For each of these topics there has been ongoing discussions, however today I would like you to keep in mind that we're talking about a Developer / Publisher deal, so think which one of those seems behind the decisions that I'm going to talk about here.
I read somewhere and I quote : Activision acquires Vivendi, forms Activision Blizzard. Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick said in 2009 that he only wants to create franchises that "have the potential to be exploited every year on every platform with clear sequel potential and have the potential to become $100 million franchises".
So in this scenario, I Imagine Blizzard as the Developer and Activision as the Publisher, I don't have a full inside knowledge of the studio's situation so most of my words are going to be just me, guessing.
I've been expecting this game for years, I even played a Monk in Hellfire back in the day.
After the waiting, the real money auction house and the beta stress test, I said to myself : This game is not worth $90! I canceled my collector's edition pre-order and I purchased a Digital copy for $60. Which I still think it's overpriced but Diablo II was so good that I was willing to spend that amount on the sequel.
With the extra $30 I pre-Ordered Torchlight 2 (Check the link for a little bit of History about Blizzard North) and I still saved $10
The Stress Test weekend was very disappointing and I ended up mostly worried about the game, I went on and watched Jay Wilson going over the new skill system and I read all the forum explanations on battle.net but I still wasn't sure. All I could think about was : This game is not for the Fans.
Then, the day arrived… May 15… I had Diablo III pre-installed and ready to go. At 12.01 I couldn't play, obviously… but that didn't make me super angry because the stress test did a better job on preparing the gamers than the servers.
Finally, all this was fixed and after playing for hours, I am enjoying it.
Yes, It's a dumb, click click click game so far. The only loot pick up is the magic one… I found myself leaving all the standard one behind … something to balance patch… maybe…
Anyways, the story is fantastic, the ambient and the music are superb, the in-game graphics… could be better.. but still…. I have to say it's true, my brain is almost dead while playing but… I hope this changes later on with Hell and Inferno. I haven't died, not even once and I'm not a hardcore gamer. (Isn't it weird to hope to re-play a game after you've finish it in order to challenge you? Yea.. looks weird)
The point I'm trying to make is that, In this case, the Developer has done a great job “in spite of” all the “requirements” the Publisher demanded. I want to believe that the “Real money Auction House” = $ , the “Always online” = $ and the “make this game for everybody” = $, are coming from the Publisher.
Even though they had to do it like this, I'm still enjoying this game, it's not worth $60 but I'm still having fun, however, the publishers should realize that the revenue for this game is not from the new content in Diablo III, the new graphics, gameplay, storyline or characters. The money D3 made so far is because of D2 and that's what should scare Blizzard.
Rik. (Thx to Pier for the writing tips