The Importance of Understanding your community

The Importance of Understanding your community

We have all heard about the controversy surrounding the announcement of Diablo Immortals at BlizzCon. The outrage from this announcement led me to think about the importance of understanding your community guiding me to these thoughts about the situation at hand.

Let’s first look at the core igniting issue, the misuse of nostalgia from an IP. A well-known IP is not all you need to get by. Now there are many people that care about the IP of Diablo, and that care is rooted in the fond memory of the games. Where Blizzard saw that as a way to easily market a mobile game they had mostly already created in Diablo 3 and have people flock to it this is one of the first instances where we see their lack of understanding within their own community. The IP is not the only reason why a consumer buys, plays, and continues to invest their time into a product. It’s a good hook but not the full deal. In the case of Diablo alongside the long-loved lore, you also have the deep gameplay, the connection you make with others who share your passion and the progression and trials. Whether enjoying the beginning wonder of the story in Diablo 1, hunting for Runes in Diablo 2, or sets and legendary gear in Diablo 3. There are certain consistent aspects in the gameplay itself such as gathering, deep character development, and the beautiful gothic style of art. It has been 6 years since the release of Diablo 3 and as such the fanbase of that IP has become rather antsy waiting for the next big thing for Diablo when Blizzard reached out to the community with this video video hinted at Blizzard showing big new things for the Diablo Franchise at BlizzCon. This, of course, led to major hype building up to BlizzCon and even more hype when the schedule for the Diablo panel would be at during BlizzCon which was on the main stage right after the opening ceremony. The reason that this is so important is that historically at BlizzCon the biggest reveal of the year is supposed to follow the opening ceremony and once this was released there was no holding back the hype. Instead of the positive feedback, they were hoping for Blizzard was met with a negative response. The negative response they received included the game developers being “Booed” after the announcement as well as a longtime fan asking during the Question and Answers Panel later on that day “Is this a poorly timed April Fool’s joke?” The community was livid downvoting all that they could going to the forums with rage as their passion and hype became intense hate for what they saw as a betrayal of their devotion to Diablo. This is where the community began to feel how little the developers were listening to what they wanted. Blizzard was not expecting this backlash and had no backup plan to deal with it or it appeared so to the community. If Blizzard had asked mostly any avid Diablo community member what they would have thought about the presentation that community member would have let Blizzard know the response was going to be negative.

Now in many ways, it is unfortunate to see such a strong and beloved developer fall in this way. But the beauty of it all is that whereas there is much unfortunate hate that hate comes from passion and we can hope that this will be an example of what not to do. To always make your community your focal point as with ought them your product though possible fun be will never see its full potential.

– Lucantra Rush

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Written by Lucantra Rush

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