Videogames as Social Genre: The Design Ethos, Player Agency, and Failures of Diablo Immortal

No Thumbnail Available
Kolby, Katlin
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Middle Tennessee State University
In this thesis, I use the Diablo franchise of videogames, through which the genre of action roleplaying games is birthed, to exemplify the argument that the theory of a socially constructed genre from rhetorical studies, rather than a taxonomic concept of genre as it is usually used in games studies, could greatly benefit game studies’ discussions moving forward. It is crucial to acknowledge that Diablo Immortal critically fails to live up to the genre established by the previous three iterations in the franchise and chose to design a game around conventions that directly contradict one another, resulting in a terrible player experience. This game does not fit the design ethos of the studio, nor does it exhibit the franchise brand identity as defined by previous titles. I argue that conversations surrounding the shortcomings of this game would necessarily be lackluster should they exclude considerations of socially defined genre conventions.
Design ethos, Franchise brand identity, Games studies, Genre, Player agency, Rhetoric and Composition, Multimedia communications