Bashiok took on one of those tricky issues yesterday; the type Blizzard legal and PR must trade memos about as they evolve the explanations that justify their latest corporate strategies. How to explain why B.net 2.0 has once again removed a useful feature in order to fight piracy and give them more control over our gaming experience, while making it sound like a win for the player? Like I said, tricky.

    As you may recall, many Starcraft fans were outraged over the lack of LAN or TCP/IP support in SC2, feature removals that made it impossible to play multiplayer without going through Battle.net or using a hacked version of the game. Blizzard’s excuse for that one was fairly transparent, as they essentially said, “There’s no LAN since you didn’t want it anyway and B.net matchmaking is roxor and when your $60 DVD became a multiplayer paperweight after you got banned for logging on too many times in one hour lalala we can’t hear you.”

    This sort of sophistry didn’t win over many doubters pre-SC2, but perhaps Bashiok and the other CMs have learned from their overreaches in those days. I was honestly curious to read this post, once I saw the title. Tell us, Mr. Community Manager. another D3 feature our copy of D3, the game we paid real money for, offline?

    “You participate in PvP using the character of your choice, with access to all of the gear and skills you’ve accumulated playing the game in single-player or cooperative mode.”
    So this means single player seems to be online play by yourself. Not sure if this has been noticed I havnt been paying much attention to the forums.


    There is offline single player, but it’s something we’re going to attempt to discourage as best as possible.

    A lot of us, myself included, and probably a lot of you and your friends had the exact same Diablo II experience. You get the game, start playing, your friend says let’s try co-op, and when you log in your characters aren’t there. After a slight freakout moment and potentially some use of Webcrawler to search the World Wide Web with Netscape 6, you realized or figured out that you had to start over. That’s actually an experience that can cause someone to stop playing the game. Maybe you or I let out a huge sigh, and maybe a brief mourning period after realizing the last 60 hours were completely wasted, but we pressed on. That’s not the case for everyone. Maybe most people. I actually refused to start over for a while and continued on in single-player before finally jumping on Battle.net. Who knows what a lesser man would have done…

    So, if we can get people online and creating character on Battle.net from the get-go, there’s less chance of that catastrophe. But there’s still a play offline option, if you should need it.

    I myself never had an issues with not understanding my single-player character was single-player only, just like I never had any trouble understanding what happened to my weapons when I hit the weapon-swap button. I guess I’m just smarter than your average bear? o_0

    Let’s go with that and do the thing we’re going to do and whenever you see the play offline button you can giggle at how you don’t need to have it way off to the side there.

    Sadly, Bashiok didn’t really get into it this time, doing the PR thing with some happy talk about how another D3 feature is being removed since some noob might not have instantly understood it. *sigh* I sometimes think we should be grateful that they’re not designing this game to be played on those old Apple mouses, b/c two buttons is like, twice as complicated as one. Don’t even mention scroll wheels and side buttons!

    We don’t know any details about how they’ll strongly “discourage” us from wanting to play D3 offline. Most likely it’ll involve B.net-only DiabloWikiAchievements, but I won’t be surprised if there’s more to it than that, and I’ll be surprised if this issue doesn’t blow up with protest as we get closer to the release and they reveal more details about their offline non-support. After all, our busiest D2 strategy forum, perpetually, is our Single Player forum. There are more people in that forum, right now, than in our D3 community forum, and yes, it’s 2 days after the biggest Diablo III Blizzcon ever.

    Lots of D2 fans enjoy playing alone, with all their char data stored permanently on their computers, and not subject to deletion or alteration by patches on B.net. Finding out that they’re going to be “discouraged” from doing that in D3 may not go over real well.

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