How Diablo III’s DRM Will Affect You

By John Walker on September 22nd, 2011 at 12:56 pm.

Oh what a treat for everyone.

Diablo III‘s ‘always-on’ DRM is obviously a matter of much controversy, albeit a more nuanced one than that of Ubisoft. Where Ubisoft implemented the grotesque system purely as a claimed measure to fight piracy, Blizzard’s logic at least has some elements that offer benefits to the player. Battle.net, online ranking, drop-in-drop-out co-op, the auction house, and constant live monitoring of your progress, and monitoring to prevent cheating, can all be argued to be in the players’ favour, in a way that Settlers VII crashing its single player because the internet blipped does not. But it doesn’t make the problem go away, and I want to strongly argue that Blizzard reconsider their decision, in the face of its simply breaking their game. Because no matter how perfect your connection, it will affect you.

My intention with Diablo III is to solo the game. I realise that’s not the way many will play it, it’s not what the Diablo series is most famous for, and it’s arguably not the primary way Blizzard intends the game to be played. However, crucially, it’s a mode of the game that’s deliberately programmed to work, with NPC story-based characters to join your party and interact with you, and a single-player plot to hack through. It is, undeniably, designed to be played as a single-player game.

However, the always-on DRM makes this the most remarkably annoying process. During the beta, Blizzard’s servers have dropped a few times. Of course, that’s expected during a beta, but it’s also not unexpected once a game has gone live. And here, when the server goes down, you’re left with a ghost of the game until it eventually stops you from playing at all. I found that suddenly when I fired my bow no arrows came out – I could wander around, enemies were still there, but clearly something was wrong. And then it froze, a message popped up saying there were connection troubles, and I was dumped back to the main menu with no way to play. For no discernible reason. I still had the game installed, had no desire to be online or use any online functions, and yet still couldn’t play.

Clearly that problem only arises when something goes wrong, or when there’s server maintenance, which obviously will only be a very small proportion of the time (still time when the game needlessly doesn’t work, of course.) But a more striking and regular problem has shown itself over the last couple of days of playing with the beta levels.

You can’t pause. In fact, in most ways, the game acts like an MMO. For instance, quit it, and you’re given the optional cooldown to have your player clear the server properly. But it’s not an MMO. It’s not even close to an MMO. So when I’m playing the single-player game, and I’m in the middle of a frenzied mob, and there’s a knock at the front door, there’s nothing I can do. As happened to me yesterday. Twice. On another occasion I was surprised by a phone call that led to my having to do some other things. I’d safely left my character in a cleared area, but long between checkpoints. When I came back to the PC, I’d been idle for too long and the game had logged me out.

I’d been logged out of a single-player game because I was away for an hour. And thus lost all my progress (although not my items and stats) since the last checkpoint, a long, long way back.

In fact, currently, losing your connection (either by idling or the server going down) resets huge chunks of what you’ve already played, such that the map is blank, and you need to battle through it again. Whether that’s an issue with the beta, or something that will also carry through to the finished game, we obviously don’t know. But it’s another clear example of how having your single-player, offline game require a constant connection is massively idiotic and counter-productive.

Games with occasional checkpoints are obviously a massive pain for anyone who might or need to stop playing at that moment – something that’s not exactly an uncommon occurrence. But a game where that’s the case, AND you can’t even leave it running in the background, is beyond acceptable.

And this is all never mind that you can’t play it on trains, planes, at your gran’s, on the day a workman cuts through your phone line, if you’re in the army, or simply cannot afford a broadband connection.

Blizzard must address this. Yes, their motivations don’t appear to be a misguided and ignorant attempt to prevent piracy. Although I doubt they’re too upset that this is a believed by-product. But no matter how much they have argued that their always-on system is of benefit to players, it absolutely isn’t proving to be the case. And maddeningly, the solution is incredibly simple:

Create the option to create an entirely offline character. A character that can’t then be imported into an online game, one that can’t invite others to join in. That way any of the concerns about those finding ways to artificially improve their characters and then dominate online (something that really doesn’t seem a massive issue in opt-in co-op, but there we are) are removed, and anyone who just wants to solo the game can do so.

Sure, you can’t use the auction house. And sure, that means Blizzard will make a fraction less money from you. But since they already made the money when you paid them for the game, it would seem not unreasonable to let you be able to play it. Right now, in the state it’s currently in, it’s an inherently broken product. A single-player game that won’t pause, and if you leave it running will boot you out and cancel your progress. That’s insane.

And it’s all the more maddening in what’s, so far, an exceptionally good game.

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595 Comments »

  1. Teddy Leach says:

    Yup, not going to buy it.

    • abigbat says:

      really though? Everybody says this in comment threads, everyone makes petitions, everyone vocally boycotts the the game.

      Then everyone sees everyone else having fun and buys the game.

      • Yammo says:

        _EVERYONE_? Surely you are trolling…?

        The same has been said about players who dislikes the mandatory Spyware, Origin…
        …Yet, I have not purchased a single EA title since they moved their stuff to Origin. Thus, your comment is logically complete and utter void. Unless, of course, you would argue that I am so incredibly unique, that I am the only one on the planet who has integrity. But that would surely be folly. Thus there is at least two. Rinse and repeat and voilá, your comment isn’t just logically faulty, but an outright lie. Nobody could possibly be stupid enough to make such a moronic statement, thus, you are trolling.

    • ix says:

      On a game that sells millions, the couple of thousands (or even tens of thousands) that might not buy it because of DRM are really only a drop in the bucket.

    • Ultra Superior says:

      I’d love to buy the shit out of this game. I’d buy all the DLC they’d make. I’m addict. But this is too much. Just knowing the game does that makes it too repulsive to even want to get started.

      Grim Dawn – Deliver us.
      Torchlight – Deliver us.

      Anyone else, please make a Diablo clone asap. I’m going to buy it. I’m not paying for Diablo 3 while it’s in this state.

    • Tori says:

      I’m also going to skip this game – my connection right now is kinda bad, so I won’t be buying a game that I can’t play.

      If they add an offline mode like proposed by John, it gets a preorder.

    • Teddy Leach says:

      No, seriously, I’m not going to buy it. I lost interest in it months ago and this is the final nail in the coffin.

    • pakoito says:

      How about cracking the shit out of it? I’m guessing day 2 offline patches.

    • oatmeal says:

      I won’t buy it either. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I would rather give up gaming completely than accept these new DRM schemes. Feels strange to say it, but it wouldn’t be such a great loss. I’ve played my favorites so many times for so many years, and I’m not such a junkie that I have to play these new games. The exceptions to all the titlesI refuse to buy don’t warrant the cost of a new gaming rig.

    • GenBanks says:

      What if it turns out to be an absolute classic game? Surely game quality should trump it being set up like an MMO…

    • Zepp says:

      @Teddy

      lol

    • bglamb says:

      Not sure cracking is gonna be easy if the server is providing all the details on mobs & drops.

    • westyfield says:

      I’m with Teddy. I was vaguely interested in Diablo 3 from the start, but this is too much.

    • abigbat says:

      Someone will set up custom servers like in WoW (where you can play with just a few people, level to 70 in a single hit etc).

    • arccos says:

      The thing is, quite a few people actually aren’t going to buy the game because of this. For people like me that find this type of game only moderately interesting, this really is a deal breaker. I’m sure people who love the genre will probably buy it if its good. But Blizzard is losing a portion of people that really are on the fence about it.

    • Arkaniani says:

      No matter how intrusive the DRM will be. This game will be miles and miles ahead of copy-cats like Grim Dawn and Torchlight. There is simply much more substance to Diablo 3

    • Bull0 says:

      I’m rapidly becoming less and less interested in Diablo 3. Some of these revelations mark the last straw – no pause? And generally the game behaving like an MMO-lite? Why not just play a sodding MMO, then? Forget this.

    • godgoo says:

      I have never played a Diablo, s’not really my genre but the more I’ve been reading about this game I have started to get interested. Always online doesn’t bother me as much as it probably should (I do all of my gaming at home on my desktop with a very strong connection) but this is just insane, I fall into the category of people who probably won’t be able to sync my friends into a co-op game, doesn’t like playing with randoms, and has only a passing interest (at best) in things like auction houses.

      I like gameplay, I like stories. To have a single player game that behaves like an MMO as if that’s an accepted norm is just plain stupid, and has done them out of a sale, not out of fan boi rage, misplaced self righteousness or internet angst, just because it has become unappealing to me.

    • Ultra Superior says:

      @ oatmeal

      I agree, though I don’t think this is going to be an issue. People who won’t accept this are a market too. There will be studios like paradox, cd projekt and crate etc. who will serve this market. And they’ll get better.

      Also, there is not much space for more than one activision. It’s just like appstores – only the giants such as google and apple can afford to run the appstore – only activision blizzard* can run the Auction House.

      All the other attempts will inevitably fail, so this won’t be an issue. Shame about Diablo 3 being the bait, I’d love to enjoy it if not for the evil behind it.

      *Valve too, if they merge the steam trading shite with enough good titles.

    • gallardo1 says:

      I would like to have that choice, but I can’t miss it, after all the good moments with D2.
      I really appreciate this article in the way it isn’t moved by anger, but the desire to fully like the game when released.
      It really has no sense forcing me to play a singleplayer game always online and cheats are only an excuse, because in D2 players couldn’t import singleplayer character online, but only in separated special server (obviously plagued by all kind of cheats).

    • The Sombrero Kid says:

      There are a lot of much better games than this I’ve deprived myself of because of publisher politics.

    • Keymonk says:

      Really not, for me. I’ll be getting Torchlight 2 instead.

    • nofing says:

      This game has been on the top of my wishlist, since it’s been announced (actually even prior to that), but my internet connection isn’t good/reliable enough to let me play online games. And no pause option, seriously? Well, I guess not everybody plays games like I do, but on some games my game time shown in Steam is double the time (or even more), of what I actually played, because I’m doing other stuff in between and don’t want to lose my progress.

    • ZeDestructor says:

      Shameless piggybacking on first comment :P

      IMO offline characters and gameplay is a must, and I even argue that offline characters should be allowed to be imported online/into a LAN. That’s perfect for having fun with friends without any of the online troubles and just for kicks. Yes, it allows cheating, but implement a Valve-like anti cheat option that only allows verified online characters and the balance issue is fixed while allowing cheating for lulz for offline people. Yes, I used to dupe items, but it was offline, with friends, for fun, and that comes down to it, games are supposed to be fun, no matter how, which is why people like me still play Diablo 2, and even the Original Diablo and hilarious gameplay videos like the DXHR Safety Dance turn up.

    • Sian says:

      “really though? Everybody says this in comment threads, everyone makes petitions, everyone vocally boycotts the the game.

      Then everyone sees everyone else having fun and buys the game.”

      I always wonder how people saying stuff like this can even presume to know what others are buying. I know I never bought a game with any kind of always-on “feature”.

    • abigbat says:

      a fairly classic example:

      http://i.imgur.com/abXW9.png

    • Urthman says:

      I never played Diablo 2, but got hooked on the genre by Titan Quest. I was really looking forward to D3, but this just isn’t going to work.

      For me, Diablo 3 is in the category, “I don’t have a computer that can play that game.”

    • Sian says:

      13 of 39 is not “everyone”. Far from it. I don’t know what it looks like further down the page on that screenshot, nor do I know about the situation on the other 30 pages, so these 13 people might be the only ones out of hundreds. Of course, everyone else might also be breaking their boycott, but even so, it’s only one example.

      In short: Both you and me can only speak for ourselves. When I boycott, I boycott. So clearly it’s never “everyone” who buys a game they intended to leave on the shelf.

    • Dana says:

      Well Im always online, so its not the problem. Real money auction house is a dealbreaker for me.

    • Screamer says:

      Not buying it either….already dealt with their supposed ‘offline’ in SC2. It only works until you actually need to be offline. An their support is atrocious/useless/pathetic…..

      So no thanks, it that is how their supposed offline mode works… I can just imagine what a clusterfuck this always-online is going to be…..

    • ZillaRacing says:

      stop lying because all the cool kids are.

    • abigbat says:

      @Sian exactly. Personally I’m delighted that you’re going to follow through on your decision; far too many “gamers” (a term I despise) don’t know how to vote with their wallets.

      The issue may not overly affect me, but if it affects you then bloody well stick to your guns.

    • drewski says:

      @ abigbat – please don’t judge the entirety of the globe on the basis of your spineless friends.

    • PFlute says:

      If the no-pause thing is for real, that might be the last straw unfortunately. Stuff comes up VERY regularly for me, so that would be sort of a deal breaker.

    • abigbat says:

      Spineless? Is abstaining from buying a product tantamount to heroism now?

      Calm down.

    • Mattressi says:

      Yeah, I’m still definitely not buying (especially so because of this article – didn’t realise how many other problems always-online DRM caused). Since they announced that there’d be no LAN play I decided I wasn’t buying it. Then it just got worse when they announced that there’s no offline SP, and now this article which makes it seem even worse. It’s not necessarily a boycott – I would buy this game so that I could play it on LAN with my wife. If I can’t do that, I really just don’t think I’d enjoy it. ARPGs are just generally not as fun by yourself and they suck balls playing online with some random douchebags (or if you live in Australia, generally everyone to play with won’t speak English). I don’t have time for clans and I just generally don’t like playing online. Much rather play LAN – especially when I can get my friends together for a LAN party.

      As has been said though; I don’t care that I can’t play D3. Torchlight 2 and Grim Dawn seem amazing. I preferred Titan Quest to Diablo 2, so hopefully Grim Dawn will be as good or better. I simply have way to many games to play to care much about missing out on D3. I just worry that if D3 sells well, other publishers will decide that always-on DRM isn’t hated so they should use it.

    • Kaira- says:

      Not going to buy it either. Not only because of the horribad DRM, but also because Diablo 2 wasn’t really good game IMO and as such I’m not expecting Diablo 3 to be any better.

    • Groove says:

      Originally I had very little interest in Diablo 3, since I’m not a huge fan (any sort of fan really) of hack n’slashing.

      Then all the beta coverage came out, and I was suddenly excited by it. It’s a Blizzard game, and it looks SOOOO good. I am quite aroused.

      Now…..not pausing? Really? That’s the worst thing they could have added. It’s like I’m being given the choice, would I like to play Diablo 3, or have a functioning life? That’s really how I see it, Diablo or hemit.

      I have to answer my phone some times. I enjoy grabbing gasps of gaming while I cook food. I have my fiancee come speak to me while playing games all the freaking time. I often enjoy going to the bathroom WHEN I WANT TO. Do I want to have to clear this entire freaking mob before I go for a dump? No, I wouldn’t, and yes, I’m above wearing a diaper.

      Why am I annoyed? Because I was really excited aboit this game five minutes ago =(

    • jonfitt says:

      Yeah, it’s a pass for me too.
      I’ve only ever solo’d ARPGs from Diablo to Borderlands and everything in between. The idea of cash transactions and auction houses already turns me off. But being unable to pause, or having an Internet glitch wipeout progress is just unacceptable to me.
      My life has no room for a game I can’t stop and start when I choose. Even a system like Borderlands had without quicksave was almost no good.

    • Rhin says:

      No pausing is the least concerning niggle ever. Open a town portal, sit in town, problem solved. Seriously.

      Now idle timeouts after an hour? that’s a bigger problem. sometimes mom does make you clean your room, or come to dinner, and you’re not ready to leave the game yet. There’s no workaround.

      Of course, always-online is an unfortunate requirement in itself. I’m still going to give Blizzard my monies though.

    • Nameless1 says:

      Me too.

    • AMonkey says:

      Same. No mods, legitimising gold buying while Blizzard keeps all the profits and online DRM are enough to make no buy. And yes I will fallow through. There is Torchlight 2 to keep me busy in the same genre not to mention all the other great games coming out this year. I’m not so addicted that I will buy whatever pos is released.

    • DrGonzo says:

      I’m going to play it and enjoy it. Because I have perspective and a life. Also, it is pretty much just a toy, is it really worth getting this angry and grumpy about a play thing?

    • Davie says:

      Yep, they won’t be getting my money! Path of Exile is free!

    • Milky1985 says:

      @abigbat

      “a fairly classic example:

      http://i.imgur.com/abXW9.png

      Is this a new form of godwins law?

      “The longer a disucssion about boycotting a game , the likelyhood of someone posting the image showing the MW2 boycott group increases to 1″

      And again i will say that with a lot of boycotts not everyone will follow though, the main effect is the idea of hte boycott itself as it makes shareholders of PLC companies very nurvous.

    • vodkarn says:

      “really though? Everybody says this in comment threads, everyone makes petitions, everyone vocally boycotts the the game.

      Then everyone sees everyone else having fun and buys the game.”

      I think there are ENOUGH problems that while not everyone will be on exactly the same page, the result is the same.

      My friends and I were super-psyched for this game (as kids these days say.) The vast majority of us played a lot of Diablo 2, Titan Quest, etc. We stopped playing WoW because, well, Cataclysm, and are looking for a game we can all play together. There’s between 6-8 of us online at any given time, and we figured Diablo 3 was going to be the way to go.

      A couple of us are.. not impressed with Blizzard/Activision at all.
      Then we hear about the auction houses – three say “fuck no.”
      Then we hear about the “always on” thing – three say “fuck no.” (one guy lives in the boonies, so that’s an instant deal-breaker for him. He was our comically disconnecting DPS in WoW. We did not let him tank.)

      So I send them links to Torchlight 2, and bang, everyone is in. We’re counting the days and realyl excited to try it. A good half of us played the first one, and the rest remember seeing those people play it.

      Honestly, I can’t think of any actual feature Diablo 3 provides that Torchlight does not. And I mean redeeming features, not ‘We’ll randomly decide it’s not OK for you to do the following..’

    • Azru says:

      Decided to log in just to say that me and my friends ARE going to buy it. Just like millions of people can’t really be bothered to respond to all those whine-posts. Like the other guy said, you folks are just the vocal minority, if you wan’t to miss out on the best h&s to be released in 10 years that nothing will beat to the #1 spot in the genre for many years to come, be my guest.

      I had the opportunity to try out the beta on my friends account yesterday and I must say Torchlight pales in comparison when it comes to “meatiness” of the gameplay and how tight and enjoyable it feels. And don’t kid yourselves, T2 will be just the same thing that T1 was but with co-op and different environments. (see TotalBiscuit’s lengthy hands-on on YT) It’s a great game, I agree, but once you have the chance to compare it to D3, not many people in all honesty can disagree that Blizzard’s game is vastly superior. (same thing goes for the Path of the Exile)

      TL;DR: Online-only is shit but not shit enough for millions of people to miss out on the best hack and slash game that will come out in the next couple of years for sure.

    • Nogo says:

      “I’m going to play it and enjoy it. Because I have perspective and a life. Also, it is pretty much just a toy, is it really worth getting this angry and grumpy about a play thing?”

      I think you’ve got it backwards. People with lives need pause buttons and anyone with a decent perspective realizes paying $60 for a broken toy is a silly thing to do.

      But thinking like that would get in the way of your condescension, so I can see why you avoid it.

    • abigbat says:

      As I said before, I’m glad people are sticking to their guns and not buying the game if they don’t agree with the developer’s actions.

      The Modern Warfare 2 example may be over used Milky, but it’s pretty much the only effective way of visually demonstrating the drop off on boycotts (which was also seen in the Left 4 Dead 2 boycott where the actual leader of the whole affair dropped it when offered a free copy).

      Anyway, if you do stick to it and vote with your wallet that’s great; games like Torchlight need support, and if you find it’s package more appealing then it’s all good.

    • Wulf says:

      I’m definitely not going to buy it. Torchlight II is more up my alley anyway.

      I suppose it’s the story on top of everything else that killed it for me. “Hahahaha, really?!” That was my reaction. A magical meteor falls from the sky, undead, corruption. Hrmn… aside from the magical meteor this all sounds very familiar, where have I heard this bef–oh, Warcraft. That’s right. Every Warcraft ever since Warcraft III, including World of Warcraft, and now Diablo III. Blizzard certainly knows how to get mileage out of their plots!

      I suspect that Torchlight II will do something markedly different with its plot, and it already has a more compelling world (I love the engineers) and artistic design, it doesn’t have the always on DRM, and I can play with whomever I want. This brings me to another point: A group of people in my little social gathering, my friends, and my more distant family, were all going to get this. And now? None of them are going to bother. Why? Blizzard sez: People who live in other regions of the world are filthy, dirty foreigners and you should only play with people from your own region.

      Yeah, no.

      Sorry, Blizzard. None of my friends are xenophobic, and I’m not especially. I’m probably the very damn antithesis to xenophobia. So I have friends from all over, logically, and the conclusion is is that a game that they’d want to play with me? Well, they can’t. I can’t play it with them, they can’t play it with each other, so what’s the bloody point? I might have picked it up to try it if some of my friends had decided to do so. But no. No one is interested. No one likes the ‘filthy foreigners’ attitude that Blizzard has going on.

      So we’re just looking forward to Torchlight II instead.

      I suppose it’s fine if you only have a couple of local friends, or if you have no friends at all then that’s even better, but if you have friends both from the UK and from a number of other regions? You’re screwed. Too bad, so sad. You can’t co-op with them because they’re quarantined. So are we. There’s just something distinctly unsettling about the whole affair. I dislike it.

      Now, I know that some will say that it’s because of ping times and that’s fine and dandy, but in that case they could have just popped up a warning telling you that this may impede your ability to play the game to its fullest potential and then let us do it anyway. I’ve never had ping times affect a game of Diablo II, or any game of the sort. I’ve never had them affect Darkspore. So why then should they be such a massive issue in Diablo III that we’re region-locked?

      No, the ping times aren’t the reason, there’s something else going on here. I don’t know what it is, but I do not like it.

      And yes, I’ll say this. I’m going to say this because someone has to say this: I’d be a sheep if I went into buying a game knowing that. Because I know what I know I cannot buy Diablo III, as I personally think that it would be unconscionable to do so. It would be supporting Blizzard. It would be telling all big publishers that this region-locking bull is something that they should all do. That all big publishers should be trying to separate me from my other friends whom play games. If I buy this, it’s telling Blizzard and any others watching that this is okay, this is fine. I’m just going to bend over and take this. Everything’s jake. All sunny. No problems here.

      I hope at least some of you can understand why that’s an issue for me. I’m not going to do that.

      I could have looked past the more meh art direction, and the gods awful story. I could have tolerated both if my friends were getting this. I mean, if nothing else then I could have had fun being snarky over how incredibly bad some of it is. :P Seriously though, it’s something that I might have had fun with. Who knows? As it is, no. Operation: Filthy Foreigners is keeping me away from it.

      Torchlight II on the other hand? That requires no always-on connection, it has no encumbering DRM, it doesn’t have a cash-shop, and it allows me to play with people from any region.

      As a person with friends. Tell me which is the better choice.

      Maybe now some of you will understand why I’m not touching Diablo III with a barge pole. And why no one I know is.

    • Deschain says:

      Buying it. Beta convinced me, the game is too good to miss, especially with all the memories of D2. Honestly, the always online doesn’t affect me. If my connection is down, chance are I’m going to be spending my time trying to fix it, or playing other games. I thought it might be a problem originally, but after starcraft 2′s always online, and after frankly never touching diablo 2′s single player (was always on bnet, either solo or with friends), I’m fine with it.

    • Wulf says:

      Just to make sure you people understand…

      You do get that this is region-locked, yeah? If you’re in Europe then you can’t play with anyone outside of the European ‘region.’ So if, like me, you happen to have friends from the globe over, being the sort of person whom tends to make friends regardless of their geographical location, then you’re screwed.

      The system means that I cannot play with people from any other region, and that, in turn means that I must not include any of my friends that Blizzard perceive as being ‘filthy foreigners.’ We all have to play within our little bubbles. We have to be good little boys and girls and stick to our own kind.

      That makes my skin crawl. I hate that sort of thing. If Champions Online pulled that crap? I’d stop playing it and giving them money the same damn moment they did, as I do with any game that tries to do that. I think it’s horrible. It also means that the people that I and my friends would want to play this with? We can’t. If a mostly American group is formed, I’m left out. If a mostly European group is formed, then some of my friends are left out.

      It’s just an ugly scenario.

      I just want to make sure you all understand that this is the case. My bigger problem with it is less the always-on DRM, less the inability to pause, and more the region lockouts.

      I mean, really. Let’s not have double standards going on here. There are no oceans on the Internet. And this is an “Oceans” scenario right here. This is saying that because I’m in a different location than a friend, I cannot play with them. Are we going to bend over and cast away our standards every time a game comes along that we like?

      Every time?

      That’s kind of pathetic.

    • alinos says:

      @Rhin

      i take it you haven’t heard. There are no town portals in D3. because they have terrible combat exploit abilities. Like oh im dying and out of potions and thing’s back to town.

      It’s why they have the ability to sell item’s on the go. Which has been a developing trend these days

    • Zogtee says:

      I was planning on buying it, always on DRM or not, but the recent rash of videos has turned me off completely. It just looks so dull.

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    • Kittim says:

      If Blizzard is so greedy for money and control, why did they not just make it a MMO and have done with it?
      Instead they opt for this farcical bastardisation.
      Producers, treat your users with a bit of respect FFS. That or just don’t bother, f*ck off and make console games. It would make more room for indy developers who quite possibly care a little more about their users.

      In case you’re in any doubt, I won’t be buying it.

    • JiminyJickers says:

      Me too, no way I will be buying it now.

    • tech7 says:

      Actually DIII was the first game where I could have imagined that I will not stick to my always-online no buy policies. But all anouncements by Blizzard make me less interested in the game. No skill trees, online region locked, no mods, no attributes, so offline-singleplayer, no lan (I belong to the minority of DII palyers who only played solo or lan).

      Currently DIII sounds for me like a dumbed.down auction house centred version of DII. Or more like a simpliefied WoW. Probably I will change my mind after trying the game, but I doubt I will try it as long as it has the always on drm (and of course if they even bother to make a Demo).

      Well money saved for Grim Dawn (or Torchlight II, but unlike Titan Quest, Torchlight didn’t convince me completely).

    • Neut says:

      Sounds exactly like D2′s online ladder – no pausing, always online, disconnect = randomly generated map resets and only thing saved are your character progress/items/waypoints, which are the only things that matter anyway. I was planning on playing this with my friends so the only time I would be playing it would be online with my friends. Definitely buying this and the gameplay vids that’ve come out is making me look forward to it even more. Will probably get Torchlight 2 as well when that comes out. Thoroughly enjoyed the first one but was sadfaced that it didn’t have multiplayer.

    • bill says:

      a better idea might be to buy it, and then return it to the stare because it doesn’t work correctly.

      Assuming the store gives refunds for that sort of thing…

    • malkav11 says:

      @bill:

      To the best of my knowledge, there is no store anywhere in the United States that will accept a return of an opened PC game when purchased new. (I know of a chain that sells used PC games among many other used items that will accept pretty much any return without requiring a reason, but that’s used.) If there exists such a store, it must surely be that rarest of fowl, an independent videogame store that’s somehow not only stayed in business but actually sells PC games. And that would not be an option for the majority of potential Diablo III customers.

    • InternetBatman says:

      I’m not going to boycott it, but I’m not going to seek it out either. I’m sure it’ll be good enough, but I have better things to play. I’ll pick up the Warchest in five years or such, same with Starcraft II. I think the number of people who are just turned off by this kind of DRM is fairly sizeable (from my view as a professional Internet detective), and their lack of excitement is worse for the game than hatred. Honestly the online auction house is more of a turnoff than the DRM.

      I doubt it will seriously affect the game’s prospects, but I’ll just by some Spiderweb games instead and everyone will be happy.

    • bill says:

      Ah. That’s a shame. AFAIK it would be covered by standard retail rights in the UK so you could return it if it isn’t fit for purpose.

      Either way, buying it isn’t an option for me. It’s not a boycott, but an unpausable game + a small child do not mix. And if (as i gathered from skim-reading wulf’s epic poem) i can’t play it with my friends in the UK then that’s out as well.

    • thehollowman says:

      I was looking forward to d3, but I’m not going to buy it anymore, at least not till a sale (do blizzard even have those?) it’s not because i want to send a message. It’s not because I want to teach them a lesson. It’s because i dont want to play it anymore. I bought ubisoft games with the always on DRM, it didnt bother me. The games worked, didnt break, the game was pretty good. But I can’t pause? auto log out? It’s not a philsophical thing anymore. It’s not about morality or my rights. It effects the only thing I really care about when I play a game. if it’s going to be fun.

    • povu says:

      All the things that D3 offers that interest me, Torchlight 2 offers as well. And Torchlight 2 gives me additional goodies like mods. At a much lower price, too.

      I may buy D3 eventually when I’m bored with Torchlight 2, but I have no reason to get it any time soon.

    • Bonedwarf says:

      abigbat: Yes, some people who say they’ll boycott won’t.

      But then there’s folk like me who WILL. Definitely. Without question. Hell I’ve already dumped pre-orders on 3 other titles coming out this year for a variety of reasons. (Battlefield 3, Skyrim, Arkham City) and now have zero intention of ever buying them.

      There’s a massive gaming universe out there. Plenty of devs who are more deserving of my money than Blizzard who are delivering a broken game.

      I was really looking forward to Diablo III. Yes I will miss playing it.

      But ultimately it’s just a game. I have several hundred others. Sure, the number of people who will actually boycott the game for Blizz’s asinine design decisions (and I don’t believe for a second that anti-piracy wasn’t the absolute number one reason for this always online feature) will be a drop in the ocean. Doesn’t matter. You make a personal choice and stick to it if you have any kind of maturity. If enough people had the cajones to actually show some character and do what they said, then, perhaps, it’d make a difference.

      For Blizzard, my wallet is now, and most likely forever, closed. I skipped Starcraft 2 as well due to the “Let’s split the game in three and make three times as much money!” nonsense.

      The fact is the industry continuously grinds out products and while short term it’ll suck to miss out on Diablo III for the brief time people will be raving over it, in a couple of months we’ll all have moved on to drooling over the next big release.

      The gaming world moves on.

    • Fiatil says:

      @vodkarn

      I would think that the thing that should be much more distressing to you would be that the game has a limit of 4 characters per game for your group of 6-8 friends online at once.

    • Leandro says:

      I *really wanted* to buy the game despite these issues, but I’ll have to evaluate if I’ll actually be able to play it properly at all if I buy it. Not saying I won’t buy, but definitely waiting to see.

      I just don’t have a good enough connection, and it looks like the game will transmit quite a bit of data. Any hint of lag in single-player would immediately ruin the game. How can someone not feel ripped-off experiencing lag in single-player? Watching Yogscast playthrough, even they lagged at some point, and I’ll bet they have much better connections than I do.

      Also, no LAN is another blow. Did not get L4D because of it.

    • Fearzone says:

      All I needed to do was play Darkspore to be convinced of the premise of this article. Lag and server downtime in singleplayer? Gimme a break.

    • trilith says:

      cmon guy. if he didnt’ mean it he wouldn’t say it. i didn’t buy sc2 because of it, and i canceled my battle.net account BECAUSE of their FAILURE to secure their own accounts.
      at the end of the day we vote with our wallets. and i’m not buying this crap. are you?
      if you are, stay off my friends list. i wont deal with morons with an internet connection who think that allowing big developers such as blizzard to get away with this drm bs that has NEVER worked, WILL never work, because the only ones affected are the consumers; the guys who buy this game are the ones who will be screwed by drm, not he hackers. it’l be bypassed, cracked, and in weeks just like world of warcraft, star wars galaxies, earth and beyond, the maxtrix online, and so, so many others, it will be emulated, cracked, and a new server put up in its place.
      i have no wow account, never have, yet i have well over 100 hours logged into world of warcraft.
      wonder how i did that? hmmm.

      keep it up blizzard, we enjoy hacking and cracking games from developers like you because you’re stupid enough to think you can buck a system that was a failed model from the start
      go ahead, screw us. cuz you’re not screwing us, you’re screwing the guys who BUY your games.

  2. Shadowcat says:

    It Won’t affect me, because I shan’t be playing Diablo III.

    • deanb says:

      You should have acted. They’re already here.

    • Tretiak says:

      “Shan’t”? What is that? “Shall not”? :0?

      I should spend more points in my English.

    • GenBanks says:

      Haha deanb I automatically read that in the voice.

    • Zepp says:

      I shan’t go to church tomorrow. That will teach them!

    • Burning Man says:

      But no-one wanted to believe.
      Believe they even existed.

    • ASBO says:

      I couldn’t care less about Diablo 3. The problem is when all the other developers get all misty-eyed about its success and duplicate this ridiculous system.

    • Casimir's Blake says:

      I don’t normally do this, but I’ll be adding my voice too:

      Not interested in Diablo 3 if offline single-player is not possible.

      However there is another issue I have: thanks to the horrid mouse-only controls of these types of games, and no WSAD/WXAD option, 1 hour of Diablo leaves me with terrible RSI and that won’t be any different with D3. Looks like this will ruin Torchlight 2 for me also. :(

    • utharda says:

      Ethernet Cables goes in where?

      I’m out too, the wife may still buy it. Which means I’ll have to deal with her screaming like a fishwife when it goes offline. Thanks blizzivision.

    • vodkarn says:

      “1 hour of Diablo leaves me with terrible RSI and that won’t be any different with D3. Looks like this will ruin Torchlight 2 for me also. :(”

      Have you tried trackball mice? I work with someone who does graphic design/concept art and she can only work because she uses one of those. It’s not quite as efficient but it beats a keyboard only.

    • Wulf says:

      I can vouch for trackball mice. I used to use a normal mouse, then I started getting the pangs of RSI. I switched over to a trackball and haven’t had a single problem since. They’re just very comfortable and I honestly couldn’t imagine playing games with anything else. At this point I see mouse gaming as masochistic.

      One bit of advice though from someone who has cured his RSI: Avoid the ones where you have to use your fingers to move the ball, they’ll cause RSI just as bad due to the wrist movements required. Instead grab one which uses thumb movement for the ball. That way you can lay your hand flat down on an unmoving surface, and the only thing that’ll move then is your thumb. That’s my secret for avoiding RSI.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      I’ve not had a mouse on my computer for 10 years – my colleagues give me strange looks, but I love trackballs – they feel so much more natural, no minging old mousemat collecting crud, no having to move your whole hand, lift, place mouse back down and continue. And they fit in the tiniest of spaces too!

      Oh and I completely agree with Wulf about the thumbball variety, so much better!

  3. Advanced Assault Hippo says:

    Aye, non-sale for me. And I’m someone who would have bought it day one.

    It’s okay, I’ll play one of the other ARPGs that are coming out instead.

    • Ultra Superior says:

      +1. Exactly the same feelings.

      I’m not sure they can even create a massive hype around this game, while the players and defenders of the game’s qualities will be constantly slapped by the game’s restrictions and mocked by people who protest against these stupid mechanisms.

    • malkav11 says:

      I not only would have preordered it, I would have preordered the inevitable collector’s edition (unless they went with one of those pointless giant PVC statues that seem in vogue lately). But this is simply unacceptable.

    • briktal says:

      The thing is, a lot of the “defenders” would, even with an offline mode, only play online, even if they just plan to play solo. The thing about this whole discussion is that there is a decent chunk of players (especially some of the “hardcore” players) who viewed Diablo 2 as an online-only game already.

    • aizvara says:

      Yeah, my interest in this game has been growing, but, for me, the always-online requirement is not going to work with my rural broadband, and the no-pause issue is not going to work with my 1 year old son waking up at random moments.

    • Bull0 says:

      Fifth second. I was conned by Starcraft 2, I won’t be fooled again.

    • Arkaniani says:

      the Diablo series is pretty much online-only, so yeah, a couple of people who want single player only won’t buy it, however the vast amount of people who buy this game, buy it for the online mode.

    • Ultra Superior says:

      @ Arkaniani – Diablo ‘series’? Lol. You didn’t play Diablo back then, did you?

      No doubts it will sell great. Sims sell great too I’ve heard.

    • malkav11 says:

      I’m sure there are a fair number of people who only played the previous Diablo games online. I don’t think it’s anywhere near as many people as some folks think, but I’m sure some, yes. Would it hurt those people to have an offline mode they could ignore? No.

    • Arkaniani says:

      @Ultra Superior. I did play the first Diablo online. Even more than the 2nd one. The game was much more satisfying with ramped up difficulty and party members to clear the game with. It was an OK game offline, but far from the same experience.

  4. Symitri says:

    Bertrand Russell once said “the world is suffering from intolerance and bigotry, and from the belief that vigorous action is admirable even when misguided”.

    That last bit is what describes Blizzard’s DRM on this game – they may mean well but it’s still a terrible way of enforcing it. What would be so bad about their players making a conscientious decision whether they want to have a single player character they can only play with offline or a multiplayer character that they can do both with?

    I thought giving the consumers choice was a good thing, not something to be afraid of.

    • Rii says:

      They don’t ‘mean well’. The other shoe dropped the moment they announced the RMT system. THAT is what this online-only nonsense is meant to buttress, and that’s why it won’t be going anywhere irrespective of how batshit stupid it is.

    • Milky1985 says:

      Blizz’s excuse from previous articles was that people would get annoyed and confused because they can’t take there SP character into a MP games.

      Its quite simple really, when you create a SP char put up a big messagebox saying “This is a single player ONLY character, you will be able to play offline but WILL NOT be able to play online with this character at all”

      Then your done.

      Because of stuff like this I think blizz are doing it all for the piracy reason, they are trying to add worth ot it (for them as well i might add with the auction house) but the underlying reason is not the nice fluffy reason lots of people think it is.

    • Symitri says:

      @ Rii: I included the ‘may’ to provide Blizzard with the benefit of the doubt. I’ve been against the RM aspect of the game since they announced it, but I have a lot of trouble believing that Blizzard is an entirely soulless entity. I believe a lot of the decisions may be made entirely for profiteering reasons but I won’t accuse the whole studio of doing it.

      @ Milky1985: Yes, I read Blizzard’s excuses for it and agree with your solution. Are they so afraid that all the terrible WoW players who transfer to playing D3 will get confused? On second thought, don’t answer that: I’ve played WoW long enough to know that there’s no helping some people no matter how clear-cut you make your explanations.

    • iainl says:

      Blizzard’s hopes for this lie in an active multi-player community, at least some of whom are paying Blizzard real money for virtual consumables.

      If they even allow you to invest time in a character that can’t go online, they’ve lost you. And seemingly, they would rather do without my cash at all, than risk that.

      Not because I’m fundamentally opposed to online DRM, although I’m obviously not exactly keen. But because a game I can’t pause or save at what I consider a reasonable interval isn’t a game I have time to play. It’s not like the genre is exactly starved of competition.

    • Archonsod says:

      “Blizz’s excuse from previous articles was that people would get annoyed and confused because they can’t take there SP character into a MP games.”

      Which is kinda hilarious. Sacred 2 had two online modes and offline, with a character being blocked from at least one of those modes depending on where you’d created them. I don’t recall a single player asking why they couldn’t use a character in multi/single player.

      Also, I dunno about anyone else, but if I’m creating the character in single player it’s a pretty safe bet I have zero interest or desire to take them into multiplayer. If I’d wanted to do that, I’d have created them in multiplayer instead. But that could just be me.

    • vodkarn says:

      “Blizz’s excuse from previous articles was that people would get annoyed and confused because they can’t take there SP character into a MP games.

      Its quite simple really, when you create a SP char put up a big messagebox saying “This is a single player ONLY character, you will be able to play offline but WILL NOT be able to play online with this character at all””

      Or you could, you know, use the same character in both.

      Honestly, what is the huge problem there? Man, I hate it when I want to play multiplayer with my friends, and some guy across the world took his single player character into multiplayer! It just pisses me off!

  5. endintears says:

    This comments thread is going to be epic

  6. Schiraman says:

    I absolutely agree, although I’d also like to suggest that ‘offline’ characters should be allowed to engage in co-op normally with one another. And in the game.

  7. Hentzau says:

    Checkpoints? CHECKPOINTS? Isn’t one of the defining features of the Diablo-style hack n’slash RPG that it saves your status whenever you quit the game, for good or ill, so that if you find the purple Sword of Farquad with +5 to Gopher-Smashing you don’t then have to trudge all the way to a save point or a checkpoint or whatever in order to keep it for good? That had better be a temporary beta thing otherwise it’ll end up sabotaging the entire game.

    • caddyB says:

      It saves your items and stats when you quit/get disconnected.
      You lose your progress though, enemies respawn and you start back at the last checkpoint and stuff like that.

    • Hentzau says:

      Yeah I realised after posting that that I’d probably misunderstood slightly, since it made no sense whatsoever. Didn’t Diablo II work a similar way, with the waypoint system?

    • iniudan says:

      You guy are seeing the wrong complain, he not complaining about the checkpoint itself, he complaining that he got disconnected for leaving the game running between two checkpoint for too long, because he didn’t want to lose progress, not because he quit by himself.

      In all MMO I played, you always restart where you camped after all or at least around where you went link dead, even if everything respawned around you (for better or ill). Which I think would be a better mechanic considering Diablo III been technically a MMO now. Just add the option to also restart at last checkpoint or last town, if the person doesn’t want the risk to be in the middle of a swarm of monster upon entry.

    • Avenger says:

      Damn consoles and their insufferable savegame limitations that brought upon us that “checkpoint” plague.

      THIS IS A PC GAME FOR GODS SAKE

    • ASBO says:

      The checkpointing system in Magicka drives me mad. A game that crashes regularly, that some of the levels take a long time to beat, and there’s no save at all. Except at the beginning of a chapter.
      And yet, maddeningly, it seems considerably more reasonable than the system used in Diablo 3.

    • mompkin says:

      It sounds like its exactly the same as Diablo II’s system, where getting dropped/quitting saves your experience and items, but every time you reload a map all the monsters are repopulated. It was kind of annoying playing singleplayer, but honestly if you played a lot you usually ended up repeatedly clearing several new map areas an hour.

  8. KillahMate says:

    “I’d been logged out of a single-player game because I was away for an hour. And thus lost all my progress since the last checkpoint, a long, long way back.”

    This is *unforgivable*.

    No sale. Dammit.

    • Kandon Arc says:

      Fully agree. I was starting to get interested in this again after that preview, but no pause and auto log off?

      Blizzard really need to get out of their ivory tower and find out how normal people play games.

  9. Gusdor says:

    If you weapon stopped firing when the server was dead, that means gameplay logic is being run remotely in exactly the same way as an MMO. The solution presented sounds simple, but the game doesn’t sound like its designed for that. Nor would blizzard want to distribute server code for offline play.

    • John Walker says:

      Yes, that is a big concern. But I have decided to remain optimistic.

    • Chalky says:

      Even if that is the case, there is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to pause the game or save at any point. Pausing the game simply needs to send a message to the server saying that you want to pause, then one saying that you want to unpause when you’re done. And if they can save at checkpoints, then allowing you to trigger a save when ever you want should be trivial too.

      Also, region locking!!! This is a massive problem for me – I have friends in the US and I want to play with them. Australian players can choose between NA and Oceanic servers, but Euros cannot choose. What are they playing at??

    • Mr Pink says:

      Diablo 2 behaved the same way when a connection dropped, and that had perfectly functional single player.

    • ahluka says:

      I was thinking the same thing while reading it. The infrastructure is already in place.
      I don’t see them making offline play an option, like at all. But if they announce that they are, I would expect the game to be delayed another 6 months AT LEAST; it sounds like the game would need a massive redesign to make it happen.

      Then again, this is Blizzard we’re talking about. They have (in theory) got the luxury of being able to throw money and man-hours at any problem. I doubt they see this as a problem, though =/

    • Jams O'Donnell says:

      Does this mean that we’re going to get a single-player game where ping times matter? That’s just wrong.

    • CoFran says:

      It totally is, if you look at the current “cracked beta” all it permits is walking around town, crackers say that all the scripts, stats are server-side, meaning that’s all we’re gonna get for a long while (just like for Assassin Creed’s cracks, people had to network sniff the legit game to include in the emulator, having information missing would freeze the game if the player tried to access it).

      Having an offline mode would contradict with B.Net 2.0′s direction, you can’t even consider Starcraft2′s Guest mode a real offline mode.

    • athan5 says:

      Before pirates emulate blizzard’s server , it will be flooded by thousands if not millions of gold and loot farmers from all over the world.

      Blizzard will be fighting an endless war against bots, scams and all sort of nasty evils gunning for the gullible people exposed by the auction system. There will be hackers as well.

    • hotcod says:

      You guys have to realise something… The game logic is server side so blizzard can control loot drops, they have to insure that it’s not going to be cheated the market flooded. This was always going to happen for online play.

      Now think about what they would have to do to give us a segregated offline option..They would have to build all the game logic in to the base product so it can be used off line. That costs time and money and by doing that they would have to give up always online as a DRM tool (a reason they’ve stated they went with this) and they would have to close off the AH to any one who wanted to play solo.

      In other words, in their view, it’s a bunch of work that devalues the product for them. Screw the consumer of course, if you can’t get online there are OTHER games you paid a bunch of money for that you can play off line… blizzard don’t need you.

    • iainl says:

      @hotcod – sure, there’s additional coding to run a client-side ‘loot/mob server’ for single player. But there’s additional server load to do all that on their boxes for us, too. I’m surprised that the cost of all those servers is outweighed by the comfort of knowing nobody out there is playing single player with a bit of cheating that isn’t going to affect anyone else.

    • Absolute Zero says:

      @Jams O’Donnell:

      Does this mean that we’re going to get a single-player game where ping times matter? That’s just wrong.

      We already have. It was called Darkspore.

      (Disclosure: I’ve only played the demo, and it might’ve been a case of “The longer you play the game, the worse the performance gets,” but I doubt that.)

      Also, my first comment here on RPS! Hello everyone!

    • The_Candyman says:

      This is worrying for people like me in the Oceanic region, as we usually don’t get our own servers in MMOs which means we’re playing with pings of around 300 on the NA servers. If we have to put up with that even in singleplayer then it’s absolutely no purchase for me and I’m sure many other people in my region.

  10. Kdansky says:

    I am not arguing that Blizzard made a choice that results in a better game. Losing progress between checkpoints is stupid, no pause function is crap and not being able to play on the train is also bad. We all know that, and we care, and Blizzard decided against these things to push for something else. I do not even necessarily agree with them, because I find these limitations very annoying too.

    The author of this article has not understood why they did it. DRM is just a side-effect of wanting an all-legit AH experience. The “simple solution” proposed is utterly pointless, because it results in single player cheating. Which would defeat the purpose of having imaginary bits with real value due to scarcity. Would people really splurge 100$ on a Windforce if they can get it through cheats? D2 items (which are also stored server-side!) are all but worthless compared to WoW-items, for the simple reason that there are hacks to get them easily. You can’t offer single player and enforce scarcity of items at the same time. It’s provably impossible.

    It is a social and economic experiment first and foremost. Blizzard will probably lose money by doing this, compared to offering a real single player, but they stick with it anyway, because they want to try something new.

    Cue all the hate from people who just don’t understand it.

    • PodX140 says:

      But why is this not an issue with WoW (Yes, DIII isn’t an MMO but enough people have made the comparison already.)? Why not do the same thing there and MODERATE IT for cheated items? Because this is a lesser effort solution and easier for blizzard. Simple.

    • Symitri says:

      You’re right as to the rational about why they’re making this decision, but that really just feels like more of a “yet another argument against the RM AH” rather than a satisfactory reason for the way it runs. If you introduce a new feature and it comes at the detriment of more essential features, you have to stop and ask yourself why you’re doing it in the first place. Surely the most important reason for adding features is to add value, not subtract from it.

      Again, I understand the logic you’re following and agree that it’s the most likely reason, it doesn’t make it a good one. Rationality rarely ever ends in happy explanations :P

    • John Walker says:

      That’s a confusing response, since I do recognise all those things in the piece.

    • TNG says:

      I agree with your post, aside from one sentence: DRM is a side effect? DRM is about controlling your IP; trying to avoid illegal copies is what you can consider a side effect from using DRM technologies.
      But yes, Blizzard is using this DRM to control (read: profit from) the virtual object market… harming the singleplayer-only experience for the consumer is just collateral damage and preventing early illegal copies/ boosting launch day sales a bonus benefit.

    • Sian says:

      If you read Mr Walker’s text carefully, you’d notice how he mentioned that single-player only characters wouldn’t have access to the auction house. They would be on their own for ever, with no way of interacting with other characters. How this would influence the AH is beyond me.

    • Kdansky says:

      If you did, you would not have written your simple solution, which completely breaks the AH-system, by introducing an “illegal shadow world” called Single Player where all the items are easily accessible for anyone who can start D3Trainer.exe.

      Let me bold that:
      The psychological effect of SP’s existence would have a immense impact on the real AH, and Blizzard wants to prevent this at all costs. Restricting SP to “no AH” is not enough. The cheated items still exist!

      Will it make the game better? Doubtful.
      Will it change the game experience? Definitely.

      And honestly, I’ve played enough D2. I’d rather have an experiment than a carbon-copy. What I am really worried about is that this might qualify D3 as “gambling”, and would therefore be illegal in half the world, including where I live.

      @TNG: Agreed. I wrote “DRM” and actually meant “piracy prevention”, which are two different things. They put DRM on every item, if you want to be technical. ;)

    • DiamondDog says:

      Oh well, as long as you’re happy.

    • dysphemism says:

      Introducing offline play would affect the auction house, as the op states, in that it would allow users to experience content without “buying” it (either with your time or money). It gates content from hacking, thereby increasing the perceived value of AH wares. It makes sense.

    • Kdansky says:

      @dysphemism: Exactly!

      Is the effect big? Nobody knows because nobody tried!
      Is this a good change? Hard to say, but it’s at least a very hard sell. You are free to not buy it. I also don’t buy CoD, because I dislike its shooter mechanics.

    • Unaco says:

      So… I buy a game, to play single player, solo, by myself. In order to experience everything the game has to offer, I have to pay MORE MONEY in an auction house? Despite already paying for the game? No thanks.

    • DiamondDog says:

      That makes no sense to me. So are there going to be items that you will only ever get by using real money? If it’s just a case of putting in the time to get enough in-game cash for the high level items, how is that different to putting in the same time offline to get the crazy loot?

      If they really are stopping you from playing offline because they don’t want you getting high end armour and weapons without paying for it then that’s more than a little vomit inducing.

    • bleeters says:

      You’ll forgive my lack of concern towards preserving Blizzards latest round of ‘ho boy, this is going to make us money hand over fist’ oddity as opposed to just giving me offline play. Between the two, I know which one I care about more.

    • Kdansky says:

      @DiamondDog: You misunderstand. One can either get the high-end items by playing a lot and getting lucky, or by buying them. But you can’t get them by cheating. So if you ever see a Windforce, it is The Real Thing, and exceptionally rare. And that makes these items worth a lot, just like legendary WoW items.

      Blizzard cannot enforce this scarcity if anyone can cheat their own copies, and if there is SP, everyone will be able to cheat easily, just like in D2. There is a huge difference in owning a Ferrari when everyone around you drives a car which looks and behaves identically, except if you check behind their name-plate, it says “Cheated in single player!” and being the only person in the whole city who can show off with one.

      This is the effect Blizzard is shooting for, for good or bad.

    • Oozo says:

      While I think that your theory is plausible, I’d like to ask: How do you know that it wouldn’t have the exact inverse impact? In the sense of a demo, or an advertisement, with people seeing and experiencing in single player something they enjoy, thus being all the more eager to have the same thing in multiplayer?

      I have to admit that I only dabbled in D1, so maybe the underlying psychology escapes me… but can we know for sure that it wouldn’t work that way? (Well, maybe Blizzard focus tested the shit out of it, so they DO know, which in turn, I wouldn’t know…)

      Edit: Ah, didn’t see that last reply. I thought it was an economical/psychological problem (sensu: items lose their value when people have gotten their hands on them, be it in single- or multi-player, thus ridding them of their aura of exclusivity). But it seems to be a technological one, with items you cheated yourself to in single-player being easily transported over to multi-player. Then it is, in fact a problem. So I shall remain silent.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      Just like to point out that according the the guidelines regulating remote gaming, Diablo 3 would require a gambling licence here in the UK.

      Guidelines here http://www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk/pdf/Is%20a%20product%20remote%20betting%20or%20remote%20gaming%20-%20October%202009.pdf

      Kdanski was spot on with that comment.

    • iainl says:

      But Kdansky, whatever loot I would or wouldn’t get in the game, irrespective of how I got it, you’re never going to know anyway. Because I wouldn’t be playing multi-player.

    • Ovno says:

      @There is a huge difference in owning a Ferrari when everyone around you drives a car which looks and behaves identically, except if you check behind their name-plate, it says “Cheated in single player!” and being the only person in the whole city who can show off with one.

      True but as you could only use your cheated ferrari in your own little world (singleplayer) then the only people in the whole city (multiplayer) who can show it off are those who got it legitimately, no?

      And oh god please get this stuff classed as online gambling that’d soon get them to change there tune, as one who works in that industry in the UK, I can tell you now the last thing any ceo should want is to be involved in is online gambling, people keep getting arrested when they land in america because their company has allowed americans to gamble on there sites…

    • Berzee says:

      Hey Kdansky, hey,

      There’s a cheat in Age of Empires to allow you to automatically win a game or get resources or stuff.
      So this means that Age of Empires multiplayer games are slightly ruined forever, right?

      Or if there’s an FPS where you can have infinite ammo in singleplayer,
      that means that online deathmatches are just no fun anymore, yeah?

      Yeah.

      Edit: Ok, I admit there’s a different between cheating for quantity (more ammo, more health) and cheating for quality (rare or unique items). So even if you’ve only ever seen The Amazing Device in your single-player ghost town, it might be enough to keep you from being Awestruck when you hit multiplayer.

    • DiamondDog says:

      I’m still confused, Kdansky. Are you saying that the ability to cheat items in SP devalues the items in the AH, or simply that those items gained from cheating can be transferred from SP to the AH to be sold? If it’s the latter, is there absolutely no way to have an offline character walled off from the online part of the game?

      If it’s the former then I’m sorry, I don’t see that as a justifiable reason to damage the playing experience of your own game. What will be the percentage of people that actually cheat? What percentage of people will hand over real cash instead of just grinding out the gold like they do in a dozen other MMOs? Oh I know there will always be people who buy hats, gold, skins, XP boosts. There’s certainly money to be made. But how much money are they expecting to make out of impatient people that the risk of cheats in SP is enough for them to remove it completely?

      It’s not like this is a F2P game and the AH is going to be the only source of income for Diablo 3. You’re right, it does seem like an experiment. A stupid one. They risk alienating a lot of players just for the chance that the AH is going to generate them a lot of cash. Obviously, everyone will be screaming “of course, that’s how games are these days!” Well, I don’t have to like it.

    • Ergates_Antius says:

      So… I buy a game, to play single player, solo, by myself. In order to experience everything the game has to offer, I have to pay MORE MONEY in an auction house? Despite already paying for the game? No thanks.”
      &
      “That makes no sense to me. So are there going to be items that you will only ever get by using real money? …..If they really are stopping you from playing offline because they don’t want you getting high end armour and weapons without paying for it then that’s more than a little vomit inducing.”

      Oh goodness, not this again….

      No. Items in the auction house are there, being sold, by other players. Everything there will have been found about another player in their game. Therefore it is logically impossible for there to be any items that can only be acquired by buying them. They have to have been found in the game for them to be on sale in the first place.

      You don’t have to buy anything from the AH, everything can be found in game, if you play long enough. However, if the first 2 games are anything to go by, some items are so incredibly rare, you could play for years without ever seeing them. This is no different to any other game that features random loot drops with rare items.

    • DiamondDog says:

      You say “again” but not everyone has read all there is to know about how Diablo 3 is going to work. All I was doing was asking for some clarification, there’s no need to be condescending.

      What you say just makes me wonder even more why this game can’t have offline characters.

    • Unaco says:

      @Ergates_Antius

      OK… So if I don’t have to buy anything from the Auction House, and don’t want to, and don’t want to sell anything to the auction house, or play co-op… Why can’t we have an Offline Solo mode?

    • Wulf says:

      I suppose that there’s a reason that I don’t understand about why I can’t play with my foreign friends?

      Well, au contraire, I’m a very understanding person, and I understand that my friends may want to play the game in co-op with me. I also understand that they are not permitted to do this for entirely nebulous and ambiguous reasons. What I do not understand is what the real reason is for separating people up into groups, dividing them based upon regions.

      I doubt that will ever be understood by me because the answer probably has something to do with ‘MOAR MONEY,’ and unfortunately that is an answer that I find entirely invalid. I bought the game, so I fail to understand why they should impose such restrictions over me in regards to the products purchased. Perhaps I simply understand more about consumer rights.

      :P

    • PAK says:

      @Kdansky: There seems to be a disconnect in your argument. Are you seriously suggesting that Blizz wants to control the psychological value of items in a single player game for that player? God modes and so on have been built into games for ages. In a single-player experience, the only person who knows you “cheated” is you! Yeah, others can look down their noses all they want, but is that really cheating, or is that playing the game you bought the way you want to play it?

      Now, in a competitive scenario, this logic makes perfect sense. You want to show your prowess and/or committment to paying extra. But John’s simple solution (the paragraph in italics) specifically SAYS, you bar single players from importing over to MP. That’s part of his proposal. So either you yourself aren’t understanding the argument in play here, or you are advocating for Blizz’s ability to regulate what people do when they play solitaire, which is just fucking absurd.

    • Joof says:

      “I suppose that there’s a reason that I don’t understand about why I can’t play with my foreign friends?

      Well, au contraire, I’m a very understanding person, and I understand that my friends may want to play the game in co-op with me. I also understand that they are not permitted to do this for entirely nebulous and ambiguous reasons. What I do not understand is what the real reason is for separating people up into groups, dividing them based upon regions.

      I doubt that will ever be understood by me because the answer probably has something to do with ‘MOAR MONEY,’ and unfortunately that is an answer that I find entirely invalid. I bought the game, so I fail to understand why they should impose such restrictions over me in regards to the products purchased. Perhaps I simply understand more about consumer rights.

      :P”

      Actually, from what I remember them saying in the past, it’s because each of the Battle.net regions is based on the server technology in WoW, where there was no point when they made it to allow cross region play, because everything was stored on one server. Thus, there is no pathway between the regions for them to talk to eachother. I believe in the past they said they were investigating ways to link them together.

    • Starky says:

      I don’t know why I’m going to explain this, because it seems to me PC gamers prefer to remain ignorant and angry over something rather than consider the reality… but anyway…

      The reason that D3 (and SC2 for that matter) don’t support cross region play – is because they were both built on the WoW server infrastructure, which wasn’t designed for such things.

      It isn’t a simple case of one player in America joining one in the EU (because everything is funnelled through local severs first) – and Blizzard no doubt use a cloud like virtualization system for their games to maximize computer resources.

      It becomes a massive task to rework that design to allow one instance created in an EU cloud to speak to an instance created in a US server. Old games never had this issue because they didn’t have that kind of massive server infrastructure dependency, online was basically just slightly fancy LAN with a master server to hook up the connections.

      Blizzard have stated that they are working on cross region play – and it is no doubt a massive software and hardware engineering problem they’re are trying to solve (they would basically have to redesign large chunks of their massive infrastructure) – and the recent merging of SC2 regions (Eu and russia merged, north and south America and Korea and China I believe) would suggest work is progressing on this and that was a first step.

      I’d wager it’s got nothing to do with “moar money” or anything so idiotic, it is that they had this massive server infrastructure from WoW that they wanted to use for SC2 and D3 also – but because it was designed for WoW it has MMO limitations (but also massive advantages in it’s efficiency at handling instances – and any SC2 game or D2 game is just another instance on that server bank) – which are not easy to engineer out.

    • jRides says:

      @Ergates_Antius – so, you don’t think that blizz will tweak the drop rates seeing as that uber rare can now be bought (at an additional profit for them) if its harder to find – and all games are now linked so what may have been a low chance to drop in your game is now a lower chance to drop across the many thousand linked games playing near your AH?

  11. abigbat says:

    Very well argued article. I’m still not too concerned about most aspects, primarily because I’m lucky enough to have a solid connection and am used being constantly online, however I wasn’t aware of the lack of pause and inconsistent saving.

    Hopefully the inevitable wave of complaints from beta users and fellow article readers will prompt Blizzard to reconsider some of these MMO trappings.

    • Belsameth says:

      This.

      I’m also not naive enough to say I won’t buy it. I already know I’ll cave anyway.

      Still shitty tho…

  12. ix says:

    I really want this game but this is just so retarded I can’t even… How did this make it past alpha stage? Surely someone in QA must’ve noticed all the same issues and gone “uh, no.”

    • Jarenth says:

      These people were then promptly fired.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      Jarenth, you underestimate just how much people are simply ignored in the gaming industry – why fire someone when you can just not listen to them

    • vodkarn says:

      People seriously over-estimate how much testers are listened to.

      I cannot count (literally, it’s in the hundreds) of times I have told producers/engineers/etc about a massive problem that would happen if we did ‘x’, only to watch them do ‘x’ anyway, then later complain that ‘x’ failed.

    • Azradesh says:

      It wasn’t online earlier development. In fact an earlier Blue post stated that there would be an offline option, but online would be encouraged.

  13. Mr Pink says:

    I have tried to make the exact same argument you do in other comment threads on this subject. Starcraft 2 has this option (offline campaign or games vs AI), why should Diablo 3 exclude it?

  14. mrjackspade says:

    Totally agree. And the funny thing is, there will be fully reliable “play offline” crack available by the second week, bundled together somewhat thoughtfully with a full copy of the game.

    • Tori says:

      I believe that it won’t be that simple, because everything is calculated on a server, like in a MMO, so you’ll need not only a crack, but also a emulated server!

    • Julio Biason says:

      I was thinking the same, but now I have my doubts. If enemies stopped moving and no arrows were flying when the servers went down, it means the whole game logic is in the server (as the article pointed). If so, the crack would not only replicate the “save character” part, but the whole map generation, mobs AI and such.

      Pretty much, Blizzard turned Diablo into instantiated WoW (like the first Guild Wars did with most zones).

    • karry says:

      “because everything is calculated on a server, like in a MMO, so you’ll need not only a crack, but also a emulated server!”

      So ? Every major MMO ever had emulated servers, starting with Ultima Online and up. You think some of the devs willingly gave their permission to create those servers ? A virtually impossible scenario.

    • Starky says:

      So. The point is that even if the game is cracked you’ll still need to be ONLINE – unless you emulate a server locally, which is possible, but not probable – you know many people who host their own WoW server to play it single player locally?

  15. PodX140 says:

    I would love to give this article more thumbs up than I can give, but I’m forced to settle with 2.

    Great article!

  16. Cvamped says:

    As much as I dislike it, I doubt Blizzard will take the DRM out. A big part of their current push is to connect their games via BattleNet.
    Oh yeah.
    ……Torchwood 2…..
    What? Who said that? ‘Looks around in confusion’

    • Xocrates says:

      Indeed. Mentioning a Doctor Who Spin-off in a Diablo article is indeed quite confusing ;)

    • karry says:

      It does make sense, though. A reference to a bad spin-off from a bad show, applied to a bad game ? Works for me.

    • iainl says:

      Oh, I thought it was a reference to Rusty’s bizarre idea to take his new product and tie it into his current one, despite there being neither sense in doing so, nor one being suitable for most of the market of the other.

    • vodkarn says:

      “It does make sense, though. A reference to a bad spin-off from a bad show, applied to a bad game ? Works for me.”

      /eyeroll

  17. Icarus says:

    Lost sale.

  18. deanb says:

    Has there been any official, technical sounding reason on why they don’t have an offline character mode that’s gimped in stuff like the auction house, but with all the usual SP perks like being able to save and pause and play for as long as your PC works?

    The concept of having all the downsides of an MMO in a SP game just seems insane.

    • diamondmx says:

      It’s explained in the other comments. Blizzard haven’t given you the whole game, most game-logic is running server side so there is no way to have an offline mode.

    • DigitalSignalX says:

      As also stated in comments, D2 had a offline single player -and- a online-only mode with game logic running on Bnet servers.

  19. Dominic White says:

    Once again, an article about Diablo 3′s DRM that doesn’t mention one of the biggest problems with it – they’re using it to region-lock the game. Live in Europe? Have a friend in the US that you play stuff with? Maybe Diablo 2? Well, you can’t play with them now, because it’s apparently too expensive to ship those internet packets across the interweb-ocean now, according to Blizzard.

    Fuck that in the ear.

    • frenz0rz says:

      What? WHAT?! Is this really true?

      Numerous people in my clan (which, as clans go, is fairly international) were looking forward to playing this game together. We’d assumed, at the worst, that the system would be something along the lines of Diablo 2′s Europe/US East/ US West realms. But now they’re not even including that? Fuck off.

    • ZyloMarkIII says:

      Are Blizzard really that stupid to region lock a game like this? They were already pushing for a multiplayer feel instead of a single-player one but they don’t even let you play with your international buds? What are they on?

    • malkav11 says:

      That’s terrible, but it’s nowhere near the biggest problem. A singleplayer game that I can’t play without a connection to Blizzard’s servers is unacceptable. A singleplayer game that can’t be paused or left idle in a safe area is unacceptable. A singleplayer game with a necessarily finite lifespan is unacceptable. A game that I can’t play with friends I don’t have on other continents in a cooperative play mode I had no intention of spending any time in might someday be an issue for me, but not likely.

    • Robin says:

      This is totally ridiculous.

      Practices like these, the faster are trashed the better. I’m sad for people attached to the franchise.

    • bateleur says:

      The region locking thing is doubtless due to performance. They’re going to be chucking insane amounts of data along the pipe and don’t want players complaining that it’s laggy because they’re playing with someone halfway round the world.

    • diamondmx says:

      Please add this to the article – it’s one of the reasons SC2 irritates me. I can only play with one half of my friends because of this stupid region-locking.

    • Dominic White says:

      @bateleur – Given advances in netcode over the past 11 years, plus the fact that there seem to be fewer enemies around than in Diablo 2, there should be LESS information being thrown around, not more. If Blizzard can’t make a straigtforward hack n’ slash internationally playable now, then they might as well just close up shop.

    • Milky1985 says:

      “Given advances in netcode over the past 11 years, plus the fact that there seem to be fewer enemies around than in Diablo 2, there should be LESS information being thrown around, not more.”

      Except now since ALL of the logic seems to be done on the blizzard servers (except movement, so teleport hacks will be the first ones out) there will likely be a high ammount of data pushed back and forth.

      All advances in netcode wouldn’t help when they have decided to add more info into the pipe.

      I assume as all of the processing is done server side then the CPU requirements of the game are quite low right?

    • Xan says:

      They region locked Starcraft 2 which is a god damn e-sport of epic proportions.

      You think they wouldn’t region lock Diablo 3?

    • Wulf says:

      Dominic White sums up my problems with the system eloquently.

      I wish I was eloquent. Probably used to be. Bloody degenerative illnesses. Anyway, that’s besides the point and I’m not going to dwell on that. I’m trying not to segue like a madman today because this really is an important issue to me.

      See, this puts a barrier between me and my friends. Blizzard wants to tell me that my friends and I should not be playing together, that it is fundamentally wrong to do so, and they want to place an impenetrable barrier between us, to keep us apart for the entire time we’re playing their game.

      This makes my skin crawl.

      It’s horrible on levels that I can’t describe. And why are we putting up with this again? This is the exact same reason that none of us play WoW. Guild Wars? You can choose your location. Champions Online? Everyone can play! Minecraft? Setup a server and anyone from the world over can join! Magicka? Hey, it’s all good! Darkspore? Bring your friends in! And the answer is going to be the same with Torchlight II.

      Give me one good reason as to why any of us would want to buy this over Torchlight II.

      For me and my group? Torchlight II all the way. TL II allows local servers, has an offline mode, doesn’t have suffocating DRM, doesn’t have a cash-shop, allows me to co-op with anyone I like, no region locks at all, and it’s the gods damn antithesis of Diablo III. I suspect that it’ll even have a more interesting story. I know that its art direction and style is already more consistent and appealing to me than that of Diablo III anyway.

      But yeah, if Diablo III had allowed for people from various regions to play together then surely my friends would have dragged me into it and I might have had some fun with it. Currently? Not touching it. Avoiding it like the plague it is.

      If we buy into this then we’re telling Blizzard and every publisher that this sort of thing is okay.

      This sort of thing is not okay. Not even remotely.

  20. FieldOfTheBattle says:

    I am not worried about DRM I already preordered my copy from The Pirate Bay.

    • Gandhi says:

      STOP RIGHT THERE YOU CRIMINAL SCUM!

    • AlwaysRight says:

      I could have this wrong, but I don’t think there is going to be a Pirate Bay ‘version’ of this game. I think the battlenet servers determine the items and enemies. I understand that this might not make cracking the game impossible but in my mind would make it much much harder.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      AlwaysRight says: I could have this wrong…

      Heheheheheheh
      heheheh
      hehehe
      Ahhhh

  21. pakoito says:

    You could play Diablo 2 multiplayer? wow! I didn’t knew it! I and I wouldn’t have to know in Diablo 3 either.

    • Okami says:

      Wait! There was a single player mode in Diablo 2? Who would have thought…

    • karry says:

      Yes, there actually was a multiplayer mode. Apparently it was included after much begging from a fringe group of freaks.

  22. Alexander Norris says:

    Is it really there to prevent people from using cheats in their SP game? Was that officially given as a reason?

    Because “preventing” cheating in single-player is so stupid and wrong it’s not even funny. It’s my single-player game, if I want to make myself max level from the start or invulnerable or unlock all the powers, it’s my choice and doesn’t impact other players at all.

    • Ergates_Antius says:

      No, it’s to prevent people from using cheats to duplicate/create items which they then sell in the online auction house. Possibly for real money.

    • pakoito says:

      No, no, no, no, no, you’re wrong. Blizzard wants you to experience their game in the way they intended, that meaning you have to buy your stuff in the auction house to get a full game experience, and have to grind for countless online hours to get your character to the point you want to see him. Random drops? not getting that gem you want? TOO BAD, auctionhouse.

    • Ergates_Antius says:

      Right – so it’s always connected to monitor and save your progress. But only saves your progress at check points. And you can’t pause. Brilliant!

      Were they drunk when they made that decision?

      Even Dead Island has managed how to pause in a co-op game, and that’s a buggy mess!

    • Ergates_Antius says:

      Reverse reply fail. That ^^ was meant to be a seperate comment…

  23. Rii says:

    Y’know … if the actual game logic is being run like an MMO… then D3 is going to be about as much fun for Aus/NZ folk to play as … something that’s not very fun.

    • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      …as fun as leaping off a tower into a haystack full of needles.

    • diamondmx says:

      As fun as finding the hay in a needlestack, using only your testicles.

  24. GenBanks says:

    Seems to be the trend, especially among certain companies, that games are becoming services rather tha products even if they’re single player :/

  25. ZyloMarkIII says:

    If I were to purchase Diablo III, I would most likely have no problem with always-online. I usually game from 5 AM – 9 AM PST and my broadband connection is stable enough to go by without a hitch most of the time. However, the fact that you have to be online to play a single-player game baffles me and as such, I will not support this title. Blizzard can do without my money.

  26. Pod42 says:

    Torchlight will steal the Spotlight.

    • Azradesh says:

      I doubt that.

    • Wulf says:

      I don’t doubt that at all. I don’t doubt that Torchlight II will be a vastly better ‘game experience’ too, to boot. I’m sure that Diablo III will be popular amongst the WoW crowd, but eh, the WoW crowd will buy anything Blizzard puts out. Anything. So that doesn’t really matter. At least not to me.

      Torchlight is already far better in regards to internally consistent art direction, and it’s generally more interesting, charming, and the classes seem more fun. (It has an engineer class!!) Not to mention that the dog makes a return to Torchlight II, so we’ll be able to sell stuff off even in the middle of a grand adventure. We’ll also have our companion, whom we’ll have the mechanic of feeding meats to to have them become gigantic creatures of doom. All of this already sounds better to me than Diablo III.

      Diablo III is so much same old tat. I still would have probably played it if my friends had, but Torchlight II would still have been the better game. As it is, Blizzard has made it impossible for my friends or I to give them money! Hooray!! So instead we’re all just looking forward to Torchlight II. Make this one count, Runic. Show them how it’s done.

    • psyk says:

      Diablo was better than torchlight

      torchlight was a dumbed down console version of the genre. A pet to sell your stuff pfffft please.

  27. Jorum says:

    No pause?
    That is crap. Do none of the developers have kids or spouses?
    I can expect to get interrupted by one thing or another every ten minutes or so.

    And what about tea FFS? What happens when I want to make another cup of tea? WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I NEED TEA – ANSWER ME BLIZZARD!

  28. frenz0rz says:

    This is absurd.

    Quite possibly a no-sale from me depending on how many of my friends end up buying it; if I’ve got plenty of people to play online with then I’ll likely never touch the singleplayer, but if its just me then I’d rather not play something that has the potential to be so frustrating.

    Plus, as Hentzau pointed out above, I’d always considered the ‘Save & Exit’ mechanic to be quite integral to the Diablo experience. There is no Save/Load feature – what happens, happens, and you’ll never end up in situation whereby you save before a bossfight and keep reloading until you get the best loot. It was an elegant nod to the harsher permadeath mechanics of the roguelikes which had preceded it.

  29. VelvetFistIronGlove says:

    I rarely link to VG247, but this is a good piece by Patrick Garratt about how his opinion of always-on DRM for single-player games turned around after being bitten by Ubisoft’s version of it. http://www.vg247.com/2011/09/08/the-day-i-realised-always-on-drm-moaners-have-a-point/
    It’s worth a read, especially by those who approve of always-on.

    • Sian says:

      I read it and was oddly satisfied, maybe even gloating. I’m one of those “always-online moaners” and every time somebody says: “My connection is stable” I hope that they’ll get disconnected due to some guy accidentally cutting a cable. It’s mean to think such things, but it’s also quite selfish to think that something’s okay just because you’re not affected by it.

      Strangely enough, one of the top comments on that story was “Who doesn’t have internet nowadays?” I dislike people who read the title of a story and then skip right to the comment box.

  30. Devenger says:

    The solution is incredibly simple: sacrifice your life, shun your friends and family, doom your prospects of being a functioning individual, in order to play games ‘the way they are meant to be played’.

    Yes, I am rather worried about this, in a ‘hope the rest of the industry doesn’t get too many ideas’ sort of way.

  31. zergrush says:

    I’m so fucking conflicted over this game.

    I don’t mind the lack of pausing, Demon’s Souls didn’t have it either and it only added to the game’s atmosphere and tension. Being online-only is not really an issue, I already crack pretty much every game due to Steam’s offline mode having failed every time I needed it, so I’ll just keep a separate cracked Diablo III install if I ever want to play offline. RMAH is going to actually be pretty awesome if they manage to stop cheating.

    But why the fuck can’t me and my friends who are in another continent play together without having to care about buying the same version? Pretty much all of Blizzard’s games have localized servers, and you can simply choose which one you want to connect to, why must Starcraft 2 and Diablo 3 be different?

  32. iucounu says:

    You can’t fucking PAUSE THE GAME?

    What?!?!

    I’m sorry, but I soloed Diablo 2 all the way. I have never been interested in the multiplayer aspect. I just want to click on the monsters, alone, until they die, please. Why does D3 have to be all MMOized?

  33. TBTheBritish says:

    I was already not buying this game (basically because of everything that occurred in that one big day of announcements), but suddenly I -cannot- play this game. I spent about 75% of the day with a game minimised on my computer whilst I am working or away doing other things. If I can’t do this, I can’t play the game as much as if I didn’t meet the system requirements. Except in this case, Blizzard have decided I do not meet their “human” requirements of being 100% committed to their game for the duration of time I want to play it (and ready to quit within 10 minutes of actually wanting to quit. Were we crazy to complain about how long it took to quit Assassin’s Creed 2 because it took about 12 clicks, when it was still faster than waiting for Diablo 3 to log us out?).

    • Wulf says:

      Ha, you do that too? That’s how I fit in my single-player time. I just keep stuff open in the background and switch to it for a few moments every now and then. Bastion has been very accommodating in regards to that.

  34. Dawngreeter says:

    Guild Wars would log you out if you were logged in for 24h.

    • Wulf says:

      Guild Wars was also designed and marketed as a co-operative game. And despite that I don’t ever recall being idle-kicked from it. (If it did have an idle timeout, it was very, very, very generous.)

      Oh, and I could change regions to play with whomever I wanted. There’s that, too.

    • Starky says:

      Erm, Diablo 3 is also designed and has been marketed (from the very first video) as a online cooperative game pretty much exactly like guild wars (up to 8 players instanced co-op). The only thing guild wars had that D3 doesn’t is hub towns (which were just glorified chat rooms with a few vendors anyway).

  35. Jazz42 says:

    I think I’m going to go back and play D2 just to spite them
    Yep
    Dling now.

  36. MiniMatt says:

    My internet connection is flakier than perhaps most, but as you point out, at least I have one. It’s not like I’m sat on a train, plane, or, god forbid in some hot and sandy hellhole getting shot at and exploded at on a daily basis – it’s this last one that I wonder might resonate more strongly in the flag waving, troop supporting homeland of Blizz. It’s a single player game, albeit one that can subsequently be played multiplayer – but Blizz won’t let US troops play it. I mean, Ubisoft are French, they have an excuse….

    Had not considered lack of pause, that indeed makes things much much worse.

  37. HermitUK says:

    The checkpoint issue alone is enough to put me off. I’ve been running into an issue in Dead island where it won’t save progress on quests -so you have to make sure you hand all your partly finished quests in before exiting, otherwise you’ll have to go and fetch quest items out kill quest monsters again when you next start the game. It’s infuriating.

  38. Fuz says:

    They’re obviously doing it just for piracy reasons and to make money through that idiotic ah.
    I’m not buying this crap.

  39. feda says:

    I’m going to play a clean, pirated version of Diablo 3 if they don’t decide to offer an offline option. It’s your call, Blizzard. Either you want my money or not. I’ll speak with my wallet.

  40. angurvaki says:

    Wow, things are starting to look bleak : /
    I’ve been a loyal blizzard fan since I was a kid, but I missed the whole Diablo run back in the day for some reason. So picking up the series now just sounds like more trouble than it’s worth:

    I live in the middle of nowhere with my family; Sharing the low and DSL connection (which is the best they offer here) with 5 other people, 2 teenage boys included, so needless to say the draconian download limit is sometimes finished with 5-6 days left of the month, and when that happens I can’t connect to any online services; Steam can’t log in, no nothing. And that’s the time when you actually get down to gaming – When the game’s attention is not contended by the internet.

    And now the news of no-pause!? I’m also a father, so anything with long rounds and without a pause button is a no go.

    Boo blizzard, boo.

  41. Taiphoz says:

    This is not a single player game as people keep calling it, its an online game, as such needs you to be online, I see them as being different and distinct types of game, simple player != online.

    Its online because you can trade everything you find with thousands of other players via the more mmo type features.

    So please stop calling it a single player game or moaning that its kicking you off and single player games shouldnt do that, cos its not, and it should.

    • feda says:

      Diablo has always been and will be a single player game.

    • Zanchito says:

      90% of my Diablo 1/2 gaming has been single player in /players 8. I despise online people very much, very annoying and immature people. Don’t tell me how I game nor how should I enjoy my gaming.

    • malkav11 says:

      You can, yes. But I don’t want to, and the game is not in any way designed to require me to do so. Ergo that part of the game does not qualify it as an online game.

    • Unaco says:

      I will, as soon as Blizzard come out and say “This game is NOT single player. It’s Multiplayer/Coop only”.

    • freeid says:

      Diablo 1 was a Single Player Game, Diablo 2 was a single player game, DIABLO 3, is an multiplayer co-op, dont like it?… play one of the other 5 or 6 hack and slash games that are coming out instead.

    • Unaco says:

      @FreeId…

      That’s what a lot of people here are planning to do.

    • freeid says:

      Which is fair enough, I will play torchlight 2 for the game it is, I will also play D3 for the game it is, one is online only the other is not.

    • Wulf says:

      Diablo III is the simple player’s game?

      No. No… too easy.

      Anyway, if the OP actually were correct, then Blizzard should have marketed it as an ‘Online Co-op RPG,’ and even then there would still be the issue of the microtransactions, the horrible auction house thing, and the region lock outs.

      So yeah.

    • Wulf says:

      @freeid

      So you’re a proponent of false advertising then, and you consider that one of the ways forward for marketing in general?

      So noted.

    • Grey_Ghost says:

      Right… an online only game that doesn’t require other people to play it’s entire content. Why, it’s pure genius!

    • Starky says:

      Guild wars was an online only game that didn’t require another human player for 99.9% of the PvM content, so is Diablo 3.

      As said above, D3 is an online game, has been marketed as an online game (all the vids focus on it) – clearly if people don’t want an online game they don’t buy it – which is fine, don’t buy it.

      I’m unsure if I will buy it or not, but the Day9 vids (and others) coming from the beta is making it look like a really fun ONLINE game.

    • Grey_Ghost says:

      Oh what horse hockey on the Guild Wars example, 99.9% my tuckus! It certainly has progressed to probably 100% solo-ability, but it sure as gravy wasn’t that way from the start.

  42. Deano2099 says:

    I thought the solution was that simple at first too. It isn’t.

    Simple question, how do you balance the game?

    Always online means you can always access the auction house (both versions) which means you can always trade in useless loot for stuff that suits your character better. Someone playing through and using the auction house will have significantly better gear that someone not doing that.

    So do we balance for the player not using the AH and playing offline, and make it too easy for those that do. Or balance for the player using it, making it too hard for those that play offline.

    There are solutions, of course. Two differently balanced versions of the game. Or enemies that scale to your current gear. But the first is a huge undertaking, and the second…. well we’ve seen how PC gamers react when you do that.

    That’s not to say those avenues aren’t worth pursuing, but it is to say that it’s not a simple solution that can be knocked out in a few months.

    • Zanchito says:

      If the game is balanced assuming I’m spending time grinding for gold or paying real money at the auction house, that’s a really BIG fail.

    • Deano2099 says:

      No, it’s an auction house, the point is you trade.

      I do get the impression that some people are just seeing the words “Real money transfer” and immediately assuming Blizzard are selling items. They’re not, they’re just letting you sell to each other. And I really bloody wish they’d have used some of that WoW money to take the hit on this and not taken a cut of auction house trades at all. Because then we’d have an interesting experiment that they visibly wouldn’t profit from. As it is they claim they’ll only break even on it but I’m skeptical.

      But the point is: you get a cool drop, you sell that cool drop on either auction house for gold or real money, then you buy something of the same value that suits your character better.

    • Wulf says:

      You just made a very, very convincing case for the game being designed poorly from the ground up, based on an ill-conceived foundation with everything weaved from there on up. And with the game based upon such poor foundations, a game filled with poor choices overall is to be expected.

      I can’t disagree with any of that. To the contrary, I’m convinced.

  43. kikito says:

    Calling it “controversial” implies that “at good amount of people agree with it”.

    That group doesn’t exist. There’s blizzard, and there’s the rest. It’s not controversial. It’s pretty much the opposite – unilaterally disliked.

    • freeid says:

      That’s just not true, I am happy as a pig in shit that it’s in, bots and hack ruined the first 2 for me, making that more difficult is a good thing in my book. I am sorry if you can’t play it in Antarctica or on the bus or at your Grans but there are thousand of other games you can.

    • Milky1985 says:

      “there are thousand of other games you can”

      For now, because of people accepting this sort of thing in all the games more and more games companies are doing it

    • vodkarn says:

      ‘You have a problem I don’t, so it isn’t a problem.”
      _I’M_ not being harassed for my race, if you don’t like it, move outta the country.
      _I’M_ not denied a job due to my gender – if you don’t like it, move out.

      I love ideas like this, that if people are denied a service they should just shut up, cause, you know, the complaints bother people who don’t care.

    • Gormongous says:

      Well, I’m all right, Jack.

    • Wulf says:

      Actually freeid, if you poll the comments as I’ve been doing, building a demographic in your head, then according to the posters here you’re part of a 2% minority.

      Most of us don’t agree with this and we feel that Diablo III has been designed poorly from the ground up. (Deano2099 makes a great case for this above, whilst trying to make a case for something else.) And thus many of us feel that there are better games out there.

  44. Zanchito says:

    Also there’s the problem that the game is region locked. Want to play with friends around you AND on the other side of the pond? (not strange at all, I’d like to play with real life friends ™ and also forum buddies). Well, you’re screwed, so much for the “great online experience” they claim to be aiming for. Simply unacceptable.

    • Wulf says:

      And what about family abroad, or friends who’ve moved? What about them? In this world of the Internet there are no oceans, so we can stay in touch, play games, and engage in a wide variety of fun activities.

      Blizzard wants to take us back to the dark ages before all of that. :|

  45. Laurentius says:

    I wonder if this always on-line isn’t the reason game isn’t being realeased on consoles right away.

  46. nowise says:

    Speaking as someone who has kids, no pause = tragedy. I can’t buy this unless they fix it.

  47. Vexing Vision says:

    But I don’t want a single player experience.

    I want a co-op game with my wife. Who is sitting next to me. I do NOT want to have two battle net accounts. I want the option to connect our computers, if necesssary over fucking Steam, and have a go at it, the same way we played Diablo 1, Diablo 2, Baldur’s Gate 2, Lara Croft, Magicka and a hundred thousand other non-MMO games.

    So, Torchlight 2 it is for us, which is a shame.

    • Jolly Teaparty says:

      Exact same here, I want to be able to play over LAN with my girlfriend completely independent of battle.net. I hope that it’ll at least feel like an isolated LAN game.

    • dogsolitude_uk says:

      To damned right. It was my g/f’s idea of LANning my two PCs together for Neverwinter Nights that got me into RPGs :(

    • DigitalSignalX says:

      The debate over removal of LAN play in SC2 and D3 has been unfortunately cast aside for more current injustices toward the gaming community. Please keep up.

  48. Corrupt_Tiki says:

    When the servers go offline and they still insist on online only, i think that is fair reason to pirate or crack the game.

    I dislike always on.
    I will still be buying this game.
    I am a bad person.
    :<

    • freeid says:

      True, my local shop ran out of milk recently, although I have bought my milk from there in the past, I figure thats a good enough reason for me to steal my milk from them from now on.

    • Milky1985 says:

      Award for worst analogy ever goes to “freeid” for completly missing the point and making wildly stupid comments instead

      “”True, my local shop ran out of milk recently, although I have bought my milk from there in the past, I figure thats a good enough reason for me to steal my milk from them from now on.”

      This would only be a valid analogy if you had paid for something that lets you get as much milk as you want, but you couldn’t store this thing at your house you had to go to the shop. And then the shop was shut for some reason.

      Unfortantly milk does not work like that, you buy the milk you take it with you and you generally drink it or put it on your breakfast.

      Or make milkshakes

    • freeid says:

      That would be true if like you said he had paid for it, but he said he would “pirate it”

    • Unaco says:

      No he didn’t. He did say “I will still be buying this game”. I think what he is meaning is, he will buy the game, but because of the restrictions placed on legitimate customers, he will then get the cracked version of the game, in order to play his legally purchased game without the restrictions imposed by Blizzard.

      Nowhere does he say he will pirate the game, without paying. Your attempt to twist what he has said is laughable freeid.

    • Wulf says:

      It’s interesting that freeid is a name I’m not familiar with, too. And I’m good with names.

      So… freeid, temporarily here as a raving fanboy, or Blizzard mole? You decide!

      Sorry, I had to ironically engage in some silly conspiracy shenanigans, because frankly it’s less silly than freeid’s analogy.

  49. Kraky says:

    Or, just wait for the inevitable single player crack and use it to play offline if you like (on ur original legit game).

  50. Seafort says:

    I was going to get Diablo 3 but i hate the way blizzard are designing the game now. Its all about control and profits and nothing about choice and fun gameplay for all types of gamers.

    I played diablo 1 and 2 many years ago where the game was fun and addictive now its just alot of hassle for the gamer to just play the game.

    I’d rather support Torchlight 2 and Grim Dawn than Diablo 3 now.
    The way blizzard and many other dev/publishers are going it just leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

    It’s not a design choice i want to support.