Some fans felt that those who played the pre-release version of Diablo IV had an unfair advantage.
Last week, Blizzard announced a fun little competition for the most dedicated Diablo fans. The first 1,000 Diablo IV players to reach level 100 in Hardcore mode – the permadeath mode – will have their name engraved on an actual statue of Lilith. As is typical with funny things on the internet, this one almost immediately descended into a morass of misery and anger on social media.
The problem in the eyes of many was that the competition was open to all, including those who had taken part in the pre-release playtests.
Diablo general manager Rod Fergusson took to Twitter to try to address the complaints. He announced that all pre-release progress would be reinstated. This means that everyone will start at the same time. But players have claimed that the real problem is a matter of knowledge. Those who have played Diablo IV before the public release will get off to a much better start than those who are just jumping in for the first time.
Other, more esoteric complaints have also surfaced. For example, some on the Diablo forums felt it unfair that those with other commitments and to-do lists were also severely disadvantaged. Some went so far as to call it a pay-to-win game. After all, those who buy the game in advance get a head start. Some even worried that the perceived acceptance of pay-to-win in this competition indicated that Blizzard would be willing to do the same for in-game play. Still, others pointed out that the contest is not really about the first 1000 to reach level 100 in Hardcore mode. It’s for the first 1000 to announce that achievement via Twitter, as the rules require.
It’s fair to say that the second playthrough is always faster and smoother than the first, and in that respect, some people have an advantage over anyone who starts cold.
But at some point, a line has to be drawn. As Redditor MemorySnake wrote: “Anyone without an outside job also has an advantage, anyone with access to better internet probably has an advantage. There’s always going to be an advantage.”
Of course, much of the outrage is unfounded or exaggerated. Because the official rules of the competition actually exclude many people with a “knowledge advantage” from participating. Anyone “previously invited to download the pre-release review version of the game during the month of May 2023” will not be allowed to participate.
Early access to Diablo 4 will begin on June 1 at 16:00 PT/7:00 ET. The full release will follow on the same date, June 5.
Those who participated in the pre-release review version of the game during the month of May 2023 are not eligible for entry.
Full rules: https://t.co/TLWxZwG0aQ
— Diablo (@Diablo) May 29, 2023
How does deleting all their progress and making them start at the same time as everyone else give them an unfair advantage?
— Rod Fergusson (@RodFergusson) May 26, 2023