Blizzard Thinks Always Online Diablo 3 Shouldn’t Surprise You

Blizzard Thinks Always Online Diablo 3 Shouldn’t Surprise You

Blizzard really thinks you should get with the times. There’s really no reason why an always-online Diablo III should shock you, Blizzard VP of Online Technologies Robert Bridenbecker says in an interview with MTV Multiplayer

“I’m actually kind of surprised in terms of there even being a question in today’s age around online play and the requirement around that,” said Bridenbecker. “We’ve been doing online gameplay for 15 years now”¦and with ‘World of WarCraft’ and our roots in and now with ‘Diablo 3,’ it really is just the nature of how things are going, the nature of the industry. When you look at everything you get by having that persistent connection on the servers, you cannot ignore the power and the draw of that.”

According to Bridenbecker, the decision has nothing to do with DRM and everything to do with how the game functions, which I suppose is the best possible reason to implement something like this — although what’s essentially happening here is that Blizzard is billing a primarily singleplayer game as an MMO-esque experience in the tradition of World of WarCraft to win players over to the idea of Diablo III being always-online.

I’m not sure how I feel about that. Let us know what you think

[Blizzard VP ‘Surprised’ Over Fan Reaction To ‘Diablo 3’ Online Requirements via MTV Multiplayer]


  • Why would it NOT be surprising? Starcraft II allows you to play offline if you’ve logged in at least once online. Why wouldn’t Diablo do the same thing? There was absolutely no need to store characters and loot online. Everything that they’re doing there could be done by storing the data on your PC. I mean, sure, for Online play they’d need to make a copy of that data, but 100% control and storage is unnecessary.

    • They want online play because of the Auction House implemented into Diablo 3 – if you allow offline play people can item hack and then sell the items.

      Hell Diablo 2 showed just how imaginative people got with item hacking – now add real world money into that equation – surprised not one media outlet had put 1 and 1 together coupled with their AH announcement.

      Also everything happening with Diablo 3 – Starcraft 2 and WOW is basically a Giant Beta now for Titan – they are testing what people will and will not approve of so that when titan is announced it will have a shorter beta period because they have already tested some of their ideas.

      • Stopping item hacking (and, presumably, other sorts of cheating too) is certainly a worthy purpose and something that’s good for players. And personally this isn’t going to bother me, for the most part I had no problems with the way it worked in Starcraft II.

        But that objective doesn’t seem to justify the exclusion of the possibility of creating a purely single player character (which would be permanently prevented from being taken online, or at least prevented from trading).

        • Yes but I have no problem with item hacking, as long as it stays in the single-player. You should be able to select whether you want your character to be usable in multiplayer in which case blizz can force persistancy.

          However they are forcing you to play multiplayer whether you ever use the multiplayer features or not. That is a serious issue, and blizzard should stop with their idiot justifications.

  • No its not suprising that you would do this after joining Activision.
    Finding ways to screw over the customer so you can have complete and asolute control in all your games.

    Was it really needed for a game like Dialo as well? You might as well call it an MMO at this point and slap a suscription fee on it while your at it, just to see how much you can nickel and dime people for less content

  • What if I’m on the road and want to play? On an Airplane? Or have a shitty australian ISP and stuck on a RIM exchange and have frequent drop outs?

    Maybe *you* bastards shouldn’t be suprised that unlike in your glorious offices with blazingly fast internet that’s up 100% of the time, most of your *comsumes* don’t have that same luxury.

    • You wouldn’t happen to be a netspace customer who’s just been trasferred to the telstra infrastructure would you? Sounds like you’re describing my network

  • No it does not surprise me. In the same way I am not surprised when a monkey at the zoo flings its own poo at passers by.

  • I still don’t think it’s acceptable. A single player game should always be playable in isolation.

    Look at something like Demon’s Souls. For the most part it’s a single player game, yet it’s still always online. But if you take that internet connection away, it still carries on just fine without it. The experience isn’t quite as rich, but you can still play the game.

  • God damn it. I hate to say it but there are less and less reasons for me to buy Diablo III. Pretty much the only game I am really looking forward too.
    What if I want to play on my laptop when travelling? What if I want to play and my internet goes down? What if I want to play and their servers go down? Because that hasn’t happened before.
    Once again there are more reasons to pirate a game then there are to buy it. Even a game I would happily spend money on.
    This is beyond ridiculous.

    • I’m in the same boat, and it disgusts me to say it, but I’ll be pirating this until such time Blizzard wakes up to itself.

      • People who pirate games are just as scummy as a common criminal.

        People need to learn that they have no right or obligation to a product if they do not agree to the terms. If you don’t like it, you don’t get it.

        If you pirate you are just another social misfit.

        • Wrong, when you buy a product it is yours to use as you see fit, this is the highest level of bullshit and i hope they get slammed for it

  • Oh for science sake.

    If Blizzard’s damage control spin off this crap news is first, ‘well, just play other games’ and then ‘lol I’m surprised your surprised’, then they seriously need to rethink they’re media strategy. Bobby Bridenbacker needs to differ to someone a bit more media savvy methinks.

    With enough bad will this could be changed though, they’re not adverse to rolling back major plans in the face of overwhelming negative feedback. Real ID anyone?

  • Am I the only one that doesn’t really care if its online only. The amount of times that I am travelling and would want to play a game are such a rarity that I seriously do not see this as an issue.
    As for that rare time that I would, meh, i’ll read a book instead.

    • No, you aren’t…

      I really don’t care, as to be honest, I find the number of people who play Diablo solo to be rather surprising. I always play it with friends, either LAN or over, so I really don’t give a flying fuck if it is always online.

      I am hoping for something like DarkSpore’s ability to easily drop in and out of group play…

      And if my internet goes down, I’ll go have a w…

      • You know that there’s no mods cause of this as well right. You know, the thing that helped make Diablo 2 almost infinitely playable?

    • In general, no I wouldn’t care, except when I get capped (doesn’t happen very often, mainly during Steam Sales and what not), it means the internet is fairly useless, and becomes very crappy, hence I wouldn’t be able to play it. There’s that, and the question of how much of my internets it will eat up to play through the campaign.

      • So basically people are whinging about the rare case they won’t be able to play the game. Do people only have one game? do they not play other games?

        I’m still failing to see the heart wrenchingly disastrous, end of the world, killer bunny, swallow bearing coconuts issue that its being made out to be.

        • but why should we not be allowed to play a game we have bought when ever we want to. what happens when there server crashes, internet drops out during game play, ect ect.

          it is total bullshit that they are restricting a game they are selling to you with a single player mode.

  • Well it sounds like WAH WAH WAH WAH.
    Goddamn it get over it.

    So what if it’s online, how long could you play it for on a flight anyway?

    I love this idea since it stop all those idiots that cheated in the first 2 online, having to be online for single player is a small price. Suck it up and stop being little kids about it. If you’re not going to buy it because it doesn’t work offline then your not a fan of the game.

    Stop crying and shutup.

    • Firstly, the offensive tone is really unnecessary. Secondly online didn’t stop people from cheating. The most rampant cheating I have ever seen was Diablo’s duping bug. There isn’t much point in playing an MMO when people can just duplicate the best items and practically give them away.

      This won’t stop cheating in any way, it will be very frustrating for consumers though.

    • I’m not a fan of the game because I didn’t play Diablo 1 or 2. I was intending on buying Diablo 3. Now i’m not buying it on principal. Any game with a single player component should at all times be playable offline.

    • Hate forced to be online. Bad enough diablo 2 didn’t allow different save games, but online all the time? Why? What’s the point? Why inconvenience your customers like that?

      Game looks great otherwise, but Blizzard just earned 10/10 rage points from me. Rage!!! RAAAGGGEEEE!!!!! And even more RAAAAAAAGGGGGEEEE!!!!! No online requirements please, just no.

  • Lil off topic but has there been any more rumours about when this game is looking roughly to be released? is it next year?

  • I don’t really mind this idea, assuming the connection always worked. The catch is it won’t.

    I don’t like the idea of relying on my connection to Blizzard’s servers to play a game I’ve bought. I hope they at least have consistent saving so that *when* my connection drops out I haven’t just lost an hour of grinding.

  • I, for one, embrace our new DRM overlords.

    I would also like to remind them that, as an internet personality, I could be of use to them in many ways – For example, urging people to work in their copyright mines.

  • It mostly seems like an unnecessary step. If it really is for the benefit of the player base, why aren’t we given a choice about how this works?

    This does bug me enough to contemplate not buying this, but only in principle. Logistically, it probably won’t affect me too much.

    Still crappy though.

  • I am not sure if Blizzard is in touch with its fans anymore. This is the worst decision by far for any Australian. Why would I want to play with more lag. There is no way they will change their mind though. It’s not about what the consumer wants or what’s best for the consumer. They now tell the consumer what they want and it’s that or nothing. As long as people accept it, it will only get worse. Soon enough you will be running the games on their servers, won’t even have anything stored locally. Enjoy the lag!!!!

  • Always online eh?
    Well, too bad then. It’s more effort than I can be bothered with.

    -limited speeds
    -housemates downloading
    -can’t play anywhere else but at home

    not buying.

  • I think the large number of people who end up pirating the game in protest shouldn’t surprise Blizzard.

  • There’s a big difference between being surprised, and generally pissed off that they actually did it. Hundreds and hundreds of hours of my life went into Diablo 1 and 2, without a single regret.

    Sorry Blizzard, I won’t be putting a minute into Diablo 3.

  • Pirating games is disgusting and any who do it should be ashamed of themselves. If your not going to buy what is looking to be a fantastic game because of the internetz the boycott and miss out. Thats your prerogative. If a game is good it should he bought. It’s that simple

  • Wouldn’t this have something to do with the fact there is going to be real money involved in the auction system. always online will ensure there is “less” hacking of charaters and items for real world profit.

  • I’m definitely still buying this game. My gaming PC is my desktop at home anyway and that’s always on the internet. I’m disappointed they’ve gone down this road though, I don’t like to have to rely on their servers, etc.

    I expected something like this when they announced they would be taking out LAN support. And I’m wondering how bad the game will lag when playing with other people because Australian internet isn’t that crash hot.

  • Question… will we actually get the whole actual game? Or Chapters. Like Starcraft 2. seems to be how Blizzard operates now.

  • Okay so this is to stop cheating, not a problem with that at all but this isn’t the best way to go about it blizz.

    How about an alternative system where people can create a character offline but that character will not be permitted to go online at all? That way single player people get to play the game whenever & wherever they want and you get to keep your online environment ‘100% cheater free forever!!!’

    It should be said that I personally can’t stand most of the stuff blizzard makes but I can certainly see how fans are pissed off at this (I wonder how many were really surprised though)

  • I understand the always on for ranked games. But offline singleplayer and Lan-play (generally with mods) are crucial to the life of D3. By forgoing this they will still sell 10 million copies but they player base will shrink to almost nill very quickly if they have any server issues at all.

  • I am not sure how many people out there playing a pirated copy of WOW; I am sure the ‘always online’ is Blizzard’s primary way to fight piracy. if you think about it, Blizzard isn’t loosing any revenue over this decision, they are gaining. it might force the people to buy a legit copy of game when they might play the pirate download if it were avaialbe.

    and the game makes more money like the Gym, that lives on big percentage of buyers who do not play that often.

      • no, it is not MMO from the game genre; however making it net-connection mandatory making the management of the game in the same line with other MMOs, even though in fact it is just an tnstance game.

        Managing it using existing successful (marketing and commercial) model to increase profit and reduce risk in piracy and goodwill loss; it is purely business decision and I am sure there are many more decisions in the same line coming.

        • Look at the Ubi DRM, that was busted wide open so the games could be played offline. The same will happen with this and sure, it’ll still be successful in terms of sales but it won’t make the money it could’ve made.

          It won’t increase sales and it won’t reduce piracy. The only guaranteed result for this move is that it’s decreased customer loyalty.

  • I honestly couldn’t care less. I understand people getting upset if they’re regularly disconnected (fully disconnected, a shaped internet connection wouldn’t make a difference to singleplayer I imagine) but I do suspect that most people complaining on message boards are all internet savvy. I, for example, fall into a coma when I don’t have access to the internet and can quite easily prevent this from happening.

    Like seriously, how often are you on planes? And if you are, do you even want to pull out your laptop and play something as intense as Diablo 3? Where do you put your mouse, on the arm? That’s kinda awkward. Just buy a handheld system if you need constant game-flight.

  • This kinda sounds like when infinity ward said that there won’t be any dedicated servers for modern warfare 2.

    Many people cried, many more still bought the game.

    the morale of the story – blizzard will still sell millions of copies.

  • My concern with games requiring online connections/authentications is that in the future, when the servers for these games are inevitably taken down, will we still be able to play them?

    Of course, the online component of most games dies after a few years due to lack of playerbase, but I think gamers recognise and accept that. However, not being able to play single-player games because the servers went down and the publisher never released a patch is a bit shitty.

    I’m sure there’s something in the EULA these days saying that the company does not guarantee being able to play/authenticate the game forever, but it’s still a bum deal.

    This isn’t just an academic argument either, as I quite regularly play games from 10 or more years ago. If they suddenly had become useless I’d be pissed.

    • well, if you look at the Blizzard catelogue, their games has long support life cycle with some of them still being server-supported after 10+ years.

      as long as the game is still on the shielf and being played, it is maintainable Blizzard goodwill and they are smart enough to keep it going cos there is value in doing it.

      • Blizzard haven’t fixed the NAT/packet-routing conflicts in their older games. So yeah, they kept the servers running, but they haven’t done jack to keep the games 100% functional on modern networks, despite the fact that they still sell brand-new copies in stores.

  • Gaming fans think having disgruntled consumers show up at your offices to go to town on you with lead pipes shouldn’t surprise Blizzard.

  • i just cant think past my first thought, which is who gives a shit? seriously its 2011 who doesnt have the internet? and its not as if in 3 months there wont be cracks to play the singleplayer game offline, and for the people (i know theres a few still..) who insist on buying every game, they can still play dia 3..

  • It really should come as no surprise to developers and publishers that consumers hate always online DRM. Everytime one of them tries it there’s an uproar. Sure for multiplayer game that’s not local you’d need it, but for singleplayer or LAN gaming there’s no real reason it must be that way.

    Even for cloud operated file structures you could just do an update later when you are online, and while there’s some concerns raised about item hacks and what not I seriously doubt it will actually stop them. People will find a way to do that anyway so once again legitimate customers suffer under a policy designed to stop people doing things that will fail anyhow.

  • Sorry Mr Bridenbecker but you’re wrong, you arrogant piece of ****. Starcraft was ruined for me because of its need to be online. I am not a WoW fan and why should that even factor into the arguement. Obviously the people at Blizzard still have their heads so far up their sun-shining rectums they can’t see the real light of day from the virtual.

    I’ll wait till some kind person makes a hack for it to be played offline.

  • My thoughts are that Diablo III is the best advert around for The Witcher 2. A very enviable game that works as well offline as it does on… I’m glad I own that one.

  • They’re losing touch with the PC crowd. It really doesn’t seem like the Blizzard of old anymore.

  • I don’t like the idea, i don’t support the idea, but honestly who didn’t see this coming? With the way Blizzard having been building up and enhancing Battle.Net over last couple of years, with how Starcraft 2 works, this was not a surprise.

    You’ll still buy it, and you’ll still enjoy it, you’ll just put on a brave face and complain online about it.

  • Yeah, keep talking, Robbie. You deserve a pat on the back. It’s hard work, rationalizing and justifying all of the pissing off customers you do.

  • This whole thing smacks of social elitism and ethnocentrism to me… Whether intended or not, the always online deal (which works fine in most of america for those who can afford it) just doesn’t work in other countries without similar access to the internet. Way to go Blizzard. Good way to be progressive – as long as american gamers are happy, well they’re the biggest part of the market, so who cares about the rest?!

  • With the AH and the including achievements etc, I dont see a problems with it.
    You’re putting your money into auctions, why would you NOT care about cheating?

    Blizzard games generally have a bit more polish to them. No doubt what everyone is fearing is the Assasins Creed 2 DRM nightmare, I’m sure as details emerge, it won’t be that bad & alot more stable.

    I play SC2 a fair bit, on a laptop out and about with a crappy dongle connection, haven’t had an issue.

    You will be expected to log into with your authenticator just like wow, just like SC2. i am sure there will be easy ways to trial the game.

    as for the pirates
    I have lolled at many people who have gone out of their way to get a pirate SC2 copy to avoid; play it for less than a week then ignore it.
    too bad you can download it for free, anywhere legally and use a free 7 day trial account with more functionality than the pirate versions.

    Your not advancing any struggle by being cheap.

  • To those people who are apathetic about blizzards move because they have a reliable internet connection running 24/7, please pay some respect to some of us from rural settings (in Australia for example) where satellite delivered internet is not only slow, but unreliable. I’m not going to buy a game that I cannot play. I’ve waited a long time for this game but not all hope is lost because if Blizzard refuse to give consumers some options, pirates will.

  • The always-online component is a deal breaker for me. An internet connection should never, EVER be a requirement for single player, end of discussion. It is completely unnecessary, and it imposes restrictions on the player. Oh, and I call BS on their claims that “it’s not for DRM”, because it totally is. Anybody who objects to this and still buys the game is simply encouraging developers to do this with even more games, and it enrages me that there aren’t enough gamers out there who lack the backbone to boycott something. The reason game developers and publishers treat their customers like utter crap is basically because we’ve let them. Time to HTFU, for crying out loud.

    The Blizzard I grew up with & loved is dead as far as I’m concerned. I can’t see myself buying one of their products ever again…and I have a nasty habit of actually sticking to my guns when it comes to matters of principle, which this is to me.

    • Sorry – “lack” should be “have”. In a moment of pure rage, I seemed to have lapsed briefly. But what should you expect? In the words of Howard Beale, “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore!”

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