Experienced Points: Diablo III Has Single Player Online

By Shamus
on Oct 14, 2011
Filed under:
Column

I have played the Diablo III beta. Here is what I think about the “always online” thing.

Aside from that, the beta is darn fun. They knew exactly when to end it. I had my game analyzer hat on for most of the playtime, but after an hour or so I forgot about it and began playing in earnest. Right as it was getting really good, it ended. Ouch.

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  1. Mitchy Mitch says:

    Blizzard sucks. Fuck Diablo and fuck the rest of their games.

    • Strangeite says:

      Don’t hold back. Tell us how you really feel.

      • nerdpride says:

        You make it almost sound as if I couldn’t rant. Plenty of people don’t see it this way (including Shamus, burn you Shamus) but these Activision-Blizzard folks are taking an awesome idea and turning it into something I will loathe. The story is MMO-excrement and the combat and player interaction haven’t matured the same way I have (they probably haven’t changed much at all–actually there are probably a few important detractions like how space-limited areas like the maggot lair won’t return due to player complaints). And everyone on the internet will disagree and say they thought it was awesome and that I’m being a troll.

        Screw you, internet. I hate you for trying to tell me what I like and then leaving me without any fun. I hate how the masses outweigh me and how money feels like useless lead in my pockets. I need to go out in the sun and cry now. Maybe it’s better this way.

        • MadTinkerer says:

          I sort-of feel the same way. But rather than letting it get me down, I channel it into something like:

          “You idiots. You’re all doing it wrong. Every single one of you*. I don’t care how much money you make, that doesn’t justify churning out mediocre garbage. I am going to finish learning how to do it myself, and then I will do it myself. And I will do it right. And whether or not I make enough money to keep doing it, what I produce will be superior simply because I’ve put effort into not making it mediocre crap.

          I know making games is hard. But that is what makes this all the worse: the fact that you’re putting so much effort into producing mediocre garbage. And I refuse to do that.

          So in the long run, I win and you lose. Choke on it.

          *Except those who are mostly doing it right, like Mojang and Valve and 2D Boy and Double Fine and Carpe Fulgur and others. Obviously I don’t mean you guys.”

          That kind of feeling.

          • Urthman says:

            Is this the right place to ask if there’s any hope of seeing more updates on Shamus’s Project Frontier.

            (I visit this blog every day, hoping…)

          • Chris Robertson says:

            You are not alone. Indies are becoming more popular for this very reason. I love me some Humble Indie Bundle, showmethegames.com and I am seriously looking forward to gunpointgame.com.

    • Winter says:

      Yep. Blizzard went evil.

      I didn’t buy Starcraft 2 and will likely not buy this.

      “Oh, someone wanted to play multiplayer with the character they were working on in single player!”

      You wanna know why they started that character in single player mode? BECAUSE ONLINE PLAY IS A HASSLE AND SINGLE PLAYER IS THE BETTER EXPERIENCE!

      THAT’S WHY!

      Okay. *Pant, wheeze* Back to my little world of indie titles and such.

      • TSED says:

        Honestly, it’s not like Blizzard was ever good to begin with.

        Yeah, Blizzard *mastered* Skynyrd’s box. Unfortunately, they have no other skill sets (when it comes to game mechanics). Diablo 1 was the only Blizzard game I’ve ever played that I didn’t get bored with within 20 minutes, and to be perfectly honest, I’m PRETTY SURE that’s because I was 12 years old when I played it.

        Really, the Blizzard fan brigade is something I’ll never understand. Yeah, they make polished games and all, but I’d rather play something… fun?

        • Winter says:

          Blizzard had some pretty serious competitive gaming going with SC and WC3. Even SC2, i guess. Plus, WC3 had a crazy mod scene–the engine is super flexible. Blizzard talked a lot about how you could build an FPS out of SC2, but you could do the same thing in WC3.

          Diablo and Diablo 2 were fun, though by the end of Diablo 2’s life it had been turned pretty sour. (I liked it best immediately before and then shortly after the first expansion, pretty much.)

          So it goes. I know some people think Blizzard was god, but i don’t. They have tons of money for art design (which they promptly waste dumping into an ugly engine like WoW’s…) and they’re good at some things, but they don’t really know what they’re doing.

          That’s pretty much standard operating procedure, though. It’s not like anyone was categorically better. Now, though? They can die in a fire.

        • scowdich says:

          I think you may be referring to the Skinner box there? The push button, get shiny reward thing. Skynyrd is a band.

  2. Raygereio says:

    Oh dear Ao. What the hell is in the water they’re feeding the pod people at Blizzard HQ?
    The DRM and the no-mods-because-we-really-are-that-desperate-for-money-with-that-auction-house-thing is already retarded beyond human comprehension. But you can’t even pause the friggin game?!

    Every single time I hear something new about Diablo 3 my desire to play videogames just whimpers and dies a little.

  3. Lintman says:

    I was pretty sad when I heard the online-only news – that switched it from pre-order to no-sale, mainly for all the reasons you state.

    Ironically, just a month earlier I was considering the diablo-like game Dark Spore when I discovered that game was online only. I had thought to myself “That sucks, but Blizzard will show ’em home it’s done with Diabloe 3.” Doh.

    • MadTinkerer says:

      This is why so many people are endorsing Torchlight 2 as the true successor to Diablo 2.

      EDIT: and of course, right below this comment, Jason Cole beat me to it. I need to stop jumping the gun. :)

  4. Jason Cole says:

    Without any modding support, D3 will lose out in the long run to Torchlight 2, since the later will be more tightly balanced, have more interesting monsters and drops, wilder terrain, and most of all, pets. (I’m running under the assumption that a (in relative terms) small team at blizzard cannot build more or better content than a massive community of fans).

    • Lintman says:

      I’m hoping Torchlight2 comes through and is great, but my concern is that T2 isn’t going to have much of a story or depth.

      Torchlight as a single player experience was fun and polished, but very short and quite shallow. For it’s price, that’s not unreasonable, but I got the impression that the developers were far more focused on and interested in the multiplayer and MMO aspects than in the single player.

      • Jason Cole says:

        My point is that with modding support, TL2 can be pretty flawed, but in 2 years, it will be the game people still play, because (Like with Bethesda’s Elder Scrolls 4 Oblivion), the community can and has built better games than any developer can.

        I would say (as an example) that there is far more content (per copy sold) for Neverwinter Nights, than for WoW, or any other MMO. Furthermore, while the quality of some of this content may be poor, a lot of it is deep, balanced, and very fun (more-so, than say, fetchquests or dropquests). This is because NWN has a good editor with great modding support.

        • Nick says:

          Fair enough but I play games primarily for the story. Diablo 3 at least piques my interest in that regard. The torchlight games? Not so much.

          But then I have zero interest in the long term life of a single player game. Unfortunately I’m still not entirely convinced D3 IS a single player game still, but it’s certainly what I’d like to treat it as.

      • MadTinkerer says:

        Playing through Torchlight, I got the impression that the main reason the storyline was short and shallow was because the game was in development for such a short time.

        The same team had been in the middle of making a Diablo clone before they were all fired and left to make Torchlight, which is part of why I think the game turned out as well as it did, but actual Torchlight development took place over the course of just one year.

        I expect T2 will be much more developed plot-wise.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Dont kid yourself,this is blizzards diablo we are talking about.It was always a superior game,no matter what the competition tried to infuse in their products.No matter the flaws,it still will come on top.

      • Jason Cole says:

        The community is better than blizzard, with a bit of filtering. It is why everyone who has mods for ES4:Oblivion has over 200 hours in it: the community made a fantastic game, because bethesda gave them the tools to do so.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          Bethesda is not blizzard.

        • Not good enough says:

          I shouldn’t have to wait for mods to make my game good. That’s no reason to buy a game. Moreover, I really do not like the modding community. Of all the mods out there, it takes a dedicated and passionate individual to make a good one, and a dedicated and passionate community to exalt it and make it easily found and popular. Instead you find shovelware, mods that add more tits, pointless quests, crappy fanfiction, worthless textures and nonsense. There are good mods out there, and I have used some of them, but the effort makes it a high barrier of entry. It’s no collective community that makes a game great and since the collective has no individual voice, what’s actually good is largely ignored. I have Oblivion, and I even looked into some mods for it, but the one thing I wanted, to remove the autolevelling enemies, was impossible to find in a time period I was willing to invest.
          TLDR: Stop praising modding communities-they can add to a game, but they and developers are only people, and they can only do so much, neither is inherently superior, and both will dissappoint as frequently as they amaze-don’t conflate confirmation bias with a statistical fact.

      • MadTinkerer says:

        Yeah, and that Duke Nukem game? Seriously: Duke Nukem 3D was better than Quake. 3D Realms knows what they’re doing. They’re just taking their time to make it right. No matter it’s flaws, I know Duke Nukem Forever will come out on top.

  5. theLameBrain says:

    Of all the games that Blizzard could make online-only, I think Diablo III is a real shame. The game could really benefit from going the other way, scaling back to LAN-only. But I guess that would interfere with micro-transactions?

    Does anybody LIKE microtransactions? I am an adult. I have a decent job, plenty of money to pay my bills. I still have to struggle with the deciscion of which games I will spend money on. Who pays for microtransactions? Who can afford to?

    To me, it feels like games have started reaping on ground sown by credit cards, at first it was: “I can’t afford this but that’s ok because I can put it on credit!” Now it has become: “I really can’t afford to spend $100, but it is ok if I spend it $5 at a time!”

    • Zukhramm says:

      I like them, if they’re something that clearly feels like “extra” and the price is good. For a game I’ve spent a lot of time with I sometimes rather pay for something more in that game than a new different one.

    • swenson says:

      I’m fine with microtransactions, so long as they don’t interfere with the game. Case in point: Team Fortress 2. I play obsessively. I have every item I want with the exception of a Strange Backburner and the Pyro googly eyes hat. (yes, that is my complete wishlist) And I’ve never once paid a penny past the original purchase price of the game (I bought it in the Orange Box a couple of years ago). Microtransactions there are prominent and obviously a large source of income for the developers, but they’re unnecessary to play the game, and it’s entirely possible to ignore them completely.

      Second case, DLC quests/whatever. Clearly extra content that gives you something extra in your game experience without breaking the main game.

      In both of these cases, I’m fine with them. The point where I switch from being fine to irrational hatred is when they begin to interfere with the actual game, so you have to buy things to get the complete story/necessary weapons/whatever.

      • Brilliant says:

        You sir, have hit the nail on the head. I agree entirely, that said, on the note of quests for instance, I think something needs to be done about Day-1 DLC and content being held back for extra profit. If there was a certain amount of quantity and quality which was enforced for the price of an item, it would be brilliant. Of course, doing this is practically impossible. I’d just like to know for sure what I get when I pay $100 AUD for a game which will release $30 of DLC.

  6. zob says:

    Few unhappy gamers will pirate the game, some will boycott it. D3 is still guaranteed to sell millions. Blizzard will still earn gazillion dollars. So they’ll tell some clever half truths to grease the fanboy defense machine, sit back and wait.

    • decius says:

      You’ve missed the point. Blizzard has already died. We can try to resuscitate it, we can try to treat the symptoms, and we can try to believe that it hasn’t. But Blizzard died when it decided that it needed to be protected from their customers.

      Also, the long tail of sales is very negatively impacted by the long tail of running servers. At some point in the NEAR future, the cost of running the servers will exceed the revenue generated from new sales and items. What happens then?

      • Adam Bloom says:

        The same thing that happened to the Starcraft and Diablo II servers so long ago… absolutely nothing.

        • Jason Cole says:

          The cost of running legacy servers is negligible, and Blizzard does a great job of keeping them up. Only scummy companies (Microsoft, Epic) shut down list servers for old games.

          • Crazy says:

            Of course it is negligible. Until you consider that if you make one exception, you paint yourself into the corner of having to run all the legacy servers, which eventually begins to take a toll. And additionally, you hurt your own market by keeping players happy with old products that you make no money off. It may seem scummy, but eventually, even Blizzard is likely to close their old servers. In 70 years, I doubt they will be running old servers that no OS is compatible with any more.

  7. ENC says:

    No matter how much my brother wants me to play this, I am refusing to support pay to win, ESPECIALLY in a game I paid a box price for.

    Maybe when the price drops (LOL BLIZZARD PRICE DROPS) I’ll get it. I’d get 2nd hand but OH WAIT YOU DON’T LIKE 2ND HAND EITHER SILLY ME!

    • Adam Bloom says:

      I don’t think you know what “pay to win” means. D3 items still have level and stat reqs.

      • Winter says:

        I don’t think you played D2 if you are saying something like that.

        • Nick says:

          So? This only matters if you care about speeding up your playthrough. If you want to use the in-game-money auction house or just ignore the damn thing, then the game will still play. This isn’t an MMO (at least I’d like to think so) and so your experience isn’t worsened by someone else playing in a different copy of the game universe paying for good items.

          I’m distinctly meh on this subject, but I can see the logic. I just wish that they had an offline mode like SC2

          • Cado says:

            And yet our experience is worsened, not because someone else might choose to take advantage of the RMT auction house but because of the sacrifices necessary to make it work. We’re not getting a whole hell of a lot back considering what we’re losing.

  8. Xpovos says:

    I played Seven Lances (a D2 mod) far longer than I played the original game. The lack of mod capability is a Very Big Deal. The loss of the pause function though I couldn’t even understand until I started reading the comments over at the Escapist… and found something that at least made some kind of sense. From the pause menu you can quit the game at any point and you reload back in town (makes sense most of the time). But if you’re playing “hardcore” (my favorite) you could use this feature to pause, quit, and reload if you found yourself in a bad spot. 99% of the time, though, you had a healing potion that worked better than the pause/quit. The other 1% of the time it was lag anyway and you didn’t stand a chance with pause/quit.

    Once again, ‘solving’ non-existent problems and causing massive grief by doing so.

    But, yeah… I’m a sucker for the style of gameplay. In a way, Diablo 3 as broken as it seems is just asking me the question: would you pay $60 to but Diablo 2 again? Yeah, probably. If it breaks my heart, maybe I’ll learn better. But SC2 while it didn’t live up to hopes didn’t break my heart either. So, I’ll keep coming back for more.

    • Sleeping Dragon says:

      For me it was the ZyEl mod that kept D2 occupying space on my hard drive. I was never really one for multiplayer in this particular game (in fact not a multiplayer person in general) and the vanilla single player wasn’t really hard enough to keep it fun after a while. Modding is, imho, one of the greatest things to happen to gaming ever. Too bad so few developers decide to work with it.

  9. hewhosaysfish says:

    Why can’t you pause? Is there some technical issue I’m failing to understand here? Why would being online make pausing infeasible?

    • Irridium says:

      Because the rest of the world can’t pause with you, since it’s online.

      You can bring up a pause screen, but unlike an offline game where everything stops, in an online game everything just keeps going.

      • Jarenth says:

        Beat me to the punch. Understand that Diablo III is being developed, for all intents and purposes, as an MMO. And you can’t simply pause an MMO.

        • Zonasiy says:

          That’s not actually true. If you can’t pause online, it’s because they didn’t want to add that feature. Probably the best way to do it would be a system similar to Warcraft III’s system where anyone could unpause it.

          • Irridium says:

            Considering Blizzard is pushing this as an MMO-type game, having thousands of people stopping when you hit pause would be griefer-heaven.

            • Zonasiy says:

              I’m under the (possibly false) impression that it will be like the first two games. If it has a global lobby with instanced games with a max of like 8 people, you’re not going to have that problem.

              Granted, even with 8 people max you would still get some griefers joining games just to pause, but there are ways around that. For example the game maker could set it to no pausing, or pausing could only affect the current area, etc. My point is, online doesn’t mean pause can’t work.

              *this post not meant to defend online-only single player

              • Vipermagi says:

                It’s a four-people max, even. I don’t see the problem in having the ability to pause the instance you’re in ala Warcraft. If you don’t want random people pausing your game, set a password.
                Obviously Blizzard does see it as a problem, and that’s what matters. :(

                • Simulated Knave says:

                  So what you’re saying is is that it’s an online-only game that’s worse at being an online-only game than their previous games, which weren’t…

                  Oh, well played, Blizzard. Well played.

          • JPH says:

            At the very least, they could make the game pausable strictly when there’s only one person in the game.

            • Winter says:

              Spending money to enhance single player?!

              That’s crazy talk.

              If there’s one thing–one thing–Blizzard has shown over the years (even before Diablo 2, in fact) it’s that if you want to play alone Blizzard doesn’t give a shit about you.

              They’re not going to spend money to enhance solo play because, in their view, solo play is morally inferior. Go look at how Blizzard balanced Diablo 2 for solo play–/players 8, and it took them months and months to even implement that.

          • Ringwraith says:

            The game also actually kicks you out if you’ve been inactive for too long as well, so for intents and purposes, you are playing a MMO.

        • Marcellus says:

          In Star Trek Online, you can pause on ground mission maps for 45 seconds so that you can micromanage your NPC away team in battle if you want to. It works even if you have other players on the team.

          So it’s clearly not impossible to do, and I bet the time limit isn’t a hard limitation either. (It’s just there to prevent you from griefing your teammates).

  10. Jeff R. says:

    Can you use the game’s flaws against one another? Which is to say, when you want to pause the game, does unplugging your ethernet cable do the job?

    • Dnaloiram says:

      You’d probably just get reset to the last checkpoint. Have to stop those “cheaters”.

      • Winter says:

        Actually no, what will really happen is you will stand in place for 30 seconds to 5 minutes (or thereabouts) and anything in the area is free to kick your face in. This is what happened in D2, so i presume it’s what’s going to happen in D3.

  11. Patrick says:

    I just want to add to the chorus that I am also very unhappy about this. I made a personal decision a while back that I would not buy any game with always on DRM. I am also wary of games that for non DRM reasons require a constant server connection (MMO’s and multiplayer online games are an exception).

    Blizzard seems to be trying to blur the line between the single player experience and an MMO with Diablo 3 but I am not buying it (literally or metaphorically).

  12. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Well,the same story as with world of warcraft:I love the franchise,I know that it will be an excellent game,but I will never even try it,and I wont regret it either.

  13. Blake says:

    Sorry if I missed a memo (totally possible) and not that I don’t love seeing Shamus flex his column muscles to put a behemoth in its place for a bad call, but is there a reason Spoiler Warning is on hiatus? Normally you guys give us a heads up when that happens. Did Mumbles die in a tragic “I”mbusyplayingArkhamCitysoshutupandleavemealone” “accident”?
    Is the fact that Rutskarn infected with some kind of plague responsible?

    EDIT – Don’t tell me Arkahm City is unavailable until Tues. If I have a copy, Mumbles can certainly get one.

  14. Nick Bell says:

    Blizzard is afraid to say it, but the evidence makes this fact clear: Diablo 3 is an free-to-play MMO. Online only, auction houses, no pausing, all of these things are straight out of the MMO playbook. They looked at WoW, analyzed how to make money without a subscription fee, and dived right into running their second MMO.

    In that light, at least they aren’t charging $15 a month to play it.

    • MadTinkerer says:

      Actually… That is a very good point.

      It’s just too bad they didn’t call it Diablo Online or World of Diablo.

      As such, I think I’d rather spend my money on Torchlight 2 and Guild Wars 2.

    • Kana says:

      They are still asking you to shell out 60 minimum (Probably going to be the default price, higher for limited edition) on a game that is built like an MMO, but isn’t an MMO. Anyone playing the game is going to be forced into an online social experience, and the best thing you can do to make it single player is make your own room and password lock it.

      If I was going to shell out 60 dollars for an always-on experience that doesn’t bill every month, I’d just buy Guild Wars 2. At least then it’s an actual MMO, and the world feels alive by having actual intelligence (relatively speaking) running around and engaging with the world at large.

  15. ENC says:

    Blizzard’s Business Strategy:

    Ride out the success of your older games that were in no way innovative except for the fact some poor kids happened to like being competitive on them, then do everything you can to maximise profits even at consumer expense and act as if nothing’s wrong by saying nothing in press releases.
    How we have achieved this:
    2nd hand? What 2nd hand?
    Price drops? What’s that?
    Sub-$84 price? What’s that?
    New units? What’s that?
    Vanity Items? Oh thanks
    Free Content? What’s that? (Seriously, MMORPGs have a bloody subscription which pays for ‘free content’ and all we get from WoW is 2-3 new raids every expansion pack, WHICH COST $40 EACH)
    Oh hey guys mind if I just dip my hand in microtransactions for our greedy shareholders kthx (only difference is the prices are set by players)

    Seriously, only Diablo 2 was ever innovative at all, the rest just happened to be popular for some reason when there were better games at the time (Total Annihilation, whilst Starcraft still had 2d sprites, seriously, anyone would slam something that far behind nowadays).

    Goes to show popularity>Innovation and Quality

    Oh, and they also treat pre-rendered cinematics as the best thing since sliced bread. And laugh at non-Americans with high pings due to server locale.

    Blizzard do not deserve such a dumb community. Now I’m going to back to trying out Eve Online and Fallen Earth.

    • Lord of Rapture says:

      No, they totally deserve a dumb community. Just not a big community.

    • Sheer_Falacy says:

      Uh, what?

      I’m not sure what costs $84 – is that buying WOW up to date, I guess?

      WoW does have significant “free” content – you get 3-4 patches between expansions that add new raids, new dungeons, and generally new stuff. Expansions add several new areas to the game and up the level cap.

      There’s a huge difference between selling items for real money and allowing players to sell items for real money.

      Starcraft was definitely innovative – 3 very different, but still balanced, factions was a whole new thing. Plus it was, generally, a good game, better than Total Annihilation in a number of ways.

      I have no idea why you hate Blizzard so much.

      • Nick says:

        @ENC – Yeah, chiming in on the WoW thing – yes they do use that money to improve the game, rebalancing classes and reworking content and releasing new content from time to time. So your comment is completely null and void there

        RE the innovative thing, that’s got a bit of a point. Blizzard’s model used to be ‘find genre and study other games in it. Make game ten times better than those games because it combines ideas from all of them’, pretty much. Now they did do some innovation but yeah most of the concepts weren’t that new, just the combination of them and the polish.

        And some of us LIKE pre-rendered cinematics. I mean, the stuff in WC3 was just EPIC

        • Cado says:

          The “they use the money to improve the game” argument is pretty flawed in light of the fact that there are F2P games now that offer more content than they do, often for less. Cataclysm got off to a good start but we’ve gotten a pitiful amount of new stuff since then. We got two heroics that were rehashes of old dungeons for Christ’s sake, and if I remember right that was the only major content for that patch. That isn’t worth $15/m by a long shot.

          • Aldowyn says:

            I think DDO actually makes more PER PLAYER than it did when it was subscription based. Probably the only reason WoW hasn’t gone F2P is because it doesn’t need to and it would require a reworking of the whole game and community.

            @Nick Oh, yes they were. I want HD Starcraft 1 cinematics… those were cool, but they were in like 256 color or something.

      • Zekiel says:

        And just to chip in – Starcraft was completely slammed for being only 2D when Total Annihilation was 3D – but it was a better game in spite of not being innovative.

    • Tobias says:

      Huh? Diablo 2 was a straight up clone of ToME. Unless you play multiplayer you were playing realtime ToME with fancier graphics. And more boring levels.

      • Syal says:

        I don’t know what that acronym is for and can only assume it stands for Temple of Mediocre Evil.

        • nerdpride says:

          Tales of Middle Earth, I guess.

          Diablo was basically a Roguelike, except with added graphics. I dunno which games got skills added to them first: D2, ToME, or similar Roguelikes like SAngband. I think MUD had its roots in the good ‘ol RLs as well.

          Heh. There are very few mechanics that hack-and-slash games have that aren’t also in Roguelikes. Except graphics.

          I rather like being able to play as fast as I can use keyboard input too. This reminds me that I should investigate some of the newer ToME versions that I haven’t tried.

          • Wtrmute says:

            Nah, MUDs have evolved from UNIX’s Adventure (AKA Colossal Cave) and its progeny, the Text Adventure/Interactive Fiction genre. More modern MUDs have inherited their map command from early Roguelikes (like Rogue itself), but it’s entirely possible for a MUD not to have a map at all. So they’re similar, and they share some innovations among themselves, but they’re separate genres.

            • Aldowyn says:

              There’s a huge difference in between Diablo and a roguelike: It’s real time. SUCH a difference. Diablo becomes about seeing how quickly you can use the right skills, and roguelikes end up as deliberate choices of each move in big battles.

    • Destrustor says:

      Well, the Disgaea games have 2D sprites and nobody is complaining. Maybe because its part of the charm, or just not a problem for the kind of maniacs its marketed to (the games are basically nothing but level-grinding for the sake of level-grinding. And watching ludicrously ridiculous attack animations, which are awesome.)
      And the latest game has HD 2D sprites, although you can CHOOSE to have the old-school blocky sprites.

  16. Kresh says:

    Well, I understand why Blizzard is doing the “Always On” DRM; if they don’t have a constant way of ensuring that people aren’t cheating, then people will lose faith in, and then not use, the cash shops and real-money auction house. Blizzard would then be out huge gobs of cash. The moment the game is live on the servers, legions of crackers/ hackers are going to be doing their hardest to force the game engine to cough up the rare gear so they can sell it for cash. This is why the game has to be “always on.” It’s to protect their anticipated money flow. I’m all about capitalism, but for some reason this really sticks in my craw.

    I understand why Blizzard is doing it, I accept the reasons for it, but it really pisses me off. It shouldn’t but it does. I want my single-player Diablo 3 game and I don’t want to be enslaved Apple-style to their servers just because they want to make more money. Maybe that’s what pisses me off about it. Blizzard would make gargantuan piles of money if they sold this and ran it in the manner of Diablo 2. I would be happy. Their accountants, their stockholders, and their corporate masters would be happy at all the sweet, sweet piles of cash that would roll in. They could have “Scrooge McDuck Naked Friday” where the best performing employee would be stripped naked, covered in honey, then allowed to swim nekkid in a pool of c-notes, keeping what stuck to their bodies… and the bottom line wouldn’t even hiccup. Accounting wouldn’t even notice.

    Apparently this isn’t enough for Blizzard. They want more. It appears that someone in Blizzard, maybe a whole bunch of someones, decided that they could make even more money if only they made sure that the game had a new feature; players could make money selling the random drop and Blizzard could skim fees from the transactions. If I recall correctly (I don’t care enough to look it up again) Blizzard gets fees 3 times for every item sold. Seriously? How, exactly, does this make a better game? Well, how does this make it a better game for the players? It doesn’t. It makes it a better game for Blizzard.

    Diablo 3 is, in essence, a virtual farming sim where Blizzard makes their cash off the fees from players selling virtual crops (loot drops) to each other. It’s a Facebook game where Blizzard controls the cash store. Sure, it’s a really slick Facebook game, but that’s all it is because you can only play it when you’re online. Just like Facebook games.

    So, please explain to me why I should pay the $40-$60 for the initial game, take up 25-30 gigs of hard drive space, deal with driver issues, internet hiccups, and Battlenet issues so that I might have the honor of playing the slickest Facebook game ever made? I’ll pass. Thanks for the nice try Blizzard. Perhaps you guys will pull your heads out of your butts in time for Titan, but you’re going to make so much money off this that Titan is going to be something far different from what you had originally imagined.

    • Sheer_Falacy says:

      What? The ability for players to pay cash for things is all it takes to make a game into a Facebook game?

      I think, if you pay close attention, you may be able to find a few more differences between Blizzard and Zynga.

    • Ringwraith says:

      I can too can understand the reasons behind having it always-on to prevent cheating, although I don’t understand why you can’t have offline characters that have no contact with the auction house and thus cannot affect it. Even better, allow the “offline” characters to play together in their own separated section, so they can still play with others.
      Now if only there was a game that did that… oh wait, it’s called Diablo 2.
      Now that really annoys me.

      • Mormegil says:

        I really resent the whole “we can’t let people cheat” thing. I’ve replayed Diablo 2 a few times and in all my most recent runs I’ve started with a 30th level character (I find everything before 30 is just grinding, everything after about 60 or 70 is just too hard to be fun).

        So why is that a bad thing? Does my not wanting to aimlessly grind in a single player game really impact on others so much? I agree with keeping a walled garden for people who want to play multiplayer but restricting people from changing the rules when they play alone is just irritating.

        • Ringwraith says:

          I only really ever play on Normal difficulty, as I find it all goes wonky once you start on the higher difficulties, not least of which is the XP needed for levels and the amount you gain is very far out of balance.

          • Peter H. Coffin says:

            That level progression balance may be the grinding Mormegil is seeing…

            • Ringwraith says:

              What? The well-tuned rate at which you can keep progressing through the game with no need to have to repeat an area for XP if you don’t want to?
              If anything, the grinding starts to rear its head once you start with Nightmare.

              • Aldowyn says:

                I went through on normal and ended up at … level 26 at Diablo. Doesn’t work. At all. You pretty much have to be at least lvl 30 :/

                In any case, I don’t see why cheating’s that big a deal either. Blizzard even has a very strong tradition of cheat codes in it’s RTSes… (POWER OVERWHELMING). I suppose it’s different, but still, when you can skip to any mission, insta win, or god mode, I don’t really see how.

        • Peter H. Coffin says:

          Interesting perspective…. I’ve got about sixteen offline D2 characters leveled up to someplace between mid 20s and low 30s. At that point, the character’s pretty much locked into how he or she is going to be played, and the player (me) knows how to approach every kind of encounter. Then the game only holds interest for the scenery. And in D2 that ain’t a lot and it never really changes.

    • Winter says:

      Well, I understand why Blizzard is doing the “Always On” DRM…

      I don’t. It’s bullshit and i won’t put up with it. No way, no how.

  17. Jjkaybomb says:

    I never intended to buy this game, but my boyfriend did, and it keeps ticking us off with what its doing. It just keeps sounding more and more like a cheap, money-grubbing free-to-play game built with the idea of money first, then game. I guess I expected more out of Blizzard…

  18. Thor says:

    Single player online is a deal-breaker. Whoops, they lost my money. Hey, didn’t Starcraft II become the most pirated game of all time because of single player online? Guess what’s about to happen to Diablo III.

  19. Aufero says:

    I understand that they’re thinking of this from an MMO perspective, but from my point of view this is a single-player game in which I can’t hit pause to talk to my kids, answer the phone or let the cat in. One which requires a constant internet connection to an account that can be hacked and/or stolen. (An activity further incentivized by the RMT thing.)

    That doesn’t sound like something I’d play.

  20. X2-Eliah says:

    So, this is a game of some description? Made by a company? About this spanish devil or something?

    Really though – I haven’t ever really gotten into these dungeon-crawler loot-gatherer games. Tried torchlight, tried D2 back in the day, iirc, and frankly they were mind-numbing and absolutely boring and monotonous. I guess it’s just not my kind of thing. On account of that, I’ve basically been looking at this game with as much enthusiasm/excitement as the n-th expansion pack for the whichever sims game is ‘in’ now, or whichever fifa/nfl simulator rehash is topping the charts…. Don’t care.

    • Neil D says:

      Yeah, I’m with you. I played through Diablo I and II and found them somewhat enjoyable as mindless click-fare, but unlike some of my friends had absolutely no interest in ever replaying them. After you’ve seen the story through once, the “click on bad guys to make them die” gameplay just doesn’t even begin to sustain my interest. Barely a step above the “Kill Everyone Project”, really (man, I haven’t checked in on that in years).

      Mind you, I have the same problem with most games. I think the only game I have ever immediately replayed after finishing was Arkham Asylum, and I think I played that through four times in a row (because really, how can you ever get tired of being the goddamn Batman?).

      Anyway, any interest I may have had in Diablo III severely dimmed when I heard about the MMO-focus, and then was completely extinguished by the “always-on” DRM. But that’s okay. I have a feeling I’ll be replaying Arkham City for some time to come (Nightwing, woo-hoo!).

      • X2-Eliah says:

        Hmyeah, Arkham Asylum was neat – unfortunately I got brickwalled by the Poison Ivy boss battle near the end – just can’t get past that bit. So no replaying. Was a very fun game tho.

        • Nick says:

          Key to that fight is dodging like a madman and throwing a batarang every time you wouldn’t get hit by something. But yeah, most aggravating boss fight in AA

          • Simulated Knave says:

            I found Poison Ivy soothing and relaxing after the mindless drudgery of “dodge guy so he runs into wall. Beat up swarm of thugs, while dodging guy’s other stuff. Repeat. Forever.” That was fun once. Sort of.

            It did not improve with further exposure.

            I’m not that good at it, of course, which didn’t help either. :P I basically would have loved those things if the bosses all had one less section of health. I play Batman to sneak around and beat up mooks, not do dodge big bruisy things at regular intervals.

  21. evilmrhenry says:

    I suspect the lack of single-player is related to having important code on the server, Ubisoft-style. For example, keeping all level generation and loot drop code inside of server calls. Still bullshit, but that would at least put a technical reason for not providing a single-player version.

  22. Atarlost says:

    Diablo has, what? Procedural levels and procedural gear. And, I suppose, multiplayer.
    Or you could play a real multiplayer roguelike. I suppose that’s “online” only too, but unlike Diablo you can run your own server and there’s always the loopback address.

    Or play one of the many high quality single player roguelikes. Most are GPL now, though there may still be some under the Rogue or Moria licenses.

    • MadTinkerer says:

      Also Minecraft. The 1.9 prereleases are making it very Roguelike-y, to the point where a lot of fans who are unfamiliar with roguelikes are going nuts on the forums and demanding the “random” and “senseless” changes be redacted.

      In fact, 1.9.3 finally added Hardcore mode. As in permadeath. In Minecraft. Ah, so wonderful.

      • X2-Eliah says:

        Is it so wrong to protest about changes making the game more roguelike when it was neither started nor advertised as one?

        • Aldowyn says:

          Notch should start posting previous versions for those who don’t like the later ones.

          Or the people that almost inevitably have earlier versions can upload them.

          In any case… am I the only one who sees being turn-based as a pretty necessary part of a roguelike?

          Lastly… Dungeons of Dredmor. :D

    • Zukhramm says:

      Sure, if you want to play a roguelike that’s great. But Diablo is a different kind of game and interest in one doesn’t necessarily mean interest in the other.

      • Wtrmute says:

        Really? The two features which stop Diablo I from being a completely orthodox Roguelike is graphics mode and the homebase you can buy and sell loot in. Diablo II did branch out a bit more onto the RPG genre, what with the skills, multiple overland areas, and more than one dungeon to explore. But it’s still pretty close, since the meat of the game is “explore labyrinthine, randomised dungeons, meet strange new creatures, kill them and take their stuff”, it’s still more a Roguelike than not.

        • Zukhramm says:

          The mechanics through which you move through dungeons and through which you kill monsters are quite different. Starcraft and Civilization both are about managing resources and moving armies about, yet they are very different games. Judging games’ similarities just by general concept means pretty much all games are very similar.

  23. Adam P says:

    I’m not surprised that there would be lag during the beta. Obviously, the beta is going to be laggy because it’s a beta, but that’s not the reason I’m not surprised.

    While playing WoW, without using the battle.net realid features, I frequently get disconnected from battle.net (and so would several of my guildmates, who live all around the country); it’s not the same thing as being disconnected from the game servers, so it doesn’t actually affect me. The new battle.net just isn’t very good. That is my biggest beef with Diablo 3, that it’s a problem Blizzard’s servers that would end up kicking me from the game. That doesn’t sit well with me. And I expect the problem will only get worse once the game is already out.

    • Sumanai says:

      MMOs have lag.
      Lag is a technical problem.
      Diablo 3 works from a technical point like an MMO. (Everything gets double checked by the servers.)
      Therefore Diablo 3 will have lag.

      Just because it’s in Beta doesn’t mean all of the problems will magically disappear once it’s ready.

      • Adam P says:

        What I’m saying is that battle.net isn’t the best platform and that I have no faith in it. It has not been very stable when the only games that utilized it were SC2 and WoW, so I doubt that D3—beta or not—will run as smoothly as the end user needs it to.

        • Sumanai says:

          Sorry. Got a bit used to the “it’s just beta”-crowd that flock every time anyone has problems with a beta.

          Haven’t followed up on the problems with the Battle.net. I didn’t even know they had shifted WoW over there either.

  24. StranaMente says:

    Until now in the escapist thread I saw a trend. There are three kinds of reactions:
    1) I agree with you this problem [insert problem] bothers me (realistic);
    2) I disagree with you, these aren’t problems, the game will be fine (delusional);
    3) I like to play online, and I already consider this an mmo so these are problems that I can put up with (there’s only one person who said that…).

    At least, I can relate with the third one, even if I don’t share his opinions. I’m in the first category for a great number of reasons.

    • Fede says:

      I’d add a fourth category, that is a subset of the second one:
      “I disagree with you, those are only problems if you don’t have internetwant to play singleplayer offline, and if you want that you are doing it wrong”.
      And this is by far the most annoying category. Sadly, Blizzard itself seems to be part of this category.

      • Sumanai says:

        Is that the group that basically says “if you have an unreliable internet connection your ISP needs to fix the infrastructure at a huge cost just so you can play a game on singleplayer”? Or were there none of those in the Escapist?

        There was also one dumbass at the Rock Paper Shotgun that said (paraphrasing) “if you can have a 3G connection everywhere in Finland you can’t complain about a game demanding always online”, but I’m hoping he’s been keeping his mouth shut since. (3G, at least in Finland, has a nasty constant lag, and lag spikes, in good areas which make MMOs really hard to play. In bad areas you’re lucky to hold the connection for several minutes.)

  25. Destrustor says:

    Yep. Not a game I’d ever consider buying. A short while ago I was internet-less and still have the instinct of online-only = can’t play. The online-only just feels like a way to strap the players firmly under Blizzard’s insecure control.
    I am not a dog. I don’t need a leash.

  26. Even says:

    http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2011/09/22/how-diablo-iiis-drm-will-affect-you/

    The DRM could be a bit bigger problem. There’s just no justification for making you log out of a SINGLE PLAYER game for idling. If their servers can’t handle the traffic, then they should improve the service or provide an alternative.

    I’m seriously getting sick of seeing people getting treated like criminals just because they want to play their freaking legally purchased game. There’s no benefit in this for anyone.

  27. Atle says:

    I’d be happy to pay $100 for a good single player only D3 without all the MMO related constraints. For D3 as it is: maybe $20. There are plenty other good games out there. Dark Souls and Skyrim are two examples which will keep me busy while not playing D3.

  28. Phoenix says:

    I suggest townportalling if you’re interrupted by something, it takes really 3-4 seconds. But if something terrible happens in those seconds don’t give the blame to me! :D Blame blizzard. I too blame blizzard for the stacrafty idea of playing at a fixed scale without being able to look over a larger area.

    And of course I really miss the satanical atmosphere of the first diablo. They got wise and to sell more and easier lighted the tone of the game.

    • Sumanai says:

      I heard they removed Town Portals because you could abuse them against the mobs.

      • Fede says:

        From what i’ve seen, they are not really removed, there is an artifact that you find early in the game (don’t remember its name) that basically lets you town portal. The catch is, it needs some time (five seconds? ten?) to activate, so you can’t use it to escape combat quickly.

        • Sumanai says:

          From what I’ve heard it works like the Hearthstone in WoW. So there’s a several second “channeling” (several seconds spend rubbing it until it works, usually 10-15 sec. while hoping you’re not interrupted.), there’s a cooldown before reuse (and knowing Blizzard that will be 30 minutes) and it’s one way.

          If it’s two way then I’d call it a Town Portal -object. Even though a cooldown of over 15 minutes is unreasonable, especially if it’s one way.

      • Ringwraith says:

        But good town portal abuse was integral boss/tough encounter strategy!
        At least I tend to leave one just outside or inside the entrance before starting the fight so I can make a quick getaway if it all goes horribly wrong.

        • Sumanai says:

          We (me and some of my friends) did the same thing. It was basically a safety net in case the fight was too much. But, alas, no such things anymore. Blizzard, and many other companies, want you to play the way they want to, not the way you want to. So it’s all “abuse” and often bannable online.

          • Ringwraith says:

            In fact, a town portal near a combat area if anything was a massive annoyance, as the risk of clicking on it accidentally was quite high.
            Besides, you would’ve thought they could’ve thought of something to discourage town portal escapes, like healing any damage done to monsters, and in particular, bosses, when you use one.

  29. Zaxares says:

    It was the “purchase items with real money” that killed it for me, supplemented by the “everybody must play online” decision. I have no desire to bring my character online and compete with a horde of other players who quite obviously bought their way to greatness. (Which, judging by the financial viability of gold farming as a business, is a damn big segment of the gaming population.)

    Furthermore, if what Blizzard says is true and items sold in the auction house are found PURELY in game, that’s little better because you’ve just turned D3 into one big online lottery. Real life teaches me plenty about how so much success in life comes down to pure chance, Blizzard; I don’t need you rubbing it in my face in my games too.)

    Not to mention you’ll be able to buy and sell gold itself on the Auction House, which means it will definitely have an impact on in-game inflation as time goes by. Even though I’m sure D3 will be a smooth, beautiful gaming experience, it’s off the list for me.

    Ironically, I could have overlooked the RMT’s if there had been a single player option, and I never, ever had to bring my character online.

  30. Jonathan says:

    Do not want

  31. Ateius says:

    I’ve never played a Diablo, but like many I have the Diablo Friend. My Diablo Friend was very excited about a new Diablo, and kept sharing pre-release stuff with me, resulting in my own growing excitement. Yeah, this looks slick! This looks cool! I can fight my way through these fantastic landscapes, and maybe even-

    What?

    Always online what?

    See, I live in a place where my service provider puts a cap on my bandwidth. If I exceed this cap I get charged immense amounts of money. For that single reason, always-online DRM is straight out, because it’s going to be using up my bandwidth to talk to its distant servers. Sure, maybe only a tiny bit. Or it might add up to a lot depending on how much I play. I don’t know, and because I don’t know, I’m not going to take the risk that their constantly connected DRM might push me over my bandwidth cap (which I frequently ride the line on) and start costing me extra money. I certainly don’t trust the people who made the game to care about those in my situation and ensure they use as little bandwidth as possible; if they cared about their customers they wouldn’t require this stuff in the first place.

    Although even if that wasn’t the case I’d avoid it anyway because no pausing. No thanks, Blizzard, I do have a life outside the computer.

    • Peter H. Coffin says:

      Plus side is that Blizzard games don’t usually actually use all that much data for their online-ness, especially for one-player online versions. (And yes, actually D2 had one-player online. It was just an option people took to goof around for a while with characters that they had online.) All the graphics, the music, and the pretty was loaded up from disc, and what actually got send from the server was encoded maps, where critters were and what they were, and combat was a matter of “toon x, facing direction 12, attacks with range weapon blarg at location foo” and the client takes care of rendering that from then on. If player walks into that blarg-missile, the server knows but only the coded part, and hands back a damage value, and the client shrieks and makes the toon fall over.

  32. potemkin.hr says:

    As somebody here said, many will argue, but plenty of them will buy the game. I definitely will the game for the multiplayer with my friends, but not at full price (CD key shops will be selling it 50% off).
    I’m not paying full retail for an online-only game, but I’ll gladly buy the Epic Fan version of Grim Dawn (http://www.grimdawn.com/) when the beta opens :)
    Until then, I’ll enjoy my Titan Quest Gold, which lets me play the game however I want it.

  33. Davie says:

    You know, for a while I was getting a bit sick of Titan Quest and Torchlight and Sacred and all the other games that were knockoffs of Diablo II’s gameplay, but now? I’m just glad there are so many alternatives to Blizzard’s wannabe MMO clusterfuck.

  34. Ramsus says:

    I honestly don’t see how Blizzard could even think this was a good idea. It doesn’t matter if “everyone” will still buy your game. Intentionally alienating significant portions on your customers isn’t healthy for the long term prospects of your company.

    I had a lot of enthusiasm before I learned about the online only play but, as soon as I found out it dropped to no enthusiasm at all. What they’ve done with D3 and SC2 basically made my view of the company take a 180. My opinion of D3 went from “I can’t wait to buy this game (which will be one of the few purchases I’ll make this year)” to “I certainly won’t be buying this game and I’ll probably pirate it just to give them the finger.”

  35. swimon1 says:

    This is depressing… I don’t get Blizzard at all, this is just dumb… Well in less depressing news double fine just released costume quest to pc over steam. It’s a game about fighting with monsters over candy on Halloween by becoming the characters your child protagonists dress up as.

    I find it pretty hard to be down about anything at the moment actually. Blizzards stupidity just seem quaint when you can fight monsters by transforming into the statue of liberty and then race bullies while dressed as a robot.

  36. Factoid says:

    I’m confused…is it just the beta cut short or does the game really end just as it’s getting good?

    • Shamus says:

      The beta is cut way short. Imagine in Diablo II, if it ended just after the fight with Andariel at the end of Act I. That’s about where the beta seems to end, story-wise.
      (I say this without knowing how long the full game will be. I’m just going by level & story progression.)

      • Bubble181 says:

        The equivalent beta inj Diablo II played just until the end of the Bloodraven quest (2nd quest in Act I). This one is, apparently, larger by quite a factor.

        Note that I don’t think a bigger client would’ve been more fun.

  37. nehumanuscrede says:

    It’s online only because they can’t tempt you to spend money in the auction house if you never connect online to see it.

    The ‘ cheating ‘ reasons are complete bullshit. Easy enough to separate the online characters from the local ones. Ya did it in Diablo II there Blizzo, can’t be that difficult.

    The constant internet connection doesn’t bother me as much as it probably should. But then, I’ve played a few MMO’s over the years and being connected to the game world is a requirement for those.

    What bothers me is it seems the game was built around the Micro-transaction Engine and not the other way around. They’re trying to get you into a subscription system without you even realizing it.

    They’ll make cash by the truck load just in appearance gear alone. One base model item with twenty different color schemes, names, and a sparkle effect stuck on it will sell twenty times over. EASY MONEY. :|

    I played games for the visual experience and the story. In the past they seemed to make them that way. An interactive movie or book if you will. Now, the sole reason to make a game is to see how much money they can make. They’ve all gone Disney on us . . . . lol

  38. Freykin says:

    The no mod support part really bothers me, as I played a ton of Diablo 2 mods. Hell, I competed in the Eastern Sun mods tournament scene (very odd, but it was kind of like single player honor system obey these sets of rules to earn points kind of thing. Surprisingly no one cheated and everyone was super friendly and nice). Not to mention Brother Laz’s AMAZING mod for Diablo 2, Median XL.

    I know I will be getting the game, as what it has appeals to me, but unless they support it a good amount after launch, I probably will play more of Torchlight 2 than Diablo 3.

  39. RTBones says:

    Online only, for single player? Always on DRM? No mod support? Purchase items in-game with real money?

    Tell me why, again, I cant have offline characters that dont have access to the online auction house?

    I’m sure that plenty of people will buy this game. That will make the Blizzard bean-counters happy (unfortunately).

    Me? I will not.

    • Sumanai says:

      There have been two not completely insane reasons for the “only online”:

      1. The game engine has been designed from ground up to depend on the server, which contains the code for NPCs and AI. Why would they do that? Saving effort in making it or…

      2. Because they believe that people are more likely to want, and therefore buy, rare items when they can’t have them by cheating even in the singleplayer. (Hypothesis courtesy of Kdansky, IIRC)

      The second sounds likely to me because it has just the right amounts of stupidity and manipulation that I associate with Blizzard.

      Note that I personally believe that players would be more likely to want items for multiplayer that they’ve had in singleplayer (cheated or not), but I’ve never been good with the Skinner Box stuff so what do I know.

      • RTBones says:

        Granted, both counts. Here’s the thing: if I want to play a game that is “online all the time” – I’ll find an MMO to play.

        Regarding items multi vs single player – me, I would think similarly. My thought process would be that people would play the game single player, find loot they like, and try to get it for multiplayer.

        If its a single player game, I should be able to install it on any computer meeting specs, and take it wherever. I should NOT have to be online. If I lose access to certain content (like the auction house) because I dont want to play online, so be it.

        • Sumanai says:

          I have personally a problem with the lag. Every MMO suffers from it a little with my connection, but I tolerate it because I know the game needs to be online and have its gameplay governed by the server. With Diablo 3, well, not quite so.

      • Huge amounts of time were spent hacking the game to create items that were sold on ebay. This approach is supposed to stop that.

        In general, I think it is a mistake. Understand the DRM aspects.

        Slowing down theft of games is a huge issue. Until there is a reliable way to do that, companies will keep trying.

        • RTBones says:

          To me, if you want to slow down theft of games, there are few things you need to do:

          1) Put out a quality product

          People liked FO:NV…after it was patched. People were frustrated by it before it was patched. Schedule should not drive quality.

          2) Price the game reasonably

          I know development costs are huge these days, but there is a balance. Price games too high, and people will find alternatives.

          3) Dont treat legitimate customers like criminals.

          As a former software developer, I completely understand the desire of a company to protect its intellectual property. That said, your DRM should NOT get in the way of legitimate customers enjoying your product. Your DRM should also not drive legitimate customers to *cough* patch *cough* your product.

        • Sumanai says:

          So Blizzard is worried that people would sell items, which they (in the generally suggested system of offline only singleplayer characters) couldn’t trade since they’d be offline only and could just gain by cheating for free, with real world money. While at the same time making a system for selling items, which players can trade since they will be online only, with real world money.

          Yeah, that makes sense.

  40. randy says:

    Diablo 3 is a mutton of a game. Another ActiBlizzard failure.

    Not with my money.

  41. Blake says:

    *sigh* I’d REALLY hoped that they would’ve at least made the single player experience pause.
    The log in every time DRM I could tolerate (so long as when you got disconnected you weren’t unceremoniously booted out of the menu), and could understand if they wanted to have all the item/monster/map spawns happening server side (since it has all that auction housey business), it would’ve been painful needing to be online, but 90% of the time it’d be fine with me.

    What they really SHOULD’VE done though was to have hit arbitration happen client side, with the server verifying results (and flagging people abnormal behaviour as potential cheaters). Without item spawns happening client side no new auction house issues would occur.
    The server would need only track the last 2 seconds of messages and if it recieved some packets from the players late it could still go back and verify the results looked correct.

    I was one of three coders that designed/implemented a system like this on a small sports game that’s been released on the consoles, with Blizzards resources it would’ve been easy.

    Also: sending a pause request to the server which could just run something like “if numPlayers < 2 then setPaused(true) end" and having heartbeat packets keep the connection alive when paused would be trivial. If they don't add that by release I'd be amazed.

    In all likelihood I'll buy the game, get burnt by the DRM once or twice and go back to D2.

  42. Narcolepsy says:

    I was willing to forgive the always online bit. It seemed necessary from what I knew about the game and more specifically the market. But if I were to play this game, my ultimate goal is to beat that “legendary” hard core mode where that one death is all it takes to end the game. But considering the possibility of server lag and with no ability to pause. It’s starting to sound much more frustrating than it’s worth. Diablo III still looks like it’s going to be great but I’m seriously reconsidering getting it now. It’ll probably all come down to whether my friends are getting it or not.

    Also yeah, not including the ability to make an offline only character for the reason that the player MIGHT regret it later is one of the worst justifications I’ve ever heard. I am not impressed.

  43. KT Chong says:

    I have never played Diablo 2 online after I tried the multiplayer once when I first got the game. Since then, I have always played Diablo 2 solo – because that is the way I like to play my games.

    I do NOT play online. Period. I always and only play solo.

    And Blizzard is not going to change the way I am and how I play my games.

    I have never played an MMO since I beta-tested Ultima Online. I do not play MMOs, and I will never play MMOs. I have never played and I will never play a game in multiplayer mode. That is who I am, that is how I play my games.

    I play solo, only. That is how I play like my games. That is how I like play my games.

    I want to be able to play the game at a casual pace, be able to pause and interrupt the game so I can answer phone calls, answer the door, check my soup or meal that is cooking in the kitchen, move around my house to get something else done.

    Most importantly, I want to be able to leave my characters for a long period of time, and then return to the game a year or two later and pick up where I left off. I do not want to have to worry about Battle.net deleting my characters because they are inactive for too long. (And I have had been away from Diablo 2 for almost two years before I went back to my old characters and picked up from where I left off. Thank goodness I could save my Diablo 2 offline.)

    I do not mind Blizzard checking my installed copy every time I launch the game. Plenty of single-player games do that nowadays. I have Steam, and the Steam client checks my games (and they are ALL single-player games) every time I launch them.

    But I will NEVER play a multiplayer, online or co-op games. I will NEVER play an MMO. I am ONLY interested in playing solo and offline. That is just who I am and how I play my games.

    Pity (that Diablo III will be online-only and will not let players save characters offline.) It seems like I will, again, skip another Blizzard game. I have not purchased anything from Blizzard since WarCraft III because Blizzard keeps making games that, for one reason or another, prevent me from giving them my money.

    Oh well. I will just have to play Mass Effect 3, which will come out the same time as Diablo III. Mass Effect 3 will have a multiplayer component but that is optional. Thanks goodness BioWare lets me play my games solo, just the way I like it. And that is why BioWare will continue to earn my money… and Blizzard will not.

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