BlizzCon 2010 was a different time for fans off the Diablo series. Hope and excitement filled the minds of eager players of Diablo 3, especially after Blizzard showed gameplay for Player vs Player (PVP) combat in the game. The announcement came as a surprise, since few had demanded that PVP be made a part of the Diablo series, and because World of Warcraft had entire portions of the game devoted to gameplay that focused on this type of game mode.
We know now, of course, that nothing of the sort materialized. Not the dedicated matchmaking for PVP, nor distinct, themed arenas. Take a look below to see what players were shown to expect in these Arena style battles against other players.
Problems rose seemingly right away, and the official release for PVP was pushed back to come “soon” after the formal release of the game in May of 2012. Jay Wilson, the lead designer for Diablo 3 at the time, stated in a post on Battle.net that the PVP Arena system would formally release with multiple Arena maps with themed locations and layouts, as well as achievements relating to the game mode. At BlizzCon, Wilson focused on how massive dueling was for the community of Diablo 2, and that it made sense to focus on this for the next game.
In the same year, on December 27 of 2012, Blizzard backpedaled on its statements and cancelled the entire project, stating that it did not have enough depth. Of course, this does not mean that PVP is completely dead. It remains alive and well, within mods created by fans of the game that have nothing to do with Blizzards efforts in any way.
In 2013, developer Wyatt Cheng stated that the development team was looking to see how the mode, which was dumped into the game under the name “Brawling”, could evolve, and that they would “continue to work on figuring out something more objective-based.” This writer checks his reminders every Friday to see what they have announced since then, but after 328 weeks since that comment was made there seems little hope for anything to formally be announced.
All we are left with now is the Brawl feature, which allows for free-for-all combat, but without any of the promised variety, balance to classes, or anything that resembles the vision of something that was, according to the developers, so important the community of players in the Diablo series.
Arenas were not the only failing of Diablo 3, but it was one of the more embarrassing ones. Along with the Real Money Auction House, players were left wondering what had happened to this exciting feature that Blizzard had pushed so hard and for so long.
All we can do now is hope that Diablo 4 is made with lessons learned kept in mind.