It's rare for developers to hold their hands up say, 'our game isn't good enough', but that's exactly what Blizzard has done with Diablo 3.
In a rather shocking statement, a Blizzard rep took to the game's official forums to admit that the dungeon crawler's end-game has failed to keep players engaged as long as expected, and that although it's working on improvements, extra content that provides "what we would expect out of a proper end-game" is still "a ways out".
Here's the statement in full, with the last paragraph being a follow-up post:
"We recognize that the item hunt is just not enough for a long-term sustainable end-game. There are still tons of people playing every day and week, and playing a lot, but eventually they're going to run out of stuff to do (if they haven't already).
"Killing enemies and finding items is a lot of fun, and we think we have a lot of the systems surrounding that right, or at least on the right path with a few corrections and tweaks. But honestly Diablo III is not World of Warcraft. We aren't going to be able to pump out tons of new systems and content every couple months. There needs to be something else that keeps people engaged, and we know it's not there right now.
"We're working toward 1.0.4, which we're really trying to pack with as many fixes and changes we can to help you guys out (and we'll have a bunch of articles posted with all the details as we get closer), and we're of course working on 1.1 with PvP arenas. I think both those patches will do a lot to give people things to do, and get them excited about playing, but they're not going to be a real end-game solution, at least not what we would expect out of a proper end-game. We have some ideas for progression systems, but honestly it's a huge feature if we want to try to do it right, and not something we could envision being possible until well after 1.1 which it itself still a ways out.
"Hindsight is 20/20 I suppose, but we believed pre-release that the item hunt would be far more sustainable, and would work to be a proper end-game for quite a while. That didn't turn out to be true, and we recognize that."
Blizzard has been in the wars lately. Yesterday, it issued a statement denying claims that it's banning Diablo 3 players for running the game on Linux.
And last week it rushed to partially lift controversial restrictions on digitally-purchased copies of the game that sparked outrage in the community.