Diablo IIIs launch on PC was a very memorable one for probably all the wrong reasons. The notorious Error 37 being among the most prominent, caused by the always-online requirement to play that many players voiced their concerns about from the beginning. Blizzard, however, planted its feet firmly in the sand and refused to add an offline play option. Blizzard boss Mike Morhaime even wrote a lengthy defense on the Battle.net forums.
One other common topic weve 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 weve 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.
Console gamers may not be plagued by the same annoyances that PC gamers had to endure at launch with connectivity issues, crashes, and good old Error 37. Following last weeks announcement that Diablo III would be making its way to the PlayStation 3 & 4 consoles, Blizzards Production Director John Hight and Senior VP Chris Metzen sat down for a chat with GameTrailers where Hight either misspoke or said something rather interesting that would seem to indicate that Diablo III will be playable offline.
Hight discussed Diablo IIIs new evasion mechanic for the consoles, four-player local on the same screen, and mentioned offline play (2:50) but did not elaborate on it any further. You can watch the full video via the embed below.
Blizzard will be showcasing the new Diablo III console version at PAX East in March.
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