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News video games 10 May 2024, 05:57

author: Adrian Werner

'It's a Cursed Problem.' Diablo 4's Class Designer Explains How Player Feedback and Internal Testing Helps Blizzard

Adam Jackson from Blizzard Entertainment studio described the problems the team had with testing new features in Diablo 4 and the changes that were made to deal with it.

Source: Blizzard

Adam Jackson, the Lead Class Designer for Diablo IV, had an intriguing discussion with the streamer known as Raxxanterax, during which he detailed the testing issues faced by the team. Jackson explained that many of the elements of Diablo IV that players didn't like were the result of improper testing methods.

  1. For instance, in the fourth season of Diablo IV, manipulating items involved a brief animation of a circle filling with molten metal. In the studio, during internal testing, it seemed great - this animation was like a small reward for the player. In reality, users did this several thousand times, and soon this animation started to drive them to fury.
  2. Jackson describes this as a "cursed problem" because the people who are best at spotting such problems are those who play Diablo IV almost non-stop and don't work on the game's development at the same time. The designer is aware that he should dedicate around 200 hours to the new season, but can only spare 50.

Blizzard has learned from this and now the studio's internal testing methodology is much more extensive than before. The developers analyze each feature to ensure it remains enjoyable even after 200 hours of play, not just whether it is cool in itself. Developers regularly compile lists of potential game improvements, drawing from their own sessions as well as from browsing Reddit and other forums, and watching player-created streams and other materials.

The problem with the new content is that, until recently, developers had to rely solely on their own judgment. Season 4 was the first to undergo public testing, which helped identify many issues, including the repetitive animations mentioned earlier.

The Season 4 patch notes reflect the significance of these tests by containing 10,000 words densely filled with information about balance and gameplay changes, as well as compilations of corrected bugs.

We will see the fruits of all these efforts on May 14th. As the premiere of Season 4 is scheduled for that day. This will be the biggest update to this game so far.

Diablo 4 was launched on June 6, 2023, on both PC and PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X/S consoles. In March of this year, the game was added to Game Pass, both on PC and Xbox.

  1. 'I Believe That Everybody Who Talks About Diablo 4 Wants It to Be Fantastic' - Interview With Blizzard Devs
  2. Diablo 4 Review: Blizzard Remembered How to Make a Great Game!
  3. Diablo IV - game guide
  4. Diablo IV - official website

Adrian Werner

Adrian Werner

A true veteran of the Gamepressure newsroom, writing continuously since 2009 and still not having enough. He caught the gaming bug thanks to playing on his friend's ZX Spectrum. Then he switched to his own Commodore 64, and after a short adventure with 16-bit consoles, he forever entrusted his heart to PC games. A fan of niche productions, especially adventure games, RPGs and games of the immersive sim genre, as well as a mod enthusiast. Apart from games, he devourers stories in every form - books, series, movies, and comics.