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Blizzard “surprised” at reaction to online requirements for Diablo 3

Friday, 5th August 2011 15:01 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

Robert Bridenbecker, Blizzard’s VP of online technologies, has said he’s “surprised” by the reaction of Diablo fans over the always online requirement to play Diablo 3.

Speaking with MTV, Bridenbecker said the requirement has nothing to do with piracy, like with Capcom and Ubisoft’s always online DRM, as it’s more about how Blizzard wants online connections to operate within Battle.net.

“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 Battle.net 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.

“Internally I don’t think DRM ever actually came up when we talked about how we want connections to operate. Things that came up were always around the feature-set, the sanctity of the actual game systems like your characters. You’re guaranteeing that there are no hacks, no dupes. All of these things were points of discussion, but the whole copy protection, piracy thing, that’s not really entering into why we want to do it. I’m a huge purveyor of online sites and from my standpoint, I don’t look at DRM solutions and go, ‘Wow, those are awesome.’ I look at those and say, ‘Wow, those kind of suck.’ But if there’s a compelling reason for you to have that online connectivity that enhances the gameplay, that doesn’t suck. That’s awesome.”

Bridenbecker goes on to say that offering an offline mode would introduce a “separate user flow,” and path which the firm doesn’t feel many players would traverse.

There was also the issue with Dibalo 2, where when players wanted to go online, they had to create a new user from scratch. With Diablo 3, Blizzard wants to “keep everything clean,” and keep players from having to do this.

Bridenbecker never explained to MTV why Blizzard couldn’t make transferring an offline character into online work.

Despite forcing players to be constantly connected through their Battlenet accounts, Bridenbecker said solo players are still welcome and the constant online was not implemented to force users in to multiplayer.

“There seem to be folks that believe that because you have to be connected, it’s like you’re on Facebook or out there with the rest of the world,” he said. “That’s really not the case. Yes, you’re going to have a connection, yes, your character will be stored on a server, but it doesn’t mean you have to socialize with people. It doesn’t mean you have to do anything but play the game by yourself.

“You’ll still be able to have a private game. You’ll still be able to go off and play the game solo and adventure solo. You can opt to bring other people to your world if you want, but that’s up to you.”

Beta testing for D3 is expected sometime during the September quarter.

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22 Comments

  1. Razor

    If he’s genuinely surprised then he’s out of touch. Online only is BS.

    #1 3 years ago
  2. deadstoned

    @1 Agreed, I live out here in the sticks and playing Bad Company 2 or Assassins Creed 2 without a DC every 1 or 2 hours is very surprising. Annoying to see that Blizzard forgets there’s people on 0.5mb :(

    #2 3 years ago
  3. FadeLive

    Its not that people don’t want social features. Its more that people want to be able to play the game which is single player offline I think. Not everybody has access to internet all the time so being able to play offline is a huge benefit when for example travelling.

    #3 3 years ago
  4. Fin

    Again, I don’t quite understand the fuss about this.

    I’m without an internet connection for my laptop:
    When I’m on a plane.

    And that’s about it.
    Rest of the time, I’ve either got Wifi at home, or am using a broadband dongle.

    #4 3 years ago
  5. Telepathic.Geometry

    So like, what happens if you suddenly lose your connection for like a minute. Do you get booted out?

    #5 3 years ago
  6. Fin

    @5

    Presumably so, yes. Though I imagine there’s caching/autosaving on the server, so you don’t lose progress.

    #6 3 years ago
  7. Telepathic.Geometry

    @Fin: If you travel a lot for work, on train or plane, you’d be delighted to have a timesink like Diablo III at your disposal I’d say.

    #7 3 years ago
  8. Fin

    @7

    I don’t doubt that, but how many people, of all those complaining, do you think actually play games while on a play or train, more than, say, once a month?

    #8 3 years ago
  9. Gekidami

    So i guess people are going to ‘boycott’ this like they are with Ubi games, right…? Right guys?!

    #9 3 years ago
  10. Telepathic.Geometry

    @Fin: No doubt you’re right, but it’s still kind of a bummer. Like say, probably Nintendo asked how many people are going to play GC titles on a Wii U? And the answer is possibly only TG, but it still sucks for me.

    Mind you, I’ll never have a laptop capable of playing Diablo III so, I guess it’s not exactly MY problem. (^-^)

    #10 3 years ago
  11. Erthazus

    They won’t boycott, like with Ubi games.

    They will boycott it like with STACRAFT II which had no lan… and in the end it was not worth it. Everyone bought SCII.

    but still, LAN in SCII would be nice.

    My only concern for this that DIABLO III does not include Mod support and thats horrible considering what SCII community does.
    Internet connection is not critical.

    #11 3 years ago
  12. Stephany Nunneley

    I think the reason a lot of people are complaining is like @2 said: poor internet connections.

    Just because America thinks it’s the god of the free world doesn’t mean we have a reliable infrastructure in all corners.

    To the utilities people – I live “out in the sticks” like @2 does (which is a bit odd, because I am only 3-5 miles from either town in both directions) and I am at the end of the DSL line – meaning, I am the last house for a mile before the DSL line picks back up.

    What this means, is the folks that live in that one mile area are SOL for DSL – they have to get dial up for satellite like I almost had to. DU sucks, and satellite is unreliable and expensive. You can’t get cable out here either, so we have Dishnet – try watching TV when it is overly cloudy, sunny, or storming – or just whenever it is “that time of the month” for the service. Just think how horrible satellite is for internet then? And forget about playing an MMO with that service.

    The point of my “rant” is that not all people are complaining because they want to play it on the train, or plane, or in the back seat of a car. There are legitimate reasons why people would complain – internet caps, dial-up, bad connections, satellite, the list goes on.

    Luckily, I have decent internet, so constantly being online in D3 won’t be any skin off my teeth. :)

    #12 3 years ago
  13. The_Red

    At first I was also mostly against the online only part but real bad move in Blizzard’s part is the ban on mods. Seriously, haven’t they learned anything from the healthy modding communities surrounding StarCraft 2 and WC3?

    #13 3 years ago
  14. GwynbleiddiuM

    Well I have waited too long for another Diablo game to be easily intimidated and scared off. I want this and I will get it as soon as I can and I believe constant connectivity with battle.net is not something you’d want to avoid, it’s something you want to have in order to enjoy the game’s complete set of features. It’s like what I said before, we’re moving in an era where staying connected is a vital thing. Surely I, like many other think that offline features to a game like Diablo is as important as online, but that’s not a good enough reason for me to boycott anything. And the absent of mod support I guess is because of the fact they have long-term plans for Diablo 3 at the same time they don’t want any gameplay changes because of the fact that people have to be connected to battle.net in order to play the game and adding mod support would mess that up. Since the each user info is gonna be stored on battle.net accounts and might result in corrupted data or something like that.

    #14 3 years ago
  15. NiceFellow

    Got to admit they must be pretty dumb if they’re really surprised. if I buy a game on PC I want to be able to install it on a laptop if I wish an play when traveling… this would kill that.

    I simply won’t buy games that restrict my usage like this and that’s the end of it. Hopefully enough people actually stick to their guns in these matters to force the issue.

    In the end the power actually lies with the consumer if they’d just bloody use it.

    #15 3 years ago
  16. Gheritt White

    I am *frequently* without ane internet connection – stable or otherwise – and *all* I want to do is play the game 100% solo, like I did with D1 and D2. This really hacks me off – I’ve been waiting for Diablo 3 for ten fucking years, and now this?

    Eff this, seriously.

    #16 3 years ago
  17. Craymen Edge

    I’m not about to rant and scream and declare a boycott, but the online requirement and no mod support mean that I’m now thinking about whether I buy this game. And if I do decide I still want it, how much am I willing to pay for something with those restrictions built in?

    Having been a victim in the past of the combined incompetence of BT and my ISP leaving me without access to the internet for 2 and a half months; the online requirement is a big deal to me.

    #17 3 years ago
  18. Erthazus

    One problem for me is that constant internet connection is making games on PC like a console experience or less like a PC experience.

    I hate being watched by Blizzard. While you are connected to the battle.net you are basically connected to the system so you can’t do that or that besides basic functions… You can’t use hamachi, other software and tools that PC owner like.

    In multiplayer it’s acceptable… Well, because without online you simply can’t play with others.

    #18 3 years ago
  19. Talkar

    I can’t see the problem. It all just lies in the tolerance variable. It isn’t a problem in StarCraft 2, why would it be a problem in D3?

    #19 3 years ago
  20. mojo

    right, for the moment im not sure i will buy this day one.
    Just too much let downs following each other in the last time..
    things the realy bug me
    - WoW Artstyle
    - whats currently known about the skillsystem and levelup
    - WoW artstyle, again.
    and now this.
    im currently on 0.384Mbit (which honestly sucks balls big time)
    its that less bandwith that even a Antivirus update in teh background (or whatever occasionaly uses bandwith) can lead to packet loss and/or disconnects in online games.

    I dont plan to play the game on bnet at all.
    Since the dawn of time ive always (and i mean literaly ALWAYS) played such games with my buddies on home-LANs.
    I dont plan to change that anytime soon.
    And if my local non bnet game gets dropped cause some laptop recieves windows updates it gets silly!!

    #20 3 years ago
  21. endgame

    so what did he say? aah he wants us to pirate the sh1t out of this game!? ok! understood M. Bridenbecker! we will do just that!

    #21 3 years ago
  22. blackdreamhunk

    I want to be able to play my games where ever and when ever I want, when I buy them.

    #22 3 years ago

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