews say that Diablo 4 really is a great game. It features a solid campaign and great gameplay for those looking to get a single-player experience. Unfortunately, it's riddled by many problems that are honestly hard to overlook for any player. The game is still worth playing in our opinion.

Whether or not it's a failure is completely up to you. You just can't base your opinion on the sales and the critical reception because if that's the case, then Diablo 4 is far from being a failure. If you look at the near non-existent player count however, it feels more and more like Diablo 4 really did fail to reach expectations.

What's Next For Diablo 4?

In reality, Diablo 4 isn't a bad game. It's a good game that's riddled with many issues brought about by the questionable choices of Blizzard. It's safe to say that fans are still clinging onto the idea that there's going to be something good coming out of Diablo 4 once again.

The good news is, it seems like Blizzard isn't giving up on Diablo 4 just yet. Let's not forget that despite being a total wreck at launch, the developers continued working on Diablo 3 until it was eventually very fun to play. It reached its true potential once the game got its expansion.

Blizzard has a seasonal plan ready for Diablo 4 which is a good thing. Each of the seasons in the game will last for three months and the current one - Season of the Malignant, is going to end sometime in October. With the new season, Blizzard has the opportunity to turn things around.

If you've already bought the game, hold onto it and try not to sell it. There's still a lot of potential to be had in Diablo 4. When the inevitable expansion comes and we get to set sail towards a new story once again, it will be exciting to see how good the game will be by then.

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