Posted Thu, Jul 19, 2012 by Martuk
At launch, Blizzard was overwhelmed with the rapid sales of the game, causing many errors and login issues. South Korea officials even raided Blizzard’s offices in Seoul following allegations that Blizzard violated the country’s laws on electronic commerce and commercial contracts by refusing to provide refunds to customers following complaints about being unable to login due to the notorious Error 37 issues. Blizzard later offered refunds to some players.
One thing that Diablo III has been slammed for is its “always online” requirement, which the previous titles in the series made optional. Morhaime discussed the decision to not include offline play and explained why Blizzard chose to require a constant connection.
One other common topic we’ve seen in the forums is the always-connected experience, and the perception that the online requirement is nothing but an ineffective form of copy protection that has already been cracked. While we’ve never said that this requirement guarantees that there will be no cheating or game cracks, it does help us battle those problems (we have not found any fully functional cracks). More important to us is that the online requirement is critical for the long-term integrity of the game experience. I fully understand the desire to play Diablo III offline; however, Diablo III was designed from the beginning to be an online game that can be enjoyed with friends, and the always-online requirement is the best way for us to support that design. The effectiveness of the online elements -- including the friends list and cross-game communication; co-op matchmaking; persistent characters that you can use by yourself, with others, and in PvP; and some of our customer support, service, and security components -- is tied directly to the online nature of the game. These and other online-enabled features are essential to our design for Diablo III. That said, there are still improvements we believe we can make to expand the online experience and make co-op play even more rewarding, and this will remain one of our priorities moving forward. Overall, while there are some downsides to the online-only approach, I still believe this was the best long-term decision for the game.
Morhaime also discussed some planned improvements to Diablo III that include new and better Legendary Items, the implementation of PvP with 1.1 and new max-level content of some kind to provide players that have reached the end something to do other than hunt for items.
We’re also working on a gameplay system that will provide players who have max-level, high-powered characters new goals to strive for as an alternative to the “item hunt.” We’re not ready to get into specifics just yet, but I can say that we’re actively taking your feedback into account as we plan out the future of the game.
If you’re one of the people that feels like Diablo III is inferior to Diablo II in almost every way, this likely won’t do much to improve your disposition on the game, but you can read Morhaime’s full letter and judge for yourself.