In an announcement that will likely stir up an extent of outrage, Blizzard has shelved the Team Deathmatch PvP system players expected to be included with Diablo III at launch. Citing a lack of "depth" to the system and the team's unwillingness and inability to "balance" the various classes for PvP, the team will instead go back to the drawing board. A free PvP patch is still planned, but it won't be Team Deathmatch and it certainly won't be released any time soon.
While Jay Wilson does a good job of stretching the details across a several paragraphs, preventing the quotation of a succinct summarization, here's the bit I think is most adequate:
"... So, our core problem is that our Team Deathmatch mode doesn't feel like a great addition to Diablo III. It's not up to the quality that Blizzard gamers expect or that we feel you deserve, and it doesn't really fit with our goals for the rest of the game."
Seven months since Diablo III's launch and only now has the team decided to cancel Team Deathmatch. Certainly, the development team at Blizzard has been hard at work on six different patches up until now and are likely in the thick of creating an expansion, but that doesn't make this feel any better. Many gamers bought Diablo III for the PvP that was promised, the PvP they'd be naive to expect at this point.
Blizzard will deliver duels instead, apparently -- as soon as the upcoming 1.7 patch according to Jay Wilson. Why it took so long to implement duels as a separate feature from Team Deathmatches is another issue entirely. There will also be a different free PvP patch... eventually. The team is exploring ideas as to what that might be as we speak. Well, after the holidays I expect.
Seven months! All of it thrown away when they had builds up and running before the game was even released. I can't help but wonder if this decision has less to do with "fun" "depth" or "balance" and more to do with the cost of running PvP and matchmaking servers vs. the shrinking player base. It is possible when PvP was delayed prior to launch they never intended to release it at all?
Check out Jay Wilson's announcement for yourself and look forward to a Diablo III expansion announcement in coming months.