Blizzard have finally admitted that their useless always-on DRM in Diablo III is partly to prevent piracy. Despite having previously insisted that it was purely to improve gamer experience (oops), in a post spotted by Eurogamer, Blizzard boss Mike Morhaime has pointed out that it does “help us battle” such issues. But then goes on to say that it’s still the best solution, that it’s essential, and while there are “some downsides”, it was “the best long-term decision for the game.”
That “some downsides” was the closest Morhaime gets to acknowledging just what a(n entirely predictable) disaster the Diablo III launch, and following weeks, were. From reading his account, you’d imagine they had a bit of a hiccup on day one, and then everything settled down just lovely.
Clearly they’re going to defend their decision to needlessly enforce always-on DRM on single-player gamers, after having put so much effort into it before release, but not even a note of contrition becomes a touch galling at this point. For the millions of players who were affected by the issues, and the enormous numbers who still can’t play because their internet connection is either unstable, or they simply don’t have one. But at this point, maintaining the line that it was mostly done to ensure the best possible experience for players has to ring hollow. Players noticed what a horrible, horrible experience it offered them.
Morhaime states that no one has yet to crack the DRM effectively, and insists that the ‘feature’ is “critical for the long-term integrity of the game experience.”
Perhaps most confusing is his claim, “I fully understand the desire to play Diablo 3 offline,” when the sentence continues, “however, Diablo 3 was designed from the beginning to be an online game that can be enjoyed with friends, and the always-online requirement is the best way for us to support that design.”
So no, he doesn’t understand the desire to play it offline, fully or otherwise, whatsoever, because he repeatedly rejects the notion that it’s even a feasible way to engage with the game. No matter how much Blizzard may want it to be played as co-op, millions of people don’t want to. And refusing them the right to disconnect from the incessant authentication checks demonstrates just how much this isn’t understood. Which is a bit of a shame.
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