It seems that Blizzard is, for the first time that I can ever remember, launching an incomplete game to hit their target release date. Yesterday Blizzard announced that Diablo 3 would be launching without the PvP Arena system because it is not “living up to our standards“. PvP will then be patched into the game once its been completed.
This is quite a turn-around for Blizzard; who has been known to delay games for months, even years, just to make sure that every part of the game is in near perfect condition. Blizzard has been well known for stating time and time again that their games ‘will be ready when they’re ready‘; often not even providing a target release window until a few months before the actual release.
Since merging with Activision, Blizzard now has more people to answer to then just their fans; they must answer to investors, who in general, could care less if the game isn’t 100% ready for release. Blizzard has also done other things out-of-character since the merge such as: becoming more aggressive with WoW, expanding the item-shop, adding fees for server transfers, name-changes, faction changes, race changes and appearance changes.
Quite frankly, I don’t think Blizzard would have ever launched an incomplete game if they remained independent. This definitively marks a turning point in Blizzard’s history.