Diablo III's Teething Troubles: A Stumble or a Fall?

GamesIndustry International's writers on whether Bizzard's latest launch causes long-term damage to the company

When you release a AAA title, the third in a much loved series, after a twelve year hiatus, you want to get it right. When you're catering to a legion of adoring fans who have lapped up the months of hype and PR, who, shall we say, have perhaps developed a slightly over-evolved sense of entitlement, you want to get it absolutely right.

Luckily, when the game you're making is Diablo III, you have the resources of the world's biggest game publisher at your back, working within a team which has the experience of running the world's most successful online title, full of genius and startling creative energy. What can possibly go wrong?

Well, we all know the answer to that. Error 37. Error 12. Furious fans loudly declaring their disgust all over the internet so vociferously that they're being lampooned by other, less furious fans.

Designers defending commercial decisions, journalists defending your tech issues. Suddenly, your game is at the top of headline stacks everywhere, but for all the wrong reasons.

"Despite very aggressive projections, our preparations for the launch of the game did not go far enough"

Blizzard's official apology

Whether or not you put any faith in the old adage that there's no such thing as bad publicity, Diablo III's launch has certainly been a mixed bag. The strength of Blizzard's reputation, justly earned from the quality of its products, should see it ride out the storm - but should Blizzard have done more for its fans, or is this just another casualty of internet over excitement syndrome? Problems aside, should we not be hailing one of the best games of the year for the triumph it clearly is?

Below, GamesIndustry International's writers from both sides of the Atlantic give their thoughts on the controversy surrounding Diablo III's launch and what it means to them.

David Radd


Hiccups during launch day are not terribly uncommon. Does anyone remember the first year or so after World of Warcraft released? It was plagued by connection issues, but it eventually racked up 12 million subscribers. This isn't even the first time recently that Blizzard has had to deal with this - around the release of StarCraft II, the idea that there would only be one faction's campaign, that there was no LAN plan and that the Real ID system might force users to register their real names was hugely controversial, at least for some. Well, Real ID got nixed, and the game worked itself out and it's now the top online competitive game on the planet.

The point is, people might complain about the real money auction house and get ticked they can't log onto Battle.Net... but the level of attention just shows how passionate these fans are. It's a first-world problem to have an overwhelming number of customers, and I think when things calm down and Blizzard sorts the server situation, the game will go down as a wild success.

Mike Williams

I'm not the Diablo fanatic in my household, so the game's release is mostly academic to me. Diablo III will be another blockbuster hit for the company, but I'm interested in seeing how the community adjusts to the changes Blizzard has made to the fundamentals of the game.

While the Diablo franchise was a single-player or LAN co-op affair for many players in the past, Diablo III is built as a multiplayer title. The always-online nature of the game is a sticking point with some hardcore fans, but outside of early server issues, it's gone off without a hitch. Diablo III completes Blizzard's change into a full online services developer.

"Blizzard is pushing users online because the real revenue is in the real-money auction house"

Mike Williams

Blizzard is pushing users online to keep player retention high because the real revenue is in the real-money auction house, which has yet to launch. They want players selling and buying items. Blizzard wants to tick off those fees with every transaction. It's why they gave Diablo III away for free with a 12-month World of Warcraft subscription. If Diablo III's real-money auction house takes off, then expect to see the concept mirrored in Titan when that finally releases. The system could also be grafted onto World of Warcraft as that game enters its twilight years.

Ben Strauss

I have to say, this whole Diablo III server malfunction seems to be a non-issue. The "uproar" appears rather muted. Blizzard is getting off easy compared to how badly BioWare has been trashed for both Mass Effect 3 and Dragon Age II. Blizzard is a company that has successfully been able to push itself away from the Activision association, and it sort of has that 'Valve Time' thing going on when it comes to releasing titles.

Honestly, I think that Diablo III is another major hit for the company, and one that will be yet another cultural statement on gaming. StarCraft, Diablo, WarCraft... all of these titles command respect and admiration from gamers, and this latest edition is not going to change that, despite launch glitches.

Remember, Battlefield 3 had a horrible launch thanks to server issues, and that really didn't affect them. And the same goes for CoD Elite when it stumbled out of the gate. All of these issues are just buzz, something to talk about and to keep people busy with on message boards. The moment things are smoothed over, no one will care. I doubt many will remember this a year from now. Diablo is simply too much an obsession for gamers for them to focus on the bad when so much good will surround them in due course.


The internet responds to the situation with typical aplomb.

James Brightman

To echo the thoughts from David and Ben, gamers appear to have short memories. Look at how PlayStation Network bounced back from the catastrophe Sony allowed to happen. The PSN breach makes any launch struggles for Diablo III look like a walk in the park. If people can forgive Sony for exposing their credit card information to hackers, then they can certainly get over something far more trivial.

The bottom line is that people will bitch and moan, vent their frustrations, and then they will get back to playing more Diablo III.

Blizzard is one of those studios that always manages to get things right. They listen to their fans, and they'll probably make good on their failings with the fan base in the long run. The company should be given the benefit of the doubt. Besides, Diablo III is just too damn good to ignore.

Steve Peterson

Early server issues and the Error 37 problem will go away soon. The more important long-term issue for Blizzard is how the game balance has turned out. You'll recall they basically performed a heart transplant on the game system earlier this year, ripping up basic mechanics and starting over. I got the impression they were handed a ship date by Activision, rather than taking the usual Blizzard "we'll ship when it's done" strategy. It seems to work OK, but subtle balance issues may take a while to manifest. It probably won't matter to someone who's just playing the game through on their own.

"You'll recall they basically performed a heart transplant on the game system earlier this year, ripping up basic mechanics and starting over"

Steve Peterson

Game balance will matter hugely when you're dealing with the auction house, though. When real money is at stake, players will be annoyed if their purchase turns out to be underpowered. I think we'll be seeing a lot of tweaking going on as Blizzard uses the data from massive numbers of users to adjust the play experience. The game will be a good performer; to me the real question is whether the auction house will become a major cash cow for Blizzard or end up as an interesting experiment that didn't work out.

Matthew Handrahan

This is a difficult question to answer, because, yes, Blizzard almost certainly has the brains and resources to avoid day-one server problems. But at the same time, I just can't shake the feeling that all of this public ire doesn't matter. At all. Whether we're talking big picture or tight focus, the 1 star Amazon reviews and 0.0 Metacritic ratings are a fly buzzing around Blizzard's bountiful picnic - unfortunate, and I'm being charitable.

Yes, Mike Morhaime will furrow his brow, and say in the most grave manner possible that the company could have done more, and how sorry Blizzard is for spoiling the fans' special day. No doubt he is entirely sincere, but he is also sitting on a chair made of their money and, judging by the ecstatic reaction from everyone who has actually played Diablo III, every penny is entirely deserved. If that sounds cynical, it isn't my intention. Those who stood in line for Diablo III won't make a better or more value-packed purchase this year - hell, they probably won't make a better one this decade.


In situations like this we often refer to the 'contract' that exists between creator and consumer, and, more often than not, opinion favours the consumer - they're the ones paying, after all. But in this case the notion that any Diablo fan has been "cheated" strikes me as absurd. Server issues could persist for another week and I'd feel the same way. I have paid 40 for enough six-hour games to know the difference between a cause for complaint and a cause for gratitude, and this is as fine an example of the latter as you're likely to find.

Blizzard baked one of the most delicious cakes you'll ever taste, refining and perfecting the recipe for more than a decade so it'll stay mouthwatering for years to come. Just give it a day or two to find a cherry for the top.

Rachel Weber

Despite what you might have seen on Twitter, YouTube and Reddit, Blizzard have nothing to worry about when it comes to the long term effects of Error 37. There won't be any. We gamers are an embarrassingly easy-going bunch when it comes to screw ups.

James mentions the the PSN apocalypse. Not only did PlayStation owners flock back to the service, but by September it had gained 3 million new users too. And Microsoft's ruling console, the Xbox 360? Does anyone remember that little red ring issue? And then you've got Skyrim being completely broken for PS3 players, Battlefield 3 servers breaking, day one patches as standard. We're used to it, it's as much part of being a gamer as hand cramp.

"I'm not saying it's excusable, but I think it's indicative of a larger problem in our industry"

Rachel Weber

I'm not saying it's excusable, while Blizzard was signing off on those 8000 late night openings and 2 million pre-orders they should have assumed all those people would like to play the game, but I think it's indicative of a larger problem in our industry. And we gamers are part of it. Things get released too soon, break, and we rush to Twitter and cry about it. The publishers patch it, plug in another server, put out a press release and we forget about it, and hand over our cash for the sequel.

Does it stop anyone buying the next game? No. Is that what matters? Yes. Now if you'll excuse me, I have a Witch Doctor called Stabitha who wants to do some looting.

Matt Martin

One of things I love the most about games is the sense of community that comes from the players, and in particular the feeling that there's a "moment" - a day or a week where everyone is talking about one particular game. It's similar to what Mark Sorrell was talking about with broadcast TV - conversations with peers, whether face-to-face or via social networks, where there's a palpable buzz from an audience experiencing an event together. It's bloody exciting.

And that's the perfect moment for publishers to capitalise on a launch. Everyone is talking about their product, it's the pinnacle of what they've been working for. Unfortunately in Blizzard's case it's completely bungled it. From more than 24 hours the audience is only talking about one really bad thing. And there's nothing else to distract them. With no reviews from the specialist press, and barely any access to Blizzard through other promotional activities, everyone from the cosplayers to the curious are collectively confused and screaming at a company when they should be immersed and absorbed in a great game. It's WTF when it should have been OMG. What should have been a special occasion turned into a missed opportunity. Poor show.

Dan Pearson

Firstly I'm going to go out on a limb with Mike here and say that I'm not really a Diablo fan. I'm not being contrary in the face of its popularity, it just doesn't appeal - I felt exactly the same way about other loot-'em-ups like Torchlight, Sanctuary and Titan Quest.

So I don't share the fever. That means I'm not about to excuse the service's failings because of the game's qualities, but it also means that I'm not say here frothing idly from a corner of my mouth whilst my finger taps incessantly at some spectral mouse button because OH GOD I WAITED 12 YEARS FOR THIS AND TOOK THE DAY OFF AND BLIZZARD RUINED MY LIFE. So, I have a bit of untainted objectivity here.

"So much over reaction, so much entitlement. So much hatred for a company which only a few hours previously had been feted as the most benevolent of entities"

Dan Pearson

But still I'm torn. Initially, my British reserve takes precedent, which means that I wanted to raise a sardonic eyebrow at both parties before exhaling gently and moving on with a slight shake of the head. The more I think about it, though, the more it imbues me with that other staple of the UK's emotional repetoire: mild embarrassment.

On the one hand we have a huge, multi-national company that has been doing exactly this sort of thing for Wikipedia knows how long, with a twelve year run up and all the cash and resources at its desposal it could hope for. Fireworks are launched, doves released, fanfares blast. Then someone does a little fart in the corner, the banners all fall down and the doves fly right into the fireworks. Shame.

It's a little like a race. Blizzard have crouched, poised like a lithe athletic statue on the block, waiting for the starter's pistol, for months. And then, when the sharp crack of release day has rung out across the arena, it's realised that its shoes are untied and has stumbled, rather than sprinting, out of the trap. Again, as has been pointed out above, it's no disaster. Limbs remain intact and doubtless Blizzard's pedigree will steer it right. This is most definitely a marathon, not a sprint.'s a bit embarrassing, isn't it? Midnight launches for a game that can't be played when you get home? Error lists so long and complex that whole articles are dedicated to explaining them? Really?


As Matt says, this should have been a watercooler moment of shared experience, comparing loadouts and character rolls, war stories and discoveries. Instead it was shared frustration, anger and disappointment, and that is undeniably a huge shame and a horribly wasted opportunity.

But then you flip the coin and examine the reaction. The rage. Oh god the rage. So much over reaction, so much entitlement. So much hatred for a company which only a few hours previously had been feted as the most benevolent of entities. That, for gaming as a whole, is massively embarrassing, serving only to reinforce the still widely held belief that gamers are largely shouty basement gentlemen, hollering into the void because someone is threatening to take away their toys.

Of course you should give feedback when a product fails to meet your expectations or its manufacturer's promises - just make sure you get dressed properly and put up a spit guard before you do.

It'll blow over. As Rachel points out, gamers are generally pretty easily appeased. Like saplings in the wind, they are bent out of shape easily, but they snap back just as quickly. Occasionally, however, you'll come across a fan so deeply rooted in their absorbtion that they'll withstand a dozen gales without dipping a leaf, before creaking straight down the trunk with a noise like thunder and crushing everything for 40 yards.

Blizzard, it seems, lives in a forest of these fans, but luckily, it's a very, very large one.

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Latest comments (30)

Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer 5 years ago
I really dislike the fact that you cant enjoy the game, offline. Sometimes I feel its just another method to DRM the game rather than a game design choice. i dont really belive the game has to be online for the "auction house feature". If your offline its a feature you just cant use. As far as Ive been told, not using the auction house doesnt break the single player game, as all items can be aquired within the game and the game has its own in game economy to shop for items.

Wouldnt it be good to just play offline, get rare items and then when your online you can put them in an auction house, go offline play more, then go online to see if your item was sold???

However its a feature I would want to be online to use, BUT they went wrong in requiring you to be online even if your not gonna use it and it breaks the entire game expirience.

I would love to play the game, but the requirment to be online just doesnt do it for me. The auction house feature sounds great, would love to use it too, so that would actually make me want to be online, however I dont have an internet connection always available. And when that happen it would suck to not use the auction house, but I can keep playing building up my inventory, leveling up items and then post them in the auction house when an internet connection is available.

For this reason i belive its just another method to DRM the game. But it sucks because the game is harder to pirate, but its almost as if people who bought legitimate copies are severely restricted to play it.

And Im the type of gamer who enjoys single player offline expiriences and dont really care to play online, even though im hooked with mass effect 3 online multiplayer and harcorps uprising online play, i can enjoy those games offline as well.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Rick Lopez on 17th May 2012 4:05pm

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Sam Brown Programmer, Cool Games Ltd.5 years ago
Apropos of nothing, why is it that when football fans weep copiously, go on the rampage and call for the head of their team manager do they not get called whiny or entitled by their peers and specialist press?

/ME looks forward to the day when Gary Lineker uses the word "entitled" as an insult on Match of the Day. :)

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Sam Brown on 17th May 2012 5:10pm

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Temi Web design 5 years ago
Won't buy game for $60. Doesn't make sense for what you get. It's basically a subscription fee. You don't own that game
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Graeme Quantrill Mobile App Developer 5 years ago
The issue of not being able to play a single player game when there are server issues does seem to be rather ridiculous. I'm not a Diablo fan, I know little about the game, but honestly, it's bad design somewhere or over-zealous DRM (which, will break at some point).

The wider issue to me is that this could, if the hyperbole is to believed, be the way of the future. We've seen lots of press regarding next gen consoles rumours from both Sony and MS are to have online verifications and potentially an always on system.

Imagine Call of Duty 29 comes out (I assume this is the number we'll hit by 2014/15); the fanbois will go nuts if they can't log in to play single play. They'd be rioting in the streets.

Bad DRM is the future ;)

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Graeme Quantrill on 17th May 2012 4:48pm

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Nicholas Pantazis Senior Editor, VGChartz Ltd5 years ago
Not that I approve completely of the system, but the reason you're not allowed to play offline is the massive amount of item duping and hacking that can be done when people have access to offline accounts (see: Diablo II). Obviously part of it is also a DRM feature, but there is a legitimate gameplay reason to force people online too. Cheaters ruin the game for everyone.

As for the actual reaction, yeah, it's a bit ridiculous, and yes, childish. People should be annoyed, and they should be vocal about that annoyance (it's what's going to make sure Blizzard responds and changes, just like it forced Bioware into changing Mass Effect 3). But treating server downtime like a global tragedy is more than a little extreme, much less the user review bombing on metacritic and amazon. These are no different than a childhood tantrum, and obviously not the way adults should behave.

I think there's a difference between expressing reasonable displeasure and a bad situation and throwing a hissy fit, and the majority of people are doing the latter, which is sad, but not uncommon for the internet.
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John Fugate5 years ago
I'm tired of being called "ENTITLED" because I insist that corps behave themselves. Bullying us into bad situations (the always online thing DRM scheme) just so you can get a piece of the sweet RMT action deserves a good tongue lashing or thousand. It's the only way these people learn. Keep screaming, don't be ignored don't listen to the quasi-intellectual, "professional" types that pretend grace and consistency and then privately do all the same things that they decry: road rage anyone? Also first world I'm supposed to hate myself for where I happen to be born. NO. Fuck you.
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Temi Web design 5 years ago
The online and offline can be separate as they are in almost all other games though. This is mostly DRM.

You can't really be down on people for their actions. Like I have said, its $60. When you sell a game for that much, be prepared to get some hate-mail if you mess up. I think a lot of this news and replies ignore how much people invested in it. You expect some immediate return when you buy a game so early at full price. Some waited hours to buy it even.

They ARE entitled after paying that much. That cannot even be in question. AFter paying anything at all

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Temi on 17th May 2012 5:06pm

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David Canela Game & Audio Designer 5 years ago
how would allowing people to play offline increase "cheaters ruining the game for everyone"? That makes no sense to me, if they're playing offline, they can cheat all they want, it's not affecting my game experience. So that is not a legitimate gameplay reason for a always-on requirement!

surely you could have tight cheater-prevention for those playing online without forcing the masses of people that are only interested in the singleplayer experience to always be on?
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Blizzard appears to be using DRM as a way to force more online involvement to hopefully (from their point of view) encourage spending in their real money store in the future, no doubt within days if not already it will be hacked and the pirates will all be playing without it, DRM has consistently and indeed without fail, failed at preventing piracy, however rather then abandon it companies have used the excuse to log players stat's via online systems, tempt them with online stores, and generally subject them to 1 on 1 advertising that online systems allow.

Most players whilst not thrilled at the idea will not make much of a fuss and at the end of the day get back to playing, and sometime down the line may even fork out for that shiny dlc they saw advertised when they login one day, however where it falls apart is when these very online systems fail to function, causing problems otherwise avoided, which causes even the most casual of gamers great annoyance, however worse are the problems to come, most companies cease to support their game after so many years, specially that those that require constant expenditure in server and bandwidth, and whilst many games of yesteryear with a bit of effort can be coaxed one way or other to work on modern systems, the best players of modern legitimately bought games can hope for is to ignore their legitimate purchase and get a pirated version when the company in question switch the servers off in years to come, which is hardly an ideal solution.

However I cannot entirely disagree with John above, many companies expect to be taken seriously and expect to be treated as companies on other industries, however they do treat their customers pretty poorly, if you tried some of the things major games companies do and get away with as a matter of course in some other industries they'd be laughed out of the industry, there games falling on closed wallets, yet gamers are expected to simply take it without complaint, the only reason for this being we have no alternative.

Not a single company has yet proven to be beyond releasing to early, buggy releases, putting DRM above customers home experiences, and so on, for every company that has distinguished itself by not doing one they ruin it by constantly doing another, my pet peave amongst others are false pre-order benefits, such as advertising cb access in wave "blah" then they put you in the next wave despite it telling you at checkout which wave your in and expect you to lump it, or failing to provide bonuses promptly, failure to launch server's on time when advertised, sticking server maintenance in eu servers on peak eu times so it coincide with american maintenance cycles, ridiculous overcharge for digital editions despite it costs them less than boxed copies, so on and so forth, everyone can think of their own issues what was mentioned are just a few.

If companies and indeed games reporters truly wish games to be taken seriously as a mature form of entertainment worthy of the same debate as theatre, cinema, books and television then they should begin to hold companies to a higher standard, every time a company messes up, reporters are to be found, shortly after defending them, mostly one should imagine so those same companies will give them lots of their time speaking to them and providing exclusives next time it rolls up on their next release, but this should be no excuse, you dont hear reporters in other industries defending the mistakes of the industry whilst reporting them, yet seemingly every other month some reporter somewhere is defending someone, usually by insulting the pissed of gamers with anger management issues that pointed out the issue most vocally in the first place, rather then calling out the dirty rotten scoundrel's that caused the issue in the first place, style of presentation does not negate the value of a legitimate complaint.

"Forum users" form a very small number of the player base of any title, as a general rule, very small indeed, they should be seen as representative at best, which is even then quite a stretch for any one who's ever visited a gaming forum, not the be all and end all, yet reporter's for instance commenting on the mass effect 3 furor insist its a very small number of players that are annoyed purely on the basis, only a certain percentage of forum users complained and then the trolls and fanboys descended burying the issue in piles of unreadable trash as tends to happen on forums, this does not mean only a small number of users disliked the ME3 ending merely using forums to judge what the average player wants is a poor choice indeed, yet this small number of disliking players with absolutely no scientific evidence one way or other is quoted time and again in every article mentioning the issue. Game companies and indeed game reporter's need to "grow up" as well in order for the industry to be taken more seriously in the mainstream, not just gamers or those outside the industry having change their views to suit.

(P.S. obviously being a gamer who enjoyed Diablo 2 all those years ago, I'm busily engrossed in Diablo 3 myself and enjoying it, and have not personally experienced any issues (except being disconnected when I left a pc for a while to do something else by the time I got back) however I held of running it on release day to avoid such issues, as I frankly expected them, I'm always happy to be pleasantly surprised but expecting the worse rarely lets you down.)

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Alexander McConnell on 17th May 2012 5:42pm

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Paul Gheran Scrum Master 5 years ago
How can you say, "...should we not be hailing one of the best games of the year for the triumph it clearly is?"

I didn't play the beta, which by the very nature of beta means it may not be indicative of the actual release product, so I'll reserve hailing until the day that I can actually log on and play.

What a strange comment.
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Spencer Franklin Concept Artist 5 years ago
@David Canela

yeah, it makes zero sense to me, from any perspective. They could have simply done as other games, and made your offline character seperate from your online one. this is purely a matter of DRM and Greed, greed inspired by them wanting to facilitate them getting a cut of the RMAH. im willing to bet though, it wont stop some from still circumventing the AH and selling elsewhere for more than the 250.00 cap they have for especially hard to come by items.... then what?

and another thing...these comments about "feelings of entitlement...". its not just a feeling, its is entitlement that consumers rightfully have when they purchase a product. And if the purchased service or product doesnt work as intended, for ANY REASON that is not attributed to them, then they have also the right to be as vocal as they want about it. It seems many who call these people entiltled do so based on the idea that its only 60 bucks... admittedly for me, thats not much, but lets say this was 500 or a thousand dollars, would we still say they are whiney and self entitled then...?
guess we'll see soon enough how this plays out...

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Spencer Franklin on 17th May 2012 6:44pm

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Andrzej Wroblewski Localization Generalist, Albion Localisations5 years ago
Sorry, but simply I can't imagine how one can be UNPREPARED for the number of players you can easily project according to pre-order volumes + the number of copies published...
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Nicholas Pantazis Senior Editor, VGChartz Ltd5 years ago
If you allow an offline mode you allow off-site data storage of items which gives hackers a chance to examine the source code and learn how to and potentially dupe items. This, in turn, threatens Blizzard's real money auction house, which they're banking on for major profit.

Again, please don't misunderstand me as defending Blizzard as some kind of angelic company or the launch as good. It's not, and they're out for nothing but money (just as most companies are). I'm saying the actual reasoning is MUCH more about stopping duping and allowing the real money AH to function than it is about actually providing DRM.

Anyone who's seen me post on this site before will know I'm a staunch defender of DRM free games, or at worst Steamworks, which is a form of DRM that's not invasive for players, and a constant critic of the stupidity of believing higher DRM improves sales. What I'm saying is, you're welcome to be pissed at Blizzard, but at least understand what you're pissed about. It's not made as DRM, it's made as protection for their revenue stream of the auction house by preventing duping of in-game items.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Nicholas Pantazis on 17th May 2012 7:04pm

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Christopher Bowen Editor in Chief, Gaming Bus5 years ago
Everyone who bitches about the DRM and the always online bought the game anyway. So frankly, I don't want to bloody hear it. They knew what was up, they bitched about it, they had years of prior data indicating that these launches are usually problematic, and they bought it at full price anyway.

EDIT: Also, Torchlight 2 comes out soon, is 1/3 the price, and doesn't have require real world money to buy and sell items. You're welcome.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Christopher Bowen on 17th May 2012 7:42pm

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Craig Bamford Writer/Consultant 5 years ago
It's a bit ironic that Handrahan's making this emphatic point about how "the balance is in favour of the consumer", in a piece where the collective opinion (mostly) sits somewhat at the right hand of publishers. If anything, the apologias are holding sway, just as they did for Mass Effect 3 and Dragon Age 2 before the blowback got too intense.

If Blizzard insisted on making Diablo 3 players log into servers even when they want to play single-player, they should have made sure those servers were rock solid at launch. It's really that simple. They sold a product, and consumers have every right (even "entitlement"!) to expect that the product's going to work from day one.

That idea that "products should work" isn't a controversial notion for other products in other industries. So why is it that so many game writers and game journalists seem to be so allergic to it being advocated in THIS industry?
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James Verity5 years ago
First: regarding Cheats wrecking the games for everyone else... could someone explain why these cheats wrecking the games for everyone else havnt been delt with on consoles where the friggin system is more locked down than any other... so don't give me its to stop cheating rubbish! some Devs clearly don't give a monkeys about cheating...

Second: produce 100K units (for example) of a product that requires the user to have an always on connection to play, (even single player mode) could you explain why you wouldn't expect those 100K units to need to connect to play the said title at the same time... oh thats right, here comes the "release it now patch it later" business model again at the paying costumers expense!

if it was a non working 69p app you could forgive them for a day or two, but this is a 50 title... paying customers have a right to moan or give it a one star rating...

Some Devs are just complete Divs...

Edited 4 times. Last edit by James Verity on 17th May 2012 9:17pm

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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 5 years ago
I think Jeff Vogel said it best on his blog:

The folks saying this is a "trivial" issue need a reminder that if this was any other consumer product that didn't work as advertised after a huge launch, not only would there be a public outcry (whiners as well as those with a legitimate complaint or two), there might even be a recall of that product or some sort of compensation set up if things weren't able to be repaired in a timely manner.

I'm NOT suggesting Blizzard open up its deep pockets and smooth over things with some hush money at all, kids. I'm just saying that for such a high-profile release, things should be going a LOT smoother. YES, every MMO has it's bumpy launch period, but the SP online always thing was a lousy idea from day one.

I'm sure there were more sensible ways to have people who want to play solo PLAY the game at launch that didn't require this oddball DRM. Have an offline campaign, but if players want to go online (and if Blizzard wants to be sure no one is cheating by using a hacked file), have them create a new character just for that purpose or put a clause in the EULA that says ANY hacked characters/items/whatever gets them banned, no matter what the excuse is. Hell, as Diablo is addictive and we'll all spend hundreds of hours in the game, who wouldn't want to have a stable of heroes in different classes? Have players who want to do BOTH solo and MP use the current model in the game.

If DIII were say, that fast new car we all wanted that kept stalling out after six miles or a TV that kept dropping the needed online connection during the show you were recording, or the next iPhone (all of which have have crazy launch issues and don't do everything they should, but people keep throwing their money at Apple despite this), would we all keep shrugging our shoulders and saying "S'alright, it'll get fixed" every damn time? I hope not.

Granted, it's only a game and sure, there are more urgent thing to fuss over, but again, when you pay for something, wait in line for hours to pay for something, spend a few hours downloading and installing something... it should work, even if it needs a patch or three down the road to add or fix stuff. Being locked out of SP is a big damn deal, like it or else people and a damn lousy idea for the future. As I keep saying, no matter how fast tech moves, the internet isn't limitless nor affordable for the fast connections you guys all seem to think we have at every hour of the day. Until this issue is addressed (as well as rushing high profile games out before they're cooked), expect plenty of hotheads griping, legitimately or not...

Oh, and Mass Effect 3? TOTALLY different deal. You were at least able to play offline with no troubles and hell, finish the game. That ending was fine for me, as I was figuring all along that it would leave a few doors open and hanging for future DLC.
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Peter Stirling Software Engineer, Firelight Technologies5 years ago
Boohoo, If you don't like it don't buy it. Enough people do enjoy it to make it financially viable. There are plenty of other DRM free games that the purists can play.
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Ai-Vern Siow Snr Product Executive, Asiasoft Online Pte Ltd5 years ago
The problem would have been solved if Blizzard gave us an option to create an OFFLINE ONLY character that cannot, under any circumstance, be brought into online play. Only reason why D2 has such bad duping going on, and that you would notice, was because single player characters COULD be brought online.
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 5 years ago
@Peter: Really?

The only "Boohoos" should be reserved for to the people bitching about the art style from day one, the gameplay that's not like the action/RPGs they played with a controller (Yup, some new users are indeed whining about click movement and combat!), or those not having a system that can run the game properly who still ran out and snapped this up.

Anyone else sitting in front of yet another error screen after "only" a few days of the game going live has every right to vent if they game they bought and expected to play (yes, EVEN with an always online SP mode) is breaking down on them for issues that THEY can't control at any point when things go wrong.

Hell, man - if there was an offline option and the game still had most or all of the issues affecting it, I'd bet real money that the complaints would be FAR fewer simply because (duh)... people would be enjoying the damn campaign mode start to finish while the online stuff was sorted out.

Just a thought...
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Nuttachai Tipprasert Programmer 5 years ago
@Nicholas: I think the most reasonable solution for this problem is "separating online and offline account" and that is the solution most games have used so far. Diablo III doesn't need to invent new DRM scheme just for preventing hacked data go online (actually, this style of DRM also doesn't new neither).

If you want to play online, just create your online character and you need always-on connection. If you just want to play alone, you must aware that your offline character cannot be used in online session. With this, everybody wins. Players that just want to solo their game can play any time they want. Online communities will not be plagued by the cheaters. And the problem with server being overloaded will be far less severe, because, they can cut the number of players that need to connect to the servers by million.
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Sergio Rosa "Somewhat-Creative Director", Domaginarium5 years ago
It doesn't matter what you you say to defend Diablo III's DRM. No argument can explain why Blizzard thinks they know "best" how we have to play the game, and the always-connected thing when you're playing SINGLE PLAYER, thus deciding when and were we can play the game is one of the dumbest ideas ever and totally shows how little they care about the people that have made them such a big company.

Simply put, they are forcing it to the players abusing their position in the industry. You can argue that "server issues will be solved" but me wanting to play on my laptop when I'm on the beach or anywhere else, will not, because almighty Blizzard wants me to play at home where I have internet connection.
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Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany5 years ago
Everybody complains about being forced to be connected to the internet (from a computer that is always connected, nonetheless) to play the game in single player. Steam has always been that way and never complained.

I take a free day to play DIII, I can't connect? well, it's a pity, Will have more chances and I have more in life that a single game.
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Murray Lorden Game Designer & Developer, MUZBOZ5 years ago
You should be able play offline.

Plain and simple. That's ridiculous.
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Ken Varley Owner & Freelance Developer, Writer, Devpac5 years ago
It should be offline for single player. Its pretty bad for an online only game, to not remember what parts of the map you have previously explored, when you log back in.
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Bryan Robertson Gameplay Programmer, Ubisoft Toronto5 years ago
Having an offline-only mode that can't interact with the online game is certainly an option they could have pursued, but don't think that it's a simple thing to do.

It's not like Visual Studio has a "make offline version of game" tickbox. If you have a version of your game where a lot of the logic is outsourced to a server, then creating and maintaining an offline version as well is a non-trivial amount of effort.
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 5 years ago
@Alfonso: If you lived in an area without reliable broadband access, only had a 56K connection and never once used Steam or any online download service for those reasons and happen to be a Diablo fan, you'd see the issue here a "small" amount of potential customers have outside of those folks who have steady connections but still hate the always online mandate.

Granted, just about the entire industry seems to think these gamers don't exist anymore and everyone has great connections, an iPad or other device at the ready, the latest HD setup and so forth and so on.
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Nuttachai Tipprasert Programmer 5 years ago
@Alfonso: Steam also has a so-called "Offline" mode. And most of its games can be played even if you cannot connect to the internet.
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Konstantin Hohl5 years ago
Diablo 3 is without a doubt a great game and I really enjoy it. I think that if you want to integrate a Auction House with real money a online-model is mandatory. Otherwise hackers and cheaters would cause real trouble.

I have no problem with Online modes, but I think by now the industry, especially Blizzard that has all the experience with online games, should be able to launch a an online game without all those problems. Blizzard even had a "stress-test" weekend for the servers. It somehow seems that they simply don't want to invest enough money in increased server capacities during the launch period. I don't want to excluisevly point out Blizzard however, the whole industry should know how to handle online games by now.

Anyway, I don't think the outcry will have any consequences, the people simply rage because they want to play but do not get a chance ( we have a server maintenance during a Sunday afternoon in EU. Great timing right?). When the servers will be stable and everybody can play as he wishes the whole story will be forgotten very soon.
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Rod Oracheski Editor, Star News5 years ago
@Nuttachai You have to go online to go offline with Steam.
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