Voices Rise Against Diablo 3’s Always-Online DRM


We touched on this in a news item Monday morning that quickly went to 95 comments. That post collected early complaints about the Real Money aspect of the DiabloWikiAuction House, the lack of mod support, and the always-connected-to-B.net requirement for gameplay.

Since then, the conversation/debate has moved on, and largely focused on DiabloWikiRMT and issues of (lack of) character customization stemming from the removal of skill points, the huge simplification of DiabloWikitraits to passive skills, and the evolution to DiabloWikifreespecs. The issue of Diablo 3’s DRM though, the fact that you MUST be connected to an online service to play a game you paid $60 for, that is not an MMORPG, has grown more troubling in the eyes of some.

I didn’t think too much of the issue at first, since I assumed the developers were going with something like Starcraft 2’s system, where you can play single player offline, so long as you log in to B.net now and then to authenticate your copy of the game. There is no DiabloWikiLAN support in SC2; if you want to play with someone else, even if they’re on a computer right beside you, you must log on through DiabloWikiBattle.net. A lot of fans found that annoying, but mostly in the form of getting disconnected from B.net mid-game and thereby not earning achievements for the mission.

That’s not going to be a problem in D3.

Either Blizzard was treating SC2 as a half-step towards their “all your base” plans for D3, or else they figured that since SC2’s end game and long term play was meant to be multiplayer, it would be enough to force people to use B.net for that. Because that’s not what they’re doing in Diablo 3. To play Blizzard’s upcoming action RPG, you have to be connected to B.net. All the time. Without fail. If you disconnect, you are done playing.

1up.com and ShackNews do a nice job covering the issue, but I think DiabloWikiJay Wilson, via an interview with GamePlanetNZ, really hammers home the reality of the situation.

Gameplanet: At what point did you decide that Diablo III would be only playable online?
Jay Wilson: It was a decision we crept into over the duration of the project. A big part of it is just to give the players the best possible experience. We felt like we’d reached a saturation point with online play and networking that prevented it from being a big concern. 99.9% of people out there have internet connections, even planes now have internet connections, so the old argument of ‘I want to be able to play on the plane’, well, the plane has internet now too.

We felt like there was enough pervasive online technology that the best possible experience we can give players was to offer them persistent characters that can play multiplayer at any time, that we can store forever, that don’t get deleted, which is something we had to do for the previous system because of storage concerns. And also just the enhanced security we can offer in a game that’s only online. A big problem with Diablo II was security, and security is a lot better when we don’t have to ship all the server infrastructure out with the game.

Gameplanet: What happens if you drop out during mid-play?
Wilson: If you completely drop? Your character could die, but we don’t have a case where the penalty for that is harsh, unless you’re playing a hardcore characters, in which case I wouldn’t do that with a bad connection. But then, hardcore characters are generally the type of characters people want to play online because they play them for bragging rights. You can’t really brag if it’s on a home computer where you could have cheated to create the character. So yes, you could die, but the penalty for death isn’t really harsh, it’s essentially a small durability hit on your items, which costs a little bit of gold, which isn’t too bad. There’s no corpse runs or anything like that, and even if there were like in Diablo II, they were not that harsh. You could log out of the game and log back in, and your body would be there waiting for you.

Gameplanet: Has piracy affected this decision?
Wilson: It’s a factor, but it wasn’t a deciding factor. Player experience is pretty much always our deciding factor. We ask what do we think will be the best possible experience we can give to players, and we really felt an online one was the best one.

Gameplanet: Did you toy with the idea of allowing offline play, but locking the player out and requiring them to start again for online play?
Wilson: That was the Diablo II way, and what drove us to this was how bad of an experience we thought that was. It was so common in Diablo II for people to start up a game, finish it, get to normal difficulty and want to play with their friends online, then realise that they can’t actually do that without starting over. We did have the offline Battle.Net experience, but if your friends are on Battle.Net, which is where most people were, you didn’t really get to actually play with them, so that was one of the things that drove us to that decision.

Despite Jay’s blithe contention, considerably more than the .1% of the Diablo community is displeased with this scheme. A protest thread on the B.net D3 forum has run to 10 pages, and there are several angry/baffled threads about it in the almost-too-busy (I certainly haven’t had time to read all the new threads lately) Diablo 3 community forum on this site.

Before this week’s information taught me that I would not be allowed to do so, I expected to play D3 online at least 95% of the time, but I was going to make at least one single player character. It’s not hard to see why you’d want to, even if you live in a metropolitan area with a reliable internet connection. B.net outages. ISP downtimes. Periods of high latency. When you’re traveling and your hotel has spotty wi-fi or wants to extort $15/day to use it. If you want to create 50 different chars and experiment with dozens of builds without using respecs. When you just want to play without having to go through a chat room, or suffer B.net ads, or be interrupted by the people on your friends list. Etc.

For evidence, look at our Diablo 2 strategy forums. The busiest one, for about the last 6 years, is the legendary SPF; the Single Player Forum. It’s home to many of the most dedicated D2 players; people who made made 100+ guardians, who have completed the grail (more than once), who experiment with every odd variant and play style, etc. You don’t have to play offline SP to be in the SPF, but most people there do, since it’s just easier and more reliable than having to log on to B.net.

So what do you guys think? Is online-only in D3 a good thing? No biggie? A horrible idea? The one thing that may drive you to pirate a hacked copy of the game? Chew it over; our next site vote will address this very issue. Thanks to Blascid for some of the links and motivation to write this post.

Update: Related news from Mtv with quotes from a befuddled Blizzard dude.

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

He also repeats the usual canard that D2’s SP chars couldn’t be played in MP games — does the entire D3 team really not know about the open realm B.net servers, or that D2 allowed TCP/IP and LAN play?

I didn’t mention it initially, but this seems to go to a common point; that the Bliz guys are just so insulated in their world of Facebook and smart phones and always online gaming that they don’t realize what a lot of their customers are doing. It came up during the whole mandatory Real ID on B.net snafu, where no one at Blizzard seemed to have the faintest clue that lots of their customers didn’t want all of their real life friends to know exactly when and how often they were playing video games. And here again, the Blizzard employee mindset seems to be, “We’re online gaming all the time and it’s fine. Isn’t everybody?”

Comments

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  1. Well, way, way back in Diablo 1 there were single player characters and multi-player characters. You pretty clearly had to pick on to play online and one to play alone at home. It wasn’t that freaking difficult to figure out which and I don’t remember people complaining that they couldn’t now use their single player character to play with their friends. What a dumb argument.

  2. I don’t even remember the last time I played Diablo 2 NOT on battle.net. This is a non-issue for me and all of my other friends who I gladly will be playing cooperatively with.

    • In fact that’s egsactly the issue: it isn’t a problem for you, so you automatically assume it is not going to be an issue for anyone else. What scares me the most is Blizz’ way of thinking is this same one.

      Internet connections are not equally pervasive around the world. Far from it. You have to be extremely closed-minded to think that.

      I can only imagine people going to their local VG shop, buy the game on day one (after a 10+ years wait) and come back home to play the game only to realize they need a 24h connection they don’t have access to to play the game.

      This is not going to work very well for Blizz. I wonder if they’re going to clearly state “Needs an always-on internet connection to be played” on the game’s box.

      At some point you have to realize not every person on this silly planet will be able to afford what Blizz is asking. Also, rest assured a huge part of those several millions of players who bought D2 was perfectly happy to play D2 in single player only (or in LAN), and never really missed the bnet experience.

      I think Blizz is seriously risking to not gross those outrageously big figures in sales they’re hoping for with D3 if they continue seeking the bnet play only way.

  3. Its 2011 guys, come on.  Arguing that that the game is ruined because you have to be online… seriously?  Why not take it a step further and complain that you can’t get the game on vinyl or 8-track.

    Sure there is going to be a small percentage of the time when you can’t get internet access, but maybe the complaints should be directed towards who ever is impeding your access, not blaming blizzard for it.

    • I think it has a lot more to do with the fact that they are essentially ignoring a portion of the player base that is seemingly much larger than 1%.

      Personally, every time I read some response as to why online-only is absolutely essential, it ends up being ‘everyone has [a completely reliable, super-fast connection to] the Internet’ (not true, but you’re right in that Blizzard is not the one to blame for that) or has something to do with some vague conjecture about what Blizzard thinks is ‘the best possible experience’ for the player, which is a non-answer in my book.

    • It’s 2011 and children are still dying of hunger and there is no cure for cancer and the economy is awful.  The year has nothing to do with it.

    • Yeahhh, you’re right. It’s 2011 now. More and more people are loosing their jobs, thus more and more people have to decide wether to fill the pockets of ISPs or their fridge. Although internet access is still quite cheap, it tends to become a luxury for a lot of people at the moment…

  4. I mostly played D2 online, but I made a few dozen single player characters, too. It was nice to be able to use the /players command, to move items around very easily with ATMA, and to go at my own pace without lag. When I first heard about the cash auction house my first thought was “oh..I guess I’ll play single player mode, then”. I immediately remembered that this didn’t exist, and that if I play D3 I’ll have to filter every gear decision through “can I make money off this, or will I be happier making a stronger character?”, which isn’t fun at all.

    • When this was first announced I didn’t care much about it. After all, I have a good, stable, fast Internet connection at home. But the more I think about it, the less I like it.

      I played d2 single player as well, I loved the command line options and using ATMA for storage and grailing. When d2x first came out I was studying abroad and didn’t have Internet at my host family. Nowadays, I travel for business and certainly don’t want to drop $15 on every plane ride or hotel stay if I want to play d3. And what if times get tough and I have to downgrade or drop Internet at home? What if I want to still be playing d3 occasionally fifteen years from now the way I still break out d1 now and again? Are they going to guarantee that the servers and my characters are still available?

      The argument that d3 is an essentially “online” game like an mmo just doesn’t hold water with me. It’s a discrete, self-contained story that is entirely possible to beat without any other players. It may have co-op and competitive aspects, but the core game is essentially no different in scope than d1/d2. It really should be available offline too.

  5. I don’t like it at all. It means that If my internet is down, for whatever reason. I can’t play my game that I payed X amount of money for. THAT is unfair.

    • It also means that if your connection sucks for any number of reasons, you won’t have any reliable way to enjoy a lag free experience, not even playing solo.

      It also means if by any chance Blizz decides to close its servers, you can take your boxed copy of the game and flush it down the WC, regardless you payed  60 bucks for it.

      How cool is that? Chances are in X years you won’t be able to play D3, while D2 SP on the other hand will continue working perfectly fine. That’s what I call technology advancement baby, that’s the true future, embrace it.

  6. Its 2011 guys, come on.  Arguing that that the game is ruined because you have to be online… seriously?  Why not take it a step further and complain that you can’t get the game on vinyl or 8-track.

    Sure there is going to be a small percentage of the time when you can’t get internet access, but maybe the complaints should be directed towards who ever is impeding your access, not blaming blizzard for it.

    • Bullshit.  If I pay $60 for a game, I expect to be able to play that game wherever or whenever I so choose regardless of the state or availability of an internet connection.

      • unfortunately for you, it’s Blizzard’s decision what you can do with their game- not yours.  As with any commercial product, if the price is too much for what you’re getting, don’t buy it.

        • It’s also our decision if we buy it or not. No one will buy a game they know they can’t play. Blizzard stands to lose money if they keep this course of action.

      • keddren I agree with you 100%, 60$ is a lot I should get my money’s worth and that means including offline.

        • Your money’s worth?  How many millions does Blizz have to spend on their own game to develop it they way they want to? $60 vs multi-million multi-year development schedule, hmmm…

          Again, if you don’t want it, don’t buy it.  I’m willing to bet that 9 out of 10 people saying they won’t buy the game because of this will buy it any ways.

          • tell me this, why do you have to defend blizzard? seriously you are so concern for blizzard.
            and you got to be kidding me about the 60$ comment right? as if it’s only my 60$ that is at stakes.
             
            you don’t need to remind people that they can choose to not buy the game, that is a given. but don’t act like you some how have any say in telling people here that they don’t have the right to demand what they want from this game. sure blizzard can refuse to make the appropriate changes and they will pay the price with reduced sales.

          • Fine.  Soon enough, people will be able to play the game without buying the game, as always happens.  This decision will just make it happen a lot more.

    • I agree with SavalBork 100% here.

      Aggressive DRM technology never made customers happy.

      Giving paying customers excellent experiences is what makes the sale. A superb online experience on top of an already great offline one is the way to go.

      Customer: I want to play offline.
      Blizz: We’re living in 2011 pal, playing online is great!
      Customer: Yeah whatever, I’m paying for it and I want to play offline whenever I want, this isn’t WoW you know?
      Blizz: Yes but we’re developing the game to give you the best online experience ever!
      Customer: Ok I’m pissed, I’ll buy Torchlight 2. I can play it offline, I can play it online, I can mod it and I can download other player’s mods freely and my experience won’t be tied to you being willing to offer me the appropriate servers infrastructure nor to me having to be connected 24h. Oh you know what? TL2 is great fun too.
      Blizz: ='(

  7. I have a bad connection. I intended to play hardcore, and serious Jay tells me that thats a bad idea. For me, that means that is a bad idea buying the game.
    The only reason they do this is piracy. Easy to tell as they perfectly can design a game with an offline single-player feature.

    • Nahh, don’t think so. If there’s a marketingreason behind it, it probably lies in resales, whereas Blizzard won’t get a buck from… By the way: All sincere research on pirating have shown that piracy tends to increase sells. And it’s often enough just an argument to reach the same while not talking about drying out the resellermarket.

  8. I plan on playing online anyway. I guess I’m lucky that I trust that my internet will be up most of the time. Sure I would be annoyed if it would be down on the day of D3 release, but its not the end of the world.

    Battle.net and WoW uptime track record for me when I wanted to play is pretty damn good. There was some shady times in the 1 year of WoW, but for the other normal Blizzard games that just logged on battle.net for AMM and chat it was fine.

  9. I don’t see why they can’t just add an “Are you sure? Y/N” type message when making an offline character stating that you’ll never be able to play online with it. Give people the freedom to play how they like, just make sure they know upfront the limitations of offline play.

    • Brilliant!
      Why don’t they do this ? This completely counters the cheating part. And you can have fun playing diablo when your internet is out or with your laptop somewhere.

    • I’m guessing that Blizz feels their overall community would be weakened if they had fewer players able to contribute to the  auction house, or populate games.  *shrug*

    • I remember back in the day (last year), when Jay would say, “It’s your money, we won’t tell you how to play.”  Ha ha.  Good one, Jay.  You burned me good.

    • Big corporations never liked consumer’s freedom.

  10. Well I think that this will make cheating really hard. And I’m all for that.

    And I think DRM is the future of gaming. If done right it’s very good. Like sc2.

  11. “CEO Max Schaefer – a co-creator of the original Diablo while at Blizzard North – told Eurogamer that he sees the “onerous” DRM measure as an unavoidable consequence of Diablo 3’s ambitious trading features. As such, he argued, it’s a valid move”

    http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2011-08-04-runic-diablo-drm-vital-for-auction-house

  12. Yawn, the tired excuse again that it ‘improves’ the user experience. I’ve been playing SC2 for over a year now, the majority of which is offline campaign and skirmishes. As far as I’m concerned, online doesn’t ‘improve’ anything. It’s a different experience, not an ‘improved’ one anymore than an apple is an improvement over an orange. You want to play solo? Single player. You want to play Multiplayer? Online. Having only one or the other completely destroys the missing option.

  13. I think it is a horrible idea with the weakest of justifications behind it. It’s just another option taken from the player for idiotic reasons.

    Moreover, Jay Wilson really proves that he knows nothing about this community with the comment about HC playing online only for bragging rights. Not only is that downright false and disingenuous, but it’s just plain stupid.

  14. While I don’t really care at all about having to play online, it would be nice if there were an option for an offline-only character.  I can see their reasoning for it, especially with being able to have better security by not having to have certain bits of information on the disk (aka the server infrastructure) but still…it’s hard to say for sure honestly.  I have no problem with it but I can see why people do have a problem with it.

    • I totaly agree with you. On one hand I like security but on the other a lot of players won’t be able to play because their connection is bad or non existent. I once had a bad connection so I know how that is ( and thank god it’s behind me) 😀

  15. Honestly, I don’t see why there’s such a huge outrage. It was old news that Blizzard handled SC2 by only allowing play without an online connection and not supporting LAN. SC2 probably benefited the most from having LAN and offline play, yet was not given it. If SC2 didn’t get it, there would be no way D3 would get it. These people should of seen it coming.
    Either they didn’t connect the dots well, or maybe they just don’t follow blizzard games much?

    • People are still sore about no LAN in SC2 and you can play offline in SC2, needing only to authenticate once per month. It was a good compromise that everyone was happy with.

      • The problem is Red that they can’t let people play offline and online with the same character with the AH system they have.

        In SC2 you can’t go offline and hack the game so that when you go back online you have the best gear because there is no gear.

        I agree with most people that they should just have a warning letting players know that if they make an offline character that it and what every gear it gets will NEVER go online. And that not going online means, No AH, No Co-op, No Achievements, and No PvP.

        They could Pull a Nintendo (with their e-shop)and make you say Yes or No 3 times before it is finalized, further cementing the fact that you understand what your getting yourself into.

        • Huh.  Hack the game = get something without earning it that makes your character better.  Pay real money at AH = get something without earning it that makes your character better.  I really fail to see the difference, game play wise.  They obviously don’t care if people are playing characters that lack “sweat equity”; so, what it seems to boil down to is a) piracy, b) control*, and c) keeping those AH microtransactions flowing.
          * Just imagine that you have 4 or 5 maxed out chars, several years play time into the game, then they enact a new policy (i.e. charging for features, monthly fee, etc.) that you refuse to support.  Guess who’s hosed: you.  Without offline play, all that fine print you agree to will likely come back to get you, and you can do nothing.  Here’s hoping for a crack.

          • The difference between the two is someone found that item and “earned” the right to sell it, as apposed to someone illegally hacking the program to get the item and try to sell it.

            You fail to see that anyone could be playing for several years and making money by selling stuff on the AH. Are you going to pass up a chance to sell a big money item that you have no use for, just because you don’t want to sell it to people that didn’t earn it?  Besides who are you to say they didn’t earn it?  Maybe they have just been really unlucky and haven’t fond the item even though they have been playing the game as long and as hard as you

            Also I would like you to find one example of a game going from Free to play to monthly fee? it has and will never happen. If they were to introduce a charging for features or monthly fee it would be for more content over the existing content, and it would be optional.

          • I don’t know where the hell you’re going with this.  My issue was never that I was blaming someone for selling something they found, I was targeting the buyers, and the concept that there was any moral difference between buying an item, and hacking one in.  And, no, I do not consider going to an AH and buying, with cash, an item that someone else found, “earning it”.  But, to be honest, I could really give a shit.  That part won’t effect me at all.  I was simply stating that buying an item is no more “pure” than someone using a hack to save time, and to give themselves something better than they have found.  Yes, people are “unlucky”, and now, when they want to do something about it, Blizz makes more money out of them.  Woo hoo.

            And don’t expect the “give me an example” argument to hold water, since the new RMAH is itself a first; you would have used the same line last week, had I suggested that Blizz was about to implement a trade system where they get a cut of every sale.  Besides, what you described, and what they have done with another game franchise, offering a paid elite content package, is itself pretty crappy.  I never takes long for standard game content to migrate over to the “elite” side of the divide.  And, yes, I have played games where that has happened; games made by devs forged in the Blizz crucible.

            To be clear, I’m actually not bitter.  I just think it’s a greedy, crappy move (RLAH and DRM plan); and I don’t like the way it’s going to move the industry.  Blizzard has always been a trend leader- and other companies will follow.

  16. I agree that most people have internet but:

    What if you get shaped
    What if your brother is torrenting
    What if due to your porn/gambling addiction you would prefere not to have internet

    Don’t forget we are mostly looking at this from a westerners view point.
    Other countries may have less reliable/more expensive internet.

    • Then maybe the blame should be assigned to your brother/porn/gambling addiction instead of forcing Blizzard to design their products around your personal situation.

      And if other  countries have inferior connections, then they will unfortunately have inferior service. Thats kind of the definition of inferior.  As much as I’d like to provide high speed internet to every human on earth, the fact that we can’t doesn’t mean game designers should have a “weakest link” approach to designing their games.

      • Simply put, sorry all but, you’re a big fat douchebag. This is not a “requirement” for the game, and no you DON’T want to provide high speed internet to every human on earth, you’re just a mindless and rich fanboy kid. I do hope life’ll teach you anything, very soon.

    • I live in a western country, but still:
      1) Internet connections are not cheap.
      2) Having a good internet connection (no lag, good service) is much more a matter of luck than how much you paying for it. Ie, depending on where exactly you live your connection will suck most of the time regardless.
      3) Having to be online to play solo just doesn’t make sense, even when not thinking about internet connection related issues.

  17. Mountains out of mole hills.  So much hyperbole that it’s almost hard to stomach.  Yes, the forums most active forum is the single player forum, does that mean single player is the most popular aspect of the game?  No, correlation is not causation.  The reason the Single Player forums tend to be more active is somewhat obvious, the forum is the only way for single player people to communicate and connect with each other, while people who play online have obvious other methods: Battle.net.
    Also, calling it “DRM” is onerous at best.  Is it “DRM” to require an internet connection for WoW?  Is it “DRM” to require an internet connection for Guildwars?   Just face it people, Diablo 3 is an online game.  Yes, Diablo 1 and 2 had offline components, that doesn’t mean it’s required for Diablo 3.  This whole (non)issue is just another example of people being up in arms because the game differs slightly from what they expected / experienced in previous games, and nothing more.
    The title should be “You need to be connected to the internet to play an online game: shocker.”  In essence, everyone complaining about this would be doing themselves (and everyone else) a favor and just argue that the game shouldn’t have been multiplayer, and it should have been single player.  Because that is ultimately what the whole issue boils down to.

    • “Yes, the forums most active forum is the single player forum, does that mean single player is the most popular aspect of the game?  No, correlation is not causation.”

      No, it’s not. But even Bashiok has said that most people played D2 offline, and that a small majority of the population beat the game on anything past normal. So perhaps we should remove nightmare and hell, too.

      Diablo I and Diablo II were not “online games”. They could be played online, if the player chose to do so, it wasn’t necessary by any means. They both offered offline singleplayer, and LAN.

      • totally agree with you. You can beat D1, D2 ( and also D3 ) ALONE, i mean in singleplayer, and with ‘beat’ i mean you can clean the world yourself without multiplayer stuff. So no, diablo is not a multiplayer game, it has the option which makes the game “co-op” ( as bash said, its a new type of game, D3 kind-of-game is changing every month ).
        So dont try to compare it with WoW or GW or so, that u mean many ppl to clean dungeons or massive pvp…

      • Maybe most people played D2 offline because it was a terrible system where you would get drops stolen if you were with other people? Maybe most people played offline because of the notorious trading/kill hacks that people created? 

        If these issues have been addressed, and multiplayer and being with other people in this game is actually FUN for once, then it won’t be so bad.

        Now, this counter-argument doesn’t  cover not wanting to be bothered by “friends” (We all know friend in this day and age doesn’t mean you want to see them all the time) or dealing with connectivity issues etc. as those are all still totally valid and true points.

    • This just shows how ignorant you are about the Diablo genre.  Diablo 1 and 2 were never “online” games to begin with.  They were primarily single-player ARPG’s, with battle.net as an option for those who wanted to play with others around the world.  

      I’m tired of all this hypocrisy from Blizzard.  “Diablo 3 is not an MMO.  We want players to be able to play on their own timetable and how they wish without requiring them to group up with others.” And in the very next breath, “….But no offline play.”  It’s fucking retarded and hypocritical.  

      It’s the same bottomline reason they are giving for the RMAH, which is also complete bullshit.  It all comes down to more money for Blizzard.

      Max Schaefer put it best:  “We don’t want to penalize our honest customers just to squeak out a few more sales from people who pirate.”  

      I find it amusing that so many people are explaining things at Blizzard by saying “Don’t worry.  Blizzard has lots of experts there.  They know what they are doing.”  Anyone else notice how Blizzard’s games are getting WORSE?  Hmm……….

  18. Most of you are missing the point.  By making D3 online only, they are improving the gameplay experience of those who choose to play online.  They can store your characters server side and make sure that no one cheats or otherwise does anything shady.  This standardization will streamline the multiplayer experience and make it much more fair and balanced.  It does take away from the game a bit that you can’t play offline, but I would much rather have a fair, stable, cheat-free multiplayer experience at the expense of offline play.  As fun as it was, D2’s multiplayer experience was a train wreck.  This solves the problem.

    • Right, because no one has ever cheated on closed D2 Battle.net.  

      This is about money and absolutely nothing more.  Any words coming out of their mouth which are not “we’re doing this for money” are spin and lies.

    • Allowing offline characters wouldn’t affect online characters in the slightest. You’re right that online will be a better experience, but people should be able to choose to have a lesser experience so they can at least play their $60 game when internet access is poor/unavailable. Fast, reliable, cheap and unmetered internet access in nowhere near as ubiquitous as Blizzard believes it is.

      • I think that IF what they say about the server infrastructure is true (about having to be included with the client to be able to play offline), then allowing offline play could facilitate the development of hacks, and with the auction house system, hacks could ruin the economy or force rollbacks very easily.

        The other thing is about piracy, where given that you essentially get a D3 server with your D3 client, there are people that will make “unofficial” servers where one could play online without buying the game AND with less latency, as is the case with many unofficial D2, W3 and WoW servers.
        As a counter argument, the WoW client doesn’t come with the server infrastructure, but even then there are pirate servers and bots (I don’t know if there are any hacks).

        What I’m trying to say is, there are positive things about “no offline play”, even if they are few, they are important.

        Also note that if Blizzard can make a regular revenue with D3 (through RMAH and/or other microtransactions), then we will *hopefully* get regular updates to the game, as it will not be just a money sink for them after a few years (as is the case with D2), so piracy really does affect the people who bought the game.

        • I guess you haven’t noticed D2 has been among the top selling PC games up to this very days, 10+ years after its release. Not really that big of a money sink to me.

          Oh and, just to put the crude reality right in front of your face, be assured they would immediately put D2 servers down if those didn’t serve Blizz’ business in any way.

    • What is fair when you can buy the best gear in an RMAH?

    • Like Mucky said, removing offline play does NOT improve the online experience.  There is no correlation between online and offline play, when they are completely segregated from one another.  It is my opinion, as I said in my larger post in this thread, they are doing this because they do not want to support mods in Diablo 3.

  19. @jamesL

    He also states: “I don’t really know why they don’t allow single player offline as you could segregate those characters…”

  20. This is nothing new. When SC2 came out, the same rage spread out through forums. They are willing to let that minority (offline users) out of the game, so they can garantee that everyone else will pay for their copies. If you do the math.. More sales, bigger community in a single place (b.net), better experience for everyone, except for those who shouldn’t greed for a 2011 game if they have a 1751 internet connection.

  21. The argument about not beiing able to play when internet is down is mute. Its a game, not my life!
    Ofcourse this might happen some time, even though its 2011 and not 1990. But putting this as an argument? Sorry. Play something else meanwhile or go look at the sun and enjoy a break!
    The only argument i see is about taking away possibilities and diversity!
    Also the argument about people not grasping what “SINGLE PLAYER” means is totally silly too.
    The security argument i totally get.

    • But this is diablo. You can’t get a break. It’s too addictive

    • There isnt a security argument at all as I can see it. How would battlenet security in any way be affected by having an offline singleplayer?

      Personally I’m only going to play on battlenet, but there really isn’t an excuse for not allowing those who want to play offline only chars.

  22. I pretty much always played D2 offline, but that’s because I lost my first set of characters due to the Blizzard Inactivity Deletion. Seeing that everything is online now… mixed feelings. For me, it probably won’t matter much, as home broadband these days is more and more reliable. I feel bad for some of my friends that don’t live in a large urban center, and therefore do not have quality broadband.

  23. I think the main thing is that they don’t want a nice sand box for hackers to practice on.

    Also with the AH, RMAH, Achievements, Friends list, cross game chat etc. it would make a lot of work to take the game feel right offline.

  24. If they were really concerned about giving the player the best possible experience they would have as many options available as reasonably possible.
    Open battle.net, closed battle.net, offline single player, and LAN play. Make it clear to the player that single player/LAN/Open Bnet characters are not transferable to closed bnet play.
     
    Chances are if i decide to buy diablo 3 I’ll be playing with my friends all the time, but it sure would be nice to have the option to play offline should I be without internet access and on my laptop, or at a LAN party.
     
    Hell, I sometimes run into problems because someone else in the house is using netflix or torrenting, and purchasing a faster pipe just isn’t in the cards. Having an alt character that I played offline would give me a much better playing experience than playing on whatever platform they could come up with while i have to deal with bandwidth hogs.
     

  25. I am with the majority on this, I don’t mind having to play online, but I really think there should be an offline option.  It is my opinion that Blizzard is not being entirely straight with the community about this.  Let me offer my two cents on the reality here:

    1. With the new real money trading, this gives them 100% control to make sure that no duping ever becomes a problem.  Let’s face it, there are some very smart hackers out there and if they can figure out some way to get duped offline items into that online database they would.  This time there is real money involved, so this would be much more appealing.  This may be attempted even with always online protections.
    2. Blizzard doesn’t want to support modding in Diablo 3.  They have said this already, but not really in a straight forward manner.  If they allow offline play, they have to allow modding and I don’t think Diablo 3 was designed with mods in mind.  So if they bring back offline play, then it will probably push the launch back a bit, as they will need to build some API’s to handle modding.  I really think this is one of their reasons, even though this issue hasn’t boiled up to the surface a midst all the other hoopla.
    3. DRM through Battle.NET keeps their games from being stolen, for the most part.  Jay said it in the interview linked to this thread, “And also just the enhanced security we can offer in a game that’s only online. A big problem with Diablo II was security, and security is a lot better when we don’t have to ship all the server infrastructure out with the game.”. Reading between the lines we can see clearly that they want to protect their games from being cracked and spammed all over with torrents, which is perfectly valid, but they should be totally up front with that and not act like it wasn’t a factor.

    I think these 3 things are the actual reasons, even though they keep trying to push “player experience”.  Player Experience would dictate more options, not less.  While offline play may be a small part of how we all play the Diablo franchise, it is still “a part” of how we play Diablo!

  26. Yesterday I was without internet access for most of the day while maintenance was being done in my area. Not being able to complete the bit of work I was doing without an internet connection, I sank some time by playing some offline D2 – a pleasure Blizzard now wants to deny me with D3.

    I almost never played D2 online. Why? Even on a 20 Mbit cable connection the lag was really bad. I’m primarily a solo player anyway and the experience is just a lot more responsive and less hassle in offline mode. Now I don’t doubt that the server technology has improved considerably since then, but it doesn’t exactly bode well. And given that I’m going to be soloing 99.9% of the time anyway, it seems like a colossal waste of bandwidth.

    As others have said, the whole “people were confused about online and offline” excuse is just laughable. If people are that stupid, I find it hard to imagine they’d even be able to create a Battle.net account. 😐

  27. I am pretty sure most people who want to play offline do not want any of those features.

  28. For what it’s worth, SC2’s uptime has been extremely good in my experience (~5000 games since release). I can think of only one time since release that I couldn’t play because Battle.net, while online, wouldn’t function correctly. Not even in the week after release was SC2 Battle.net ever an issue.

    Patch days are a different beast and certainly can be annoying, but Blizzard usually keeps things quite smooth and there haven’t been many (if any–I can’t remember any) WOW-like 8+ hour downtimes. 

    What’s more, I’ve never experienced the chronic lag that D2 battle.net had on SC2 battle.net, so that’s a good sign for the future.

    Anyway, I know most people’s beef is with the fact that they can’t do what they want to do with a game they bought, but I hope my post can soften the blow some by demonstrating that there probably won’t be many connectivity issues. The fact that Blizzard is pressing forward with the always-connected model just after the FCC completed its survey of how terrible American internet is . . . well, I despise it too 🙁

  29. Dealbreaker for me. 

    I own 3 copies of D2 LoD and gonna own zero copies of D3.

    I could b**** and moan all I want about it, but I don’t feel like wasting my time. Voting with my wallet is all I can do at this point.

  30. So as far as how I played Diablo 2, I only played Single Player and beat it on Hell difficulty with many different characters. I’m the kind of player who has yet to really break into the Online Multiplayer way of playing and I never really did it with D2 because I always have enjoyed playing RPGs and other games on my own at my own pace. I will admit though that this seems good to me though, just because I watch how many of my other friends play games online with other people like WOW and League of Legends and they seem to have much more fun.  So I can understand how Blizzard wants to ‘force’ me to play multiplayer.  But at the same time I end up holding onto playing the way that I like it, which is simply on my own at my own pace.  So I’m curious… does anyone know if they are going to have a single player online feature on Battlenet or is it going to be similar to D2 where you’ll just have to create your own game with a password so that nobody gets in and you can just play on your own?  Anybody know how it is going to work?  Thanks.

  31. Maybe on the US and Europe this is not an issue, but I`m sure making D3 only available online will make the game not playable in a lot of developing countries, where the internet connection is not so good.

    This is horrible news to me, as I probably won`t be able to play a game I`ve been wanting for ages.

    As for their arguments I`m sure a box with a message before you create a char or not beeing able to transfer your char to play online would solve this.

    WORTS NEWS EVER.

  32. I keep thinking that I am dreaming all of this, and that Blizzard Isn’t really going to do this, It’s absolutely absurd!

  33. Besides what everyone has already said… I’m sure in the US there are plenty of free WiFi hotspots, even if most connections are terrible — which kinda makes it impossible to play from what I experienced, but whatever. This is not the case everywhere around the globe, many countries in Europe have a really shitty and expensive 3G coverage, internet on airplanes is NOT the norm and the reduced number of WiFi hotspots requires exorbitant payments.

  34. So the only reason they made it online only is to prevent cheating on SP? Damn, who cares about SP cheaters, they ruin the game only for themselves, it doesn’t effect others…

  35. It seems like of late, there attempts to explain why this or that decision is “good for the game” makes me hate it more, not less………..yes, I will almost certainly buy the game in the end but I can’t help but feel that the game that I’m going to get isn’t the game I’ve been excitedly waiting for these past couple years. I’m not sure who their target audience is but apparently it’s not me.  🙁

  36. Would be nice one mode like SC2. Get online do validate, and then, offline mode, without any connections to your BNet acc.

  37. For me it was a none issue.  I have reliable internet the vast majority of the time so I didn’t particularly care one way or the other but I could understand the arguments of those who wanted offline play.  It’s something they cared about and really takes nothing to turn the offline switch back on for the game itself.  My feelings on the issue have changed slightly.  (Former) Tropical storm Emily is projected to come really close to my area and it reminds me of the 2 months I was without internet when hurricane Wilma hit and man that would suck…

  38. Basically they screwed the game to all people who live far from the servers, doesnt matter if these people have internet, the high latency between client/server will make the game unplayable.

  39. I don’t understand why they continue to disregard and dismiss a potential customer’s desire for a single player/offline experience. Now if this was free to play like Path of Exile, I’d understand. But it’s not, it’s a $50-$60 game. What’s to stop them from adding user fees down the road to battle.net? Although I don’t support the piracy of games, you know this is where this discussion is going to end. Someone out there is going to put out a pirated version with offline play. guess what? People are going to gravitate toward that option.

  40. Dear Webmaster: Could you remove the DRM from incgamers.com?  I seem to be unable to access it when I’m offline. My sense of entitlement tells me that because I click on your banners, you owe it to me to provide an offline version of your product.  Thanks.

    • Come on Hypersapien, you can’t really take all these people as “entitled whiners”?  You are correct that Blizzard does not have to include an offline mode, but they already said offline was in the game in the past, and since the other Diablos have had offline mode it stands to reason that this one would too.  This represents a really big change in the features they already said were included.  It’s frustrating that so many people attack their fellow players instead of putting some effort into convincing Blizzard that they should provide this most basic of ARPG features!

      • sorry but its not an ARPG any more, bashiok said its a co-op
        😉

      • Red I understand your point, and its a fair one.  I’m not saying ALL these people are “entitled whiners”, but some of them certainly are.  I’m talking about the “I paid $60 dollars so I get what ever I want” crowd. As someone said earlier, this really is a mountains out of molehills controversy.  So you have to be online, schucks- You still get the same classes, monsters, items, acts, bosses, music, etc. If you are really going to avoid playing this game just because you have to be online, you probably didn’t want to play it that bad in the first place.

        • Yeah man, it’s cool.  I think the /ragequit stuff is silly too.  Everyone needs to take a deep breath and remember that pretty much everyone on this site wants Diablo 3 to be great, so even if you disagree with their opinions, we should refrain from attacking one another.

          • No, it’s not cool. Have you tried playing SC2? Even on SP, you get disconnected from BNET very often. I personally don’t have any other major problem with the online thing, because I have a good connection and can pay for it, but I live in Brazil and there are LOTS of diablo fans who are not in this situation. To them, torrent will be the way, even if Blizzard sells the game here cheaper or with a time bomb, like they did with SC2.

            And you know what? The torrent “product” WILL treat you better than Blizzard, in the end. Jay Wilson is getting so out of arguments that after using the “X is a better play experience than Y” for OH SO MANY topics, about this one he comes and says that “getting disconnected, being unable to continue playing as you were doing, dying, losing some of your quest progress and a percentage of your items durabilities is… NOT A BIG THING!”. Oh yeah, right…

            The “even planes have internet now” is even more ridiculous. Maybe USA planes have, but most here in Brazil don’t, specially non-1st class. Lots of places here don’t even have broadband, and even when they do, if it’s not a major city prices are just absurd. Like US$100 for a 256kb connection, when in a major city you pay like US$30 for a 2mb connection or more.

            Schaeffer said it true, this is all about the RMAH, they should have the guts to say what they do, instead of saying they still think of the players first when all they do says otherwise. Blizzard went downhill with Activision, just as Bioware and many others have with EA.

    • Your comparison is absurd.

    • There should be a law against posting such incredibly stupid nonsense.

    • Hypersapien, I think that you have a serious issue with the word “choice”… you know… you should try to look for it in a dictionary. By now I’ll tell you that thats something that people (generally, and probably not in your case) like to have, you know?. Knowing that Blizzard is capable of offering the offline option (solving a lot of problems that are being discussed here in the way), some of us are pissed off because they didn’t.

      • Blizzard believes that “choice” would impede the quality of the game for every one else.  I for one, look at their track record and think to my self “these guys know a thing or two about designing amazing games…”.  If its any where near as bad as every one’s afraid of, guess what, blizz will remove it.  They’re not stupid…

  41. Frankly, I’m sick over it.  I will [,and will want to,] play online a vast majoirty of the time if I end up buying D3.  The truth of the matter is, I rarely play games other than Diablo II, and have been chomping at the bit for D3 since before it’s announcement.  It was JUST NOW that they dump on us that we must be dumb and not able to distinguish between single player and online play, that who cares if our hardcore characters die (I play HC OFFLINE only (I don’t need an e-peen), and SC online), and they know how to best design my game time.  I’m seriously offended!  I’m trying to talk myself, friends, and family out of buying D3 without offline SP.  I guess we’ll see if they can get enough WoW-like converts to make enough money to be pleased with their choice.  Thanks for listening!

  42. for me its clear : why spend real money in the blizz auction racket house if you can create an offline character and use jamella’s or other hero editor to get the stuff you want ?
    no offline ? => the effect is people play on internet, then there is a way bigger amount of potential customers for their “service” aka tax on sales
    Its a smart move to make more $$$ …
    I think its sick : again we’re loosing something …
     

  43. if they are worried about ignorant people making a SP char and suddenly realizing they can’t bring it into Bnet, then just make a pop up window when they first create one informing them of that fact. people aren’t babies, how will they get through life if they can’t read a few directions? as long as you tell them it’s like that (i don’t recall D2 stating this) then they will be fine.

    or

    make everyone create an online character first. that way if newbies to the game start playing on their first ever made character, they will be online. then once an online char is established, make SP available, again with a note stating “this is the SP option, SP chars cannot play on Bnet and vice versa”

    i could not adequately express my rage when i tried to play sc2 while my internet was down. i probably sat at the login screen for 10 min cursing at my screen. i don’t play sc2 as often, but i think you CAN play without internet, but if i recall correctly, even hitting offline at that moment didn’t work.

    • You need to remember that Blizzard assumes all of us are completely retarded.  Giving us the option to play offline and not take that character online is beyond our comprehension.

    • I have to agree, the frustration of not being able to play because the internet is down will be far greater than realizing your SP character can’t join a MP game.

  44. Perhaps they will be adding a “private play” button so no one can join you?

  45. Does blizzard not understand that alot of people find Bnet not fun at all?  No single player will cause people to download cracked versions.  I don’t see why they can’t have a system like SC2?

  46. WMW hit the nail on this. That`s why Blizzard made all those silly excuses… It`s all about money.

  47. Did he seriously say \well, the plane has internet now too\? Seriously? There is nothing he could have said that would be douchier than that.

    Let’s state the obvious:

    * No, the plane does not have internets.

    * And if it did, it will have a latency WELL north of 1,000ms. In a game where decisions are made at 1/4 a second, it would not be close to playable. (Unlike, say, Guild Wars.) So… the plane STILL does not have internets.

    Jay’s trying to defend the indefensible, and that makes him a bad man.

    Now, here in reality… Besides the \about half the players want it\ and \it’s a LITTLE game with four players at a time ffs\ arguments…

    * 25%+ of the population in the United States does not have low latency broadband. Having to spend two days downloading a content patch when you want to PLAY, is not cool.

    * World of Warcraft, is one of the most popular games in the world currently… and somehow, some… way…. they can’t even get close to 100% uptime. They have HOURS of weekly maintenance. HOURS… every week…. with untold millions in profits…. Indefensible.

    So I guess it’s a continued eternity of Diablo II with the mana regen modded to a fixed ~45 seconds so the early game is tolerable and the middle-late game doesn’t have such a draw toward +mana gear, eh?

  48. How about the military? I know when I go down range, and I’m fucking working my ass off I can hope to come home and play a little Diablo 3, or had hoped to. Some of the bigger bases in Afganastain have internet at outrages prices for the worst connections, while the other FOB’s don’t. So my hope of playing a little Diablo 3 after a mortar attack to wind down a little before I crawled back in bed is pretty much shook.
    And another thing, what of those in the military serving in South Korea? To get a decent connection so that we don’t lose connection while playing are we going to be forced onto Asians servers? I don’t read Hongol or speak Korean. I realize that these arguments are futile to pit against Blizzard as they’ve always done what they are going to do and you just sort of had to grin and bear it, it comes along with the game, but it’s just another case where the military takes the royal shaft, but at least with Blizzard they polish it nice and clean before they do it, cause their games are always good.

  49. I don’t know why peoples are arging that much about systems they don’t even tried yet. And constantly comparing a 10 years old game with a completly new game. Don’t get me wrong on that point cause i loved D2 and i still playing sometimes but i don’t want to play Diablo 2.5, i want to play a whole new masterpiece from Blizzard and it currently go that way. I’m sure D2 servers will still be on when D3 will come out so the ones unhappy with Blizzard’s vision will have a place to be happy and maybe who knows Blizz will be kind and give you some content in a content patch someday so you will have your long awaited D2.5. Being online is perfectly understandable in our era and make things easier to deal with for overall game stability and character security even if your HDD blows up.
    Just an example of my point : how many of you guys still using isp mail boxes instead of free online mail who keep your emails, address and contacts even if you switch isps?

  50. Can’t use the RMAH if you are offline. Even if you do not use it, they want big brother to watch you 24/7.

  51. <p>I think Blizzard has gone over the thought that 10% of the internet population, whether you believe it or not, still use dial-up. Yeah, Blizzard you’re rich so you can afford anything… But many people will refuse to pay a $400 setup fee along with a $80/mo bill for a satellite connection. Dial-up is obviously better in that situation.<br><br>Also…Kill the player if they drop connection? Wow, so I guess blizzard really doesn’t care for us Hardcore fans. I’m not going to play hardcore knowing that if my ISP messes up something, or my router kicks off for some reason, I just lost a valuable character on Diablo III.<br><br>Blizzard, I was going to originally purchase D3… But this has officially dropped from my interest. I can promise the world that I will not purchase D3. &nbsp;</p>

    • * Latency of 1200ms… on a sunny day. If you’re lucky.

      * It’s only good for downloading large data files…. but they cap you harshly, with ~1 gb a month on the basic plan.

      Satellite internewt is trash. Dial up is better. Pathetic as that is.

  52. Hmmm.

    I bet Blizzard doesn’t know that I spent most of my free time on my second deployment playing SP Diablo2 because I obviously didn’t have an internet connection that supported gaming while at sea.

    .. Seven months is a long time to make characters, level characters, run bosses, and find items. I even had a LAN going for hours we weren’t on watch or fixing gear. It was a lot of fun and helped pass the tedium of being at sea away from our families.

    I am saddened by the news we will be required to be online. Blizz keeps talking about player experience, but I think they are really falling short of some common sense. Case in point – we (the players) are telling Blizz that SP is a feature that we want. Some of us are going to -need- it at some point in order to play Diablo 3.

    Respectfully Request you (blizz) discontinue the stupid ‘player experience,’ argument and get on getting a SP in place.

    Thnx (me0w)

  53. Had this been an mmo, multiplayer only. I would have no objections of course, since it’s the very concept. But if a game provides a Single player campaign, where I play alone, by myself, in my own pace, with no other RL players around, I expect this to be offline, with the option to save the game whenever I need to quit playing. I have played D2 of and on since it was in beta and I can’t remember a single moment where I have thought that having to “start over” with a online character was “a bad experience”. It was just like creating a new character, but for multiplayer. And the story was still great, right?

    I have been waiting so long for this game but for every new “great awesome feature” they reveal the less I want to play this game 🙁
    I will not even go into how very wrong RMT in a game is.

  54. i think what’s left of blizzard are stupid people that assume their customers are stupid enough to not know the difference of Online and Offline characters.

  55. I really hope Blizzard will listen to us…

  56. I never attempted a HC char in D2 because of all the lag and connection issues with BNet.  I decided I’d rather play softcore online and get to play with my friends and sacrifice HC mode.  But at least I had the choice.

    My experience with the new BNet playing SC2 has been good, but disconnects and reconnects from BNet do happen from time to time.  If Jay Wilson is saying my D3 char is screwed every time that happens, that’s not cool.  

    I was actually looking forward to giving HC a shot this time around, especially after the RMAH announcement, but now that seems like suicide again.  Jay Wilson’s glib comments about the fate of HC chars didn’t help either.  Oh and for the record, I would be playing HC for the added excitement and challenge, not because of “bragging rights”. 

    • I never had played it for bragging rights nor did I see many others doing it for bragging rights…Just my experience. Hardcore has always been a challenge for me with excitement, ESPECIALLY when playing by myself. I loved playing HC by myself because having a lot of other players kind of ruined the challenge of demons hoarding at you all at once. Of course, it was still fun to play HC with others in Hell when you’re actually doing the story line rather than rushing it out.

      I wanted to have the same experience in Diablo 3 but my hopes and dreams on that have been crushed… No hardcore for me, as I had really been looking forward to since it was first known to still be on D3.

  57. utter BS.

    Never really played D1/D2 online – live in a 3rd world tech country, internet still pretty expensive where I am. I travel for work a lot – was planning on bringing laptop along fill in the evenings.

    Oh well, no pity for the minority.

  58. This is bad. Very bad.  I live in New Zealand and share a 40gb connection with multiple people.  The service provided by the Telecom company is NOT great in New Zealand and is extremely expensive to upgrade.  I know that my connection will certainly drop at least 3/4/5 times over a few hours and so multiple deaths will accumulate to large durability hits. This affects the whole country and there are few options right now to change it.

    Essentially this decision is short sighted on a global scale.  There are many cities that do not have constant, reliable connections and where the upgrade fees are huge.

    Generally this is the only complaint i have had about the changes and i rarely post on fansites but i am simply astonished at the dropping of  the single non-online player option.

  59. Another reason to direct my anticipation over to SKYRIM…

  60. I’ll put another iron in the fire.
    I played a lot of d2 single, still do (and quite a bit lately), lot’s of ATMA use as well, even some trading in the SPF. I usualy only played bnet when my friends were on otherwise it was just dealing with obnoxious people doing annoying things constantly. Don’t think i’ve been on battle net since 1.10, mostly was on during 1.09… single player was my thing.
    I’m pissed that D3 online only, but at least I have a connection most places I’d play, still major weak sauce. =(

  61. I will play this game online, my friends are already talking about whos going to play who so we can team up. I am glad that they are putting in security features so the hackers cant get in…that i am all for …… but as other people have mentioned doesnt mean they couldnt have an offline mode….that is just that offline, no character or gear from and offline mode could ever go online…so the cheating is still covered. And then if you want to play diablo by yourself in the middle of nowhere you still could. I played D2 offline, i plan to change that for d3, but i don’t see the issue, keeping all the postive thing being online for part of the game brings, whilst letting the player play offline if he/she feels like it. Yes make sure the authenticate every 30 days if you need to to fight piracy,

    This game is a Day1 purchase…well i will probably preorder…and i know i am going to love the game regardless, but i know there will be times that i’d like to play it on my laptop or something where i dont have an internet connection, i just dont see why i should be penalised.

    What i dont get is Jay comments of,” i took this character through normal offline…and now i want to take him online”….whoops sorry you cant…..Again as other people have posted if you make it VERY clear at the start, that this is and offline character…you can never take him/her or any of his/her goods online…..isnt that problem solved??

  62. Even though I will almost always have access to a good internet connection, I hate the fact that bliz is going to force me online.  I can accept all the controversial decisions about the game they have made, but this is in my opinion is the worst by far.  I don’t want them dictating how and when I can play the game.  I really hope an offline crack will be possible.

  63. Well, It’s a great idea in the world where everyone has T1 and latency measured in miliseconds not seconds. Sorry, I can’t afford T1 yet. My average latency is around 500ms. I guess 0ms on my own machine would be much faster, thank you very much.

  64. I think is total BS.  Taking away Single Player Mode is taking away a feature.  Whether it’s important to you or not, and it is to me (since my little town’s internet drops frequently) it’s basically Blizzard’s way of telling you this is THEIR game and not yours, even though you get to pay for it.

    Maybe it’s just a control issue, where we now have none, but I was counting on being able to create and play in single player mode, which they did originally promise.  Now, I’m forced to accept a penalty every time my internet connection drops, and I can’t backup my character on my own PC…again control issues, but if I pay for it, I should be able to right?

    They’ve announced some changes I’m not in love with, and it’s taken just short of forever to develop D3 with no end in sight.  I swear I’m losing faith here.  This may be the final straw that causes me not to buy the game.  I was really hoping D3 was going to get back to incorporating some of what made D1 great.

  65. ive lurked here for a long time. never, ever posted. all the other features announcements, whatever.. but this is one that really chaps my ass. what can i say that hasn’t been said.. well, nothing i guess. i just want my voice to be heard. THIS IS FU(KING BULLSH!T!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! that is all.

  66. I prefer to play single player offline, since that way I don’t have to worry about anyone or anything else on Battle.net. I would be more than happy to get on battle net for multiplayer PVM, but I always play single-player offline.
    This is one of the very few decisions from Blizzard regarding D3 that I outright hate.

  67. Jesus, where do they find these people?  I am so sick of people gobbling up Blizzard’s crap that “no single player means nobody can hack!” D3 will be EXACTLY THE SAME as Closed BNET was in D2.  Sure, it is a new infrastructure, but that just means it will take a little longer for people to develop working hacks/bots and to find loopholes that allow duping/server crashing to rollback.

    Single player may be an easier way to facilitate the development of said hacks, but this means NOTHING, because I guarantee there will be a single player cracked version before the game even goes gold, and anyone developing hacks can test on a cracked client anyway.  Hell, the SC2 beta was cracked for single player without requiring a beta key shortly after it was released.

    Single player being gone will have NO effect on hacking on Battle.net, especially since the legal RMT gives even a larger incentive for people to want to dupe/cheat/bot for items.

  68. Would’nt you know, the main body of people not concerned by a lack of single player have internet connections!

    • Well to be honest, pretty much 100% of the people reading and posting on this site have internet connections.  😉

  69. Seriously, the whole ‘people complaining about not being able to play their Single Player characters on B.net’ reason for removing such a major component is utterly laughable.

  70. Not impressed.. this article is really terrible..  completely biased and the writer completely fails to see or mention any of the good benefits of being online all the time.  It just sounds like the writer is using his media powers to get his way with Blizzard

    Permanently unsubscribing from incgamers..

    • You mean besides the 4 long quotes from Jay Wilson and another one from a Bliz tech guy, fully explaining their position and opinion on the issue?

  71. Has nothing to do with the issue.

  72. wow… this whole time I thought I was playing SP D2 because I got tired of some random 11yo on B.net yelling about how I must be cheating because when he tried to PK me with the hack he dug up, I ran back to town, hostile him, then cut an ear with my legit items while he was decked out in the latest uber-hacked gear his daddy’s credit card could net him.  Turns out I was just too stupid to know that I was supposed to be loving this sort of thing as a game enhancing experience…

    I just love how someone who is trying to sell me a product takes the time to insult my intelligence by insisting that I can’t tell the difference between ‘online’ & ‘offline’.  Not to mention how I only play Hardcore so I can brag about how awesome I am to people I will never meet, not because I want an extra challenge & have to actually use strategy to get past a difficult spot, instead of just randomly clicking until everything is dead. 

    Seriously though, I think I just found that 11yo from back when I used to play on B.net… goes by the handle Jay Wilson now, apparently.

  73. It’s not been a good day for me, so I’m not in the mood to talk much, and all those bad decisions about D3 make me want to say only this: I stopped buying and playing anything EA a long time ago, for a lot of reasons, even if I find the game “awesome”. SC2 was already an unpleasant enough experience for me; I’m not sure if I’ll buy its sequels or D3 anymore.

  74. Aside from their idea that why would anyone want to play offline being retarded I felt his slight aginst single player HC was insulting. I did not play HC to brag, I played HC because it was fun, it gave risk to the game and a goal to reach. I found softcore IMO to be little more then playing any other game in god mode, only the risk was a slight inconvenience. I had a HC necro on single player and in some cases it was the greatest challenge because you were alone and no friends could come help you, or give you stuff. It was a lot of fun and played him often while I was DEPLOYED.
    Yes that is right, often military personnel have access to person computers but NOT the internet, for that you usually have to use a base or ship community computer for e-mail and even then content surfing monitored.
    So Blizzard congrats, you just stopped a lot of men and woman from enjoy your game while deployed on or over seas. Glad I got to enjoy those D2 LAN days on the mess deck while I could.

  75. I won’t beat a dead horse, so the short version is that 99.85% of my time with D2 has been single player offline, and the other .15% on TCP / IP.  The early announcement of no TCP / IP was disheartening, but because it was something they decided on very soon after the first gameplay video it was understandable.

    The difference is that there was no direct indication that offline play would be removed in these last three years. There was that statement from Bashiok saying “We’ll discourage offline play,” but that’s nowhere near saying “We’re considering not including offline play.” Announcing that single player has been removed mere weeks before the beta is terrible, horrible, evil timing.

    Make no mistake, I’m pre-ordering and getting a copy at midnight the day of release.  I’m too much of a Diablo fanboy to not buy it.  That doesn’t mean that I’m not livid.

    If an offline single player mode gave information, and therefore tools, for hackers to utilize and abuse, I see their reasoning.  Undoubtedly there will be pirate servers and probably cracked versions for offline play at some point…  but Blizzard must be DESPERATE to keep b.net 2.0 from being as dupe-friendly as D2 became.  Anything that has an impact on their RMAH hurts their bottom line.  Even if the removal of offline play stalls bots and automated item runners for a mere six months, that’s six months of additional income that the company gets after initial game sales.  That’s free money.
    And besides, maybe this wasn’t Blizzard’s idea.  Maybe Activision put their foot down and demanded it.

    In the end, whatever reasons they give about why offline was scratched won’t change how disappointed I am nor do I believe that a single plea for reinstating it will make them “see the light.”.  I’ll suffer on b.net and try my best to ignore every reason I’ve had to stay off it these last nine years.  I just wonder how much of an impact this will have on my overall enjoyment of the game.  I hope D3 is REALLY GREAT…  otherwise, the drawbacks of b.net may decrease my desire to play.  I’d love for this game to be as timeless as its predecessor, but I won’t hold my breath.

  76. Nice to see I’m not alone in hating this change. Yeah I have a net connection but it’s temperamental, and I don’t consider playing with constant lag to be an optimal gaming experience. The ONLY benefit I can see to playing on battle.net would be to hook up with RL friends, but many of them feel as I do, and are also reconsidering whether they want to play or not. SP has always been my preferred method of playing any game, I don’t need to wave an achievement e-peen or brag about my HC character, and I reject Jay Wilson or any blizz representative being prescriptive about how I should enjoy any game. For anyone talking about hacking or cheating, I was never hacked, I never hacked anyone, all my SP toons are legit, and to suggest that all offline SP gamers are hacking is ignorant and insulting. I also knew that my SP chars were not allowed onto closed Bnet, it really wasn’t rocket science, and when I DID want to play online, I rolled new characters, pretty simple.

  77. Online-only IS IDIOTIC!
     
    I realize they make decisions based on how the situation looks in the USA. I also guess that the USA is generally more developed country than for example Poland and that for you guys, using 2 Mbit internet connection is only a thing of the past since you have like 20-100 Mbit that costs relatively small amount of money.
     
    But in smaller, less developed countries there are a lot of people who don’t have an internet connection, because they cannot afford it. In villages there is almost no support from the internet service provider, in small towns the support is quite bad. For example – I recently had a internet failure at home and I didn’t have the connection for two weeks. There are also people who travel a lot, especially to their grandparents who don’t even have a PC, not mentioning the internet connection…
     
    There are a lot of people who could use offline-only and a lot of situations where it can be used. What the hell is so difficult in implementing it? What’s can’t they just add a huge information that you cannot play the offline char online? What about battle.net maintenance – oh yeah, I want to play some diablo but I can’t because they are fixing their servers…
     
    I just think that DRM is unfair. It’s not cool to say: “You don’t have an internet connection, you’re in a minority, so we are sorry, but you can’t play” without asking why people don’t have access to the internet.

    • That’s not the problem. The problem is, if you’re offline, you won’t access the RMAH. Also, by releasing offline mode, it’ll be easier (or so they say) to hack the RMAH. It’s all about that, not about any “better experience” for us. The devs just assumed they’re full of liars BS.

      Its not like its our mother and not a money-focused company, you know. Why can’t they simply tell it true? Why they think it’s better to lie to our face, even when the lie is crystal-clear? I can’t understand this concept. It just like the ad I got im my real-life mail today from an online store: “Your birthday is coming, we’ve got a PRESENT for you!” and when you go see it is some crappy houseware that you have to pay $500 or more to get it for “free”. The catch is, it’s price is just about 5% of what you have to pay to get it, and they throw 5% discounts everywhere all the time, because this is already accounted on the items prices. It just made me decide to never buy from them again, just for lying so badly to me. Blizzard has become the same.

  78. People with crappy/no internet connection should stick to Minesweeper!

    • Guess what. They don’t provide excellant internet in the desert. So while you enjoy your nice air conditioning and your loved ones and whatever food you want, and whatever “excellant” internet you have, I’ll be sitting in 110 degrees mortared attacked, eating dirt and paying 80 dollars for internet that works maybe 2 weeks out of the month. So, your welcome, glad that all the work that I and my fellow armed services members do can be dumbed down into one statement from you saying we should stick to minesweeper, which by the way in the desert means something different because the base still is covered in old Russian mines.

      • While that may be true, I don’t recall Blizz promising D3 being playable in the dessert 🙂 Modern online games, which D3 is, require a modern infrastructure. If they allow offline play, or bring-your-offline-char-to-bnet, we end up right where D2 was (World of HackCraft).

        • Is it really that hard for them to make it so that single player char’s don’t cross over, and to say modern online games require modern infrastructure means we wouldn’t be playing CoD in the desert, which amazingly enough offers both a single player mode and a multiplayer mode. Six months of use seems like highway robbery and there are others who deploy even more than that, Army is there for a year. How can other triple A games that offer triple A online play, still function with a triple A single player do it, but blizzard with all their bajillions of dollars can’t bother to offer the same thing?

          • Well then I don’t know. Probably boils down to their “offer the same game experience for everyone” argument. That is, not having two separate, incompatible places for characters (a single-player character would be excluded from achievements and any bnet stuff).

            Also, it’s probably too late to add a single-player mode, since that was decided kinda early on and now they have separate client and server code.

  79. Keep dreaming.   There will be no single player hack. Ever. Maybe (_maybe_) someone will actually write server portion of Diablo 3 from scratch for fun, but i doubt it, and even if, its quality wont be on pair with Blizzard’s.

  80. What gets me the most is when Jay has stated numerous times that Diablo 3 will be “all about the players experience”. It really seems like all this is for them to create more profits more than anything else. Which is basically slapping players who have spent their time and effort enjoying the Diablo series in single player.

  81. I live in Australia perth, with a broadband 2+ of a mid range plan, and i have not played an online game without less than 400ms ping time. Ever. From old games like D2, to the newer ones like mythos, or even simple ones like maple story. Every half an hour or so the ping time sky rocket to ~15000 ms…… Do you want to suggest me to move house?
    That said, i am curious about how the connection work. Does it only require you to connect to bnet to play on ur comp as a singgle player, or does it require u to create a game online and play it thruogh the net (main reason for the ping time and lags i presume? )

  82. It looks as if Blizzard forgot what made it a worldwide-known game developer. I believe the original StarCraft is alive and well, despite having a sequel and being thirteen years old. Why? Because people have fun playing it. Why? Because they really learned to play the game and fully experienced it. How? They played MP and SP, they got good enough to play online, because they learned to play well enough in SP.
     
    How is that relevant to Diablo? It is pretty much relevant. Whether it’s Diablo or Diablo 2 almost everybody (if not everybody) at the very beginning started their adventure with these games by playing SP. People got to know the game and their characters good enough to go to the next phase: play online and see how their skills incorporate in a co-op game. But even playing mainly online many people still returned to SP quite frequently. Why? For the pleasure of beating the game ALONE from time to time, without spam bots hammering away their adds through whisps, chat channels etc. SP in Diablo 2 also gave enough space to test any new build without making ‘financial’ expenses online (investing in an unknown but  potentially interesting build). SP was also a good benchmark for those experimental builds – if they managed in SP, they would somehow manage in a co-op play. This all was possible because SP didn’t require any internet connection to start. By forcing us to be always connected Blizzard limits somewhat our gaming experience, instead of ‘expanding it, or taking to the next level’. No developer does that, because it is like the proverbial shooting oneself in the knee – making people angry may be very damaging for income rates.
     
    I believe that people posting here about Blizz wanting: 1) control 2) to keep the cheats down 3) to make sure AH presents a stable income flow 4) to decide for us what is the best way playing, are right. To me it seems that Blizzard wants to play Big Brother: you’ll play the way WE (Blizzard) want it, with what WE want it, everyone WILL see how you play because WE WANT it and WE WILL make sure you DON’T play how you want it. It’s sad that a wonderful game gets screwed because all the corporate rats think only about making $. Diablo 3 is dead. Long live Diablo 3.

  83. When I first heard this I was baffled, I expect this from other developers that are paranoid of game cracks and stuff but not Blizzard. With this new system I you have a laptop that cam handle D3 you can play it on a long car ride just because Blizzard is paranoid of hacking their game? What if the Internet connection is so poor you can’t stay logged in for long? Too bad? I know Jay Wilson kept reciting the problem in D2, which I never understood the difference between an online and offline character. I say they should either let me play an offline campaign or forget the whole always connected aspect. Because to me it just sounds like money scrounging which I would expect from a lesser developer. Have some faith in your fan base to buy the game!

  84. I don’t understand how there are people who actually defend this decision.
    What are the upsides for us customers?
    I can see if people don’t care about it, but defending it as if you get something out of this feature removal?

  85. I work on scientific research vessels at sea several months out of the year, and while we have internet, the bandwidth isn’t sufficient for online gaming.  Very sad about this decision T.T

  86. Check comment below, accidentally double posted >.<

  87. Hopefully this won’t get lost somewhere in the mass of comments, but I myself do not agree at all with Blizzard’s decision. In response to that I’ve created a rather small Facebook page at this time(created less than an hour ago), calling for those willing to boycott Diablo III until they implement an offline SP mode.
    Don’t misunderstand me, I have been waiting to buy this game ever since they first announced it, but without a SP mode it’s just not worth the buy for me, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. Like the page if you feel the same, ignore it if you don’t.
    And for those lucky enough to have stable internet connection, enjoy the game when it comes out with the offline SP, because I know I and many others won’t.
    Sorry if I double posted, I always tend to forget putting links in when I’m preoccupied.
    Facebook page —-> http://www.facebook.com/pages/Boycott-Diablo-III-Always-Online-policy/

  88. maybe ActiBlizz will use RMAH to sell us the “OFFLINE” single player add-on…at only $40 bucks its a great deal, everyone wins!
    “Let them eat cake…”

  89. Just adding my voice to all the others who think this is a absolutely ridiculous idea, for reasons many others have explained more eloquently and in more detail than I ever could. This is a terrible idea implemented for terrible reasons. 

    But you know, logic and reasoning aren’t going to matter, because it’s clear why Blizzard are doing this: they can’t profit from the single players. Simple as that.

  90. sucks.. hail SPing!

  91. Yes, I waited 10 years for this game only to find out that it will be online only, very very disappointed 🙁 . I never played online D1 or D2, didn’t see the need… go online to deal with the idiots and the lag, not to mention the bots, got over that in quake, no thanks. Doesn’t even sound like Diablo to me, I’ll pass.

  92. I hope that everyone that says they hate online only DOESN’T BUY THE GAME.  Otherwise it doesn’t really matter what you say on some forum.  If you buy the game anyway, why should Blizzard do anything different in the future?

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