A fan asked why it takes so long for Diablo 3 patches and fixes and other game changes to get from the drawing board, to the PTR, and finally into the live game, and received a lot of words that boil down to, “it’s complicated.” Quote:
The reality is, game development is a hugely iterative and time-consuming process, with many people involved along the way. Design takes time, Coding takes time, art takes time, QA takes time: you name it. There are also multiple steps in the pipeline for each and every proposed change and bug fix, no matter how minor, and what issues are being worked on in what order and by who can and do change as new matters arise. Sometimes extra testing is also needed for bugs that come back broken and need to be retested, because we didn’t want them to go live with a bad fix.
While there may indeed be a list of known issues and bugs that run alongside some patches, for every one you are aware of, there can be dozens or hundreds being worked on behind-the-scenes that you likely never be aware of. We do things just as quickly as we can, but even then, it’s a process that takes time. [/source]http://blues.incgamers.com/Posts/10/1/40/819/197970/one-question-for-ur-dev-team#postId_529766
Such are the perils of a massive gaming company. I can’t find the interview, but I recall reading one with Dave Brevik years ago about how much slower everything got with a big team. How on Diablo I, one programmer could add a chest or a small feature to the game in just a few hours, but on a bigger game like D2 or HGL the same minor change took days, with multiple programmers, artists, animators, Q&A, etc. It’s the same reason a mod-maker (not for D3, obviously) can turn out a total revision in just a few days while even a medium-sized patch takes months from the “official” game.
At least we get fewer bugs this way?