Blizzard VP “Surprised” By Diablo III Reaction

By Jim Rossignol on August 5th, 2011 at 5:22 pm.

But only online, okay?
MTV have spoken to Blizzard’s VP of Online Technologies, Robert Bridenbecker, about the internet’s passionate response to the online-only requirement for Diablo III. He said: “I’m actually kind of surprised in terms of there even being a question in today’s age around online play and the requirement around that.” He went on to explain that anti-piracy concerns did not factor into the decision: “”Internally I don’t think [DRM] ever actually came up when we talked about how we want connections to operate. Things that came up were always around the feature-set, the sanctity of the actual game systems like your characters. You’re guaranteeing that there are no hacks, no dupes. All of these things were points of discussion, but the whole copy protection, piracy thing, that’s not really entering into why we want to do it.”

You read the full comments by Bridenbecker here.

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275 Comments »

  1. Zyrxil says:

    I personally am not affected by it, but that guy is completely incompetent if he didn’t foresee some backlash to the no-LAN no-Singleplayer news.

    • Bhazor says:

      How does this effect LAN? Surely you can just invite a friend and his laptop over and join the same server?

      But then I haven’t used a LAN since High School when I played Unreal Tournament so maybe I just don’t get it.

    • Cooper says:

      Being in the same room, both connected to the same external server on the same internet connection is NOT, in anyway, the same as a LAN setup.

    • Anton says:

      “No LAN” is the same reason why my friends didn’t even try out StarCraft 2. LAN play is something of a scarcity nowadays but I feel is still an essential part of the multiplayer experience. As a player, you still want that experience wherein all you guys are playing in 1 room, while heckling each other to bits.

    • Bhazor says:

      “Being in the same room, both connected to the same external server on the same internet connection is NOT, in anyway, the same as a LAN setup.”

      …because?

    • WPUN says:

      When can we get a “stupid game industry comments” reference page?

      Like Michael Pachter, investment analyst at Wedbush Securities: “unpaid crunch deserves no sympathy”.

      etc etc etc

    • Maktaka says:

      It’s in the name dude. LAN – Local Area Network. There is no part of “both players connecting to a server across the country” that is in any way, shape, or form part of the “local area”. The term LAN has been diluted by companies like Blizzard to just mean “we’re in the same room” and you’ve taken a big gulp of the koolaid.

      LAN is a way for people who don’t want to connect to a slow outside server to get fast ping times with each other and play the game without needing an outside connection. If you have to be online and play all games through a 3rd party server, it’s not LAN.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      Because with a LAN, if something goes wrong you can access all the wires and necessary devices and fix it there and then, that second instead of waiting for an engineer.

      With a LAN you are not sharing bandwidth with your entire neighbourhood and when they all decide to watch eastenders on iplayer at the same time your connection doesn’t start faltering

      With a LAN there are no data limitations. Transfer a couple million gigs over your lan and no one bills you or cuts you off

      With a LAN you can hook up in places with no broadband

      Come on, think about it for yourself! It’s not hard, I’m sure you can come up with more

    • Premium User Badge mechtroid says:

      Imagine you’re at a convention center for a LAN party. You boot up the original starcraft game, play a game over LAN. Everything works. Then everyone decides to play some Starcraft II, and so you all boot up the game and sign in. Do you REALIZE what it’s like, trying to get 32 people to share a single pipe for bandwith? Everyone’s speeds would be around 56K. The lag between people in the same room, computers mere meters away from each other would be immense. THAT is why LAN is important.

    • RandomGameR says:

      I’m just pissed off that Diablo III doesn’t have a first person shooter mode. Also, it should paint my chicken coup but it clearly won’t.

    • El Klinku says:

      What I find disgraceful in this, its the fact that everyone is pissing on UBI DRM (wich is a good thing) and almost every gamer seems to accept Blizzard descision of always online, wich is the same bullshit. This game is not an MMORPG and its treated as such. If the SP would be remove, it would be something else, but In the end, Blizzard requirement is the same as UBI DRM and they succesfully make a part of the community believe its not. Sadly the consumer buy something they doesnt really possess. a wall of Babylon, which creates a separation between gamers. An endoctrination that you play by developers rules, that internet is as vital as water and that it should be normal to disdain someone without internet as an alien, an abnormality of the society. That my friend is close to facism.
      I might never have a reliable connexion so that mean I will never pick this game, wich is a shame! Because everybody as the right to enjoy gaming no matter where they live (I live in canada, in rural area)and shouldnt be punish for this very reason. And i know many people that is in the same situation as I. That’s a shame because the only people that will get hurt by the Facist DRM UBLIZZARD SOFT is pulling right now it’s gamer and it’s community!

    • Warskull says:

      This is more phase 1 of back-peddling than a incompetence or a stupid comment by the VP. They knew people don’t like that style of DRM. They just thought they could get away with it because they were Blizzard. They can’t admit that though. “We thought you were big enough fanboys that you wouldn’t care, no matter what we do to you” isn’t exactly good PR, even if it is the truth.

      Anyways, this combined with the real names on the forums idea is telling you to watch Blizzard. They aren’t the same Blizzard you used to love. They are constantly trying to see what they can get away with now.

    • Starayo says:

      Why LAN? Because when I’m playing Starcraft II with my friend, in the same room as me, and my connection drops because the wiring is shit and it’s been raining so the pits where the joints in the copper phone wires are located are filled to the brim with water, I can’t play the game anymore.

      Most of the time it doesn’t affect me, but when it does, it’s really, really shitty.

      LAN is still a must.

      And don’t get me started on professional tournaments getting ruined by disconnections/lag.

    • tyrsius says:

      @Bhazor

      Are you kidding? Do you understand what a LAN is? A LAN is a LOCAL area network. If you are both connected to an external server, then you are not LOCAL, and it is not a LAN.

      Because of their DEFINITIONS!

    • Froibo says:

      Alright.. this isn’t a RTS, I can understand it from that standpoint. But how often do you think an internet connection is really going to effect a game like Diablo 3?

    • Premium User Badge Harlander says:

      Under all circumstances, since you’re forced to play it over the Internet?

    • Eamo says:

      I played Diablo 2 to death, max level characters, item farmed for hours on end, I still sometimes hear those cow’s mooing in my dreams. The multiplayer experience though was a disaster when you went outside your friends. There were so many client side hacks that any good items that dropped were auto-looted before you even saw them on your screen, PvP was pretty much impossible without resorting to trading for duplicated items. The reality is that by relying so much on the client the multiplayer game suffered immensely and there were severe issues with single player anyway when it came to items. Drop rates were balanced around a multiplayer environment so if you just played single player it was pretty much impossible to ever complete a set or get a unique you needed.

      I’m not so sure about the real money auction house but the online only play is a no brainer. The reality is that Diablo 2′s online play was horrible in many many ways and they pretty much came down to comprimises that had to be made to accomodate the single player offline play.

      As for lan play Diablo 2 was always a terrible game for lan play. If you had a group of people who would start at level one and only ever play when they all got together it was fine, but if any of them got a bit ahead or behind the levelling curve then the game got bad pretty fast. MMOs work for multiplayer because you spend 90% of your time at max level so you can easily find others to group with at a similar level. In Diablo most people never even reached max level or even close to it and the abilities scaled enough that a level 50 and a level 60 player weren’t really able to play on an equal footing.

      Just google “diablo lan party” and see how few people are actually even doing that anyway. On the first page of results I see one party in 2009 and one guy who says he organises an annual one for his mates. Now I dunno, but if I was the kind of person who would go to the hassle of organising a lan party just to be able to play a game with my mates, I suspect I would rather be able to play with them online whenever I wanted instead.

      And even at 8 player any home broadband can easily accomodate Diablo 2 in 8 player mode. I played it online for years on a 56k modem and it was fine. I really don’t see the issues and to be honest I suspect most of the issues is people who want to pirate the game making an issue about lan parties.

    • Amun says:

      @Eamo: Your post is full of piss-poor arguments.

    • studenteternal says:

      @Bhazor: Not sure if you are trolling, but I have personally run into nasty issues trying to play with people in the same room without LAN capabilities because of NAT translation across my firewall, and battle net like services not allowing multiple sessions from the same public IP, even though there are 2 of us, on 2 computers, with 2 legit copies of the game in my living room.

      Full Disclaimer: I have not tried doing this with starcraft 2 so I have no idea if Battle.net has this problem.

      Also I would much rather play a multiplayer Diablo over dedicated fast ethernet or gigabit in my house, then share the meh, 20 mbs or so connection I technically get from the cable company. And that 20 is higher then what a lot of people have, trying to play 2-3 sessions, or more, over 1.2mBPS DSL connection would be just sad.

    • firefek says:

      @Eamo
      Hence, that is why we want modding support. Not so much to affect online play, but so that we can modify the LAN and singleplayer component. Lets say the singleplayer was bad, though I found it rather fun, there are mods that enhance the singleplayer experience and made it better, good or even excellent. Lets say I have a LAN party and a new friend joins in, then we can just “cheat” him to our level. Blizzard took away all the options for this kind of play, which a lot of people loved. It is no small wonder that people are mad. Pirates are not affected, they can still pirate the game with the “offline crack” anyway.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      Eamo, I agree with you that there were a lot of client side hacks, but lets be honest, trying to play an RPG game with strangers is always going to run the risk of ending up playing with some idiot. Even if they eliminate hacks and cheats, you’ll get trolls who will pull every enemy on the map and dump them on you, disconnecters etc etc. As for competitive PvP play, lets just say, there are better games.

      I agree online play in D2 was horrible, but I don’t think it was due to compromises made for single player, can you back up your assertion with any facts? And now why should people who prefer single player have their game gimped for the people who want to play online?

      I’m sorry to hear your friends wern’t disciplined enough to have a character to play when you were all together at LANS and leave them alone when not at LANS, that sucks for you, but my friends were great and consequently some of my greatest gaming memories were created in D1 and D2 at LANS.

      Also I don’t think google is a particularly reliable analysis tool. In my day job (I work in criminal prosecutions), if a defence council came up with that in court, he would be stripped of his licences and laughed out of the industry.

      The fact you bought up the people complaining about this must just want to pirate the game argument proves you are an idiot. If people want to pirate it… guess what, the pirated version WONT connect to battlenet!!! It’s people who want to buy the game but not see the pirates get better functionallity who are bitching about it.

      And you telling me you had 8 people playing D2 over a 56k connection is a lie. It wasn’t possible. And why would you have done that anyway, when it had LAN capability. I think it’s been adequately explained why everyone connecting to a remote server halfway around the world from the same
      home is an inferior solution, but to give Amun a cheeky +1: Your post is full of piss poor arguments.

    • Shortwave says:

      My LAN already has to play an extra hundred bucks each time now so we can have a “Internet connection properly installed by a trained professional” just for Starcraft 2. : |

      Not too sure where I am going with that..
      I’m disappointed and sad.
      Bleh.

      Diablo III, whatever.
      : (

    • VezRoth says:

      I am extremely effected by this BS story about how the had no anticipation about Always On DRM being an issue. I am forced to call Shenanigans.

    • dadioflex says:

      @studenteternal the 20Mbs cable connection is download, your shared upload is “only” 512kbs – so 10 times faster than we had for dial-up Internet back in the day but still pretty piddly for modern games.

    • CareerKnight says:

      A lot of people seem to read always online as have to play with random people, it does not mean that, their will still be singleplayer (just like in sc2 which also requires you to log in) and you will be able to host private games for only your friends. Most of the bitching about no lan i suspect goes to the fact that multiple people won’t be able to play off of one copy of the game aside from some people cursed with abnormally horrible connections (I’ve even heard of people complaining that they don’t have an internet connect, on an online forum, which makes me think their full of crap or need to rework their priorities) . As a side not I hate how mmo has started to be applied to almost any game with an online component even when it makes no sense. Games like wow are mmos but a game like Diablo when you will rarely play with more than 3 people is clearly not in that category.

    • Eamo says:

      @Sheng-ji

      Ok, I’ll address a few of the points brought up in your post.

      Yeah, there is always a danger of bad players but the game did have the facility to kick players from a game etc to mitigate that somewhat, to some extent the best any online game can do is give each player some control over who they play with but the more they can do to limit that the better. Diablo 2 certainly wasn’t perfect in that regard and I suspect any cooperative game will always be vulnerable to that sort of griefing but while excluding the social aspect of LAN play it provides no real benefit that you can’t have with online play, any group of people who can play on a LAN can presumably play together online.

      I listed in my post several things that (in my opinion of course) caused for a lower quality of single player play, primary amongst them was that the loot rules were balanced around multiplayer and in game trading with other players, it was almost impossible to complete sets or find a particular unique item in single player, you had no way to transfer items between your characters since that was based on game persistance after you logged out, you could generate a random dungeon which contained pretty much unkillable bosses for your character with no way to reset the map, things like transmuting, socketing items etc were very hard to manage when you couldn’t just make a new char to socket them when you found an upgrade. These were all things that I would contend were designed around multiplayer, yes they could all have been better handled without requiring online play but then that carries some extra costs.

      With regards to LAN play, I would argue that unless you are going to very large LANs the online component isn’t going to cause significant issues, I would suspect that any half decent home broadband will comfortably allow as many people as are likely to have PCs there to play online together. As I said I played the game fine online on a 56k modem. I didn’t claim to have run LAN games on a 58k modem, you took me up wrong on that, that would have been just me playing at home with others in multiplayer who were in their own homes (or wherever). At that I would have had usually about a 300ms ping, spiking up to 1k ms at bad times which actually works fine for a pretty forgiving cooperative hack n’slash like Diablo. Assuming a similar bandwidth usage per client in D3 that would allow for about 20 people on a 1 meg line. Any location big enough to accomodate more people than that should almost certainly be able to provide enough bandwidth for more though obviously the problem is going to be people streaming video in the same location etc. But for small, friendly lan games which I suspect comprimised the majority of LAN play I would love to hear why it would be an issue.

      As for google, it’s not a definitive source of data at all but if you are going to discount it at least suggest something better. I would say that google strongly suggests that Diablo 2 LAN play is not very common. If you have better information then I would like to hear it. Granted I didn’t dig very deeply but I couldn’t see any real active Diablo 2 LAN community anymore. Certainly nothing near the size that would be required for all the people who are up in arms about it to be involved. Now maybe Diablo 2 has a large underground off-internet LAN scene that I am unaware of, it is certainly possible, but it seems to me more likely that a lot of people complaining about it are not in fact complaining about LAN play itself but about the other things that have changed. Arguing about LAN play makes it a kind of a “gamers rights” issue whereas arguing that you want to be able to run your hacks and dupe items etc etc comes accross more as a “right to cheat” argument which is a lot more shaky with regards to gaining widespread support.

      As for a pirated version, the complexity of pirating a game where most of the gameplay logic exists online is vastly more difficult than just running a server for a game that includes both client and server code in the executable, the code that spawns monsters, moves them, generates items, generates levels, calculates how skills work, saves characters etc. etc. etc. won’t be in the executable you buy in the box, that code only exists on Blizzards servers. Yes it will be possible but unless they somehow manage to get their hands on a copy of Blizzards server program then it will be a very large technical undertaking. I’m sure people will try but it will be a long term and complex undertaking. What you will be buying will, presumably, be a dumb client to a large extent. It doesn’t have to be but it seems likely because that is what snuffs out piracy. The less the client can do the harder it is to pirate the game. That is why the LAN play argument is used by pirates, to be able to play on a LAN you have to get an executable that can do all that stuff in your Diablo 3 box or wait a long time for it to be painstakingly cloned by hand (or hope for a huge security breach at Blizzard).

      To use WoW for comparison the free server Mangos is pretty fully featured, but still has not support for Cataclysm content, skills etc. This is over six months after an expansion was released and the technical task of supporting it, in an already pretty impressive cloned server, is large enough that it still hasn’t been completed. Diablo 3 will be the same, the lag between release and functional servers will be so large as to stomp piracy on the head, unless of course, the pirates can convince Blizzard that the functionality to do all that has to be included in the box to support LAN (or something like Open B.NET) play. You shouldn’t call someone an idiot when you have not a clue what you are talking about. I mean, I don’t believe for a second that piracy wasn’t the reason for the change, if you want to make piracy hard you ship a dumb client, if you ship a dumb client then LAN play can’t be done, it’s as simple as that.

      Now, you talk about piss poor arguments, but you don’t actually make any yourself. Can you list any reason why your LAN games can’t be done if the game requires a web connection? Bandwidth seems unlikely to be an issue and even if it was it could be solved with a decent router. If your LANS are small it’s no issue, just ask everyone to play nice with regards to internet usage, if they are large then a trivial per person cost will buy enough high quality routers / switches etc to manage everything for you. If your group includes one half decent technical guy and you can dig up an old PC to stick smoothwall linux on it will be practically free.

      If your LAN games don’t require any hacks or mods then they can be done just as well over the internet, the slight extra lag won’t even be noticable in a co-operative hack and slash. So whats the real loss? One guy above mentioned running hacks and mods on his LAN games, that will be impossible for sure so he has a decent argument for why he wants LAN preserved but if all you are doing is playing the game as shipped with your mates then there won’t be any real difference.

      So yeah, you can argue the modding and changing support is a big loss, and there are certainly legitimate arguments to be made there but LAN play itself is not an issue.

    • Nesetalis says:

      my answer to this as always…
      One hot summer, with no jobs in sight, no money for gas, nothing to do, and our internet was cut off.. but we still had power.. We spent weeks playing diablo II, warcraft 3, and space empires V over LAN… Without the lan option, we would have had nothing to do, sitting in the middle of the country, in 100 degree heat… would have driven us insane.

      So fuck you blizzard, fuck you sideways with a rake. I hope for the sake of all the other fools who buy in to this marketing shit, some one out there produces a good quality crack to circumvent the online only bullshit.

    • JohnH says:

      I couldn’t care less about internet play or some damned real money AH.
      I want offline single player that I can play whenever/wherever I want, I often take a 4 hour bus ride to visit my parents which is perfect for some single player action on my laptop. When me and my mates have one of our 8-man (drinking and gaming) LAN parties it would be really nice to set up a local server and play on that instead of melting my mates dsl. Plus as the alcohol is consumed it’s really a good thing to keep the drunkards on a local server. ;)

  2. razgon says:

    Yeah, right…

    Its about control, thats it

    • Josh W says:

      He actually says that, he just calls it “sanctity” instead.

    • Wulf says:

      I don’t want anything to do with a developer that feels that offering gamers certain freedoms is in some way affecting their sanctity.

      That’s like saying that LAN people are tainted yobs, scum to be watched at all times, and people whom Blizzard aren’t very fond of. Yep. Good luck with that attitude.

    • MadTinkerer says:

      To be fair, I think the idea is more that internet players have a significant number of tainted scum. Remember: Blizzard has all of WoW’s playerbase to deal with.

      The mistake they’re making is to try to make everything fit the WoW model.

    • LintMan says:

      This guy is totally full of shit. Stealing my post from the coverage over at Boing Boing:

      “When you look at everything you get by having that persistent connection on the servers, you cannot ignore the power and the draw of that.” What do I get from that? The required persistent connection to their servers doesn’t do anything for me. There is NO “power and draw”:

      - I don’t want to be blocked from play if my internet goes down.
      - I don’t want to have remember some login ID and password for this game 2-3 years from now if I decide to reinstall and play it again. I’ve already forgotten my Starcraft 2 login.
      - I want to be able to play the game on a laptop, in places where I won’t have (reliable) online access.
      - I don’t give a crap about achievements or whatever they call them.
      - I don’t want me game saved “in the cloud”. My hard disk is just fine, thanks.
      - I want to be able to play and create mods for the game.
      - I don’t care about their anti-cheat measures: I’m playing SOLO.
      - Hell, if I want to cheat in my SOLO game, why shouldn’t I be allowed to?

      And his whole claim “that’s how things are going, the nature of the industry” is a bunch of utter bullshit. Blizzard is the damn 900 pound gorilla of the industry – it SETS the lead for how things are done.

    • Nesetalis says:

      +1 LintMan… I hope they get a clue, or i’ll bypass d3.. ive purchased every single blizzard game since lost viking (excluding the WoW expansion cataclysm)… but I’m loosing all respect for them.

  3. icupnimpn2 says:

    Read a forum, VP

  4. Teddy Leach says:

    What a muppet.

    • Alaric says:

      this.QuoteForTruth();

    • Alextended says:

      Yeah I’m still amazed by their excuses. How the hell does making a super secure multiplayer component forbid you from including an offline single player/LAN mode? If I’m playing on LAN do you think I won’t be able to tell if the other guy is cheating and go smack him (or laugh and cheat together, whatever)? Similarly, if I’m playing single player what the hell does anyone else care if I do have hacked items and shit? It just makes no sense.

      The no brainer solution would be to make the single player and lan components separate from the online multiplayer without allowing people, characters and items to hop between the different modes. Not to require online access even for single player. It’s absurd to claim the reasons for it are security based. Or are they telling us that StarCraft II, a much more competitive game, is any less secure online by allowing you to play offline (with the also absurd, if less so, requirement to get online every so often)?

      And W-T-F at the region lock. No words can describe that one.

      I’m also miffed about the decision to not release mod tools. I’m not much of a RTS player which is why I don’t own StarCraft II but I’d love to play some of what the creative community can create with this engine. Modability is a big plus for any game. I was hoping Diablo III would not only be modable but also not have the restrictions imposed on StarCraft II mods. This really sucks.

      At this point I’ll probably not buy Diablo III for full price, I’ll wait for some super duper deal which might take a while as is the usual for Blizzard games. Torchlight II should tide me over until then since it has all of what Diablo III won’t, even if it’s a game that probably can’t compete in terms of content and polish since it’s by a much, much, much smaller team. Mods will certainly make up for some of it though. Maybe Grim Dawn too, I haven’t looked into that yet.

    • Froibo says:

      They are making everything server side. People were still able to cheat in the multiplayer of Diablo 2.

    • Wulf says:

      I’d like to compile Alaric’s code, here, and offer my own support for Mr. Leach’s statement by doing so!

    • Alextended says:

      Froibo, I think you hit reply on the wrong post, you neither make any point against what people said nor did anyone mention Diablo II, an old and insecure title. A multiplayer mode that needs to access the servers for “everything” as you guess (so that, ideally, neither real time cheating, nor save editing can occur) doesn’t make the inclusion of a separate offline mode that doesn’t have such a requirement (and of course can’t link to the online mode due to security concerns) impossible in any way as that alone couldn’t enable cheating in the online mode so security simply cannot be the reason for the lack of such. End of.

    • Baines says:

      They can’t allow mod tools because of the “real money” auction house.

      I can actually see someone at Blizzard being surprised by the reaction, because I don’t really think it was done as an anti-piracy measure primarily for anti-piracy’s sake. I think everything boils down to the “real money” auction house. They have to have improved security to prevent cheating, duping, modding, and the like to keep the auction house functional and fair.

      Why not have a single player mode separate from online? Because you couldn’t allow single player to convert to online mode, as you’d have no way to verify that everything gained was gained through vanilla Diablo III mechanics without any form of cheating. You could allow converting online to single player, but you wouldn’t be able to convert back to online. Why is this all an issue? Because Diablo is popular, and too many people would get confused and then complain. People would play several hours in offline mode, and then suddenly complain that they can’t go online with that character. They’d play online, and then complain that they can’t take their character offline when they are in a connectionless situation. Etc.

  5. Dominic White says:

    Some journalist with a spine needs to ask these Blizzard execs whether they have friends outside of America. If so, then why have they locked themselves outside of playing with these people? Diablo 1 & 2 had international play, so why not 3? Or is that just too hard to do these days?

    These people are so out of touch.

    • Squirrelfanatic says:

      Valve manages to do just fine with… nearly all of their games.

    • Vexing Vision says:

      “Hahahaha, where are you from, some Third World Country?”

      “Sir, it’s called Europe.”

      “What language do they speak over there anyway?”

      *sighs*

    • ReV_VAdAUL says:

      “We did not in any way anticipate people would want to play our games with people outside their borders. We at Blizzard play only with our close neighbours and we strongly believe that is how most Diablo III players will play.”

    • Teddy Leach says:

      Because, obviously, all foreigners are terrorists and eat babies. AM I RIGHT, BLIZZARD?

    • Dominic White says:

      @Squirrelfanatic Nearly all? Try actually all. And most all other, non-Valve games, too. Even ones from tiny indie studios.

      The DRM is merely an annoyance for me – my line is mostly stable, although it has been known to fail a couple of times a day. But locking me out of playing with people abroad? That’s unspeakably regressive and has ensured that unless they pull a complete 180 on that decision, I won’t be touching their game.

    • DK says:

      You assume anyone in the so called games media has a spine. That is not the case, especially when it comes to questioning any of the bullshit Blizzard is pulling.

    • Wulf says:

      My pack is literally from all over. The Americas and Europe being just two of those places. I feel that the cultural mix actually makes us better people overall, and that there are far too many culturally stunted people in the world who wouldn’t know how to deal with cultural differences if they were given a 50 year course on the subject.

      Apparently Blizzard are from this school of thought, and my multiculturalism is incorrect. Who knew? I didn’t know that acting as a group of equals with people from across the globe was a bad thing, but apparently in Blizzard’s eyes it is. I don’t like you, Blizzard.

  6. James says:

    -pokes you in the eye, hard-

    “Oh sorry, we didn’t know people didn’t like that. When we talked about poking you in the eye really hard earlier, it never came up that you might not enjoy it.”

    • WPUN says:

      And then they refuse to comment on the sharp stick held behind their back.

  7. tKe says:

    What I think needs to be put across is that, although they’re right in saying it’s good to be able to take a single player character online at any point and that always-online is the solution for this, some players will still want the choice of an always-offline character. As long as they’re warned they can never take it online – they’ll be happy.

    • MrWolf says:

      I concur. The simplest thing is to (GASP!) give players choice when they create a character:
      1) Single-player only — no always-on connection needed, but you can never take your character online. You can cheat, use trainers and character editors to your heart’s content (you know you all have done it).
      2) Multi-player ready — requires always-on connection, can’t be h@x0r3d.
      The VP mentions the messyness of D2, and I agree, but in D2 there was a different choice: single-player only and multi-player only.

    • Aemony says:

      Diablo 2 allowed you to create a local character and play it without being online. However, you could take this character online through the Open Battle.Net service, which was a service merely for the sake of playing with offline characters online. Filled with customized “cheated” characters, perhaps, but still fun none the less.

    • chabuhi says:

      I wonder if they simply can’t find a way to make it 100% “unhackable” without using the online-only option. Maybe i’ts hard or maybe they’re lazy. Why did Modern Warfare 2 have separate clients for single-player and multi-player? Or am I remembering that incorrectly.

      Anyway – yeah. I kind of feel silly arguing about the requirement of an online connection since I already have one and it really is no skin off my back to go along with it if I want to play their game. However, on principle, I agree that it’s bad tasting.

      I still have visions of Ezio frozen mid-air with a wheel spinning around his head as my client struggled to connect to Ubi’s servers in order to prove to them that I hadn’t exchanged my legally purchased copy with a pirated one in the midst of playing.

    • casteel says:

      @MrWolf

      You still have that option: buy the game and then crack it :]

    • malkav11 says:

      Frankly, I don’t care if they can’t manage the same level of security if there’s an offline mode. No amount of security is worth the downsides the always-online requirement comes with. I wouldn’t care even if the cheating potentially affected me, and as someone who would be soloing or playing exclusively with friends (like a whole lot of Blizzard’s potential customers, I pretty much guarantee you)….it wouldn’t.

  8. Premium User Badge Mr Pink says:

    This is obviously PR BS. They could easily have an offline single player only component, just like Starcraft 2 does. It would pose zero threat to the security of online play. And if multiplayer is the “default” option, then their point about people starting single player characters and being unable to move them online is also moot.

    The fact is, Diablo is a great laptop game. It’s understandable that people would want to have access to the game on a plane, or a train or various other places they don’t have an internet connection. Blizzard cannot be so stupid as to not realise this.

    • drewww says:

      I really strongly disagree with this notion. Your Starcraft comparison is unfair – you can create a totally credible offline Starcraft experience and other than achievements, there is no persistence to worry about. The whole offline/online character split in Diablo 2 was deeply confusing, and because I wanted to use my character with my friends Diablo 2 was effectively online-only, too. I think Blizzard felt like the split online/offline experience with no ability to move characters either way was confusing and made the experience worse for people. Plus, it’s widely agreed that botting, hacking, and duping made Diablo 2 a bit of a cesspool and online-only is the only credible way to handle that.

      I mean, no one complains that WoW is online-only, right? The problem here is that everyone had an expectation that this is not a WoW-like game. But practically, all major multiplayer experiences are shifting to look more and more like WoW’s always-on nature because that persistence level is deeply gratifying to people and sells games. I understand the access argument, but the notion that a company like Blizzard needs to make their game for people like you (or for any particular group) is silly. I didn’t like it when Bungie stopped making the kind of shooters I loved (e.g. Marathon) in favor of something more broadly accessible, but I didn’t condemn them for it. Market forces are a bitch and they’re making a judgement call that the population they’re excluding is offset by the increased quality of the experience for everyone else. That’s a rational, reasonable thing to do that I don’t think they should be condemned for.

      Whether or not they’re tone-deaf in thinking this wouldn’t be controversial is a separate issue, but I don’t think they’re being disingenuous when they say that they did this because they wanted a better experience for the people who are able to play their game.

    • D3xter says:

      Honestly, I don’t think they even talk any other language other than “PR BS” by now given all that surrounded StarCraft 2 and now Diablo III.

      Of course I don’t think “We want full control over every single facet of our IPs by taking every single right you as a consumer had away, deal with it.” would sound quite as nice.

    • Jumwa says:

      Despite what was said, it IS about DRM and about channeling all the customers to where their real-money auction house is.

      Regardless of what this clueless/lying bigwig just said, the Senior Producer of Diablo III already admitted piracy is one of the reasons for this move: http://www.pcgamer.com/2011/08/01/diablo-3-cannot-be-played-offline/

      And since they want everyone to be paying for virtual items in their single-player game that already exist in the game (not talking DLC here), they don’t want people to have the option of modding or offline single player, where they could tinker with the game and give themselves these things without giving an extra cut to them.

      It’s not an oversight, they’re just playing dumb because the truth of the matter makes them sound bad.

    • kikito says:

      They have already given their answer: “There are other games”.

      What else do you need?

    • Premium User Badge Mr Pink says:

      @drewww: You make some interesting points, but I stand by my statement.

      “Your Starcraft comparison is unfair – you can create a totally credible offline Starcraft experience and other than achievements, there is no persistence to worry about.”
      This isn’t true. Guest accounts in Starcraft 2 can still play the campaign, with all the persistence that involves (the campaign progress, selected upgrades etc etc). You are absolutely correct that botting and duping ruined Diablo 2. But simply having an offline option does not mean that the same problems will occur with Diablo 3. As long as everything in multiplayer is done serverside (like in WoW) then the multiplayer will be safe. People can cheat as much as they want in single player without affecting anyone else.

      “I mean, no one complains that WoW is online-only, right? ”
      Very true, but I don’t really think it’s a fair comparison. Diablo 2 has a considerable single player heritage. You argue that this is the way the market is going, but doesn’t the public outcry for single player suggest there are people who would at least like the OPTION?

      At the end of the day you are right that they make the game the way they want to make it, and if I don’t like it I won’t buy it. But I really do believe the quotes in this article are disingenuous.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      I do believe them when they say it not DRM related, I don’t think they would have any reason to lie about that. I trust them that they believe what they are saying. I wish they weren’t so obsessed with competitive play that they nerf those who just want a solid single player experience.

      And Drewww: I know D2 was a bit confusing, but once you got your head around it, it was fine. And most of us know that system now. It is rather silly to use the fact that WOW doesn’t get any complaints about being online only because the experience of the game is in playing with other people. If it were a single player game, it would, lets be honest, be awful. Also that IP was designed from the start to be MMORPG. Diablo was not and if they wanted to make this game online only, I feel strongly that they shouldn’t have given it the diablo name. Sure, launch a new IP and make that online only, they would still get complaints but no-where near as many. People have grown up over the last 10 or 15 years loving the diablo series and we don’t want to see the formula messed with.

      And if the industry is shifting to a multiplayer centric formula, then those of us who don’t want this need to kick up as big a stink as possible every time not just lie down and take it. The industry may ignore us, so be it. But this many of us are not wrong and the industry moves away from what we want without respect to the customers.

    • drewww says:

      I’m totally being unfair saying D3 is like WoW, but I do think this is just another step in the long road from single-player being the dominant game experience to multi-player being the dominant game experience. I agree with Koster’s quote (and I’m probably egregiously paraphrasing here): “In the long history of games, single-player games are a strange and very recent creation and taking a long view we will view them as an aberration.” Obviously I’m sympathetic to the multiplayer experience (most of my game experiences these days are multiplayer), but I do genuinely think that’s the direction the whole industry is going because for most people, being able to play with friends (and sometimes strangers) is a deeply compelling experience. Sure, Blizzard could allow offline play and explain it to people, but they really don’t want someone to say “oh, sure, I can play offline because I don’t have friends that play” only to later discover friends who do play, and have to restart their character. Wanting there to be no friction between playing offline and playing with friends with the character you love and all your equipment seems reasonable to me.

      This reminds me a lot of the rhetoric around Apple/iPhone and Google/Android. Apple takes an admittedly paternalistic approach and says “we’re going to craft a clean, smooth, and pleasant experience but you’re going to have to give up some things.” In contrast, Android’s ‘open’ market is philosophically compelling but ultimately app quality tends to be somewhat lower, developers tend to make less money on that market, and Android phone users tend to use their phones more as phones and less as app platforms. Blizzard is betting on the Apple strategy: a smooth, no options, well integrated story that just works (for people who can access it at all). Apple leaves behind groups of users all the time (hell, their latest desktop OS is leaving me behind one version at a time) but it’s in favor of a tighter experience for everyone else. I’m upset about it too, but I just don’t think it’s fair to describe what they’re doing as conniving or deceitful. Those stories exist and are credible, but they’re not particularly any more credible (to me, anyway) than a user experience-motivated story.

    • Premium User Badge Mr Pink says:

      @drewww I agree with much of what you say (other than the suggestion that single player games aren’t here to stay, but that’s a whole other discussion!), but let me make clear what I am talking about here. A guest mode, just like Starcraft 2, which is very obviously a “second class citizen” as it were. In order to access it you are entering a clearly marked offline guest mode, which is obviously cut down from the main event which you find when you login to the games online component. That still meets all the reasonable requirements you have set, and it is something blizzard already have in an existing game. There is simply no reason for them not to include it, other than DRM. That is why I am calling BS here.

    • DK says:

      “I mean, no one complains that WoW is online-only, right?”
      Hey guess what: If I wanted to play WoW with friends in a different country (which I do), I can. I CAN’T with Diablo 3 or Starcraft 2.

    • drewww says:

      Maybe you’ll get it! I agree, that’s not too much to ask, but having been in design for a while, all features have a cost. Not just in design, but in long-term support and distraction. Simplicity is a wonderful value in a design, and focusing players really tightly on the shared, online game space strikes me as a strong design choice.

      Another way to look at it is that people will no doubt hack the system in a way that gets you offline mode. That achieves all of Blizzard’s goals, too. They do no engineering work on it, don’t have to support it later, and mainstream players aren’t distracted. Of course, Blizzard’s history litigating bnetd case doesn’t help. But that was a revenue loss thing on subscriptions, maybe they’d let it slide here.

    • Aldehyde says:

      @DK: What? WoW is as much region locked as Diablo 3 will be and Starcraft 2 is. There is the EU server, the NA server and some other servers as well.

      Don’t spread lies, it makes you look stupid.

    • Nick says:

      because WoW is a fucking MMORPG and Diablo 3 isn’t.

      And you can join US servers from the UK in WoW, I know this because I have done so.

    • Aldehyde says:

      @Nick: Yes, you can but you have to by an NA account first. Just like you have to do in SC2 and will have to do in D3. You will be able to play on other servers but it will cost you another 60 bucks.

      I am in no way saying this is okay. It’s bullshit. However, spreading lies is also bullshit.

      [EDIT] I should probably say “spreading misinformation” but “lies” is so much more dramatic, don’t you think?

    • Sheng-ji says:

      Drewww: I too agree with pretty much everything you say in that second post, though I too disagree that single player is a modern phenomenon: people have entertained themselves with games since before we were homo habilis. As have many, many other species. What I do think is a weird modern phenomenon is playing a game with someone who you have never met.

      Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got nothing against remote multiplayer games per say, but I do have two issues with them. Firstly, you are reliant on someone else for your fun and they are reliant on you for theirs. Even if you are both great people, it can still be stressful and you often end up doing things to nerf your own entertainment so the other player can have more fun.

      Secondly, I am female. My experiences online if someone figures this out amount to vile abuse or creepy cyber sex attempts.

      So shoot me for sometimes not wanting to interact with people, especially when I am tired after work or just feeling anti social.

      I’m not actually going to be affected too much by all of this, but it’s still very disappointing. I’ll not be able to play with a friend who is close enough to talk to face to face, which sucks, It’s probably balanced taking the auction house into account, which I hate and there will be times when I can’t connect to battlenet or even better get booted in the middle of a game, which is a step backwards in the gaming experience. Apart from these things, I bet I will love the game. But I won’t stop fighting, bitching and moaning about the industry sticking it’s middle finger up to me and I hope the other people who hate this do the same.

    • InternetBatman says:

      They need to make their game for their customers. At the very best it’s a bad idea to make a service (which an online game is) without listening to customer feedback. It’s a worse idea to make a product (which a normal video game is) more flawed than its predecessor on purpose. Blizzard is stripmining the goodwill it has built up over the years. It probably won’t seriously affect Diablo III sales, but it could be a problem for them ten years down the line.

  9. ReV_VAdAUL says:

    A lot of the time big corps and governments make out deliberate actions are a “mistake” or unanticipated. “Oh the big contributors to my campaign made millions from this piece of legislation, how odd??” “Our products break just outside of warranty? That is unanticipated!”

    So there’s a small chance this VP guy is a bit dumb but a very large chance he is just fobbing everyone off.

  10. Lemming says:

    I love how they are sidestepping the MAIN complaint that we don’t have a feasible way to play the game without being chained to a desk at home.

    I really don’t know why they didn’t go with the online-only characters + offline-only characters option. They made out in a previous interview that no one would want that…I don’t think that’s the case at all.

    • urahara says:

      The reason there is an always online connection is simple: its the pay-cash market. If people can cheat offline, there is no reason to buy stuff. The onlt people trading then would be the online gamers and that would reduce profits.

      Who cares about the people who would buy the game but their internet connection is iffy or worse, the amount of money Blizzard would get from them is less than the people who would pay for trading (for examples of this see World of Warcraft where most the money is not from selling the game but from subscriptions and purchasable content because you play online with people).

    • Snargelfargen says:

      “Iffy” internet connections aren’t the only problem. Do you remember the issues that plagued WoW when it first started? Or even the authorization problems that prevented dragon age from working this spring?

      Online games are vulnerable to service disruptions in a way that offline games will never be. Blizzard/Activision are gambling that their infrastructure will work flawlessly. Which it almost certainly won’t, especially inside the first week of D3′s release.

  11. Devec says:

    Blizzard vp shocked by players just wanting to play a game without having to deal with a crapton of sign in forms as if you were playing accountant online, you don’t say.

  12. Tech says:

    I agree with their decisions. As a DII player (hundreds of hours) I hated dupes, hacks and bots. If this makes using and creating them any harder, I’m all for it.

    • aircool says:

      Yet all those things will still be created.

    • Tusque D'Ivoire says:

      I have to agree to an extent. If you approach this in comparison to D2, where the closed battlenet was the only place NOT full of hacked and duped items and characters, this shouldn’t cause much of an uproar.
      And that is how Blizzard seem to work. It doesn’t seem like they even take a look at other game companies, or the current state of PC-gaming.

    • Dionysus says:

      They can do that and allow offline single player. It’s not hard to give people a choice while making a character–”offline-only or online-only”–to give people the chance to migrate to multiplayer if they wish. That fixes the online-only gripe.

      (Then you have no LAN, region locking, etc.)

    • Big Jim Slade says:

      @ Dionysus: Not to the same extent, they can’t. With an offline mode, you need a local copy of every single file in the game on your computer. All the code for the gear is there to copy, making it a whole lot easier to duplicate and then trick the server into thinking you have it for online mode. This online-only mode means that those files are on the server itself, and you’d have to somehow ‘hack the gibson’, as it were, to get them.

      Now, I’m not claiming that there won’t be a way to hack or dupe, someone always finds a way. But I don’t think that it will be done as quick, be nearly as widespread or be as easy to hide as if you gave the hackers/botters access to all the files.

    • steviesteveo says:

      So it’ll be hacked next week rather than today.

      Well, that makes all the inconvenience worth it, doesn’t it?

    • Wulf says:

      Let me look into my crystal ball, here.

      I foresee dupes, hacks, bots, AND pay-to-win via Blizzard’s microtransaction system. And a very ticked off Tech.

  13. Cooper says:

    The backlash is not because this a form of DRM and all DRM is eveil, but because online singleplayer is just, well, nonsensical for a whole host of worn-out reasons.

    Surely part of his bloody job is to be aware of consumer attitudes to his online technologies. Way off the ball here, Mr. VP.

    • briktal says:

      People aren’t crazy with rage at Guild Wars for being online only.

    • Malk_Content says:

      @briktal. Thats because it is an MMO. Diablo 3 isn’t. Small difference I know but some people seem unable to get their heads around this apparantly unobvious facts. Although I will agree that GW1 wasn’t much of an mmo, but it was built and marketed as one. Diablo follows a history or rich singleplayer experience, great for when you’ve got a 2 hour long train journey, or your plane as been delayed for hours and you can boot it up in the departures lounge or various other places where you either wouldn’t have internet or would have to rent internet at ridiculous prices. Guild Wars is an mmo…

    • urahara says:

      Guild Wars was built to play co-op, and whatever the developers say it is a MMORPG. If only I could think of a Blizzard game to compare it to…

      For people with iffy internet connections or people who play on the go (long train journeys with rubbish wifi), Diablo 3 fails to support an important need…the ability to play a singleplayer game on the go. Guild Wars isnt a singleplayer game so it doesnt matter. But then again people dont complain that Mario Kart DS needs you to own a DS to play it legally, so you might have a point.

    • bjohndooh says:

      Diablo 3 isn’t an MMO?

      Here I was thinking it was a F2P MMO with a $50 entry fee…

    • malkav11 says:

      I would greatly prefer to have an offline version of Guild Wars that I could play indefinitely without any worries that they’ll stop hosting the game. I am not enraged and boycotting their game because it is an explicitly multiplayer game. You can technically play without other people, but the design is still multiplayer. You’re just substituting bots for the other players. Nothing I’ve seen about Diablo III suggests that it is any more of an explicitly multiplayer game than its predecessors, which I played completely solo and offline almost exclusively.

  14. Dionysus says:

    But… but… it’s what the fans want!

  15. Vinraith says:

    Well, if this is representative of Blizzard’s general awareness of what their players want I’m sure this game will be just fantastic.

    • Zogtee says:

      The current state of WoW would indicate that this is indeed a fine example of Blizzard’s awareness of what the fans want.

  16. bleeters says:

    “Rich and powerful” in “disconnected from reality” shocker.

    • The Sentinel says:

      I suspect large amounts of money are vaulted away in bowels, hence the reason why rich people suddenly spend so much time with their head jammed up their arse.

  17. Vexing Vision says:

    So Diablo 2 had this system where I could play my character, and then at some point decide to make him multiplayerable.

    Why can’t I have that?

    • johnpeat says:

      Because people CHEATED LIKE FUCK using that very mechanism…

      That’s not to say you shouldn’t have offline single player – but allowing people to move between that (uncontrolled) environment and the online arena is just a minefield…

    • Bhazor says:

      I can understanding blocking mods online in uber competitive Starcraft but in a co-op focused dungeon hack played with friends? Not so much.

    • Squirrelfanatic says:

      @Bhazor: The hacks weren’t all playerfriendly, you know? Things like auto-grab-mods that picked up ANY gold and worthwhile loot before human reflexes could kick in, maphacks that teleported the user directly beside another player, making ambushes unavoidable, or simply doing an almost unlimited amount of damage to your – human – enemies. It actually had a huge impact on multiplayer “co-op”.

    • steviesteveo says:

      Well, yeah. And some of them were quirky and pointless, but so what. It’s a game.

      It’s kind of nice that video gaming is now at a stage where we’re protecting the “sanctity of the game” but it’s just as nonsensical as when a stranger comes to your Saturday afternoon 5-a-side with the FIFA handbook and tells you how you should have fun.

    • Wulf says:

      @Squirrelfanatic

      I’m sorry but, to me, that sounds like you’re talking about bad game design and then trying to foist the blame off on mods. For example: Guild Wars allotted loot to people based on a system of personal player wealth, and money it split equally between all players (even bots if you brought them along, which was a really clever choice, since you had to choose between getting help and keeping all money for yourself or taking them along and letting them have their share).

      If Diablo II had had better design choices in play then the bots that are spoken of wouldn’t be an issue. If Diablo had had a Master Looter system, then the bots wouldn’t have been a problem. Now, I know that was then and this is now, and that hindsight is 20/20, but if you think about what I’m saying here, that’s actually my point!

      My point is is that Blizzard are still trying to make up for bad design choices with DRM and oppressive player monitoring and control. If the game is designed with the expectation that there might be bots, then it can be designed in such a way where the game can remain fair regardless, except this seems to escape Blizzard’s field of reason.

      ALSO: Comparison with competitive games is irrelevant here, because Diablo is NOT a competitive game, it’s a co-operative one. Yahtzee recently did a review of Call of Juarez (the new one) and pointed out how dick moves should be kept out of co-op. And I completely agree with him! Dick moves SHOULD be kept out of co-op. In co-op you should be helping your fellow players, because if you’re constantly being a douchebag then you’re only going to die anyway when the scaling is set to 4 players, but 3 of the players are massively underpowered.

      All you have to do is design the game in a way that encourages the players to be fair and rewards them to do so. If you do that then all the bots in the world cease to matter. Do you see? This is about how Blizzard can’t design a game these days to save their lives.

    • LintMan says:

      >So Diablo 2 had this system where I could play my character, and then at some point decide to make him multiplayerable.

      No. Diablo 2 let you create a single player character that was permanently offline single player, or you could create an online multiplayer character (but still play the game online solo). You could not move an offline sp character into multiplayer because of the potential for cheaters hacking their offline sp chars and then moving them online.

      This potential for confusion is part of the lame excuse for why they went online-only, because god forbid someone doesn’t read the warning about not being able to take their SP char online and then whines about it later. Far better to take away all offline capability.

    • malkav11 says:

      Actually, Diablo II had two types of character: singleplayer that could be brought to LAN/direct IP/open Battle.net games, which had no security to prevent hacking or duping or any of that; and closed Battle.net, which could be played solo but only online and was stored remotely on Blizzard’s servers.

      The latter is apparently the only option in Diablo III. They have still failed to convey why it was necessary to omit the choice of the former sort of character, presumably because there is no good reason for it.

  18. Chris Livingston says:

    From the new Torchlight II site:

    “Play with your friends over the internet for free. No subscriptions, no item sales. Of course, you can play single-player offline as well.”

    Of course. Because to not have that would be, well, stupid.

    • Wulf says:

      Hahahaha. I like how they’re taking a shot at Blizzard. And Blizzard deserve that and more.

      Love you, Runic Games.

  19. chaosdeathfish says:

    He says “I don’t look at DRM solutions and go, ‘Wow, those are awesome.’ I look at those and say, ‘Wow, those kind of suck”

    How does he not realise that the reason the DRM sucks is because it forces people to always be online to play the game? Don’t get me wrong, DRM sucks in general, but the really offensive part for most people is when it makes it harder for them to play the game.

    Seriously. WTF.

  20. Vandell says:

    So, Robert is either the dumbest developer in the world and is out of touch with the needs of a large portion of users.. Or he’s lying.

    • steviesteveo says:

      I have a feeling that “VP of Online Technologies” and “developer” are two different job titles within Blizzard.

  21. HeavyStorm says:

    First, and foremost, Fuck Blizzard. Something broke when those guys left for Flagship, or maybe it was something else, but the enterprise I used to deeply LOVE as the best is completly gone. Starcraft II was a great example of a Blizz game, minus everything that made those games great, not just best value or top quality.

    It’s incredible how those companies love to get out of touch with their customers. Do we want offline single-player on games that we buy? YES. Anyone has any different feeling?

    I will only abidicate those rights if:

    a) It’s imperative to play that there is a online connection (MMO’s, TF2 kind of games that doesn’t have bots, etc.)

    b) If Blizzard can provide me with a permanent internet connection. Wherever I am. Because maybe I want to play Diablo 3 on a boat deep into the Amazon river.

    I know, the software is theirs, so they can do whatever they want with it. Once I buy, however, I will be glad to hack away that stupid protection.

    They can justify as much as they want, but the bottom line is that they are taking out a feature that everyone likes (or is, at best, neutral) and then telling us they are doing a favor.

    • Wulf says:

      Holy crap, someone else sees it too!

      Yes, I used to like Blizzard, but mostly I liked Blizzard North.

      And think on this: I still absolutely adore Blizzard North.

      Because? Because Blizzard North now goes by the names of Runic Games and ArenaNet.

      What was left when those guys left was just the dessicated remains, the soul of once-Blizzard, the good Blizzard, the we-actually-value-our-customers-as-much-as-their-wallets Blizzard has gone with them. It is there. You can see it in ArenaNet and in Runic Games. I love both developers for it. I have often professed my love for both. There is the Blizzard you remember.

      What carries the name Blizzard these days is just a shambling abomination that doesn’t deserve the name, and everything they do is either or eventually turns to shit.

    • malkav11 says:

      I won’t even accept situation 2. It’s not just about having a permanent, reliable path to their servers. This sort of setup also requires their servers to still be up and running. That not only can’t reliably be guaranteed, but it is almost certainly guaranteed that there will come a time when they won’t be. Ever again.

  22. johnpeat says:

    I think the most worrying thing about this whole deal is that people developing games don’t realise that not everyone HAS a permanent, reliable internet connection.

    It’s wonderful working in your superfast-connected office and you’re likely, as a techy, to have chosen a fast solution for your home too (maybe even moved to ensure it was possible) BUT your players aren’t in the same position.

    The same deal exists in other spheres too – I develop for Android and the number of people who seem to assume that an Android device will be ‘always online’ is similarly gauling – they have good Wifi and 3G and so everyone else must have too (3G in the UK is still a massive con for most people).

    End of the day, that decision will cost them sales – no argument about that – they either don’t realise this, or don’t care, either way it’s no way to run a business.

    • steviesteveo says:

      Totally agreed. It’s very dangerous for a person who develops 3D online multiplayer video games for a living to believe that everyone is as technically minded as you.

  23. Symitri says:

    This wouldn’t frustrate me as much if I lived in a country where I had faith in my internet connection. But I live in Australia and at any moment, the weather can screw up the cables and leave me without internet for days (it’s either that or the kangaroos powering our CRAZY ISPS WITH THEIR CRAZY KANGAROO WHEELS OF KINETIC POWER escape).

    It’s bad enough that Steam sometimes refuses to work in offline mode when this happens, shutting me out of 90% of my game collection, but for a game that’s main appeal is a mindless time sink to help pass such moments by… Well… It just shows a lack of foresight. I think by now most people realise that their excuse of not wanting to disappoint people who max out their single player character and then can’t port him over to multiplayer is malarkey; I’m sure the number of people who are disappointed they won’t get to play the game whenever they want far outnumber the idiots who can’t read the fine print before they start a character that is labelled as having no multiplayer access.

    • nootron says:

      I played wow with a guy from australia for years and he was always having connection issues. I think the issue is those pesky Drop Bears. They just drop out of the trees onto your cables and chew through them.

    • Wulf says:

      …wait.

      Wait.

      What?

      Kangaroo wheels? How can that work? How does that work? Has Australia adopted a new set of physical laws and I didn’t get the memo? Kangroos tend to bound along in interesting ways, it’s not the same as putting a rabbit in a wheel. If you put a Kangaroo in a wheel then more likely than not they’d just end up upside-down due to the nature of their gait.

  24. pazmacats says:

    I wonder if those people have to memorize what they are supposed to say. Marketing. The main difference between Diablo II and III

  25. DSR says:

    Easy, guys!
    Hes NOT just a moron. He WAS hired to BE a moron.

    • Urthman says:

      He’s not just a regular moron. He’s the product of the greatest minds of a generation working together with the express purpose of building the dumbest moron who ever lived.

    • gwathdring says:

      Well done sir. Nice to see the less meme-ish bits seeing some sunlight. Or maybe I’ve been out in the sunlight too much to notice all the bits that have been made meme-ish.

    • EOT says:

      Carlsberg don’t make morons. But if they did…

  26. Ham Solo says:

    I’m still buying Torchlight 2…

    • Wulf says:

      You and me both. Torchlight II is everything I want out of that sort of game, really. They’re doing everything that Blizzard isn’t in regards to that. But as I said in an earlier post, the real soul of the Blizzard that was, long in the past, now rests with ArenaNet and Runic Games. Blizzard died when those guys left, long before Flagship Studios, long before Activision, and now they’re just dragging their feet and postponing the inevitable, hoping that people won’t notice that they don’t have a clue for just a little bit longer.

  27. Visualante says:

    So instead of putting the player experience first, they’re putting the secondary, market and monetary features as a priority.

    • bleeters says:

      Of course they are. The secondary market feature is going to make them money hand over fist, without requiring them to really do anything. And, what with us being little more than mobile wallets ready to be sucked dry, that’s where their priority is.

  28. Unaco says:

    Initially, a lot of people were quite surprised about the permanent Online connection requirement to play, even in Single Player.

    Now, this guy says “I’m actually kind of surprised in terms of there even being a question in today’s age around online play and the requirement around that.”

    Really? You’re surprised that there has been a reaction? Would this be because, whenever something like this has been announced for any other game, the gaming community have shrugged their shoulders and ignored the comment, as if they’ve been told the game doesn’t support Windows 3.1? Because, surprise surprise… whenever something like this has been announced there has been a veritable sh*t-storm of discussion in the gaming community about it, backlash, threats of boycott, angry editorials, vicious mocking, facebook petitions, twitter trends, and a strange after taste.

    And so, I am genuinely surprised at this guys surprise. In fact, I’m so surprised that he is ‘surprised’, that I am willing to call Bull-Sh*t on this guys surprise. He isn’t surprised… he just wants you to think that he’s surprised by the reaction, because the whole online only thing is an attempt to f*ck you (the “customer”), and if you think he’s surprised you’re less inclined to think that they’ve been intentionally evil. But I reckon he’s not surprised, and they were waiting and planning for the surprised reaction to the announcement, and prepared for it by crafting this line about being surprised.

    Therefore, in short, the world is full of surprises, and this guy is full of Bull-Sh*t (though not quite as full as he was yesterday, since he’s squeezed some out and given it to MTV).

  29. Stardog says:

    Retard.

    • Wulf says:

      No, not really, no. This guy knows exactly what he’s saying and why. Thinking that he’s a retard is just buying into this. They’re trained to make people think that they’re vulnerable idiots. It’s the same thing that Murdoch is trying to pull currently. If you can make people think that you made mistakes simply because you’re not very bright, or because you aren’t in control, because you’re an idiot or a bumbling yet lovable old man, then you can avoid blame in the public eye.

      This is the oldest trick in the book, and this man is most certainly not an idiot.

    • gwathdring says:

      Also it leaves you a safer exit if you change your mind. “We were genuinely surprised. Once we realized, we decided …’well, if they really think it’s a bad idea we can tone it down a LITTLE.” Again, one of the older marketing tactics out there. Play dumb, keep your options open, maintain positive spin AT ALL TIMES, and NEVER admit to caring about something more than the customer.

      And then in the future, if you decide not to screw over your customers for whatever reason, you can then turn it around and turn the negative spin on (but only in hindsight). Then you get to pull the humility card and look all honest. Like when Dominoes pulled the “Our pizza sucked. REALLY sucked. So now it doesn’t taste like cardboard. Try it!” And then everyone thinks you’re being cute and friendly and gives you another go because look at the cute little corporation trying to apologize for being all bumbling and bad at things … let’s give the awkward little scamp a chance.

      Developers have souls. If they appear not to, it’s usually because they have to toe the corporate line as part of their contract. Corporations are machines. They aren’t evil. They don’t hate you. But they do run on your money, and they will tear you apart in a dispassionate, neutral way to get at it. Many of them are fantastic machines that do quite beneficial things. But do not mistake them for being as human as their employees are in their private time with their friends and families. They do not make mistakes. They make miscalculations. Keep that in mind.

  30. Calcipher says:

    “Things that came up were always around the feature-set, the sanctity of the actual game systems like your characters. You’re guaranteeing that there are no hacks, no dupes.”

    What about when I want hacks, dupes, etc.? I used to generate tons of that kind of things with Diablo 2′s offline characters. Why? Well:

    1. Sometimes I wanted to play with a new build without bothering to level it up or gather the equipment I needed.
    2. Sometimes we’d have a friend over to a LAN party who hadn’t played before, we were able to run him through the first few levels and then bump him up to our level (plus a little to compensate).
    3. Sometimes my friends and I just wanted to screw around and generate fun/horrible/whatever characters for each other.

  31. Jacques2 says:

    As has been said and will be said again, this isn’t a mistake, this is dealing with the blow back of a decision that Blizzard knew alot of players wouldn’t be happy with before they made it, but to make sure their item trading system isn’t broken by modding. They can keep adding simple little items that are extremely rare, and they can continue to make money off of the cash for items trade system. Region locking seems counter productive to this, though it may be their way to avoid further bad press related to gold selling

  32. rubberpants says:

    Us: We’ve been playing single player games for decades without an always-on internet connection and there are a lot of things we like about that.
    Rich Guy: Now you can’t do that. You have to have a connection.
    Us: Why?
    Rich Guy: So that we can prevent cheating.
    Us: Why do you care if people cheat in a single player game?
    Rich Guy: We want you to be able to take your single player character and use it in multi-player.
    Us: We don’t care about that feature. It’s not worth it to us.
    Rich Guy: I”m confused.
    Us: Clearly.

    • malkav11 says:

      That’s it in a nutshell.

      Mind you, it wouldn’t be worth it to me even if I planned to play multiplayer. It’s just such a “fuck the customer” move.

  33. pipman3000 says:

    Someone kidnapped all the employees of Blizzard and replaced them with a bunch of incompetent people.

    I JUST WANTED TO DESIGN A GAAAAAAME!

  34. pepper says:

    That fella now owns me a new bullshit meter. Mine just exploded. I can say im fortunate I’ve survived.

  35. Joof says:

    So Diablo 3 is now a not MMO but an MMO like Guild Wars?

    • Dominic White says:

      Even when you were playing solo in Guild Wars, you basically had to bring a bunch of player-replacement bots with you, highlighting that the game is designed for multiplayer. Diablo 3 has no such excuse.

      In fact, they’ve lowered player party sizes in D3, so despite requiring you to play online, it’s even LESS of a multiplayer game. Impressive!

    • Wulf says:

      And my problems are far less with that and much more with:

      - Your multiculturalism is an evil, dirty thing, get it away.
      - Our game provides more of a single-player experience which must be played online.

      This is versus Guild Wars:

      - Your multiculturalism is a good thing that we support.
      - Our game was built around and encourages a co-operative play environment.

  36. Alphabet says:

    “I’m actually kind of surprised in terms of there even being a question in today’s age around online play and the requirement around that.”

    But he expresses himself so clearly, and so beautifully, that we should forgive him, right? Right?

  37. nootron says:

    *shitstorm visor deployed*

    I don’t really care that its online-only.

    I wont ever play a lan game, or mod D3 so I guess that’s why it doesn’t bother me but I also just like the persistent feel that online-only games provide. I suppose im a bit bummed I wont be able to play on a plane or bus, or on the off-chance my ISP explodes, but that would be like .0001% of the time anyway.

    I enjoy the feeling that a game is there even when im not playing it; that it can be hotfixed/patched quickly; that I wont lose my characters if my HD dies and I forgot to back up.

    As for hacking/modding, that’s what Bethesda games are for right? :D

    edtior’s note: don’t hate me. I love you.

    • MiniMatt says:

      Would you like to play D3 in a few years when they turn off their servers?

      How about when they go bust? Would you like to play D3 then?

    • Wulf says:

      Do you also support their region-locking?

      I’m honestly asking, because whilst I can understand the others bothering you, you’d literally have to have zero friends outside of your home location for that to not bother you.

    • malkav11 says:

      That stuff? All of that stuff? That can be there without leaving the rest of us out in the cold, or giving the game a lovely inbuilt kill switch.

  38. terry says:

    So the always-on thing is down to the RMT auction houses? Sweet, then just remove the auction houses, done and done.

  39. povu says:

    I thought it was a Magicka screenshot.

  40. MiniMatt says:

    The really galling thing – VPs at Blizzard likely get paid far more than each and every one of us posting here. And if he’s “suprised” by this reaction – if Blizz really hired someone to be VP of online technologies who gets suprised by an online backlash – then he’s quite plainly and simply retarded. Now we shouldn’t mock those with the IQ of a labrador but neither would we typically expect those of canine intellect to land cushy jobs paying a crapton more than we get.

    The other possibility, as alluded to already, is that he really isn’t suprised, that nobody of average intelligence and experience sufficient to be VP of online technologies would be suprised and that therefore this “suprise” is all part of a managed PR strategy. So he’s lying.

    Either way, this means liers and retards get paid way more than you do (and me). My poor little ego was already fragile.

  41. Trelow says:

    Meh, doesn’t bother me.

  42. Rohrmann says:

    Wow, I’ve been struggling with being a Blizzard fanboy since Burning Crusade(when I stopped playing WoW). I love all of Blizzards games(even WoW Classic…a bit) and found it really hard to keep believing that D3 will be a decent game that kinda fullfils what I expect from a Blizzard game, ever since they published the infamous first screenshots. But I always managed to calm myself saying ‘this is Blizzard we’re talking about and it’s friggin Diablo so they can’t possible f*** that one up’.

    Since yesterday, not so much anymore. I think we can bury our hopes that D3 will be anything close to D2 when it comes to what most people loved about the Diablo series. Instead it will be a more arcade controlled (permanent dodging of melee attacks in order to survive ALL THE TIME as part of the gameplay experience, are you fucking kidding me? Sounds console-controllerey to me…) easy to handle since lack of complexity (good bye individualistic character builds, hello WoW-’choose your class and have ‘fun’ with 3 different ways tops to play it’) and ugly to look at since outdated graphics(nothing bad there for a blizzard game) + crappy style(low poly WoW-model crap) = HUGE slap in the face for the people that made Blizzard. It’s just sad…

    • Wulf says:

      That’s because Diablo is not a Blizzard game. It’s a Blizzard North game.

    • Rohrmann says:

      I guess you’re right, closing Blizz North and letting people like Bill Roper go was the worst thing that could happen to Blizzard’s games.

  43. Squirrelfanatic says:

    I’m now waiting for Blizzards response to the internet’s response to their response to the internet’s response to their announcement. Exciting times.

  44. Homo_erectus says:

    No mmo’s have EVER had problems with exploits, botting or duping, right? Making a game require an internet connection to play auto-magically prevents all forms of exploitation.

  45. Deano2099 says:

    Game balance.

    Even for single player.

    Here’s the thing, once you go down the big auction house trading route (bad idea? I think it probably is, but once you are married to that…) you either balance the game around players having access to it, or you don’t.

    Option 1: I’m playing a Demon Hunter, go through the first three dungeons okay, loads of Barbarian gear drops that is of no use to me. I hit the fourth dungeon, get my ass handed to me because my gear sucks? Why? Because I was expected to go on one of the auction houses and trade that gear for stuff I could actually use. But I have no internet connection, so I can’t, so I have to go back and grind the first three dungeons over and over until I get good gear. This pattern repeats throughout the game, and I go on internet forums and moan about how grindy the game is.

    Option 2: I do go online, and trade all my gear from other classes to stuff that totally suits my spec and class. I then go in to the fourth dungeon and it’s so simple as to not be fun, as it was balanced for someone not using the auction house. I get more amazing loot, and trade for more stuff, and the whole game is trivial.

    Introducing trading like this completely unbalances the game. That’s why I think it’s a bad idea. But if Blizzard are doing that then they’re perfectly justified in claiming it’s an essential part of the game and that providing a single-player offline experience isn’t possible [note: this also means that the game will be nigh-on unplayable in five years time, because of no-one to trade with].

    • Rohrmann says:

      I guess it depends on how they implement the auction house, I don’t see D3 failing just because of this.

    • Urthman says:

      Then explain how the single-player game can be balanced both for people who trade at the auction house for optimal gear and people who don’t.

      The only way I could see to do it is if creatures are always exactly balanced with whatever stats/gear your character has, so that stats and gear are meaningless, which would be even worse.

    • Chris D says:

      You could mitigate it to some extent by weighting the proportion of item drops in favour of the character’s class if playing alone. Doesn’t solve it completely as there’s no way to do that for specific builds, though.

    • Rohrmann says:

      Well if they’re doing it the ‘smart’ way they won’t balance anything for the auction house. Why should they? They sure didn’t balance WoW for the auction house so why do it for D3?

    • Deano2099 says:

      It can’t be. The single-player will be balanced with the expectation of players using the auction house. If you don’t you’ll fall behind the curve.

      They didn’t do it in WoW because WoW had class specific quest rewards and most things couldn’t be sold.

  46. Mavvvy says:

    That guy must have so much ivory in his tower that his ancestry is responsible for the extinction of mammoths.

  47. Web Cole says:

    VP: I’ve got an idea; lets tell everyone that we were “surprised” by the reaction to the D3 news.

    Some Other Guy: Were we?

    VP: I don’t know. I wasn’t really paying attention.

    Some Other Guy: Oh, ok. Well, what will that achieve?

    VP: It will make everyone think we’re incompetent and don’t know how the internet works!

    Some Other Guy: Right. Er… right. Maybe you should talk to one of the PR guys…?

    VP: No, no, don’t be silly.

  48. bluebogle says:

    I wonder what it’s like, living in a bubble…

  49. jay35 says:

    What is so esoteric about players anticipating an enjoyable hack-n-slash sp experience? Particularly given it is essentially the genre of game Diablo belongs to, like Torchlight and Dungeon Siege.
    What is so difficult about offering a separate singleplayer game experience completely divested from the multiplayer one so that there is no threat of hacked characters, etc? To be so blind to a significant market segment means this fellow should not be making decisions.

  50. RegisteredUser says:

    Have we had the piracy justification yet? Yes? No?

    One way or another: THAT’S IT IMA PIRATE IT NAO JUST BCOZ.

    There, feels much better.

    Btw: Yay, Hattrick! Owner of three HIBs now. :D