Diablo_Immor002

Disclaimer: This topic has been very divisive and its understandably that people are gonna get very emotional. That being said, under no circumstance is it acceptable to threaten anyone with harm for having a different opinion. It adds nothing to the argument you’re making and creates an unnecessary atmosphere of fear. 

Blizzard Entertainment announcement of Diablo: Immortal during BlizzCon has been one of the most talked about topics in the gaming community (and not in a good way). The announcement of a mobile version of the iconic RPG / dungeon crawler has fans either concern over the future of the series or frustrated of the possibility the game might be a poorly made freemuim title.

The announcement has once again demonstrated the sharp divide between the fans of major franchises and the industry. Fans have been quick to voice their dislike or concern about the game while several industry insiders who are supportive of the game have been quick to attack critics as “entitled”.

Diablo_Immor004

Fans and Commentator Perspective

For the most part, fans are more concerned about the future of the series than upset. Being a mobile game, fans worry that what has made the game great will be lost or that the micro-transaction system will be either imbalanced or predatory.

Almost every major commentator has had a video up by the weekend trying to explain the backlash along with their concerns about a mobile version of Diablo. Most notably: Jim Sterling, Jeremy Hambly of TheQuartering, YongYea, and ReviewTechUSA all expressed a series of similar concerns they had regarding Diablo: Immortal.

The biggest concern that has been noted is the fear that the game will be a generic freemuim titles that will lack anything that is devoid of the depth that has made Diablo an icon. They have pointed out how the game is being co-developed by NetEase (which is known for several mobile games that are similar to Diablo), creating a fear that it’s just going to be a reskin. In regards to the fears of predatory monetization practices, most of them have pointed out to some of Activision (owned by Blizzard parent company) actions in the last few years in regards to the Call of Duty series. Also not helping Blizzard case was Wyatt Cheng insulting the fans by asking “if they have phones”.

I highly recommend checking out their videos for yourself to have a better understanding on their perspective:

Industry Defense and Public Backlash

Several of the commentators I follow have made note of an ad hominem fallacy about the backlash being the byproduct of toxic masculinity because mobile games are more popular with women gamers. This could be attributed to a series of Tweets by Will Powers, a prominent marketing and communications leader in the gaming industry.

His first Tweet on the matter was one that looked as if he was going to share his professional opinion on the matter. However it soon erupted into a major firestorm with the following Tweet:

Many of course were quick to point out the fallacy of his argument (or the fact that he did the one thing that no PR expert should do). Many did voice their disagreement in a civilized manner while a few felt insulting him was a counter-argument. In response to the Tweet, a good number of women gamers did call him out on his statement:

Powers may have posted the most talked about response but  other industry insiders have decided to just go straight for the “entitled gamer” insult. Adam Rosenberg and Kellen Beck of Mashable each wrote an article about the game in which they branded concerned fans as being “entitled”. Other industry insiders have decided to just out right call critics of the game “entitled” on Twitter.

In response to so many in the industry using the “entitled gamer” excuse, Mark Kern (Producer of Diablo II and Warcraft 3) was quick to defend the community while also pointing how Blizzard actions only demonstrated how out of touch they are with the fans.

The Middle Ground

Despite the backlash, those who did get the chance to play it have stated that Diablo: Immortal is either good or isn’t as bad as many have feared. One of the most common critics has been the problems of playing it on a touch screen or that most of the core gameplay has been lost in the transition to mobile. However since the game is in development, these problems can be fixed before launch. Here some Tweets from those who have played it:

Fans who were hopping for news regarding Diablo 4 or an HD remake should wait and give Immortal a chance. At the same time they could actually help the development team by giving their feedback while also speaking up against predatory microtransactions.

The Unacceptable Threats

Given the controversy of the announcement, Blizzard employees along with industry insiders who have defended the game have been the receiving so many death threats that they’ve had to make their Twitter account private. Will Powers has noted that several trolls have threatened to kill his dog while one person has been harassing the social media accounts of his employer. Even if the statement is a really bad one, responding with threats of violence and rape is not acceptable.

It’s ok to be upset but under no circumstance is it acceptable to threaten anyone with harm for having a different opinion. It adds nothing to the argument you’re making and creates an unnecessary atmosphere of fear.

What are your thoughts on Diablo: Immortal? Do you think it might add value to the lore or offer a new experience? Share your thoughts in the comment section below and please keep it civilized.

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16 Comments »

  1. Will Power, Adam Rosenberg and Kellen Beck are prime examples of what happens when game companies hire fake soy boys over REAL GAMERS. This is why we have free to play and an industry dominate by fake nerds

  2. Noticed how likes of Brianna Wu and Lucy O’Brien are quick to jump on the “toxic masculinity” argument because it suits their femminist world views?

  3. The game itself might or might not be good it’s just too early and with too few details shown to judge.

    But it’s fair to say Blizzard had done a very poor product announcement, wrong product, presented at a wrong timing, at a wrong avenue, to the wrong crowd and done in an utterly wrong way and worst of all with a wrong attitude. Yes they had shown disrespect and discontemp towards the core fan base.

    One sentence Blizzard puts out sums it up – we want to bring the Diablo experience to new players – and the interpretation could be – we want to bring new players and their money to us – Blizzard you really should announce it on CES after you give the community concrete promise of a solid next chapter of Diablo on PC

  4. The very fact that so many video games journalists are trying to justify the possible microtransactions in this game has only demonstrated that they have failed their duty as journalist in holding the industry accountable. Instead of addressing the concern of the fans they have chosen to side with Blizzad just to get free stuff.

  5. I love how this article starts with a plea to not harass people you disagree with then starts listing names of people he disagrees with.

  6. Notice how almost all the journos who are calling the “Is this a joke” guy entitled are the same people who cheered Colin Kaperneck when he took a knee!

    Hypocrite much?

  7. TBH – Games media invited this toxic backlash the moment they played the entitled card. Sorry but when your response to a controversy is condescending than you invite the hate u get.

  8. Kinnda hard to claim this is not toxic masculinity when you cite Jeremy Hambly (aka the posterchild for toxic masculinity in the nerd community) to make your point. He is a pissy boy who has a rep of harassing or insiting a hate mob aginst people. You can’t say its not about toxic masculinity and use Jeremy Hambly as a example.

  9. Hard to say that it isn’t about toxic masculinity when all the influncers you list are fat white guys known to get pissed off all time.

  10. Sorry but I will never accept microtransactions in a AAA game and any fake gamer who does do this should be publicly shamed just to be held accountable for thre action

  11. Funny how the same feminists like Brianna Wu who are calling gamers entitled for hating Diablo immortal also feel like that game comapnies owe them a black tranny playble chracter.

  12. If you did any kind of basic research than you would know that Jeremy Hambly Is the king of toxic masculinity in the geek community. So you can’t say blizzard fans aren’t toxic and use him as a source!

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