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Post by Steve Farrelly @ 06:25am 03/08/11 | 29 Comments
During a round-table discussion at Blizzard's Irvine campus in California, AusGamers asked Diablo III Game Director, Jay Wilson, to explain the team's decision behind online-only play beyond straight-up security.

"It was a decision that we’ve kind of creeped into over the duration of the project," he told us. "Part of it is to just give the players the experience that we think is the best possible experience. We did feel like we’ve reached a saturation point with online play and networking that we felt like it was just not a big concern. You know, 99.9% of people out there have an Internet connections, even planes have internet connections now, so the old argument of “I want to be able to play on the plane”, well, plane’s got Internet connection now too, so..."

Unfortunately, not everyone in the world has that luxury yet, but Wilson's point remains. In regards to offering both sides of the coin - a complete lock out to players not wanting to connect via Battle.net and play offline, Wilson cites Diablo II's model as the reason they avoided that option entirely for Diablo III.

"Well that was the Diablo II way and what essentially drove us to this was how bad an experience we felt that was," Jay explains to us. "Because it was so common in Diablo II for people to start up a game, finish it, get through on Normal difficulty and think “Okay, I’m ready to go and play with my friends now”, and then realise, no you can’t actually play with your friends. We did have the offline Battle.net experience, but if your friends were on Battle.net - where most people were - then you didn’t actually get to play with them. So that was one of the things that drove us to that decision."

On the topic of the Auction House being entirely user-driven, we also asked about the viability, and likelihood, Blizzard might introduce a smartphone app.

"I don’t think it’s out of the question," he responded with a wry smile. "But it’s not something we’re currently discussing - one thing at a time."

Stay tuned to AusGamers for the full transcript a bit later today where we also delve into why the Real Money Auction House would break World of Warcraft and the possibilities of Battle.net making its way to consoles if Blizzard ever make that jump.





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Latest Comments
LOTUK
Posted 08:10am 03/8/11
It might just be me, but none of their justifications for the always online "model" remotely convinced me that it's a good idea.
v0id
Posted 08:32am 03/8/11
I still don't understand it; can I not play the game 'single-player' at all or does it just require me to log in to Battle.Net like Starcraft 2 does?
Reverend Evil
Posted 08:40am 03/8/11
You can still play whatever mode you want. You just need a net connection to play. Pretty much like anything online which I still don't get why people are being all pissy about it. I don't see the hassle of being online to be able to play.
Scooter
Posted 08:47am 03/8/11
Just like SC2 Void. Net connectivity to play.

Rev: It's because not everyone has a solid net connection. No matter how often you tell people they do.
Mosfxx
Posted 08:49am 03/8/11
Yeah besides country hicks who doesn't have an internet connection these days? I fail to see the big issue, I just don't understand this real money auction house.
Thundercracker
Posted 08:52am 03/8/11
I just don't understand this real money auction house.


All your questions answered.
Steve Farrelly
Posted 08:58am 03/8/11
Mos, what don't you understand?
Khel
Posted 09:06am 03/8/11
Yeah, I still don't understand why people are acting so surprised at the fact you have to be online to play the game, after Starcraft 2 I didn't imagine it working any other way.
Dan
Posted 09:26am 03/8/11
It's aaalllmost reasonable, but I still can't say I like it. They've justified using it with a supposed advantage that isn't really something people are asking for.

Because the character that you're playing in singleplayer is the same that you'll be taking into the multiplayer ecosystem, they need to protect that character from hacking somehow and this is pretty much the only way that can happen. But what if people just want to play offline and are willing to sacrifice being able to take that player online for that?

What's wrong with giving players the ability to make that choice themselves? Why can't you just give people a prompt warning when they're creating a character for offline player that "You won't be able to use this char online, if you want to use it online, we suggest creating an online character that will require constant connection to the Internet".

Basically, the only reason Blizzard don't want to allow that is because they want to retain control over everything you do in the game and be able to monetise as much as possible. I really don't see it as a noble goal and people shouldn't be as complacent about it as they are. It's just a continuation of the disturbing trend that is changing the games that we buy from a product that we own to something that we are leasing from the developer.

On a related note. Torchlight 2 won't require an internet connection and will also support offline LAN play.
deeper
Posted 10:06am 03/8/11
I suppose people might want to play on a laptop on the train to work and not want to use some understable connection to do it, still hardly worth bitching about - read a book instead.
Mosfxx
Posted 10:07am 03/8/11
I didn't understand because I hadn't done much reading into the idea, sounds simple enough I'd never use it I prefer to obtain my own gear.
Dan
Posted 10:25am 03/8/11
@deeper. It's not about it being easy enough to accommodate the DRM, it's about companies getting away with more and more erosion of consumer liberty in the name of piracy prevention. Meanwhile, it will be cracked eventually anyway, and pirate users will be playing singleplayer without an Internet connection while legitimate customers cannot.

Were you saying this a few years back? "I suppose people might want to play without having to always have the disc in the drive, but it's hardly worth bitching about."
Scooter
Posted 10:30am 03/8/11
Thats stupid to say 'read a book instead' if they wanted to read a book they would of bought one. They wanted to play a game, so they bought that.

They didn't want to play a game*

*[at suitable locations and times, as seen fit by Acti-Bliz.]
kirkoswald
Posted 10:38am 03/8/11
I agree with deeper, read a book.... you might like it.
Dan
Posted 10:40am 03/8/11
I'll laugh my ass off when the first popular authored book comes out in an electronic-only format that requires an always-on Internet connection to read.
Reverend Evil
Posted 10:43am 03/8/11
Well now they'll have to read a book because there wont be any net connection and they'll know that because a year from release Blizz said so. Easy peasy.

8-)
skythra
Posted 10:51am 03/8/11
Yeah besides country hicks who doesn't have an internet connection these days? I fail to see the big issue, I just don't understand this real money auction house.

So i spent a week in newcastle recently. That place has a population of 288,732 people in 2006 according to wikipedia. I stayed right next to the university of newcastle and noticed the internet synced at 900kbit down. Not just that there was massive packet loss.

I did the owners a favor and i called the ISP and asked them to run a couple of tests, they did, no line fault. ADSL1 is all that was available, and they're a little ways away from the exchange.

I asked again the ISP if there was anything they could do about it, but because I was only there a week, I didn't push too hard. The result at the end of the day is basically:

1) No. No stable internet in a town of 200+ thousand people in a suburban area on the border of one of the largest institutions in the region.
2) There was unlikely to be any upgrade of that internet.
3) Games which require internet are impossible to play (which was a pretty boring week down there as newcastle has fuckall else to do).

But if you're confused about australian internet, please, go read some and come back.


Just like SC2 Void. Net connectivity to play.

This isn't true. at all. You might need to log in once to b.net but you can play single player SC2 fine without internet.

If your internet drops with SC2 your achievements get turned off but game saves and gameplay progresses.There's no real issue for singleplayer.
Hogfather
Posted 10:56am 03/8/11
@deeper. It's not about it being easy enough to accommodate the DRM, it's about companies getting away with more and more erosion of consumer liberty in the name of piracy prevention. Meanwhile, it will be cracked eventually anyway, and pirate users will be playing singleplayer without an Internet connection while legitimate customers cannot.

Well, with the character data totally in the Blizzard cloud this will be a much harder "hack" than other games, as they won't be defeating DRM they'll need to build a whole data storage mechanism. Don't expect a skidrow anytime soon after release, and players with illegitimate versions will be well behind the curve patch-wise.

I get the complaints about this (much as I got the complaints about no LAN play and no offline single player in SC2) but I just can't muster the outrage over the issue to really care. The only place I'll be playing this game is online with friends so it doesn't affect me at all. People will vote with their wallets, but I think that we can expect more of this sort of thing not less so its time to get used to it.

Hell, I haven't even got more than halfway through the SC2 campaign with about 2k games played since release ><

Yes the internet is shit in Australia. That's what the NBN is for (coalition branded NBN or ALP one, its going to happen), and these sorts of changes to the landscape will only make it more important. Lots of high-end financial software is now online-only and the benefits to software authors in terms of IP protection are massive.
skythra
Posted 10:56am 03/8/11
Equivilating the SC2 campaign and D2 campaign is a bit different. Mostly because you play the campaign online as co-op. If there was co-op of the single player in SC2, you probably would have finished it by now.
Hogfather
Posted 10:59am 03/8/11
Equivilating the SC2 campaign and D2 campaign is a bit different. Mostly because you play the campaign online as co-op. If there was co-op single player in SC2, you probably would have finished it by now.

What I'm saying is that I won't care about the single-player, lone wolf D2 experience because that's not how I will be playing this game, which is lowering my sense of outrage over the lack of offline play.

I expect that most people will feel similarly - this is a shit move for some people, but I'm not one of them so I'll still give Blizzard my monies. What percentage of people won't buy B3 because they can't play it sans internet?
Scooter
Posted 11:09am 03/8/11
Oh, I'll still buy it. As I said in the other thread, I'll have a solid net connection where and when I would be in a position to play D3... well 99.9% of the time. So it's not going to realy impact me, personally.

That doesn't mean I cant step back and see it as the dick move it really is and know that there will be people that get put out because of it.
Dan
Posted 11:16am 03/8/11
Well, with the character data totally in the Blizzard cloud this will be a much harder "hack" than other games, as they won't be defeating DRM they'll need to build a whole data storage mechanism. Don't expect a skidrow anytime soon after release, and players with illegitimate versions will be well behind the curve patch-wise.
Yeah I get that, but I did use the word eventually.

There are hacked servers for World of Warcraft and surely whatever D3 requires is going to be far less complex than WoW, so if the game is popular enough for hackers to bother with, it seems like an inevitability. I wouldn't expect it for a while after release but the point stands that legitimate customers are being inconvenienced for something that pirate copies of the game can potentially avoid (much like the old physical CD check issue).
Jimbo
Posted 11:22am 03/8/11
on other news, announcement, likely to include beta start date, is at 0630 or 0730 our time tomorrow morning
deus
Posted 12:37pm 03/8/11
oh well, due to jumpy wireless at home, and at work, it wont be Diablo 3 that I will be playing.
paveway
Posted 12:53pm 03/8/11
maybe you should get some better internets?
deus
Posted 04:13pm 03/8/11
got the best i can.
scottjames12
Posted 12:21am 04/8/11
dues - if you just need to sign into battle.net, then game away single player, even your jumpy wireless should suffice I'd guess
Dazhel
Posted 05:47pm 08/8/11
DM
Posted 06:04pm 08/8/11
I would of loved to play D2 on battle.net but the horrid lag I got was unbearable. 2 - 3 second delays between mouse clicks is just pathetic so stayed with SP the whole time.
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