Diablo III was once a highly anticipated game, and still is, but over the recent months it has developed a bad stigma because of one brazen announcement by Blizzard: Diablo III’s DRM requires you to be online at all times, and because of this, there is no pause button in the single-player, even when you’re blatantly playing alone.
For most people this is probably fine. You don’t like pausing your games anyway. Who needs to pause? “Not me” you say. Well, added to this, you can’t idle in the game for too long either because you’ll be logged off and lose any progress that wasn’t saved at an in-game checkpoint. DRM starting to sound a little off-putting yet?
The news comes courtesy of a play-through of the beta from Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Never afraid to shy away from the corporate politics that have steadily been invading the lives of gamers, Rock, Paper, Shotgun’s John Walker politely asked Blizzard to potentially add an offline mode for single-player to compensate for some of the online troubles he ran into, making it where such characters simply can’t be used in the online portion of the game. Sensible, right?
Well, another troubling thing appeared during his beta run, with John stating that…
During the beta, Blizzard’s servers have dropped a few times. Of course, that’s expected during a beta, but it’s also not unexpected once a game has gone live. And here, when the server goes down, you’re left with a ghost of the game until it eventually stops you from playing at all. I found that suddenly when I fired my bow no arrows came out – I could wander around, enemies were still there, but clearly something was wrong. And then it froze, a message popped up saying there were connection troubles, and I was dumped back to the main menu with no way to play. For no discernible reason. I still had the game installed, had no desire to be online or use any online functions, and yet still couldn’t play.
Mr. Walker basically describes the experience as like “playing an MMO” except it’s not an MMO…or rather, it has all the vices of an MMO without any of the virtues. In such a regard, I’m tempted to ask why Diablo III wasn’t just turned into an MMO and be done with it? I’d imagine Blizzard could still make money off boxed retail copies, they could really clean up on the cash shop and they could even wallet-rape consumers with monthly service fees or whatnot. The aforementioned concept is not far off from what the game is now except you can’t play with a massive amount of players and your single-player experience is still required to be an online experience.
In the end, it looks like Diablo III will ultimately appeal to the newer-school of gamers who don’t mind intrusive security protocols monitoring their gameplay experience. Us poor old-school chaps who actually pause our games to go to the bathroom or pause games to answer phones, check the mail, get back to work, etc., will just have to either tough it out with the corporate BS or find something else to play.