While Diablo III is an unmitigated success for Activision Blizzard, the fact is, item hunting and playing the game over and over in harder difficulties might have worked in Diablo II, games nowadays are much more complex and there’s a good chance players won’t be spellbound by this particular game mechanic anymore.
Blizzard seems to agree as Community Manager “Bashiok” has taken to the Diablo III official forums and admits that the “item hunt” might not be a suitable long-term “end game” solution.
Bashiok’s entire post can be seen below.
We recognize that the item hunt is just not enough for a long-term sustainable end-game. There are still tons of people playing every day and week, and playing a lot, but eventually they’re going to run out of stuff to do (if they haven’t already).
Killing enemies and finding items is a lot of fun, and we think we have a lot of the systems surrounding that right, or at least on the right path with a few corrections and tweaks. But honestly Diablo III is not World of Warcraft.
We aren’t going to be able to pump out tons of new systems and content every couple months. There needs to be something else that keeps people engaged, and we know it’s not there right now.
We’re working toward 1.0.4, which we’re really trying to pack with as many fixes and changes we can to help you guys out (and we’ll have a bunch of articles posted with all the details as we get closer), and we’re of course working on 1.1 with PvP arenas.
I think both those patches will do a lot to give people things to do, and get them excited about playing, but they’re not going to be a real end-game solution, at least not what we would expect out of a proper end-game. We have some ideas for progression systems, but honestly it’s a huge feature if we want to try to do it right, and not something we could envision being possible until well after 1.1 which it itself still a ways out.
I doubt Diablo III players are expecting World of Warcraft levels of content, but at the same time, more missions and whatnot could certainly help in retaining its playerbase, no?