Today was the day that the 12 year wait for Diablo III finally came to an end for scores of fans around the world. At the stroke of midnight players everywhere rushed to boot up the game they had waited so long for. Time to finally venture out and click hordes of evil minions to death! Then came the log in issues 🙂
I will not waste time on the finer points of this debacle. Everyone that wants to play this game knows the deal. It is just sad that even with all the bitching fans did leading up to this moment Blizzard still choose to go the way of the always online requirement insisting it would benefit the player base instead negatively impacting it. Now we see how right they were. To be clear, this is not the end of Blizzard. I am not going to jump up and down and scream that Diablo III is a failure, I played the beta trial and had a blast! I will however say that going the way Blizzard choose to go was wrong, at least from my view as a consumer. I understand the need for stretching out the viability of a product via DLC, expansions and various other things. I even like the idea of the online auction house for the game. I however have no intention of playing multiplayer in Diablo III, I never did in Diablo II and had a great time. Create an auction house, let us sell items on it and take your cut, fine by me. I am old fashion, I like to play alone. I work odd hours and sometimes find myself with some time to spare at 4am. Diablo III will be wonderful for those times 🙂
The issue I have is they made the clear decision to eliminate the offline mode completely and thereby make this game an online multiplayer regardless of weather I want to group or not. A decision was made somewhere in the production cycle to no longer allow a player to keep their data on their end on their pc and play as they like when they like. Now, as we have seen already with the Error 37s this morning, we are limited to the server stability. Ironically as I am writing this I see servers are down to address some issues of stability but we are assured they will be back up very soon and improve the game. Once again I am not saying “THIS SUCKS AND I HATE YOU GUYS!” I do however feel that the decision was made and that decision sends a clear message.
The decision fans should be looking at was not the decision to remove offline play and create a more dynamic online mode. The decision they should think hard about is that Blizzard knew of the communities dislike of this idea of ‘always online’ and went with it anyway claiming confidence in server stability and reliability. Clearly what they were counting on more then server stability was fan loyalty.
I suppose that is something to think about over the next hour or so… or at least until the servers come back up.
oh and FYI Blizzard… I did not pre-order your game nor did I pre-purchase it. I am treating it like what it is… an MMO. And with all MMOs I wait till at least the initial wave of errors, bugs and general insanity is over before I play. And for those that want to nitpick and say it is not an MMO… if they shut those servers off the game would be as playable as Tabula Rasa, Star Wars Galaxies or Matrix Online. Not at all.