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Opinion: Why The  Diablo III  Backlash Got Overheated
Opinion: Why The Diablo III Backlash Got Overheated
August 2, 2011 | By Chris Morris

August 2, 2011 | By Chris Morris
Comments
    116 comments
More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing



[Gamasutra editor-at-large Chris Morris examines the backlash from this week's controversial Diablo III news, stating Blizzard "doesn't make decisions rashly" and those vowing boycotts "are blowing smoke."]

Amid all the wailing and gnashing of teeth over Monday's Diablo III announcement, I have to admit I saw things a bit differently.

Between the kerfuffle over the always-connected DRM, the decision to disallow modding and the real money auctions, players didn't even blink when the company all but announced that the game wouldn't be out this year.

Those same people were the ones who just a week ago were seriously jonesing for the chance to get repetitive stress injuries from the non-stop clicking.

Blizzard, of course, hasn't announced a date for Diablo III, but it did tell MTV's Multiplayer blog that, in order to avoid repeating the mistakes it made with Starcraft II (where it announced a release date, then missed it by nearly a year), it would wait until 3-4 months before the game hits shelves before announcing a date.

Factor in the beta period and that makes 2011 look like a long shot.

Still, the forums barely blinked at that. Instead, gamers flowered with outrage – mostly over the game's DRM.

Likely still gun-shy about the always-connected requirement after Ubisoft royally screwed the pooch with it in 2010, players imagined nightmare scenarios and aired grievances about not being able to play the game on planes anymore.

I'll be the first to admit the DRM is an inconvenience – and whether the advantages Blizzard are touting are worth the headaches is something no one will be able to determine until we have the game in our hands. But the folks who are loudly vowing to boycott the game are blowing smoke – and we all know it.

I would suggest that their stand in the name of gaming purity will last exactly as long as it takes for several of their friends to tell them how much fun Diablo III is, at which time they'll cave and buy a copy – and will largely forget about their objections within a few hours.

Blizzard isn't a dumb company – and doesn't make decisions rashly. Tending to their fan base has been a major contributor to the company's success, even when it has made some controversial decisions, like the lack of LAN support in Starcraft II (something you rarely heard people complaining about once the game hit shelves, incidentally).

It also knows when to acknowledge its mistakes. Look no further than last year's Real ID uproar. And while it seems unlikely that the company will back down on this issue, it's a safe bet it look lessons from that incident and incorporated them into this decision.

In truth, I honestly don't think people are as upset about the actual DRM as they might say they are. Let's face it, with broadband connections fairly standard for PC gamers, their machine would have been online most of the times they played anyway.

This reaction actually seems much more personal – and that I actually understand.

A little over a year ago, Blizzard's co-founder had some harsh – and prescient - words regarding DRM, telling Videogamer:

"If you start talking about DRM and different technologies to try to manage it, it's really a losing battle for us," said Frank Pearce, "because the community is always so much larger, and the number of people out there that want to try to counteract that technology, whether it's because they want to pirate the game or just because it's a curiosity for them, is much larger than our development teams."

Instead, he said, the developer's job was to make Battle.net so compelling that people wanted to stay connected. The question Blizzard hasn't answered yet is why it made that philosophical shift – or if it views Monday's announcement as being in line with that statement.

As for the ban on mods, it's frustrating as well (especially for people like me, who prefer single-player experiences), but so far it hasn't sparked the same reaction from the fanbase. And the complaints over the item auctions using real-world money are baffling to me.

The auctions are entirely optional and they're simply a better way for Blizzard to keep a handle on the inevitable sale of those items, rather than spending a fortune fruitlessly chasing traders as it has with World of Warcraft gold farms.

Could Blizzard have handled this better? Perhaps. But the knee-jerk reaction that accompanied seems over the top to me – and anyone who thinks they're giving Bobby Kotick or Mike Morhaime agita is sadly deluded.

Those guys are probably too busy divvying up the enormous thank you basket that undoubtedly landed on the Activision receptionist's desk yesterday - from Ubisoft.


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Comments


Daniel Gooding
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While yes you are correct about many things.

This has actually effected me beyond the ability to just cave in, and buy the game, due to how I travel.



I want everyone to stop with the whole "so what if you can't play on a plane" Argument. Because it's not just on a plane. It's all sorts of places you can't play.





One thing is for certain, I am much more calm about this than yesterday, but I regrettably wont be able to buy the game.

And the fact that I can't buy it is what made me sad in the first place, because it has been something i've planned on buying for a while.



Perhaps you are right in all this smoke being blown will not change anything, but I can hope otherwise.

Lyon Medina
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If something as small as DRM can make you that sad you never could have liked the game that much to begin with.



Before I bought Starcraft II I heard all the news, good and news I didnt like. I hate the concpet of RealID because I don't like people knowing my real name online. ( You listening Gamasutra?)



But I took a good look at it. To me it did matter a great deal, but, and in a huge way, but I trusted and liked the game so much that I could deal with the issue which is huge in my mind, but smaller in grand scheme of things.





I love Starcraft II with all its issues that I had with it, and I bought it Day 1. So I ask you.... Do you think this issue is big enough to make you miss out on a great game. Maybe an hour long headache for a game that will probaly give some 200+ hours of ever lasting fun?



That's what you need to look at. And I deal with the DRM all the time its not a huge issue "to me". I played SC2 a whole eight hour plane ride and the entire time I was on my trip every night. (Me vs CPU)

Daniel Gooding
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@Lyon



Did you even read what I wrote??

My argument has nothing to do with DRM

You are just filling in a counter argument that I didn't even start.



DRM The hell out of the game, I don't care.



Just don't make it be "always online" DRM, because that forces me to treat the game like an MMO, and to only be able to play it when I have a good connection.

Lyon Medina
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Oh woops, Sorry I thought that was your point. I apologize.

Daniel Gooding
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It's fine... I honestly have to let this issue go, and accept Blizzards decision, and move on to something else.

Adam Johnson
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I travel quite a bit but I still find myself in hotel rooms etc. where I could log in and play. You must be in an industry where you are without internet quite a bit to be unable to even chip away at the game.



My sympathies.

Eduard Ruzga
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Hey there, I bought SC2 day 1 too, after which it was 3 months of frustration, hate and suffering. After which I uninstalled the game. Reason? Map download system trough BattleNet being worst I seen in my 20 years of gaming.

So after 3 weeks in email correspondence with support, months in browsing US and EU forums with hundreds and thousands posts on same issues I had with no official answers from Blizzard my trust in new internet age Blizzard is diminished.

Here actually, checked today again, thousands of pages with topics with problems http://eu.battle.net/sc2/en/search?q=maps&f=post&forum=11815 on any page you will find maps downloading problems, and they result in hanging UI, no ability to play online, even single player being effected as service just does not work...





So I will try Beta if I will be able to get in, I hope it will be pirated and hacked to allow offline play. May after month will check technical forums to see how many have problems with D3 and how blizzard addresses them this time and I will think about buying. But after SC2... I can't even bring myself over all that pain and try installing SC2 again...

Juan Del Rio
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I always thought the problem with "Always Online DRM" from a user perspective is when people play over wireless LAN's at home. Wireless connectivity isn't always constant and can be interrupted by many factors. In the past games have just dumped you out of your game without so much as a warning when things like this happen, hopefully it is handled better by Blizzard's teams.

Rob Wright
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I could be wrong but I've noticed on other forums and discussion threads that a lot of blame for the alway online DRM and, to a lesser degree, item sales and modding bans is being directed toward Activision and Bobby Kotick.



Many gamers seem to be operated under the assumption that Kotick forced Pardo and Company to make these changes. I think the Activision connection is perhaps making this more of an uproar than it would have been. Just a thought.

Bjoern Loesing
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Personally, I am upset at the DRM. Mostly because it enforces the creation of a Battle.net account, which will be linked to either the EU or the US version of the game, but not for both. This, to me, is not acceptable in an age of global gaming. I have friends I enjoy to play with on both sides of the pond, thank you very much.



I am much more concerned about the auction house. Not because I don't think it's clever, but because it's a legal nightmare. Some players will generate revenue with it, which according to most European countries' tax-law is taxable, like generating massive revenue on Ebay is. I'm quite certain Diablo 3 will not come with an 18+ label, so this makes this rather tricky to control.



Finally, I am extremely unhappy with the announced modifications to skills - Diablo 3 no longer sounds like a game I am interested to play, so my personal boycott of it (which at least comes at 3 copies) is a very easy decision to make.



A shame, too. I have no doubt it will still have a significant impact on the industry.

Adam Johnson
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It sucks that your battle.net account will lock you out of playing with some of your friends. I agree that the AH will bring an interesting legal spin on minors "doing business" in the game.



However, I would not lump your primary reason in with those. If you don't like how the game is going to play then *that* is the reason you're not buying. and I totally agree with it. The point of games is to have an enjoyable time with them. If you don't like the way Blizzard is doing it then you have to find something else. I'm not a big fan of what they did with Civ 5, so I'm casting about for a replacement. :)

Taekwan Kim
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Not to downplay any of the other developers in the least, but honestly, all it takes for me is Leonard Boyarsky. There's so much good will there that it'll take a catastrophic disaster of a game for me to be turned off (which is rather unlikely). And this gameplay footage certainly helps: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NSsgs1Q0d3s. The rest is just this being an interesting discussion topic as a reflection on player priorities. Probably a first day, or at least first week, purchase for me.

Miguel Castarde
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The ausence of LAN mode in SC2 hurts a lot the high level play in tournaments. Often they have problems with lag. It's really frustrating.



Blizzard can use your always online DRM because your games are very polished and the people want play anyway. You don´t have other publisher creating something comparable with the scale of StarCraft 2 and Diablo 3. It´s almost a Blizzard monopoly in these types of games. Merit for Blizzard, of course.

Alan Rimkeit
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Lack of LAN stopped me from buying StarCraft 2. I still have not gotten it. I doubt I ever will.

Darcy Nelson
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I don't suppose that's something they can patch in later, is it? Sigh.

Chang Fong Chua
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Really? Well to each its own. But I will be pumping for ME3, Skyrim, Deus Ex:HR ... heck even Borderland 2 would be better than the headache this is giving me.

E Zachary Knight
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Personally, I have no reservations about my desire to boycott any games that have an always online DRM scheme. I still have not bought any Ubisoft games. I have not bought Starcraft 2 because of the DRM and the lack of LAN. I will not be buying Diablo 3 for the same reason.



I still have not bought any game with an Online Pass system.



I seem to be able to continue my boycott quite well. As for other people, their mileage may vary.



On your note about a lack of uproar after Starcraft 2 was released is only half right. There are those who ended up buying the game and playing and ended up shutting their mouths on the DRM scheme and lack of LAN. But there are still many others like me who aren't raising a stink about it because we are sticking to our guns and haven't bought it. We are still playing Starcraft 1 on LANs. We are still having fun. We just don't care much for Blizzard's little sandbox.

Dave Smith
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are you really boycotting or just not buying games you dont like? i would think a boycott would have to be somewhat effective to keep it going, otherwise whats the point?

Daniel Gooding
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@Dave



The very definition of Boycotting something is voluntarily not buying something.



It is a form of protest, and does not need any more than one person to be considered a boycott.

Justin LeGrande
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Your case is very reasonable, for it is supported by over five years of laser-point fine tuning of gameplay mechanics in StarCraft 1. StarCraft 2 is still sloppily scrawling an existence filled with disgusting imbalances. It released one year ago... and four years from now... we shall see if SC1 remains superior, despite legacy.

Dave Smith
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@daniel so everytime i dont buy something im boycotting? im quite the little activist!

Daniel Gooding
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Well, I mean within reason lol.

Chang Fong Chua
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Count me in too. I only paided $3 to get the one week pass and complete the single player campaign. So I end up the winner I suppose, while Blizzard hope in vain that their supposedly superior design will lure me to spend more money to purchase ONLINE time just so that I can play OFFLINE. No way. So I suppose I can say that I got to play the game for $3, even cheaper than a budget game. Only thing is that you can replay .... then again there isn't much replay value from my experience so it is not too bad.



But for Diablo3 ... it is suppose to be a extensive single player experience and I WILL not pay the excessive price just to be limited by so many arbitary design decisions.

Craig Dolphin
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Blowing smoke? Broadband 'standard' for gamers?



Yeah, no. Standard, perhaps, if said gamer lives in a place where broadband is actually available. In my case, that's just not true.



And blowing smoke? Not true either, in my case at least. Blizaard won't be selling me a copy of Diablo 3. Or the next SC chapter either. That's not an emotional reaction. That's simply my considered decision after dealing with this increasingly annoying BS from the gaming industry. I'm sorry, but games are simply not worth the aggravation anymore. Either publisher stop thinking of the paying customer as their 'enemy', or I'm done contributing to their pay packets.



Veritas.

Alan Rimkeit
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Very well said. +1 Internets.

Daniel Zeligman
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In terms of the global gamer demographic that blizzard is targeting the majority has broadband available. They will sell enough to them that it doesn't matter to them that those not fortunate to have stable internet won't be purchasing their game.

Daniel Zeligman
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*Doesn't matter to blizzard

Christopher Engler
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@ Daniel Zeligman



"They will sell enough to them that it doesn't matter to them that those not fortunate to have stable internet won't be purchasing their game."



Selling to a territory that simply doesn't have reliable broadband infrastructure isn't Blizzard market, so they're not losing any of their revenue base. If they're not fortunate enough to have stable internet because of their own economic circumstance, then they should probably spend their money on something else.

Chang Fong Chua
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Well, count at least one player who have reliable internet who is pissed off with so many of their design decision that I will not be buying their game.

Kyle Hodges
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Any suggestions as to how they should tell the paying customers from the enemy? Because they look pretty similar from where I'm sitting. Just saying.

Daniel Camozzato
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@ Cristopher Engler



"If they're not fortunate enough to have stable internet because of their own economic circumstance, then they should probably spend their money on something else."



This is offensive beyond imagination. But yes, let's do that. People without always-on internet should not be playing. And if they don't have 20Mbps internet, then they should not even BE on the internet! What are they thinking, the lazy bastards! They should be working!

Ian Uniacke
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Daniel where are you getting such nonsense from? You've gone from "reqiures an internet connection to play" to "requires the fastest lightning speed internet available on the planet" because it suits your argument. And Chris's argument is that if you can't afford internet you probably should prioritise that over paying for an expensive pc game.



Am I the only one who can see the irony of commenting on an internet forum that you're upset because you don't have access to internet?

Daniel Camozzato
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I'm sorry Ian, but what Cristopher said was not: "if you can't afford internet you should prioritise that over paying for an expensive PC game". What he said was "it is ok that a RELIABLE internet connection is required" because "territories without reliable broadband infrastructure are not Blizzard's market", and so, "these people (who are not Blizzard's market because they live in some other territory) should probably spend their money on something else".



He is not only defending Blizzard's arbitrary requirement for an internet connection (which I can accept, and liking it is not relevant), he is defending it on the basis that people living in other territories should be doing something else with their time, since they are not Blizzard's market (and Blizzard should not bother). As someone living somewhere else, I disagree.



Check his other comments about profit, GM cars and global economics and you'll understand what he really means in his comment above.

Dave Smith
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the auction system sounds like a can of worms best left unopened. i kinda hate modern video games.

Rich Boss
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If I sell items for hard currency and then move it out of Blizzard's system, does Blizzard send me a 1099 at the end of the year for capital gains or is it still my responsibility to report my profit to the government? Can I deduct the retail cost of the game? This line of questioning brings up another problem for me. Is fun slowly morphing into work?

Doug Cronkhite
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That's the REALLY scary part for me. Is this action from Blizzard truly/finally opening the door for the IRS to get active in internet sales?



I wonder if this isn't Pandora's Box?

Patrick Miller
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Although I understand this logic, I highly doubt you will make enough ($9,350 as of 2010 filing single) to be legally required to claim your taxes. As far as your question "Is fun slowly morphing into work?": Are you in a line of work where you don't have fun? If so I'd suggest a career change.

Ben Freund
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I'm going to assume that Rich Boss is in fact rich and his own boss, which sounds pretty fun.



Lucky for him! For many other folks, it can be difficult to find work at present, and fun jobs tend to be quite competitive and even more scarce than unfun jobs.



And for some of those folks, trying to find ways to 'farm' Diablo III might be an appealing way to make some cash as their part-time or no-time jobs fail to provide sufficient income. Certainly it's happened in similar games... like Diablo II, which had a shady underground real cash economy. An above-the-board official marketplace would perhaps be even more appealing.



If this becomes any kind of trend, which is possible when people have an excess of time and a deficit of money, there is cause to believe that the government might have an interest in whether anybody is reporting their modest side business in virtual goods as taxable income.

Dave Smith
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"Are you in a line of work where you don't have fun? If so I'd suggest a career change. "





most people are and easier said than done.

Christopher Engler
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It would probably be considered an at-home business in which you have to claim any and all income earned through said business as profit on something like a Schedule C. This income is added to any additional work you do anywhere else i.e. your normal day job. I doubt there are many people on this thread who don't make at least $10K when you combine all sources of revenue.

Malik Matty
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@ Patrick Miller - You only have to make $400 to be required to pay self-employment tax here in the United States. Don't know where you came up with $9,350.



"You must pay self-employment tax and file Schedule SE (Form 1040) if the following applies."



"Your net earnings from self-employment (excluding church employee income) were $400 or more."



http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/article/0,,id=98846,00.html#2

Martain Chandler
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Considering how many amphorous activist groups are turning to DDoS attacks to express their displeasure, I would say always-on DRM would be a vulnerability.

Doug Cronkhite
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Always-on DRM doesn't bother me in principal, but in practice when one disgruntled person can ruin the gaming fun for an entire customer base, I think that's a problem.



The lack of a LAN mode puzzles me. You could integrate the LAN mode with the DRM by simply requiring the games to authenticate to battle.net, and then run the game traffic over the LAN. It just can't be that hard.

Patrick Miller
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You could also start up a local server and route your local client to 127.0.0.1 - of course this will be against the EULA but it can be done.



Also your routing path LAN > Battle.net > LAN is equivalent to client > Battle.net > client - i.e. you would still require a constant internet connection as the client would continually need to authenticate with battle.net



I don’t really see the issue because 95% of gamers have some form of "always on" internet. Allowing offline play for a multiplayer game has too many negative implications. With clients such as Mikogo and GameRanger you can play a pirated copy of just about any LAN enabled multiplayer game you want. If you think "No one does that", go tell that to the thousands of players that are logged onto these applications every day.



As a game developer I would be outraged if a thousand players got my multimillion dollar project that took me 3+ years to complete - for free. In my opinion, this factor alone outweighs the 500 people that may boycott me.

Ben Freund
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Could you cite the stats on "95% of gamers have..."?



It seems that it would likely involve some creative definitions of who is and is not a gamer, and also some creative redefining of the word "always".



For a person who dislikes the "no one does that" argument, you seem inclined to use it against gamers without stable internet connections.



As a game developer, your feelings are understandable. But as a businessman, others have pointed out: Giving away a thousand games to get five hundred sales is better than getting zero sales out of 1500.



That logic tends to apply more to indie games, I grant you, but what I'm suggesting is that focusing on outrage instead of real consequences may not be a wise choice in business or rhetoric.

Patrick Miller
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Perhaps my estimate of 95% was a bit well, "estimated". However, out of the US population in 2010, 77.3% (http://www.internetworldstats.com/am/us.htm) of us have some form of internet. Im willing to bet the remaining 22.7% includes elderly people who have no use for internet, people who dont even own a computer, and other minorities. Deductive reasoning would lead one to a hypothesis that a "vast majority" of "PC Gamers" have access to the internet. Furthermore, dial-up internet is very scarce so the probability that they have "always-on" (cable, DSL, sat, cell, etc) internet is very high.



Also, I see your point about "necessary evil" but I still can't help the desire to attempt theft prevention of my product all together.

Ben Freund
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Thanks for the respectful response. I agree with your conclusions, and the personal outrage that I'm trying to funnel here is the implication that excluding these minorities (hate to use that hot-button term!) is an acceptable loss simply because they are in the minority. It may be good business, but it's not good behavior, and I would very much like to expect more from Blizzard.

Christopher Engler
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Is it GM's responsibility to build roads where there are none just so I can drive their cars? No. You're expecting Blizzard to solve global economic disparity just so we can all play their games?

Duncan McPherson
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Looking at the figures on that site you pointed to, for 2009 there were 69,902,289 broadband subscribers out of a total 227,719,000 Internet users for that same year. (2009 is the only year where they had data for both fields.)



So... only about 30.7% of all Internet subscribers have broadband in the U.S.



It's not nearly as ubiquitous as you might think.

Patrick Miller
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Broadband =/= "always on" Furthermore, they only included telecom and cable companies. There are several other ways to get internet.

Duncan McPherson
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They do talk about the gradual expansion of broadband services on that page. In fact, in the first article underneath the stats, Brian Jurutka, vice president of telecommunications at comScore, appears to lump in DSL as part of the nationwide expansion of broadband Internet connection.



In fact, broadband seems to encompass DSL, satellite, cellular, cable, and other means of connecting to the Internet (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broadband_Internet_access). I would _hope_, given the breadth of the definition, that broadband _did_ equal "always on" or was at least a subset of that.



EDIT: Removed question regarding the scope of their statistics on broadband subscribers.



However... I suppose a valid question is then raised: even if there are other ways to connect to the Internet that don't involve a telecom, a cable company, or a dial-up connection, how do the majority of subscribers connect to the Internet? I wonder where a set of all-inclusive data might be found. (It's a bit tangential, I know, but now I'm interested!)

Daniel Camozzato
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@ Christopher Engler



"Is it GM's responsibility to build roads where there are none just so I can drive their cars? No. You're expecting Blizzard to solve global economic disparity just so we can all play their games?"



Well, it would be GM's responsibility to build roads where there are none so I could drive their cars IF they made cars that could only drive on roads.



Why are you trying so hard to justify their decision, anyway? I think people can judge on their own without your "help".

Chang Fong Chua
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Sorry wrong metaphor.



This is more akin to a car company dictating that a car can only use Racing tires, even though it wears out fast and is not suitable for the majority of the existing road.



Blizzard can dictate all they wants, but it is not going to happen. I think this will be the start of the decline of Activision and Blizzard franchise. They have been shoving too much bullshit down people's throat for too long.

Maurício Gomes
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I promised here many times to not buy SC2 after the LAN issue.



Well, I do not bother even to watch SC2 videos. The only thing I see about SC2, is a wallpaper of a co-worker.

Eben Sullivan
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The announcement yesterday wasn't terribly surprising. This kind of thing comes with the territory Blizzard has gotten into. Integration of commons systems from WoW was inevitable, as were mandatory battle.net and always online DRM. The writing was on the wall, and Blizz is not the same company it was a decade ago. From a business point of view (one of pressure from Activision and investors) I understand why they want to attempt to protect their software in some way. I don't agree, but I understand their viewpoint.



That being said, I am disappointed that I can't play the game when my internet connection is being temperamental or if some disgruntled (see: "spoiled") gamer decides to hit the Blizzard servers with a DDoS attack. The decision to have a mandatory online component for a game that is not necessarily multiplayer only kinda sucks, and I sympathize with those that were excited by the game and have been alienated by a company they supported.

Eric McQuiggan
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I don't think the effective response to a opinion piece about the toothlessness of consumer chest thumping is more consumer chest thumping, guys.

Dean Boytor
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I can appreciate their attitude of getting it right rather then get it done.

Justin LeGrande
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This issue reminds me of a "personality question" from Dragon Quest 3...



"If you accidentally trip over a boulder, do you blame the boulder, or yourself?"



...Is it the boulder's fault for being placed there, or is it the tripped person's fault for not being careful enough to notice the boulder right under their noses? If Activision-Blizzard's customers are too narrow-minded to research their CHOICE of purchases, you can't blame A-B for exploiting them. Big business THRIVES off mob/mindless sheep mentalities. Until a day comes when all their customers collectively proclaim, "Hey...you know what? We're not going to accept this nonsense any longer"... Kotick n' Krew are just being encouraged to pull this sort of stunt.



For online-only naysayers... StarCraft 2 is primarily an American developed and published game. Until the collective American user base demands, "Hey, SCREW YOU! We won't invest unless everyone on this planet is invited, not just ourselves!"... guess what happens?



Globally uneven technological and economic growth will continue to influence how the "suited ones" dictate availability to potential players. The continuing relevance of LAN has to be proven... and too many Americans are showing through their actions that they are content with online-only. Until that changes, Activision-Blizzard and just about every other American corporation will stay the course.



By the way... you CAN play StarCraft 2 offline. But only alone, with campaign, custom games, and versus AI. I suspect the same will be applicable to Diablo 3, sans the "open server" that Blizzard reserved for offline characters and cheaters back in Diablo 2.

Jeremy Reaban
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Of course the trouble is, there are a large parts of America (you know, the rural ones) that don't really have decent broadband access. I can't even get 3G where I live, satellite is the only option and while it might work with things like this, it tends to drop a lot...



Sadly, in large parts of the US, utilities are little better than in third world countries.

Daniel Gooding
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I think a lot of casual gamers are going to be thrown into the "fight for bandwidth" That a lot of MMO players have to deal with, and get a sour taste in their mouths.



Simply put there are times when connectivity would be a problem.

A lot of times, when someone would decide to sit down, and play a game of Diablo





No Internet Access, Restricted Internet Access, Limited Internet Access.



No Internet Access. (Simply put, places where you have access to electricity, but not Internet.)

- Anyone overseas, or that lives in barracks, or onboard a ship.

- Anyone making Extended visits to family that still hasn't adopted internet.

- Anyone Playing on a Plane (Although no-one really does that due to games destroying battery life)

- Potentially during a heavy storm (not very often)



Restricted Internet Access (Places where there is internet, but cannot access for gaming.)

- Anyone in College or Work that wants to play during a lunch break

- Anyone in College that wants to play between classes.

- Anywhere there is wifi, but you do not have access to it.



Limited Internet Access (Places where there is perfectly fine internet, but is limited due to various reasons)

- Anyone at home with a decent broadband, but is competing with Streaming

- Anyone who has a room-mate that decides they want to heavily torrent.

- Anyone who decides to play at a wifi hub.

- Anyone who lives in a dorm with restricted, or limited Bandwidth. (not common anymore)

- For some people trying to use the internet on a Saturday can be terrible.

- At a hotel





I know you all can say. "why don't you play a different game?"

But as any gamer would know. When you get into a game, you want to play it as much as you possibly can, whenever you can.

Patrick Miller
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I have already commented twice on this article but your post wants me to comment once again. Your reasons seem slightly absurd to me. Let me break them down if I may.



-Ships have internet access, barracks allow for internet access ( I played EQ all the time from my barracks room), and if I'm in a war zone shouldn't I be trying to keep myself, my fellow borther/sister in arms, and my country alive? Playing video games does neither of those things. (of course, neither does a game of spades)

-Oh and if you travel by plane alot - they now have internet on many airlines but certain wifi signals dirupt plane insturments.

-Dont let you boss or your customers seeing you play a game at work, it's bad juju.

-How long does it take to connect to the campus wifi?

-Also if there is wifi that you cant access, its probably for good reason.

-Streaming doesnt really damper WAN speeds.

-Torrenting is often equal to pirating which the absense of LAN acces it trying to prevent anyway.

-When you say wifi hub - I assume you mean a wifi hotspot which are typically used on the fly when a group of people are in a pinch. Also Id like to point out that these are typically used for LAN operations.

-If you have trouble accessing the internet on Saturday maybe you need a new ISP or request a dedicated card on your local DSLAM. (good luck with that)

-Every hotel that I've been to has allowed me to connect and play games just fine, be it on a computer or a console.

Daniel Gooding
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-Ships have internet access to use for e-mail, not for gaming.



- I have yet to be on a plane with internet access, however i'll admit that that is not a good reason, and i've actually been telling people it's not a good reason.



- most colleges do not allow access to gaming on their wifi.



- I agree with wifi that you cannot access shouldn't be. However that doesn't change the fact that you cannot play in those areas.



- I wasn't promoting Torrenting, but if you have a room-mate that does it still restricts the use of the internet. (I'm not fighting for LAN, you made that assumption on your own. I merely want to play offline solo.)



- Many people don't have the option to switch their ISP



- The hotel issue is a hit or miss

Martain Chandler
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Headline: Angry Shipboard Gamers Reject D3 in 5.. 4... 3...

Daniel Gooding
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I'm letting go of my argument. I can't keep fighting for offline play. It's starting get to me a bit more than I want.



I'm obviously an extreme minority in this case.

I'll just accept that I can't continue on with the Diablo series until my way of life changes.

Martain Chandler
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Hey! You are not extreme and maybe not a minority!



Every day more people are carrying around portable devices that can play games while portable connectivity will continue to be unreliable. They just might re-think their plans.



There may be a frowned-upon third way if you aren't compelled to boycott the game. 1) Buy it, crack it, and enjoy a completely isolated single player experience.

Daniel Gooding
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As tempting as that sounds. Piracy is what caused this in the first place. I would rather just move on to something else at this point.

Alan Rimkeit
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@Daniel Gooding - No, it was GREED.

Patrick Davis
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Modern games in general are out to just make money. If they screw over the gamer in the process, whatever. It started with the pandering to casuals which pissed off all of the old school hardcores. Then moved on to paid DLC to nickel and dime everyone to death. Add in ridiculously over-priced "collector's editions" of every big game that has different content based on where you bought it. Finally, we have Online DRM which won't even let you play your game when you aren't connected. Does anyone one do anything FOR gamers anymore rather than screw them?



Modern gaming has never been about the gamer. All I can hope is that gamers finally band together and push back at these terrible business practices by not buying into products like these.



Of course, this is my opinion. Sorry for getting off topic a bit.

Eric McQuiggan
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Maybe big companies would care more about the individual gamers if they complained less about things they haven't bought and had no intention of purchasing in the first place.

Jesus Rambal Llano
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You trolled to the wrong guy. He is even admiting being off topic. Please troll to the right one.

Justin LeGrande
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This is nothing new. Gaming business conventions in the 80's screwed over the 70's gamers, 90's screwed over the 80's, 00's screwed over the 90's, 10's screwed over the 00's... it's a cycle.



Seriously, go research some books like Game Over: The Maturing of Mario by David Sheff or something. History repeats itself constantly in the video game industry.



Don't discount the hidden value of collector's editions, either! They can give minor insights into the history of a product line's handling of business ethics and processes to outsiders. For example... in the StarCraft 2 collector's edition, the artwork book seems impressive to a newcomer to Blizzard products. Compare it to the artwork book in the WarCraft 3 collector's edition, however...



The StarCraft 2 artwork book misses out on developer commentary, historical pieces and references, explanations of cinematic flourishes applied after pencil sketches... in short, I thought it was downright BORING in presentation, compared to the WarCraft 3 artwork book. I think... this apparant decision to withhold creative information, of which I suspect the art teams were willing to elaborate upon... painted a grim picture of Activision-Blizzard's tightening grip around the core Blizzard studio's work lives.



My point here is... do not simply gloss over collector's editions. Put effort into investigating them, just as their developers put effort into creating them.

Christopher Engler
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Modern gaming? When have video games ever been about the user? How many quarters were spent on three minute games of Pac-man or Double Dragon? Those weren't non-profit endeavors intended to make everyone feel included. Video games have always been about profit... preferably insane profit. I'm sure even most indie game producers would like to see enough of a return on their creative and monetary investment to make their efforts worthwhile.

Martain Chandler
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Not their fault. Pinball started it!

Daniel Camozzato
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@ Cristopher Engler



The difference between "modern gaming" and "old gaming", if I understand correctly from above commenters, is that developers used to have a bit more leeway. In example, I remember some even got their pictures on the game box, posing like rock stars.



As for indie games, of course they want a return on their creative and monetary investment. But how is that the same as "insane profit"? The point of (some? most? a few?) indie developers is exactly that they are making the games they want to make!

Dave Smith
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i'm sure Blizzard was too busy counting all of South Korea's money to worry about silly SC2 boycotts.

Justin LeGrande
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I think a successful international boycott must be cultural, not local. That culture must be appealing to many different kinds of people; good and bad, happy and sad, rich and poor, widely-learned and centrally-learned. It's deadly difficult to maintain. I would suspect most boycotts fail miserably due to lack of true allegiance. I think culture is key to that allegiance.



The existing StarCraft-online culture is satisfied with their online experiences, devoid of the willpower to change what they received into a fresh experience. Instead, their efforts focus on enhancing the existing online experience. Ironic... the fragmentation of StarCraft communities is keeping the franchise healthy, rather than fragile!



Don't forget that South Korean professional tournaments have been trying to keep their money flow regional! The truest longevity and profit of StarCraft is in e-sports.

Justin LeGrande
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I think the officially supported RMT sounds very interesting for online dungeon crawler games like Diablo 3. There's bound to be loopholes to bug out on, but I think this sort of model could lay the foundation for a sane alternative/solution to these 3rd party services: currency-selling, level-rushing, character daycares, hacked and legit item sales, scam n' blam, training guides and/or bots, and rare item-hunting.

Dave Sodee
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Why can it not just be a simple authentic once a week . Always on sucks if not an mmo imo.

Simon Ludgate
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Well, what if you think of Diablo 3 as an mmo then? With plenty of soloable content?

Ben Freund
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Give me a year or so until the game is released, by then I'll have been able to shift my expectations.



Until then, this news is along the lines of a new X-Com... but it's a shooter! Or a new Kingdom Hearts... but it's a spin-off and not a direct sequel!



A product that I had good reason to expect would resemble its well-loved predecessors now looks like quite a different beast--and not because of a natural evolution or creative risk (World of Warcraft doesn't mean there won't ever be a Warcraft IV!), but because of market forces insisting that the game many people were expecting/wanting simply cannot or should not be made.



I might have immediate, strong interest in World of Diablo as a product, but Diablo III as the direct successor to Diablo II creates different expectations for me.

Simon Ludgate
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And herein lies the real issue that people should be complaining about. People shouldn't be complaining about DRM ruining a single-player game, they should be complaining that Blizzard is selling them an MMO when what they want is a single-player game.

Ben Freund
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I understand your point, but really the latter is just a logical extension of the former. I think they're very similar ideas, and the terminology is more relevant to people like you and I than to legitimately upset people who only know that either they're going to pay for something they have ambivalent feelings about supporting, or they're not going to have the option to pay for it because the restrictions prevent them from playing.



I'll forego comment on the position of 'boycotters,' I'm not one.

Martain Chandler
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Simon you're exactly right. And we know the answer. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rkRIbUT6u7Q

T K
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Last I checked you can't play a single Zynga game on Facebook without having an Internet connection.....so Diablo and Ubisoft just going down this path. Not saying you have to like it but this is where its going. It appears it hasn't hurt Zynga much to date. Piracy rates so massive on the PC they are trying what they can to recoup their investment. If you don't like, don't buy Diablo 3 its that simple.

John Martins
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Then on the other side of the coin, Zynga sucks and their games are only taken seriously by kids and soccer moms with no other meaningful activities to eat up their day. Good job on noticing that browser games require you to be online though, sharp eye.

Justin LeGrande
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Actually, I think he made a poignant note. People are out there, just slurping up browser games, popular games, and freebies without a second thought, like fast food. It's almost like... they're incapable of realizing that good food is better for you. But it's not... "real food". The good stuff doesn't "keep it real"... I really do think the current consumption trends are vexing.

Christopher Engler
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I'm sure lots of soccer moms think Diablo sucks. What's your point? Why is your Diablo 3 obsession a more meaningful way to spend spare time than my mom's obsession with online Sudoku?

Daniel Camozzato
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Because your mom's obsession with online Sudoku is often not an obsession with with Sudoku, but with clicking cows. Over and over again.

Alan Rimkeit
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Sorry to break it to you TK but all of Ubisofts "always on internet connection" games, such as AC:Brotherhood, have been uploaded to torrent sites. They have been hacked and cracked. DRM is useless. It is the buzzing of flies to the hackers and crackers. Either that or it is more fun for them because that is what they like. More challenge equals more glory in the scene.

Eric McQuiggan
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@Alan Rimkeit

Pirates have managed to crack most games for years, sure, but you forget, not all were cracked completely successfully or right away.



The Main takeaway for game developers is trying to provide value added to your game to retain your user base. Unfortnately the ways to do this are usually as varied as the games themselves. I think the always on connection facilitates this and is innocuous 99% of the time.

Daniel Camozzato
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Yeah, PC gaming piracy is rampant. Boo-hoo. Make a good game, it will sell. People who care enough to buy it will buy it. The others weren't going to give you money anyway.



Blizzard will probably lose more REAL sales to people who won't put up with their DRM and no mod policy than to pirates.

Daniel Gooding
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You cant forget that Blizzard is targeting the exact same market that plays WoW. So they could potentially cut into their own revenue.



However at this point anyone who is still actively playing WoW, will bleed right back to it, unless the RMT auction house actually has some form of merit.

Alan Rimkeit
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@Daniel Camozzato and Eric McQuiggan - I am just pointing out that crap like DRM and a constant internet connection for games are pretty much an empty gesture and useless. They only end up hurting the paying customers while people on the torrent sites do not care one little bit.

Daniel Camozzato
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@ Alan Rimkeit - And I agree with you. :-)



Sorry Alan, perhaps I wasn't clear, but I was commenting on the OP.

Alan Rimkeit
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@Daniel Camozzato - Confucius says confusion on the Internets is nothing new. :D

Eric McQuiggan
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@Alan Rimeit

If they were an "empty gesture and useless", would an entire secondary industry pop up as possible solutions to the issue? Do you think the decades long war against videogame piracy has always been fruitless?



People on the Torrent sites certainly care, when their versions of the games aren't nearly as functional as a legitimate copy of the game, or when the game isn't available over Torrent nearly as soon as it is in stores.



Zero piracy protection has the potential of having your game available first, and for free on tracker sites. Authenticated CD keys ensure that casual piracy is negated. Always on internet checks is a great difficulty for even moderate pirates.



Please stop looking at the world in terms of absolutes.

Alan Rimkeit
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@Eric McQuiggan - Because what ever a company does for security it always gets hacked and cracked, no matter what. Companies are stuck between a rock and a hard place I guess. Do it an look like jerks. Don't do it and look like weaklings.



Sure DRM stops some people from getting games illegitimately, but to me those people that do torrent games most likely would have never paid for the game anyway. DRM is just making life difficult for the consumer who does pay.



Also, comparing or even mentioning authentication keys is association with a forced always on internet connection authentication is to me ridiculous. With authentication keys and a single player game I can play alone with or with out a connection.



A forced always on internet connection authentication scheme is not even in the same ball park as far as the consumer is concerned. At least to me, and apparently from looking at the comments on the board alone I am not alone on this one in the slightest.



On top of all of that the lack of a single player game that is not part of the network is super ultra LAME. So all in all I am not buying this game just like I did not and am never buying StarCraft 2. Blizzard is down one fan.



Though I really doubt they give a crap.

Eric McQuiggan
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You are missing a lot of the nuance of the situation.



A lot is related to timing, if you can prevent piracy in the first month after launch, as well as the months leading up to launch(an increasing problem), for some people, it would be a tough decision between playing a game they want to, early, and for free over waiting and paying. Ever notice that so called "draconian DRM" is removed from products after a bunch of hype has died down, and often, that same DRM shows up on later games?



Always on internet connection ensures that the players you are spending money hosting servers and doing customer support for have paid. Blizzard and the like know that they have more then enough fans that aren't afraid of always on internet, like MMOs.



No you aren't alone, that's what this post is about, how people with opinions like yours are ultimately toothless.

Jesus Rambal Llano
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Zynga games are linked to facebook, an application that never claimed to be offline. In Diablo III case I don't think piracy has to do with the online only. At least not people having illegal versions of the game.

Josh ua
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It's official. The last Blizzard game that I've purchased will be Warcraft 3. I'm a PC gamer because I can mod the hell out of my games. If I wanted a game like this I'd own an Xbox.

Martain Chandler
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Or a PS3.

Gabe Carter
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I like donuts.

Alan Rimkeit
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Only from Voodoo Donuts.

Duncan McPherson
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"The Magic is in the Hole!"



Their bacon maple bars make just about any day _that_ much better.

Daniel Camozzato
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I don't even understand what Chris Morris means by saying that we (the people who won't buy it) are blowing smoke. I think he is under the assumption that I have infinite money to spend on games, and that the only reason why I might chose to skip this game is because I made an unbelievable effort to do so.



The truth is that there are one gazillion games out there and I can't even bring myself to bother about Diablo 3. Yes, I *WAS* interested in it - that was when I thought about playing it single player, and eventually (maaaaybe) calling one or two friends for some kind of co-op play.



But since SC2, I'm pretty sure Blizzard games are not for me. I might be wrong, but I am really under the impression that the only people playing SC2 right now are south koreans and enthusiasts who care about some kind of internet competition rubbish and online ranks and clicks per second and so on, things that I just can't bring myself to care about.



And when I think about this, it is really strange that back in the days of StarCraft 1 I had about 10 friends who played it, and now I have 1. It is not a boycott, its just not caring about it at all!

Ian Uniacke
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Obviously you can't speak for every individual person but I think Chris is referring to this kind of thing:



http://www.joystiq.com/2009/11/13/how-not-to-boycott-modern-warfa
re-2/

Daniel Camozzato
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Oh. OH. I see.

Michael Jeffery
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I can't imagine a "fair" auction house system that wouldn't require constant access to the internet. In order to ensure that the items for sale (possibly for real money) are legitimate, Blizzard is probably generating them server-side; maybe even performing all inventory storage on the server. This is necessary for managing and controlling a massively multiplayer online economy. Other external factors such as gaining an advantage from modding are also a concern here. As other posters have already pointed out-- Blizzard is making a game that is at least partially an MMO.



Were many people expecting a single player game? Yes. Does this decision at least partially represent a DRM solution? Probably.



As for why there isn't a single player mode that is excluded from all the online functionality... I would submit that in addition to DRM, they may also want to avoid fracturing the player base and funnel users towards the online systems. The value and effectiveness of an auction house --or any other MMO features that may come later-- is relative to the player population actively using it. By excluding offline single player (likely to be the most popular mode by far) they are preventing many of their users from permanently "opting out" of those features with their characters.

Richard Chompff
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The main issue that I have with only-online and no-LAN is what about those of us who like to be in the same room as the people we are playing with? Internet multiplayer is fine and convenient but if I have my friends come over for some fun, I know that my internet connection will not be able to handle more than two of us playing online at any one time. I think blizzard has severely limited their market with this, because they assume that anyone who plays their games are anti-social hermits who only have friends on the internet, not irl. I have been to several large LANs recently, none of which had any form of internet connection which meant that most of my steam games were useless and I ended up getting pirated copies of games I already owned just so that I could play them! I think that in this age of ubiquitous internet usage the people reading the stats are forgetting that most people prefer to have fun with someone while they are in the room.

John Tessin
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Do you ever wonder if the same people that made this decision made the "Real Name requirement" decision before? Any press is good press so this has put Blizzard in the limelight. Just as much controversy, just as much public uproar. Only a moron would believe that the real reason they are doing it is to keep people from playing the single player game and getting upset when their character wasn't accepted for Battlenet play. *sigh* I really hope this is just a cutsie move to get some free press and major buzz. I, for one, don't buy internet tethered games unless they are exclusively network games. Not worth the money. But there are so many Blizzard fan bois and apologists that they will see significant sales no matter what they do.

Mihai Cozma
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As a WoW veteran (I'm not playing it anymore, but I do play LOTRO now), I don't mind the always online DRM, I am basically always online while I play games. I need online for Steam multiplayer, I need it for MMOs, I need it for SC2, no worry about Diablo 3.

Derek Muenzel
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I will definitely NOT purchase any game that has a single player mode requiring an online connection- even to start the game. I love Steam because I am not so worried about them going down and it plays offline without any problems for me. And, there is always the option of getting Pirate copies of the games I have through Steam. I currently have Verizon DSL and the connection is pretty flaky. Should I subject myself to getting kicked out of a single player game of D3 because of DRM? The pirate version of SC2 plays single player just fine and I am sure that Pirates will hack away at D3 since it will be such a big game and that means the DRM will only affect the non-pirates)? I am not going to pay for a game that limits where I can play it. To paraphrase the uppity Pardo said, "I can purchase another game."



tl;dr Fuck Blizzard

Jesus Rambal Llano
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While I live in Colombia my internet is very stable. I don't like always online games not because I lack an internet connection, but because I like the freedom to play offline. Games that doesn't have the choice to go offline just go below others on my buying list.



If Diablo III is a fun game i'll surely get it. It's just not my number one choice and that is just a buying desicion too. There is no hate for Blizzard as they have no personal hate for people when they said the latest changes.



Diablo III had an offline component at least on 2010 version accourding to their community manager. I think that the real money auction house is what made them go with the online only model. Now they must protect this real money economy of dupes and illegal items that maybe can be created easily if they allow offline.

Brett Lawlor
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Bank on Blizzard using D3 as a test bed for introducing RMT to WoW. That's probably the real reason they're putting the RMAH into the game, and eliminating offline play. They want to see if the RMAH is profitable enough for them to bring it over to WoW, and capitalizing on their primary IP.

Greg Wilcox
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I'll keep it simple. I like my single-player experiences AND my privacy. I don't care about DIII user mods, auctions or MMO in my chase 'n chop. No offline SP means no sale in my book. I'm one of those folks who can't get a broadband connection (poor me, right?), but hey, I guess someone has to step up and let you guys know we in the minority have a tiny voice that's real, not some sliding statistic that's easily ignored.



Granted, you can't fault Blizzard at ALL for targeting what's considered "normal" by "today's standards" of internet connections. But as I also know a few folks in rural areas who can't get access to bb or worse, live in areas with bb, but have spotty service (a mere thunderstorm can knock power out in some places for a few hours to a day), I can safely say that some of those folks aren't buying DIII either and it has NOTHING to do with DRM.



Granted, if Blizzard decided to do a console version on a damn disc for those of us who wouldn't mind giving them more money (for yes, "lower" quality visuals and no clicky-clicky mouse action), it would make me and a few million others happy campers indeed. We shall see, i suppose...

C N
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I have been a long time fan of blizzard games, diablo 1/2, wow, warcraft series, sc1. One of the things i liked about blizzard was the support and tools they freely gave to players. with the RMT auction house there will be a huge opportunity to profit, even if blizzard/activision is not the one profiting (such as mastercard handling the trasactions for example).



Does this put diablo 3 in the same category as a "game". can you even call it a game anymore? every item and piece of gold will have some real world value that theives, cheaters, speculators could potentially profit from. a website selling chars,items,gold would be a business not a game, so they put a business into a game, the exact reason i dont play microtrasaction games, its not about entertaining people anymore its about making money period.



this makes me think of something my econ teacher told me years ago, "That people are commodites to be used for profit, customer/employee doesn't matter someone makes money off of you"



first time post here maybe a bit offtopic but my thoughts on the subject.


none
 
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