Diablo III was originally meant to ship with a PvP arena so players could take on each other with the loot they've accumulated throughout the game. The mode was cut from the game's launch back in March, and delayed until a nonspecific point in the future. Those plans are now once again thrown into disarray as Blizzard announced today that its Team Deathmatch PvP has been canceled.
Over on the battle.net blog, Diablo III lead designer Jay Wilson announced the PvP cancelation alongside the reasoning behind doing so. He says that the PvP mode in Diablo III was built around the dueling community in Diablo II, but was expanded to include a wide breadth of options like Team Deathmatch. The mode was cut after Blizzard found that it wasn't good enough.
Despite Wilson saying it wasn't good enough, he also points out that players enjoyed the mode whenever it was shown off at conventions. So, why did they make the final decision to cut it? He says it came down to two reasons:
For us it comes to a few issues, one of which is depth. Simply fighting each other with no other objectives or choices to make gets old relatively quickly. We've brought a lot of people in to try out Team Deathmatch and, while some found it entertaining, most of our testers didn't feel like it was something they'd want to do beyond a few hours. Without more varied objectives, or very lucrative rewards, few saw our current iteration as something they'd want spend a lot of time in.
Another is class balance. Like Diablo II, Diablo III was designed to be a PvE-first kind of game, where we never compromised on player abilities in the name of future PvP balance. We want to be able to carry over as many of the crazy runes, items, and skills as possible, with their crazy effects, and alter them as little as possible. In a casual PvP mode, something equivalent to a WoW Battleground, this would be fine, but Team Deathmatch felt very hardcore, and it put a laser focus on class balance in a way that we didn’t think would be good for the game as a whole.
Fans of PvP need worry not, however, as Blizzard will be adding dueling into the game in patch 1.0.7. It's expected to hit early next year, and details will be forthcoming. As for the cut Team Deathmatch mode, Blizzard will be using the experience gained from developing the mode to come up with a suitable replacement. That replacement will possibly feature "new modes that play up to the strengths of the character classes, focus on objectives beyond just defeating other players, and possibly even integrate PvE elements and rewards."
Diablo III, despite being the fastest selling PC title ever, has suffered some blowback from the community as various complaints have arisen since its launch including its always online DRM, lack of any real endgame, and other problems. The months since then have shown that Blizzard is at least attempting to make good on its promise to keep Diablo III fresh for players, and the cancelation of the Team Deathmatch mode hopefully shows that Blizzard has something even better in mind.