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Blizzard offers Korean  Diablo III  refunds in light of server issues
Blizzard offers Korean Diablo III refunds in light of server issues
June 21, 2012 | By Mike Rose

June 21, 2012 | By Mike Rose
More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing, Korea

Newsbrief: Following news that the South Korean government is investigating if Diablo III developer Blizzard Entertainment is violating the country's commercial laws by refusing to offer refunds on its latest game, Blizzard has now said that it will give refunds to anyone in the country affected by server issues.

Korea's Fair Trade Commission raided Blizzard's Seoul offices earlier this month after it received hundreds of complaints from users who said that server problems meant they could not play the game. Blizzard had originally said that it would not offer refunds to these users.

However, in a post on the Korean, and as translated by the Wall Street Journal, Blizzard has changed its mind and is now offering full refunds for these users. Users who have a character than is lower than level 40 in the game can apply for a refund from June 25 to July 3.

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Patrick Davis
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It's sad it has to come to this to get a refund on a defective product.

Jonathan Osment
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I wont lie... I was personally offended by Diablo 3 or rather what they passed off as a Blizzard game as well as the state it was released in. Its been a long long time since I have seen so many bad design decisions in a AAA title. One would think that Blizzard, with their resources and "will release it when its done" mentality would have done so so so much more in content and quality. The "clones" in the past, those with far smaller budgets and no name to ride off of managed to innovate and push the genre further, yet the designers of Diablo 3 managed to deliver a broken product which didnt even strive to compete with the current innovations of the ARPGs post Diablo 2. It was almost as if the designers hated the genre much less the game they worked on. I think this was a reminder to many, do not buy a Blizzard product on blind faith again. Unfortunately I dont know how to go about returning the physical copy I have sitting on my shelf. Its just marked off as a loss.

Patrick Davis
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It is all explained in detail here:

Michael Gill
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It's truly sad that we have come to the point where one of the best games we have seen in a long time is being lampooned by a chronically whiny audience. While the server issues were frustrating, they were comparatively slight for the opening of a modern mmo - let alone an mmo with 7million users at launch.

The big story here is a political one. What did Blizzard do wrong to attract a negative backlash of this magnitude. This is something we -need- to understand. Not just as developers, but as citizens of a world that relies on democratic principles to determine value, justice and success.

Derrick Lim
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It's an issue between communicated experience and perceived experience. I'm going on a hunch to say that there is a decently sized community of Diablo 3 players who are not MMO players, and therefor do not understand or are not able to tolerate server issues like we MMO players are used to.

I think D3's launch was successful, but I've a number of non-MMO playing friends who thinks it is absurd. To them, it's buying a boxed copy of a game, going home, and finding that the servers are down. It's like buying a single player game that has to phone home for authentication, and then have the authentication server being down.

No matter how MMO-like D3 is, that is not the way Blizzard marketed it. Perhaps if they made it very clear (maybe on the box?) that Diablo 3 is an online, and online-only game, and that services are subjected to disruption and such, that backlash would be less brutal.

Jonathan Osment
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How, objectively speaking, is Diablo 3 "one of the best games we have seen in a long time"? What specifically makes it good? What design choices build upon or create a great game play experience? What challenge mechanics exist that showcase great game design and immersive gameplay? What part of it is playercentric as opposed to developercentric?

It's easy to be distracted by the image saturation taking place via the brilliant cut scenes, which is expected since Blizzard's cinematic department is bigger than Pixar's...but when it comes to the actual content of the game there is nothing really there.

I would argue that if Diablo 3 was developed by some unknown studio and was called something like "Demon King" or something else, but was identical in every single way... it would not be getting positive attention much less claims of "best game seen in a long time". I believe it would be written off as another Diablo clone that fails to build upon the genre and impress the target audience.

Greg Findlay
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@ Michael - Agreed, although some of the design choices did negatively impact the experience. I think what Blizzard did "wrong" was to be successful on the feeling they where a friend in the neighborhood, or one of us good guys, and then got so big they couldn't support that. I think they also had a shift in values when Activision bought them. Now people feel betrayed when their old friend doesn't have the same values as they do anymore. It's a totally valid feeling and it's the same thing that's been happening for probably hundreds of years. I really don't know how to make it better though.

@ Jonathan - I've yet to play an ARPG with as many challenge mechanics that actually provided some challenge and force a clear behavioral change. At the easier difficulty settings you can just barrel through the mechanics but once you get to Hell and Inferno if you don't adapt and use all of your abilities well you die. If you don't adapt what abilities you use you will die. If you're playing coop and you don't stay together, you'll probably die. Not to say that the game is perfect but your implication that the game is garbage is, in my opinion, way out of line. In fact I would say if this game was made by another studio it would have gotten less flak not more.

Jonathan Osment
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@Greg, Fair enough. Though suggesting my opinion is out of line seems a bit strong, don't you think? What defines what is in line and out of line when it comes to game analysis? I know I am not alone in thinking that the state as well as design of the game is fairly poor. In fact, the consumers often times are the best voice one can listen to, and their voices overwhelmingly are bothered by what blizzard passed off as a Diablo sequel. Surely I am not crazy for feeling as they do.

If I had to sum up the design and quality of the game and put it into an analogy, Diablo 3 is then akin to a one way trip on a train to a location you really dont care about and the trip is neither interesting or thoughtful. Every time you get to the end of the track, you get the option to take the train ride again, only each time the ride gets more and more uncomfortable.

Regarding the developer feedback to players, such as Jay Wilson's reddit tends to boil down to "no you cant do that, no i dont want you to do that, no farming is bad but we want you to farm, we dont want players making builds even though some sort of consistency is needed to play the game" on top of the claim that the game director doesnt even want to go past normal mode because he is too busy playing every character and taking his time. It all sounds like BS to me.

It doesnt help that they advertised their design philosophy prior to release, showing builds of the game with more features and different modes of play. They stated they were looking at popular action games as well as rpgs in which to pull both a stronger action and rpg experience with deeper quests and a larger world. Clearly they built more than what they actually bothered to deliver.

It is in my opinion bad design to force players to play through an easy mode, limiting them with a small assortment of skills and a short story line, only to give them a higher difficulty in doing the same thing over again when they might have wanted that from the start. To make it worse, their opinion of end game is the same short story line over and over with cheap challenge mechanics rather than alternate modes of play. The end game just means more kiting and more time widdling down enemies with stupidly increased health and damage values. Sometimes the enemy combination will be impossible and thus the designers response is to restart the game and hope they are not there. I am sorry but to me this just screams lazy game design. There is very little excuse for this kind of design when years of diablo clones have built upon and innovated the genre. It feels like the Diablo 3 team didnt even bother going that far.

Again this is just my opinion and I am fairly sure, given consumer feedback that I am not alone in this opinion.

I wholeheartedly believe its sales numbers are due to the Blizzard bias and the franchise, nothing more.

David Fried
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@Jonathan: You said: "There is very little excuse for this kind of design when years of diablo clones have built upon and innovated the genre. It feels like the Diablo 3 team didnt even bother going that far."

What games are you referring to that have built upon and innovated the genre? What gameplay systems or mechanics from the myriad of Diablo clones do you think are better than the ones in Diablo III?

I would argue that it is not bad design to force players through an easy mode, given the breadth of their audience, it's actually quite wise. Mainly because if you give players the option, they will pick a mode harder than that which they can handle, and instead of lowering the difficulty, they will beat their head into a pulp in frustration and quit first. By making them play it through easy first, they pick up all the basics of play in an easier environment, then they up the difficulty and introduce new elements that require advanced forms of play (or better items).

Anyways, I'd love to see more specifics from you about Diablo III's design problems. I'm seeing a lot of "it sucks" with metaphors and very little "it sucks because of... x, y, z."