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Diablo III: A Response To Outrage

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.

Please send hate mail to: alex@gamerreaction.tv

21 comments

  1. I can see why you wrote this article, but I think you are about to get fucked in the ass looking at the mood on other forums. I think you are right about the reasoning for online only, piracy. I have no doubt that a game this big with such a following would lose a lot of money on pirated copies and a cracked torrent would be available online a couple of weeks after release. The other reasons for online only are Bullshit. The micro transactions and online make it sound like an mmo, so perhaps it's competing with guild wars 2 as well as tw 2? Either way I doubt I'll get a copy, as there's lots of other good shit coming out. To be honest, I probably would of downloaded a copy…. but alas I have been defeated!

  2. You can play arcade games without being connected to xbox live, if you can't it's because you are playing in a different console and you haven't transfered your licenses

  3. Blizzard crosses yet another line. That's what it is. Take Starcraft 2 and no cross-region play. I'm from Europe and I got a buddy in US and we can't play even a custom game! How do you justify that? Oh well, Blizzard mumbles something about latency. That's not an excuse! If I want to play with my buddy and I decide I can suffer latency then that's my choice. Then they removed LAN support… I could play with my buddies using Hamachi if LAN support was there, but no, they've taken that away too. (And I was in a situation when one american guy, one korean guy and I were in the same room and wanted to play SC2 and of course we couldn't!)

    Same if I want to play D3 offline and never be able to take my character online — that's MY choice and it has been taken away from me. I would start one character offline and a different one (different class) online so I could use both whenever I wanted. If the game has any re-playability that's not a bad solution. There are times when interent doesn't work and there is nothing more frustrating than turning on your computer, starting the game and being told you can't play now; maybe in few hours once your ISP sorts out their problems (or at uni… it happens every now and then)

  4. The reason people are worried is because it’s another step in taking away our ownership of software.

    We no longer purchase software, we rent the right to use it.

    What happens when they shut off their Diablo 3 servers in 10 years?

    I’m glad I can play Baldurs Gate II still.

    • That was my point when we had this discussion! It's unsettling to think that when I purchase something there is a possibility that at some point in about 10 years, I won't have access to it anymore.

      "Renting the right to use it" is really disconcerting. I PAID the money to play it. How is it not mine anymore??

  5. You lost some cred when you said you can't play a game on Steam without being connected to the Steam servers. This is not true. Steam has an offline mode that you can use that will still give you access to play your games if you don't have an internet connection (I know you can because I've done it when I've lost my internet connection).

    That and your "let them eat cake" attitude is just a few reasons why your argument is severely flawed. Plus, how would this HELP fight piracy?

    • While I won't apologize for my opinions, I most certainly did put my foot in my mouth with a couple things. I am humble enough to appreciate the corrections I'm getting. I had never seen an offline mode for Steam and made the grave error of assuming. Bad Alex. Thank you for pointing out the flaw. As for whether or not it will help fight piracy, it absolutely won't. People found a way around it with Starcraft 2 and they will find a way around this as well. And yes, this will certainly drive many people to pirate the game that otherwise might not have.

    • Actually i think you will find Alex is completely right. You always have to log into Steam in online mode with an internet connection and then you can go offline and continue to use your games. If you don't log in to steam in online mode first then you don't get access to any of your games, as this is the only way that Steam can verify your content (or at least i think that is the reason they give)

  6. It would help fight piracy, as there will be no point in downloading a cracked copy of the game as it will not work online. Most copied games get a simple nocd crack which can be used to play the single player component of the game but they don't work online such as multi player. If you need the online for the single player then owning a copied version is about as useful as a chocolate fire guard…. So if you want to play it you will have to buy the game……. Or not, I don't give a shit

  7. I will say only this. I think you are wrong. I don't feel like debating it here, because I'm already doing this on a D3 fan site. Sooner or later you will realize all the reasons Blizzard is giving for the things they've recently announced are complete bullshit. Or you won't realize it until the day you die, in which case I feel somewhat bad for you.

  8. You're bitter for some reason man, I suggest you go out of your basement, get a life, and then come back to this article. You'll soon realize that most of us don't want to be connected to basement dwelling neckbeards and just want to enjoy the game. Blizzard apparently doesn't want that. I'll find a crack for the game, and then pirate it. Then I'll buy Torchlight to give my money to a developer that isn't made up of WoW'ers

    • I'm confused. What is it you think I'm bitter about? I'm certainly not trying to get confrontational about your comment, but I AM genuinely perplexed. Am I bitter against Blizzard? Fans? Help me out here.

  9. How nice. I wrote a reply and forgot to link it here… *sigh*

    Read it. You might find some informative stuff in there.
    http://www.danyrioux.com/blog/en/diablo-3-a-respo

    • A fine response. And no, the irony of me complaining about complainers is certainly not lost on me. This is most obviously an editorial (as you guessed), and I'd say I wished you agreed with me, but I went into this knowing full well that it would garner a ton of anger/bemusement BECAUSE so many would disagree. I'm comfortable with that. Thank you for taking the time to read and respond.

  10. A server down for a day or two won't end the world but if you're so into the auctions it might loose you some real money by missing out on a potential buyer.

    Besides. How long did the PSN went down after the hacking? I'm sure it was more than a day or two. With Diablo 3 involving real money changing hands, I'm sure hackers would really want those data.

  11. IMO he is right, they have not taken away any rights from anyone. You cannot take away rights if the person didn't have them to start with. They are not taking anyone's choice away from them, because they never had the choice in the first place.

    I think only online is a great decision, I do not want some jobless scrubs who cannot afford the game to play. I want them to pay for it so blizzard gets the money to fund updates and such. You might say they already have alot of money and revenue coming in. Well no shit, its a business. You do not make a game to lose money or to put revenue gained from something else just to keep it going.

    Keeping everything on their server means to hack and get gear you have to hack blizzard because that is where your account info will be kept. Does anybody not remember when soj's were used as currency and there was an outbreak of hacked soj's. It ruined the economy. You dont like the way blizzard are making their decisions? Then dont buy the damn game. They already know regardless of the mindless bitching that everyone is going to buy their games anyways because they are the best around.

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  13. There is something your missing here. Its not that big a deal im not going to boycott the game over it but it hurts.

    Im in the navy and for extended periods of time I dont have internet and have no access to the net for months at a time. I was looking forward to diablo 3 because I could play it underway like Diablo 2 when i didnt have internet.

    Finding out it is going to be online only just hurt my ability to enjoy the game. Starcraft 2 is going to be problem as well. I am going to have to find a couple other games to replace this.

    Either way, there is a sizeable portion of the military that loves gaming that Diablo 3 will be impossible to play for when we need it most. Either way I cant wait to play D3 later today.

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