Wednesday 15 November 2023

Why Isn't Diablo IV One of the Leading eSports Games?

The launch of Diablo 4 by Blizard Entertainment earlier in 2023 brought us the fourth instalment in the popular Diablo series, and it’s been warmly welcomed by players and critics alike. This raises the interesting question of why it’s not become one of the top esports’ games in the competitive gaming world.   

The Main Factors to Consider

 The first point we need to consider is that this is an action role-playing game, known as an ARPG. Players need to choose a character and then battle their way through a series of quests that involve combat sequences, as well as carrying out the search for the legendary Secret Cow Level. On the face of it, this sounds like the perfect mixture of ingredients for an esports game.

Yet, ARPGs aren’t common in this industry, due to the fact that the emphasis lies heavily on the player battling through their environment to achieve their goals by overcoming difficult challenges, which makes this an example of a PvE game.

On the other hand, esports are most often conducted in games such as shooters, as here the players can join teams to work together. Pro gaming is also usually carried out in games that have clear, short-term objectives such as clearing the map of enemy players, which is something that helps to make esports fast and exciting for viewers. Sports simulations have also been popular for the same reason, as winning a game is a clear short-term objective.

That’s not to say the Diablo 4 isn’t right for competitive gaming, but it probably needs to be looked at in a different light from the other esports games we’re used to seeing. A different approach could see players taking part in alternative, perhaps shorter quests.

What Has Blizzard Said About the Subject?

Esports games are often driven by the developer setting up tournaments. There was speculation earlier this year that Diablo IV might be a game-changer in competitive gaming, by introducing new tournaments and new streamers.

Yet, the most recent news is that Blizzard has no plans at the moment to support esports on this game. Player vs player (PvP) action was a big part of the first couple of games in the series and fans had been hoping that the developer might have decided to push this aspect in the form of new tournaments. 

What Are the Most Popular eSports Games?

What games would Diablo IV be up against in esports? To get an idea of what type of game is the most popular in this format, we can check out the most-played titles of 2023. Bang Bang: Mobile Legends leads the way followed by League of Legends and then Counter-Strike GO. As we can see from these examples, PvP shooters are particularly popular, and many are team-based games where players take on certain roles.

The incredible popularity of esports can be seen in numerous ways now, as the top games have a huge level of support among fans who follow the major tournaments via streaming or on TV. The fast-growing prize pools on offer are another sign of how esport has gone mainstream. 

We can also see how the idea of betting on esports tournaments has exploded in popularity, with the main teams who play those games mentioned earlier among the key options. You can click here to place your esports bet on those games plus the likes of e-soccer and e-basketball. Live betting is available, and, in some games, you can wager on specific outcomes such as the winner of the first map. 

Many of the most popular games have been around for a long time, such as League of Legends (2009), CS; GO (2012), and Dota (2013) still among the top names. Yet, the esports market continues to evolve and one of the best examples of this is with the new Counter-Strike game – CS2 – released earlier this year to take over from CS: GO in the near future. 

Can the Diablo Series Get Competitive Gaming Added to It? 

This game has some of the elements needed for competitive gaming, a big fan base, exciting gameplay and so on. Yet, support from Blizzard is going to be needed if this is to become an esport to rank alongside those other games we’ve looked at. 

While many Diablo fans are keen for a competitive gaming edge to be added to the latest instalment, the fact is that the current gameplay probably doesn’t have the right balance for it to become an esport. 

A swing in the gameplay away from PvE and towards PvP is needed for Diablo to be suitable for the competitive gaming environment. With Blizzards suggesting that they currently have no interest in doing this, it looks like we’ll need to wait to see if the gameplay in the next instalment is varied enough to make this possible.