Anyone who was around for Diablo III’s launch in May 2012 will no doubt have traumatic memories of “Error 37” and not being able to get into the game to play for days following release. But what was this whole disaster like from Blizzard’s side?
A book excerpt posted over on Kotaku recalls the disastrous launch week and how the overwhelming demand caught Blizzard by surprise. “You have such an anticipated game—how can it catch anybody by surprise?” recalled Josh Mosqueira. “But I remember being in the meetings leading up to that, people saying, ‘Are we really ready for this? OK, let’s double the predictions, let’s triple the predictions.’ And even those ended up being super conservative.'”
The launch week was only the start of the headaches for the studio, which rolled out 18 patches that summer to tweak difficulty and loot issues. The real money auction house — which has since been discontinued — turned out to be a real misstep for the game as well. The efforts to fix these problems extended all of the way to the first expansion, which Blizzard saw as an opportunity to make Diablo III the game that it needed to be for its fans.
It’s a long piece that offers fascinating insight into how Blizzard works and iterates and how a game with such talent and vision can still stumble right out of the gate.