Gamers are starting to deal with gambling addictions thanks to the RMAH. The Korean Fair Trade Commission has raided your offices on grounds of anti-consumerism. France and Germany want to give you a financial enema. Gamers just want to have fun. I think it's time we simply ask politely: Blizzard, can we please have an offline mode now?
Since launch, Diablo III was mired with lag and connection errors. Errors that eventually spawned their own memes. The game has gone on to become the fastest selling PC game of all time, yet the lag has yet to cease and fanboys still say, "Let Blizzard iron out the kinks...give them more time." South Korean gamers can't even play the game, and it's resulted in Internet Cafe owners filing a lawsuit against you.
As if the connection issues weren't bad enough, shortly after the complaints lag and logging in, gamers were hit with an abnormal amount of breached accounts. Gamers took the blame for not protecting themselves better and it spawned a flurry of angry, pissed off consumers who bought a product only to get robbed without having the slightest warning that thievery would be so rampant, nor any idea of how it was happening.
What's worse is that you stayed silent about all the gold farming, item duping and exploits in Diablo III until you were forced to acknowledge something was wrong and admit Diablo III was suffering a similar fate to Diablo II. Only this time around legit gamers had to suffer game-breaking bugs at the hands of exploiters, especially in Korea, where the Asia server was constantly down for maintenance due to the server capacity being capped for the region.
As if logging in and compromised accounts weren't enough, your servers weren't even adequate enough to handle frequent player-loads...players, who I might add, simply wanted to play the game. The problem escalated to the point where not only did French gamers who had poor connection rates get dealt a bad hand, but the poor server availability made it where even those who had decent connections still couldn't play properly. You got yourself in a hot mess involving a French consumer advocacy group, and you had 15 days to make something happen.
You're now dealing with a whole new issue, gambling. South Korea earlier this year had already foreseen the dangers of a "legal" Real-Money Auction House. They weren't having any of that and forbid the RMAH for the Asia server. They could see what a lot of gamers couldn't: The RMAH had nothing to do with having fun, it would turn loot-grinding into a full-time job for some people and addiction to trying to "play" the Real-Money Auction House. This feature now sees gamers constantly trying to out-farm others in order to sell items worth that majestic $250 price limit.
As outlined in the Gamespy opinion piece from Mike Nelson at the top of the article, gamers aren't even playing a game to play the game. It's turned into a competitive virtual economy with real-world money on the line. It's become so ridiculous that the side-effect of Diablo III's commerce system has forced Korea to completely ban all virtual item trades for real-money in any game. Are you proud about that?
There's still a way to salvage this situation. There's still a way out of this. There's still hope.
While fanboys will vehemently defend that an offline mode is "impossible" to implement and would "cost too much", we know it can be done, we've seen it executed before in games like Diablo and Diablo II. We know you can allow gamers to experience the $60 product they paid for without the debilitating bugs, glitches and exploits attached to an always-on environment.
With more than just your reputation on the line, how about it? For old time's sake...Blizzard, can we please have an offline mode for Diablo III?
Fans, Consumers & Gamers