Blizzard defends always-online Diablo III

CEO Mike Morhaime admits there are "some downsides" to always-connected requirement for dungeon-crawler, but says it is "critical for the long-term integrity of the game experience."

Diablo III's always-online requirement was a design choice made from the onset of development, and is not going to change, said Blizzard Entertainment CEO Mike Morhaime in a new message to fans. Morhaime explained that though there are "some downsides" to the online-only approach, it was the right long-term decision for the game.

An always-connected Diablo III is the best Diablo III, says Morhaime.

"I fully understand the desire to play Diablo III offline," he said. "However, Diablo III was designed from the beginning to be an online game that can be enjoyed with friends, and the always-online requirement is the best way for us to support that design."

Morhaime also said the perception that the always-connected requirement for Diablo III is nothing but a form of protection is false.

"While we’ve never said that this requirement guarantees that there will be no cheating or game cracks, it does help us battle those problems (we have not found any fully functional cracks)," he said. "More important to us is that the online requirement is critical for the long-term integrity of the game experience."

Elsewhere in the update, Morhaime spoke about Diablo III's real-money auction house. He explained how Blizzard's primary goal for the service was to provide "convenience and peace of mind" for players who would otherwise use third-party services to buy and sell items. Morhaime admitted the auction house "isn't perfect," and stressed that gamers should continue providing feedback so Blizzard can implement changes.

Further, Morhaime addressed Diablo III's rocky launch. He said predicting how many players will log in around launch has always been a challenge for Blizzard, specifically calling out the issues the company faced releasing World of Warcraft in 2004. For Diablo III, Morhaime said Blizzard pored over preorder figures for the game and historical sales for past Blizzard titles, and even increased its internal estimate to prepare for launch. Ultimately, this "just wasn't enough," he admitted, noting this is something Blizzard will "work hard to conquer" for future releases.

Lastly, Morhaime addressed the commercial success of Diablo III. He reiterated that the game had broken records at Blizzard, and revealed it has surpassed lifetime sales of World of Warcraft expansion Cataclysm.

For more on Diablo III, check out GameSpot's review.

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

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Discussion

0 comments
d_kell411
d_kell411

Items he failed to address:

 

Why is it that while playing through the game on anything other than inferno with a level 60...YOU DON'T FIND ANY ITEM FOR YOUR LEVEL. They force you into the auction house to even survive the game...a clearly premeditated action to get gamers on the auction house.

 

Secondly, the online play is ALWAYS a choice...except for the case of MMO's. You neglect to face the issue that not all gamers will have access to your servers... sometimes ...this being primarily your fault and the faults of your servers. What's more, the always online portion of the game causes the Diablo franchise to fall into the MMO classification. This is an issue because Diablo lacks any significant MMO musts, such as raids, pvp, etc. You pawned off an incomplete MMO and managed it by calling it something else.

 

Bravo, but we all know that now, and that's why none of us really care.

Von_hatch
Von_hatch

The always online DRM gutted gameplay for people distant from blizzard servers, playing inferno in Australia was one cheap death after another, kiting is impossible and you are hit by fireballs and AOE well after you've already dodged them, there's nothing more annoying than getting teleported into one of Diablo's instagib cages thanks to lag. I quit WoW because I didn't like getting hit by things I'd already dodged, and I quit diablo 3 for the same reason, though they already got my money so I guess they win. I realise that businesses want to protect their content, but this DRM severely gimped gameplay for me, and many others.

eyerok
eyerok

Blizzard, I am disappoint.

odin_doom2000
odin_doom2000

That's a lie they want to stop the pirated copy in a disparate way they could learn from CD Projekt RED or at least they could make the single player offline and but the co-op and other stuff online like what they did in starcraft 2 but they got greedy for some reason like a lot of big company will i hope they change there strategy or they'er going to lose a lot of customer in the near future.

JGoWild
JGoWild

 Man, some people here. Do you know that there already is an emulated server for D3 right? I give you that it's not complete but give it a year more and it will have all the acts. Let me tell you why online-only was a no-brainer for Blizzard for D3. Gold farmers and non Blizzard companies were making a shit ton of money by doing trading in game gold on Diablo and WOW. Blizzard saw that and like any good corporation(I would have done the same thing in their shoes), started thinking about incorporating a system where not only these gold farmers make money, but Blizzard also gets a cut off of it. Hence, RMAH was born. But what Blizzard, or whoever is incharge of design decision, fails to understand is that these methods of DRM are only there to annoy gamers, nothing more. In a game design, enjoyment should come first then Economy. Single player games should never have online connection, that's just wrong.

rudyv30
rudyv30

And if there's a big storm that knocks out your internet connection then you're SOL. Thanks but I got better things to spend my $ on.

mike300zxt
mike300zxt

Dear Morhaime, your lies are showing.

blue_francis14
blue_francis14

The gaming community, well, the younger ones anyway, don't care about always on DRM or any kind of DRM. Just look at how many copies of the game to a point that it overloaded the servers on launch.

 

This is a trend fueled by this current generation's money. Think of it this way, buying a game with always on drm is a social statement. It is saying I have enough money to buy an original game and have the money to get a good internet connection. It's like owning an iPhone or a Galaxy S3, a social statement. Just because they can buy a game, it means to them as an accomplishment.

 

I know you guys commenting here are the few gamers who actually think. But rest of the community, I doubt that they can even finish reading this article with their current attention span.

sieg6529
sieg6529

Rephrased:  "More important to us is that the online requirement is critical for the long-term cash investment you chumps make to us".  

Angel_Grigorov
Angel_Grigorov

Counterstrike had no anticheat systems back at the day but people didn't stop playing it since.

fajin36
fajin36

I couldn't play this game because I don't have a permanent connection. I wonder how many other people are in the same boat.?

Leeric420
Leeric420

i think diablo 3 is fun, but i don't think the fun out weighs the problems, i just want pvp. That won't happen for awhile it seems.

Lausanna
Lausanna

Not being able to play because the server kicks me? So awesome.And it's not my internet connection,my whole party will get kicked on a fairly regular basis.

jhpeter
jhpeter

Blizzard should hurry up with more patches coz the graphics lag are terrible even for a Mac with an i7 and all things...

oskuuu
oskuuu

defend it all u want, but that's the reason i'm not buying it :(

lily_tiger
lily_tiger

"Diablo III's always-online requirement was a design choice made from the onset of development, and is not going to change, said Blizzard Entertainment CEO Mike Morhaime in a new message to fans."

 

When asked why, Morhaime claimed that the first time he made the promise he accidentally invoked the ancient ritual of the "pinky-swear" and forgot to cross his fingers with the second hand.

Captain_Cozmic
Captain_Cozmic

That may be the way they want to have the game run but it stopped me from purchasing the game.   And I will not buy any of their games in the future if this is the attitude they are taking towards their customer, which is unfortunate.   I can understand having a connection to verify the game initially and possibly having it check for any updates if you happen to be online but beyond that is not necessary.   Too bad as Blizzard was once a great gaming company.  This decision is going to alienate a lot of customers.

GeorgeSyll
GeorgeSyll

Honestly now, DIablo III has to be the biggest scam ever in the gaming industry.

 

I wish Blizzard would burn to ashes for it but unfortunately they are way too big to burn so easy.

 

I'm not a Blizzard hater, but i want them to get what they deserve for mutilating one of the best games ever.

 

To Blizzard: It took you so much time to finish Diablo III that you could have created a Diablo themed MMO.......just saying....

VarietyMage
VarietyMage

@Mike Morhaime:  If you keep the always-online component in Diablo 3, I will not get back on it.  If you put the always-online component into Diablo 4, I will not purchase it.  The always-online component makes it an MMO in my book, and that's a non-starter for me.  I regretted purchasing Diablo 3 about 2 weeks after I started playing it, thanks to the always-online component glitches and bugs, and the non-stop net lag problems I experience on a daily basis (thanks to my crappy internet connection).  I can't control my connection, but I CAN avoid buying games that force me to use it.  You hear me?  This is your decision, whether you get any future money from me or not.  Require an always-on internet component, and you lose all my money.  Nuff said.

DethSkematik
DethSkematik

I seriously think the always online thing is a bigger headache for Blizzard than it is for us. A few days ago, my Diablo 3 account was banned, because I was accused of cheating. I went to Customer Service, and explained that I may have been hacked, because I haven't touched the game in months (not to mention that I sure as s*** don't cheat in games. Not even offline singleplayer ones). Although I do admire the representative who replied to my message, because he/she explained that it's happening quite often. My account is reinstated, of course, but I'm also afraid to play it now. I mean, the scary part is that I've never used chat, I never played co-op, didn't even touch the auction house yet, and my password is pretty lenghy as well.

Shmoe82
Shmoe82

I understand why they are doing it I just disagree with it.  I have only so much I can download before I hit a dl cap and if a game forces me to stay online its difficult to justify buying it.  Fair Use Policy and Diablo 3 don't mix.

 

VAMPYREANGELUS
VAMPYREANGELUS

plus buying fake items in a game for real money is stupid, if blizzards server takes a dump, you are out that money and item.

VAMPYREANGELUS
VAMPYREANGELUS

there are too many really good games that dont require being online to play and those are the games i play, so i wot ever waster my money on diablo 3 mmo.

finaleve
finaleve

Tell that to the D2 community.  Some of us like to play offline, especially if we can't access internet in certain areas.

elancion
elancion

you guys forget about the overseas market, korea and china to be specific. those regions/countries are already use to playing games in this format thats where blizz is going to continue to make its bucks regardless. even if U.S support starts to decrease significantly.

blackothh
blackothh

Seems the always online decision has caused a poor gamer to die in an internet cafe, due to the need to be online. shame on you

suplax
suplax

Guess i'll keep with the TRUE  Diablo games , which is Diablo I and II.

Third one was a such a fail. Only online ... really ? So it's a MMO ?

WTF Blizzard ?

So much to fight against piracy... but you end up losing a LOT of costumers. 

tonyleo01
tonyleo01

why can't we have online and offline mode separately?

Doomrul
Doomrul

Ha ha ha ha ...I laughed ...Still laughing ...Move onto European,Russian,Asian developed games folks... America run out of "fun" juice long ago... Thanks for the awesome games and good times Blizzard but you knew where this was going...

redness19
redness19

Move on everyone. D3 wasn't the game we thought it'd be. We expected a shinier, sexier D2 and got Jay Wilson'd.

 

Put it this way, if D2 got a graphical overhaul and looked as visually impressive as D3. Which game would you rather be playing?

 

D2 still holds up, 12 years late, game looks dated but as far as ARPGs go, it still sets the bar. D3 doesn't even need to crouch to walk under that bar.

okassar
okassar

The purpose behind the always online requirement wasn't stated here. It's to take a dump on pirates. That's why I can't say I'm totally against this. There really is no other way for them to stop pirating completely, and hackers won't set up a private server for people to play their cracked version of Diablo 3 for free, at their expense.

hXcShock
hXcShock

The only thing this is "critical" too is their profits. This is why I don't buy anything with an EA or Blizzard/Activision logo. If you all had the willpower to not give in and keep your money, they'd have no choice but to change their ways.

cashandcarry
cashandcarry

to all the guys that complaining here, DONT BUY next product that come out with always-online requirement. Money is more powerful than all your word, as long as they still got tremendous profit they will laugh at you. go tell your friend, your relative your colleague to join you.

Vickman178
Vickman178

Ya lets just forget about this game for now and move on shall we?

ElJefeDeMedios
ElJefeDeMedios

I waited (along with everyone else) for a decade to play Diabolo III - and I have still not purchased it as I said I would not because of the always on DRM. I simply will not support it.

Valen_Ca
Valen_Ca

"However, Diablo III was designed from the beginning to be an online game that can be enjoyed with friends, and the always-online requirement is the best way for us to support that design."

Really? Maybe you should go and ask Gearbox to teach you how they managed to pull off Borderlands then without that requirement.

Von_hatch
Von_hatch

 @JGoWild their choices make sense at a business level, at least for the short term, but these decisions leave deep and long lasting scars in their customer's trust and affection that may impact them far worse in the long run.

mike300zxt
mike300zxt

 @fajin36

 I didn't buy it because it doesn't work during a power outage, internet outage, or while I'm travelling on a boat, train or plane...you know...places where I might want to play a single player game.

00LiteYear
00LiteYear

 @Lausanna It's not just your internet connection. It also your computer and how much rest it needs. If you haven't shut it down, then it affects performance speed.

00LiteYear
00LiteYear

 @suplax And yet the real Diablo 3 customers are playing it right now. I don't play WOW, but if D3 breaks WOW's records, then that says a lot.

Gamer-Geek
Gamer-Geek

 @ElJefeDeMedios

 

Don't worry, you're not missing out on anything. It's a lame game which had 15k games and is now 2k games maximum at any one time because they killed it even further in their recent patch. The online-only aspect cannot be justified anymore because there simply isn't anyone playing the game anymore!

SeiferDINC
SeiferDINC

 @Valen_Ca But... they didn't. 

 

In order for you to receive notifications that your friends are online, to chat with your friends to agree to join in a game, to post your status publicly that you are playing Borderlands means that you are ONLINE. 

 

The only difference is that you can play Borderlands when no internet connection is available. A scenario that I personally have not fallen privy to in over 5 years!

Lausanna
Lausanna

 @00LiteYear My point was that my whole party gets kicked at the same time. The people I play with are all over the continent, our comps and connections are not conveniently crapping out all at exactly the same time. It's a server issue.

blackothh
blackothh

 @00LiteYear no, no really its not, most cases the only place to get internet is at a cafe, would things have turned out differently if they let people play offline, possibly, but the paradox is that we would never know because we would have never had this conversation.

 

i have such distaste for blizzard right now im happy to just blame them and be done with it

LandauTST
LandauTST

 @00LiteYear  @blackothh It's not necessarily stupid. In this case, it is a fact that a teen died recently from playing Diablo III for too long. A lot of people in asian countries rely on internet cafes for any type of online-related gaming. Seeing as Diablo III is online-only, there was no other option but to play it there.

 

However, that's still no excuse for his addiction. 40 hours straight without a break and not eating anything is a bit much. Not to mention there have been similar deaths to theirs from an unhealthy gaming obsession.

 

Is it directly Blizzard's fault? Not at all. Not to mention Diablo III is not the only thing they play online there (obviously). But seeing as he didn't have the option to play it offline at home, I guess we'll never know if things would've turned out differently.

 

Either way...........................screw Blizzard and their always-online BS.

Valen_Ca
Valen_Ca

 @SeiferDINC 

Right, you need to be online to use the online features that makes sense, but if you aren't online you can still play Borderlands in a single player offline mode, with Diablo 3 you can't, you always have to be online whether you are playing with friends or just want to solo. Since Gearbox somehow found a way to make a fun co-op centric game with a single player mode that doesn't require always online authentication then  Blizzard could probably do the same and that if they needed pointers on it then they should talk to Gearbox.  

00LiteYear
00LiteYear

 @LandauTST Not to mention that this wasn't the first time or game someone has died in an internet cafe as said in that article.

 

I seriously hope blackothh didn't literally take "always online" to mean the person had to be always online. 

TrueGB
TrueGB

 @Valen_Ca Plus it has offline splitscreen co-op. I used to do it all the time to quick level my characters.