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.
"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.