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Why Diablo 3 needs that constant Internet connection

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Diablo 3

Yesterday we posted up the article about how the Diablo 3 launch has been marred by their server collapse and unsurprisingly Blizzard are not enjoying hearing about how the most anticipated title of the year isn’t being enjoyed by all that pre-ordered it.

In our article Geoff mentioned that he believes the main reason that you have to have that constant Internet connection is for DRM and anti-piracy reasons, however that is being strongly denied by Blizzard.

According to Blizzard the reason for the constant Internet connection is to ensure that the equality in the game is kept and that auctions, in game items, the economy and gameplay is maintained fairly and to ensure that no one ruins the experience by illegally levelling up or abusing the systems.

It’s a valid point, Diablo 3 is a massive title and since so much of the game is based around the levelling system and economy it needs to be kept in check else the entire experience could be ruined which would decimate the Diablo 3 community.

However there surely has to be a better way, surely they could have designed a system where the economy and levelling sections required the Internet while still allowing you some sort of single player experience for the legions of players who aren’t massive hardcore gamers and just want to have fun.

You’d be hard pressed to defend Blizzard’s constant Internet connection right now as no matter what the PR reps or developers might say there are still huge amounts of people unable to login to their game right now and they are making themselves heard all over the Internet.

From my perspective Blizzard has failed massively on two fronts.

1. How on earth have they not prepared for such a huge load when they themselves knew exactly how many copies were manufactured and sent to the regions? It’s not acceptable that they created one of the biggest worldwide launches ever seen and yet hadn’t prepped their servers to handle the load.

Either they should have loaded up a ton more servers to handle the peak load during the midnight launch or staggered their global release to ensure they didn’t collapse so spectacularly.

2. Requiring a constant Internet connection is wrong, while I see the benefits ingame of the managed economy and balancing it isn’t fair to a large portion of people who simply don’t have a stable Internet connection.

I have no problem at all with requiring and Internet connection to validate my copy and to participate in auctions and random object drops but at the same time it’s not acceptable that I can’t play a game that has been fully paid for simply because you can’t manage your servers or in 5 years time you decide it’s not worth the cost of maintaining them anymore.

At least it's a pretty box

Diablo 2 is nearly 10 years old and is still played by a large group of people, are you honestly going to tell me that Blizzard will keep enough servers going to ensure Diablo 3 players can keep on playing for 10 years? Who’s going to cover the cost of constantly maintaining those servers when you don’t get a monthly income from the gamers?

It was always going to be a risk from Blizzard to force a constant Internet connection and while someone was always going to complain it wouldn’t have been a big deal if Blizzard had kept their side of the bargain. But by failing to handle the expected load they have failed and it’s not acceptable.

At the time of writing the Asian and European servers appear to have stabilised however the American servers are still crippled.

What do you think, is this simply a case of gamers complaining about a really minor issue or has Blizzard dropped the ball entirely.

Also do you believe the reason for the constant Internet connection is really to ensure balance in the game or do you, like Geoff, simply believe it’s a DRM issue that is punishing paying users?

Last Updated: May 16, 2012

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