On Monday Blizzard announced how the upcoming closed beta test for its long awaited action-RPG sequel Diablo III will work. It also announced a number of controversial features for the game including one that really upset die hard Blizzard fans, namely that the game will require an always on Internet connection to Blizzard's Battle.net online service, even if you play the game in single player mode.
Needless to say that decision didn't make gamers very happy. PC Gamer got in touch with Blizzard's online technologies VP Robert Bridenbecker to get more info on this feature. Bridenbecker basically repeated what other Blizzard reps said on Monday: "Imagine you have a world where you want to play in an entirely single-player environment. You go through and you level up your character and you get all these awesome item drops and so forth. Then you say, 'OK, I do want to play with my buddy.' Well, guess what? We have to make you re-roll a new character because we can’t guarantee [a lack of cheating or hacking]. In an online environment, we can do that."
But what about if a player just wants to play by himself and not have to deal with being bothered with chatting with other online friends? Bridenbecker states, "I mean, the reality is that most people, when they’re in a game and they say that they’re busy, other players are going to respect that. If somebody happens to intrude, you know, it’s your friend. Just tell them, 'Hey man, when I’m busy, leave me alone.""
Bridenbecker also talked about the in-game auction house which will allow players to buy and sell in-game weapons and items in Diablo III with real money. When asked why Blizzard didn't just launch a micro-transaction store for the game like so many free-to-play games have done he said, " ... one of the things that’s unique about what we’ve come up with is that players don’t have to use it. It’s completely optional." He also points out that players can also buy and sell in-game items via a service that uses Diablo III's in-game gold currency.