Blizzard defends Diablo III's online only gameplay

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.

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should keep the cheaters at bay, however give it a few days, and Im sure someone will create a sandbox for it, or a private server system like in WoW

Ehh... it funnels more customers into the AH for real money.. I can see quite a few people making a living farming D3 items now. lol, I might just do it myself

The introduction of the auction house so they can take a cut of sales, elimination of mods so there won't be competition when they release dlc, and forced constant online connection to try and reduce piracy are to increase profit. All these talk about how these changes are for the benefits of players / gameplay are complete bull. In the end, whether or not you buy the game is up to you. Most people will be like me, try to resist but ultimately will buy it anyway, and Blizzard knows this.

A company interested in reducing piracy and increasing profit? Scandalous!

Yes, I'm sure reducing piracy factored into the decision, but it's not really fair to paint the decisions in black and white 'they don't care about us' style.

Kirkburn said,
A company interested in reducing piracy and increasing profit? Scandalous!

Yes, I'm sure reducing piracy factored into the decision, but it's not really fair to paint the decisions in black and white 'they don't care about us' style.

I think it does. Look at all the DRM-free games that sell well, i.e., Stardock published games. Not a very large company but they know their stuff is pirated. Activision Blizzard/Ubisoft: big companies, lots of cool games too but horrendous DRM.

I honestly believe if it were just Blizzard and not "Activision Blizzard," it would be a different story.

I never said it was wrong of them to try and make profit, as should be expected of all companies. However, why bother pretending that these changes are for the players? By implementing changes that the vast majority of the fanbase disagree, would you still say that they still "care about us"?

deundead said,
I never said it was wrong of them to try and make profit, as should be expected of all companies. However, why bother pretending that these changes are for the players? By implementing changes that the vast majority of the fanbase disagree, would you still say that they still "care about us"?

Where is this "vast majority"? In a lot of cases, what you see, read, and hear on the Internet is by the vocal minority. Most people that are happy with X game won't go online to complain about it.

The requirement for an always-on Internet connection was made because of piracy. If anyone's to blame, it's the people that pirate video games. Also, the currency-based auction house shouldn't be an issue because it's optional. If you don't want to spend real money on an item, you can spend in-game gold on it instead.

Anaron said,
The requirement for an always-on Internet connection was made because of piracy.
No, it's wasn't. Please stop painting the decision as an either it was or wasn't - Blizzard have stated other reasons, so this cannot be 'the' reason.

Kirkburn said,
No, it's wasn't. Please stop painting the decision as an either it was or wasn't - Blizzard have stated other reasons, so this cannot be 'the' reason.

You're right, it can't be the single reason but it sure as hell is one of them.

Anaron said,

You're right, it can't be the single reason but it sure as hell is one of them.
Blizzard themselves have said it's not, but since we aren't them and aren't privy to their discussions, I don't see how it's reasonable to definitively accuse them lying.

Sorry, Blizzard, that's a stupid excuse. If you wanted to, you could limit a SP player from taking the character online or at least put in requirements such as only level 1-x play here, x-xx here, etc. or offer games where a person can either allow that in multi co-op or not when setting up a game.

I will NOT be buying this game now. It's bad enough that I live in an area with constant drops and I LOVE bringing my laptop on the road with me and there aren't always times I have a connection.

Plus, the lack of Mod support has also turned me away. Wasn't it Blizzard that raved about all of the mods done for Diablo 2 and how innovative they were? Yeah, well maybe the old Blizzard, but not the new facist one.....

briangw said,
If you wanted to, you could limit a SP player from taking the character online
Isn't that exactly what is covered by this quote from the article:

"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."

Diablo 2 barely has mod support. Or, alternatively, mods work on it. There's a difference between actively supporting mods, and them happening anyway.

Kirkburn said,
Isn't that exactly what is covered by this quote from the article:

Diablo 2 barely has mod support. Or, alternatively, mods work on it. There's a difference between actively supporting mods, and them happening anyway.

BARELY? Dude, you need to review the mod list from years ago. There were a lot of mods back then for the game. It's just that there are fewer now since it's over 10 years old. But really, what game from that long ago still has a lot of mods to this day? It's just that this "Activision Blizzard", I feel, has dictated what should be done in a professional model and the "Blizzard" part from years ago has been dropped.

As for the other comment, yes, I missed that, but it still doesn't excuse this online all-the-time crap.

Kirkburn said,
No, I'm not saying there aren't mods. I'm saying they're not *supported*.

Who cares if they're not supported? That wasn't my point. MY point was that they specifically said that they will not allow their game to be modded, that's what I meant by Mod support, i.e. they will not provide any tools to mod their game, like they did with D2.

What mod tools? I don't recall seeing any official D2 mod tools.

In order for D3 to have mod support, they would literally have to build it into the system (due to the always online and secure requirement), which they are not willing to do - because it's not what they want to do with the game. It's not a case of 'we hate mods', it's a case of 'mods aren't what we want, and would require a lot of extra resources to support'.

EvilAstroboy said,
The game coming to Console ?
They're considering it, but it's only in an investigative stage. They're designing for PC, and looking to see whether it'll work on consoles, and what tweaks they might need to make to the console version (*not* PC version) to make it work.

[No doubt some people will see a D3-being-designed-for-consoles conspiracy here, but this I'm repeating what Blizzard have said, and I see absolutely no reason to doubt it]

Just don't buy it.

Boycott is the only thing greedy companies understand. This just means I'm keeping my money. I'm also advising every gamer I can to NOT buy this game now.

If their business model doesn't change, I'm just not buying any of their products anymore. Just like I won't buy UbiSoft always on DRM titles either.

If you don't like it, don't complain online, it does nothing. Just don't buy the product. If sales are bad enough, then there will be change. It's that easy.

margrave said,
Just don't buy it.

Boycott is the only thing greedy companies understand. This just means I'm keeping my money. I'm also advising every gamer I can to NOT buy this game now.

If their business model doesn't change, I'm just not buying any of their products anymore. Just like I won't buy UbiSoft always on DRM titles either.

If you don't like it, don't complain online, it does nothing. Just don't buy the product. If sales are bad enough, then there will be change. It's that easy.


I seriously doubt that would make a difference. The "Boycott Modern Warfare 2" group on Steam has shown that pledging to boycott a game usually results in failure.

margrave said,
Just don't buy it.

Boycott is the only thing greedy companies understand. This just means I'm keeping my money. I'm also advising every gamer I can to NOT buy this game now.

If their business model doesn't change, I'm just not buying any of their products anymore. Just like I won't buy UbiSoft always on DRM titles either.

If you don't like it, don't complain online, it does nothing. Just don't buy the product. If sales are bad enough, then there will be change. It's that easy.

I'm with ya. I don't plan on buying anything from either company. I don't like the DRM and restrictions put on something I buy so I'll just not buy it.

Tbh, seems pretty reasonable to me. I don't have an expectation to play World of Warcraft when offline, and now I don't for playing Diablo III, which I'm not going to lose sleep over.

Not being able to play while offline could be annoying, but the situations when that occurs are getting fewer and fewer. I can't imagine it needing a very strong connection, either.

thank god for cracks now eh?

pathetic move by blizzard. I guess the purchase by Activision does nothing but harm.

shame about the lies though...

Kirkburn said,
And Activision Blizzard =/= Activision.

Idk, Activision Blizzard has "Activision" in it, so I assume when the parent company makes the rules, Blizzard must follow them. We didn't see Activision make the rules back when they didn't own Blizzard and Diablo 2 did just fine without this online all the time crap.

Basing your thoughts entirely on the name of something is foolish. Activision doesn't run Blizzard. Blizzard is entirely capable of making new decisions on its own.

Kirkburn said,
Basing your thoughts entirely on the name of something is foolish. Activision doesn't run Blizzard. Blizzard is entirely capable of making new decisions on its own.

So, if Activision doesn't run "Activision Blizzard," then why name it that? My company, Kroll Ontrack was a subsidary of Kroll. Kroll told us what to do, including had their name on our paychecks. Altegrity bought us out, so Altegrity was on our paychecks and all of our IT systems merged into theirs. By your logic, Activison doesn't tell Blizzard what to do? You must have not worked in a company where you were a part of a subsidiary.

Look dude, Vivendi owns Blizzard, not Activision.

Activision Blizzard is totally another thing, it doesn't have any publishing / development authority, it is just an investment 'company', and both Activision and Blizzard report their financial statuses to Activision Blizzard.

KavazovAngel said,
Look dude, Vivendi owns Blizzard, not Activision.

Activision Blizzard is totally another thing, it doesn't have any publishing / development authority, it is just an investment 'company', and both Activision and Blizzard report their financial statuses to Activision Blizzard.

OK, fine whatever. Can't we all just agree then that it's not Blizzard making these decisions; it's the parent company. Blizzard from Diablo 2 days would never enforce these draconium measures.

KavazovAngel said,
Except they didn't get purchased by Activision.

Yeah, they did. They merged with Vivendi, which was merged into Activision. Blizzard is only an imprint name now. Neither they or Vivendi Games exist anymore.

Any similarity to the company that existed before the mergers is purely coincidental.

Vivendi Games, formerly known as Vivendi Universal Games, was the holdings company for Sierra Entertainment and Blizzard Entertainment. Vivendi Games was founded as Vivendi Universal Games after Vivendi bought Universal Studios in the early 2000s. Before then, Vivendi Universal Games was known as Universal Interactive Studios.

Vivendi Games was a 100% subsidiary of Vivendi S.A.. Headed by Bruce Hack, it was headquartered in Los Angeles, California and employed over 3,400 people at 4 separate development divisions. Vivendi Games owned the rights to such popular franchises as Warcraft, StarCraft, Diablo and World of Warcraft (all games developed by Blizzard Entertainment) as well as others like Empire Earth, Leisure Suit Larry, Ground Control, Tribes, Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon owned by Sierra Entertainment. It is now merged with Activision and is known as Activision Blizzard.
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vivendi_Games

GreyWolf said,
Blizzard is only an imprint name now. Neither they or Vivendi Games exist anymore.
What in hell are you talking about? Blizzard is essentially unchanged as a internal company. They still have the same offices, same staff, same games, etc ... they just report their earnings, and have a (very) top level structure in a different way.

You can harp on all you like about Activision now 'running' Blizzard, but it isn't true. For one, Vivendi is *not* Activision.

Blizzard from Diablo 2 days does not exist. It has not existed for a long time, because Blizzard North is long gone. Even if it did, D2 was released over 10 years - of course it wouldn't be the same!

Pity excuses to not saying the real reason, trying to get all the people who buy the game to enter and use (and spend Real money on) the Auction House they have ingame.

undu said,
Pity excuses to not saying the real reason, trying to get all the people who buy the game to enter and use (and spend Real money on) the Auction House they have ingame.

The 'real reason' is that it can almost completely eliminate piracy. Yes, Blizz gets a cut from the AH. But as someone who made a load of cash from D2 items, I welcome a safe way (no chargebacks) of selling items in D3. Paypal took a cut of my D2 stuff, so its fair I don't have to use that terrible company anymore.

I was concerned about the Auction House too, but the implementation they're planning on seems quite sane to me. Keeps the market under control (it plainly isn't for D2), and provides opportunities for those without cash to burn. Similarly, I'm not bothered by the Team Fortress 2 market, though I don't partake in it at all.

It's there, but implemented in a fashion where any effect on how the game plays is limited.

episode said,
The 'real reason' is that it can almost completely eliminate piracy.

Not a chance. It will be pirated. It's not an MMO where all gameplay is client-server based.

Buio said,

Not a chance. It will be pirated. It's not an MMO where all gameplay is client-server based.

WoW's private servers are not even close to the experience of the live
same will go for D3

Diablo 3 will also require a persistent Internet connection, and Blizzard's Rob Pardo agrees that it's kind of a pain in the butt. "I want to play Diablo 3 on my laptop in a plane, but, well, there are other games to play for times like that," he told 1up.

Just so we're clear, when you're bored on a plane, and you have your laptop, and you want to play the game you bought in order to fight boredom, Blizzard's official recommendation is that you play someone else's game. That's pride, right there.


From:http://arstechnica.com/gaming/...port-in-five-easy-steps.ars