There was an official post earlier today that stated the Gauntlet was releasing on the 27th, but that’s been pulled hours after it was posted. Why in the world are we still waiting on an official ladder, that not only should’ve been in the game since launch, but at least should’ve been included with season 3 ship?
Ladders have been a standard ARPG feature since 2001. The fact we don’t have one yet is a complete clown fiesta. Imagine being a multi-billion dollar company, with two rotating seasonal development teams, and are still incapable of releasing a complete season? Meanwhile, Path of Exile pumps out bigger seasons with more content, with a single development team of around 8 people.
News flash: Releasing a chunk of a season’s content later on is suicide for ARPGs. There is an exponential player drop off in these types of games after one single week of a new season, and releasing a piece of its headline content halfway through will bring a tiny fraction of those players back. First AoZ, and now this. D4’s lack of depth also means players fall off even faster than PoE. A quick glance at Steam charts show how big of a player decrease that game gets after a month.
As an addendum, here is nearly a decade’s worth of player activity date from PoE:
In this graph, we can clearly see peaks and valleys. The former is a league launch, while the latter is that doldrums period during the latter chunk of a season. This type of fluctuating engagement is part and parcel for ARPGs. While these numbers are not wholly accurate, as they do not account for console players, nor PC players using the standalone PoE client, it provides a good indication. Every day the Gauntlet is delayed, the closer to the deepest “valley” of player retention we get.
Another stat, while again not wholly reliable, is Twitch viewership:
A quick glance at this chart shows D4 has lost over 90% of its viewership on Twitch (S3 launch: 29,260 vs. right now: 2,837). Twitch viewers tend to watch live streams of the games they’re currently playing. Again, while this metric cannot be taken as gospel, a >90% drop off is absolutely indicative of a loss of interest.