Blizzard will scrap its in-development PvP feature “Team Deathmatch,” but instead will release a dueling feature “soon” in the new year, Game Director Jay Wilson announced yesterday on the Diablo 3 blog. The PvP mode had been long in development and was showcased at previous BlizzCon events, but will not be released for a number of cited reasons.
“For us it comes to a few issues, one of which is depth. Simply fighting each other with no other objectives or choices to make gets old relatively quickly…
Another is class balance. Like Diablo II, Diablo III was designed to be a PvE-first kind of game, where we never compromised on player abilities in the name of future PvP balance. We want to be able to carry over as many of the crazy runes, items, and skills as possible, with their crazy effects, and alter them as little as possible. In a casual PvP mode, something equivalent to a WoW Battleground, this would be fine, but Team Deathmatch felt very hardcore, and it put a laser focus on class balance in a way that we didn’t think would be good for the game as a whole.
… It’s not up to the quality that Blizzard gamers expect or that we feel you deserve, and it doesn’t really fit with our goals for the rest of the game.” — Jay Wilson
Wilson said that the development team had the opportunity to fine-tune controls and combat model tuning throughout the development of Team Deathmatch, but that the team would be “exploring other options” for PvP instead. “We’re going to first be looking at new modes that play up to the strengths of the character classes, focus on objectives beyond just defeating other players, and possibly even integrate PvE elements and rewards,” Wilson said.
As for dueling, that feature is slated to be released in patch 1.0.7 in the new year. Further details on the patch have not yet been released but will be “very soon,” according to the dev blog.