The last iteration in third pillar (sorry, Lost Vikings fans, myself included) of Blizzard-based gaming, Diablo, released over a decade ago, so one can assume Diablo fans are pretty stoked about the upcoming Diablo 3. While they warm up their grindy clickfest finger in what one can only assume is a rigorous workout using a tiny, finger-sized preacher curl machine, Diablo fans might not be pleased to know that Diablo 3 will require an always-on Internet connection in order to play the game.
Yep, it’s the Ubisoft mess all over again, except slapped onto a much bigger, more anticipated title with what is arguably one of the most rabid fanbases in gaming. This’ll go well, right?
Rather than simply connecting to the Internet for authentication purposes, Diablo 3 requires that gamers be online throughout the entire play session, regardless of if the player is actually using any kind of online feature within the game. Blizzard cites a bevy of new features for the reason behind the always-on connection, including:
- The auction house
- The achievement system and stat-tracking
- Persistent friends list and cross-game chat
- Persistent characters that are stored server-side, along with a persistent party system
- PvP and and public game matchmaking
- Dynamic drop-in and drop-out
- Item stash that gets shared between the player’s characters
Yeah, I don’t see exactly why those features require an always-on connection — rather than popping online to communicate with the server every now and then — either. Obviously, player-versus-player and cooperative game modes would require a persistent connection, but one can only assume many players will want to play through the single player mode as well, which should only require communication with the server in spurts, in theory. Even if not, fans who legitimately purchased a game with a single player mode shouldn’t be penalized for a spotty Internet connection during a rain storm, if they’re trapped on public transportation, or if someone else in their household is using a large chunk of bandwidth.
We’ll see how Blizzard responds to the inevitable outrage.
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