When the announcement came that Diablo 3 would require a constant internet connection to play I basically just shrugged it off and moved on with my day. The offline mode of Diablo has always mattered very little to me. Even when playing alone, I want to develop the characters on my online account, so that I can use them with my friends and other fellow demon slayers all over the world, not to mention being able to find, give, receive and trade equipment between characters. Aside from the slight twinge of recollection of how horribly Ubisoft has handled always-online DRM, this is Blizzard we’re talking about. They know online. They can do no wrong!
However, this has proven not to be the case. I’m not sure if Blizzard somehow underestimated the amount of copies their game would sell (highly unlikely), but the release has been a complete disaster for many, and in little over 2 weeks time there are still numerous issues with the game and service as a whole. People are unable to login, the auction house is malfunctioning and accounts are being hacked at an increasing rate.
These are problems that every owner of Diablo 3 is forced to deal with, even though I’m pretty sure that the vast majority of people who has purchased this game want to experience it as a solo adventure, not caring about the social or online features in the slightest.
Blizzard has made a few arguments as to why they’ve chosen to implement this system (reduce cheating/duping, etc.) and I can get behind this in theory (even though we all know it’s about the Real Money Auction House [Ka-Ching!] and DRM). But my biggest problem with the system is that they have basically chosen to overload their own servers by catering to every single copy used.
If the Solo Players had the option of creating their own Single Player characters to enjoy the game the way they want to, the servers wouldn’t be NEARLY as pressured, and those of us who are in it for the online would have a much easier time connecting and accessing the content we’ve paid for.
This would also alleviate the immense workload I’m sure is being thrust upon the developers, programmers and server maintenance people at Blizzard trying to make the best of what seems like an impossible situation, and leave more room for fixing the actual problems with the game and its functionality.
An offline mode, even though it’s not for me, would also greatly help Blizzards public perception as a consumer oriented business. Pulling people kicking and screaming somewhere they don’t want to be and subsequently proving to them that all preconceived notions of why it sucks there are true will only hurt their customers and their credibility in the long run.
Here’s to them realizing and fixing their mistake. Now, I’ve got a log in screen to spam.
For more Diablo 3, check out our Diablo 3 Preview