I was going to ignore this preview for now, since the intro says that they’re going to post the full Julian Love transcript later this week. But since several readers have sent in tips about it, we might as well run with the teaser. Here’s the quote from GameFront.
Julian Love: There’s no direct intent to say that we don’t want D3 to be moddable. And, to be honest with you, the technology itself, on just a fundamental level, makes this the most moddable version of Diablo there’s ever been.
However, we have these other goals that supersede modding; we want to provide a safe and secure experience for players to play in and trade items in, and in order to do that, we had to make the game online play only. Once we made that decision, that effectively eliminated the possibility of having moddable games, since you’re going to have to connect to our service in order to play. So that’s a slight consequence of our online-only decision.
I’ll say that there’s never really been an intention with past Diablo games to make them moddable, either; it’s just that people found a way to make it happen. It’s not necessarily something we went out of our way to support.
Well, that’s that, then.
Julian is a very nice guy, but even if he wasn’t I couldn’t hate on him here since he’s completely honest. Like he says, Diablo 3 would be awesome for modders, but it won’t be since they made it playable only over Battle.net. (And since they don’t care about modding enough to enable mods to be made/played over Battle.net.) I’ll even give Julian bonus points for not trotting out that ludicrous, “some guy made a D2 SP char and then couldn’t play with his friends online” excuse we’ve heard other devs resort to when faced with this topic in the past.
I suppose the lack of outrage over this topic is a testimonial to the faith fans have in Blizzard — if another company had a very hotly-anticipated game, and right before release they suddenly announced that it would only be playable over their servers, which they could shut down at any moment, or start charging an access fee, or start selling the best items in a cash shop, etc, leaving their customers with nothing but bitter memories and a lot of $60 shiny silver coasters… there would be um… problems. Like massive boycotts, canceled pre-orders, flaming online petitions, etc. Yet Blizzard did that with Diablo III, and the “I’m always online anyway.” option was the big winner in our vote on this issue, a week later.