As many of you may know, it was recently announced that the long-awaited Diablo III will only be playable with an active internet connection. You must be logged into Battle.Net in order to play the game even single player. There is NO offline mode of play. No sooner was this revealed than the internet exploded with anger and lines were drawn in the sand. I would like to send a message as politely as I can to everyone who finds this decision to be an utter outrage:
Shut the f*ck up.
Seriously. I understand that you’re upset; we all get that. However, I would like to take a moment to explain why whining impotently in forums will gain you nothing but scorn (or the praise and admiration of other like-minded whiners). Before I do, however, I would like to express that I don’t like it either. Unlike many folks on the superhighway, I am not nearly as butthurt and below you’ll hear my reasoning.
First up is the fact that it will likely not affect 98% of the people complaining. I fully admit that there is going to be some small number of people who desperately want to play Diablo III that, for one reason or another, don’t have ready or steady access to the internet. For the 9 of you out there, I am truly sorry; you are getting shafted. For the rest of the people using that as a reason to hate, what are you complaining about? Are you so noble that you’re fighting for the injustice dealt to the aforementioned 9 people? Are you taking up arms for those who can’t due to lack of an internet with which to do so? Sorry kids, but this is without a doubt the weakest argument against Blizzard’s decision.
Next we have the concern that many people voiced when Ubisoft did this same thing with Assassin’s Creed 2. What if my internet should flicker for a minute and come back? Will I lose all of my progress since last I saved (or it autosaved)? This is a legitimate question and something I dealt with recently. I despise losing progress because I loathe repeating things I’ve already done. I’m going to hope that Blizzard will have some sort of autosave feature or character backup on their servers that will make any such outage relatively minor in consequence. I can’t imagine that this will be a real issue, so again, what a weak argument this is.
Now, on the flipside to the previous quandary, we have the possibility of Battle.Net going down and causing the WORLD to have to stop playing Diablo III. Much like before, the likelihood is fairly minute, but still possible. This is the ONLY argument I can really get behind, and even then I think it’s silly to worry about. Does the world start flaming Netflix if it has a server issue and you have to pick up watching that episode of Bones the next day? Nah. Will the world end if your CoD servers die for a day or two? Absolutely not. Such is the way of technology, my friends. It’s not perfect and it may falter. I have never had an issue with it before, so maybe I’m just extraordinarily lucky. Fun fact: I game a LOT.
Those have seemed to be the biggest reasons people are complaining. Of course, there will be other things they’ll bring up as negatives that I haven’t mentioned here, but I can’t make this article TOO terribly long. Now, I’m going to tell you (if you weren’t already aware) why this decision was made, why it makes sense, and why you really need to stop flaming.
The two main reasons I’ve heard for the online only decision are preventative measures against hacking/cheating and piracy. When PC Gamer asked about the idea of having a separate offline mode that wouldn’t mingle with the online, this was the response:
We thought about this quite a bit,” says executive producer Rob Pardo. “One of the things that we felt was really import was that if you did play offline, if we allowed for that experience, you’d start a character, you’d get him all the way to level 20 or level 30 or level 40 or what have you, and then at that point you might decide to want to venture onto Battle.net. But you’d have to start a character from scratch, because there’d be no way for us to guarantee no cheats were involved, if we let you play on the client and then take that character online.”
Makes sense to me, if a little flimsy. However, I believe the driving force behind the decision is most certainly to help prevent piracy. And guess what. It’s nothing new. They already did it with Starcraft 2 and other companies and systems do it all the time. When was the last time you played a game through Steam without connecting to Steam first? Oh right, never. Ever tried to play an arcade game you bought on Xbox Live without being signed into Xbox Live? Right, only the trial shows up. You paid money for the license, not the game itself. This form of DRM has been in practice for years and many people don’t even think about all the different things that implement it behind the scenes. I know DRM isn’t popular, but with such rampant and wanton piracy these days, there really is no other effective way for a company to protect all of their hard work. Don’t like it? Take it up with the people who steal the game, not the people who make it.
The most important thing I want to get across in this article is this: you don’t have to buy the game. I’m sure all of the rules and whatnot will be in an End User Agreement or Terms of Service that you will agree to when you launch the game for the first time, and it will likely be printed right on the box. And if you’re reading this, then you ALREADY know to expect this. If you don’t like it, just don’t buy it. It’s that simple.
For every 20 people out there who are typing at the top of their lungs about how this is complete bullshit, denouncing Blizzard and proclaiming that they will boycott the game, 2 of them actually will. You know what they’ll do in the process? Win my respect for sticking to their guns and miss out on what will likely be a great game. The other 18 people will either tuck tail or put on their big boy pants and buy the game anyway. For those 2/20 people, however, I have some bad news for you that might sting a little. You won’t be missed and you won’t make a difference. Sorry. It’s business and your lost money won’t even make a dent in the hurricane of money that is going to engulf Blizzard when Diablo III launches. For anyone one the fence that desperately wants to boycott Diablo III for these inane reasons, I’d like to offer up an alternative that you’ve probably already considered: Torchlight 2. It will be first, it will be awesome, and it will have all the things Diablo III doesn’t. Go have fun. It looks excellent. For everyone else, please do the world a favor and shut the f*ck up. The internet thanks you.
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