has been twelve long years
in the making, but finally Diablo III is here. Fans of the game serious
have had a full week to experience the fast paced clicking orgy of
demon slaughter that defines the game and most seem to be enjoying the
experience. However, the launch of Diablo III hasn’t been all
smooth sailing. Blizzards decision to make the game an online-only
experience has resulted in more than a few problems. With server
crashes galore, more error messages than we can count, and claims of
hacked accounts popping up more than a few players are railing against
the lack of offline play in Diablo III.
Who can blame them? I certainly
can’t. In fact, during the first two days after Diablo III
was launched, I was right there /nerdraging with everyone else. I spent
my time alternating between typing in my password and clearing error
messages, all the while cursing Blizzard for forcing their online-only
play onto us. I lamented the loss of my precious offline solo play and
was positive that all my woes could have been avoided if only this
offline option was still available to me. Now, after 60 plus hours of
game play I have had time to calm down and realize that Diablo
III’s connectivity requirement exists for several reasons
that actually manage to make the game better than ever before.
Diablo III - Why Online-Only
is Not the Prime Evil
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permanent connection to Battle.net means hacks like Mousepad's Map Hack
will likely never be used in Diablo III.
One of the biggest problems
with most offline games is that literally everything about the game is
stored locally. This of course presents an almost irresistible
challenge and sooner than later, the game has been cracked. In a blink
of an eye your character is decked out in the best gear available,
with player states that no legit player could hope to achieve. Pretty
soon even the game’s inner workings are laid bare and it
becomes a hacking free for all.
In a totally offline game, this
is not such a big deal. However, in Diablo II which offered both online
and offline game play this quickly became one of the biggest problems
the game had to face. Map hacks and super powerful characters ran
rampant through the game and woe to the player who tried to remain
legit. A permanent connection to Battle.net allows Blizzard to store
all character and game information on their own servers, meaning that
hacking the game is near impossible. A fact that all players should be
able to appreciate.
Having the game and character
information stored on Blizzard’s huge database also provides
the additional luxury of automatic saves. This means that all your hard
work is almost instantly saved and can be accessed from any computer
with access to the internet. No matter which computer you choose to
use, you will log in and be instantly where you left off. Whether it be
just starting the game or waiting to defeat Diablo himself your
character will be ready and waiting even if your computer crashes and
everything is lost.
One of the most annoying things
about Diablo II for me was the fact that finding and playing with
friends could be quite the task. Diablo III has changed all that. With
all players being permanently connected to Battle.net along with the
introduction of the Real ID and BattleTag systems, you can set up a
game with your friends with a few clicks or join up with total
strangers with just a few clicks. Once you are inside a game, all it
takes to catch up with your party members is another simple click and
you can be off fighting the denizens of hell together in a matter of
All characters share a single
stash alleviating the need for multiple “bank”
toons often seen in the days of Diablo II, making it easy to swap gear
from character to character. Not to mention that players can also swap
easily from multiplayer to single player with just a few mouse clicks,
something that was unheard of in the days of Diablo II.
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Diablo III it is easier than ever to party up with your friends for
some point and click destruction.
Diablo II and its multiplayer
option were but a taste of the social aspects of the game that Diablo
III now has to offer. The permanent connection to Battle.net has let
Blizzard introduce to us new features that keep us connected with our
friends at all time. No matter if we are playing solo, multiplayer,
working the Auction House, or sitting at the character screen we are in
constant contact with our friends.
As I write this, I have Diablo
III running in the background, waiting for the second I can venture
into the world of Sanctuary once again. My Demon Hunter stares at me
expectantly, but for the moment I cannot answer her call. While I
can’t physically be playing at the moment, I am still
celebrating small moments of the game…through my friends. In
the chat screen achievement after achievement roll by and I find myself
clicking away on those I don’t recognize and mentally fist
bumping my friends as they progress.
Along with achievements I can
also see which of my friends is playing, which Act they are in down the
exact quest, and who they are playing with. I can even view recent
players that I have played with that are not on my friends list, which
is helpful when I find players I may want to play with again, but
don’t quite make friends list status. All of which could not
be possible without the permanent connection to Battle.net.
I can relate to the fury
experienced by those locked out of the game in the initial release. I
felt the same fury. However, after spending some time playing, I just can't maintain it. Despite the perma-connection to Battle.net
Diablo III has remained true to the series, while adding social aspects
that make this game something special. Despite the hesitancy of the fan
base to accept it, Diablo III has really, in my opinion at least,
changed things for the better. The Diablo III experience is all about
the sheer joy of playing games with others who share your passion, much like the World of Warcraft experience, but on a smaller scale. Once you have seen the beauty in this, Diablo III becomes a magical
experience that is well worth giving up offline play for.
How do you feel about the lack
of offline play in Diablo III? Do you think the new features, better
security, and overall feel of the game are worth leaving out this
feature? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!
To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Diablo III Game Page.