A fan asked a question most of us have wondered about, since learning that part of Diablo III’s DRM would be an online-only play requirement. How often will Battle.net be down?
Kaivax: At this point, we don’t know how much Diablo III will be taken offline during the weekly Battle.net maintenance period. The game itself will probably not need much actual maintenance, and like StarCraft II, could possibly only go offline for a short time each week.
Of course, when we patch the game (which will also be a rare thing), we will do so during a Battle.net maintenance window. With Diablo III we’re aiming for minimal downtime, and have a goal of taking the game down even less than StarCraft II. A few weeks after launch, we hope to get away from the weekly maintenance window all together, and go to perhaps a once-a-month planned, brief outage.
Do you guys have confidence in this prediction? As a long time computer user, I take all predictions of infallible software/hardware with enough grains of salt to rim a giant margarita glass. That said, unless you want to get into “game servers down, RMAH servers up!” paranoia predictions, it seems to be in Blizzard’s interest to keep the D3 servers online as much as possible. Thus I’m going to hope and at least semi-expect them to be quite reliable.
While I’m here, I’ll make two predictions about D3’s Battle.net. 1) The first week or two after launch will be pretty sketchy, when it comes to game availability. 2) We’ll see numerous Blue explanations for this that will cite the far higher % of single player games than the developers expected/predicted. Blizzard has seemed perpetually surprised by this phenomena during the beta test, but it’s something I’ve long worried about.
No more PK-switch and no more ninja-drops are co-op friendly features, but the “you might as well play solo” side of the scale has a lot of weight on it too. The general lack of shared skills, the removal of big experience bonuses for playing in MP games, the decrease in game difficulty, the quest continuation system, the lame chat channel implementation, and the inability to create named public games… all make it easier to play solo, or at least remove a lot of the reasons or methods to party up.
I hope I’m wrong, but unless/until Inferno difficulty requires co-op for survival, it seems like most people will be playing solo while wishing for more of the community and socializing feel they had in the pre-bot heydey of Diablo II.