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Diablo III Released 594

Posted by Soulskill
from the stay-awhile-and-listen dept.
Almost 12 years after the launch of its predecessor, Diablo III has now been released. The game went live last night with over 8,000 midnight launch parties across the world. 2,000,000 players showed up for the beta test prior to launch, including 300,000 concurrently during an open beta weekend, but even so, the login servers struggled for the first few hours after launch. Diablo III had been in the works for quite some time — another example of Blizzard's notoriously long development cycle — and game director Jay Wilson said it was in "polish mode" for the past two years. "One of our sayings internally is 'polish as you go.' We have a belief that when you put a feature in, you should prototype, but then after you prototype you should do the real thing, and you should polish it to shipping quality." For those of you who are familiar with this type of game, there's an official game guide in which you can browse class skills, items, and other game information. There are also YouTube videos showing how each of the classes work.
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Diablo III Released

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  • by crazyjj (2598719) * on Tuesday May 15, 2012 @02:18PM (#40007891)

    But should we really be celebrating one of the first major single-player games to *require* that you have an internet connection to even play in solo mode? You can still pop in your ancient copies of earlier Diablos and play. Will the same be true 10 or 15 years from now when the Diablo 3 servers no longer work, or if you should lose your internet connection for some reason (or if Blizzard ever goes belly-up)?

    I know they want to fight piracy and all that. But once again, I think the people who will pay the price are the honest gamers who are going to be forced into piracy some day just to play the game they actually paid for. You try to do the right thing and end up having to make a choice between either not playing the game at all or becoming a criminal.

    Now maybe they'll release a patch some day that will override this, or maybe they won't. But you can bet that the one group that will *definitely* have a patch are the pirates.

    • by The MAZZTer (911996) <megazzt@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday May 15, 2012 @02:20PM (#40007939) Homepage

      Will the same be true 10 or 15 years from now when the Diablo 3 servers no longer work, or if you should lose your internet connection for some reason (or if Blizzard ever goes belly-up)?

      Sure, just Google for a crack to apply to your legally-owned copy. The Internet will always come through.

      • by firex726 (1188453) <firex726.yahoo@com> on Tuesday May 15, 2012 @02:31PM (#40008123)

        Except under the DMCA cracking the game would still be illegal.

        At this time we have no legal recourse to play a game if the DRM servers are taken down. Even in 15 years, they can still come after you for pirating the game if they wanted to.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 15, 2012 @02:38PM (#40008231)

        Nope.

        The game client is "dumb" - all the AI and such is done server-side. It's similar in execution to an MMO with only a single player (or small group).

      • by hvdh (1447205) on Tuesday May 15, 2012 @02:38PM (#40008233)

        It's a bit more complicated than just hacking away some license check. Each game happens in it's own randomly generated game world.

        The world generator code & data is server-side only. The game client does not have the code to generate a world, it can only display and navigate a world. I heard that some (or all?) world generator stuff was shipped with the closed alpha test builds, but was removed before beta test.

        It would take somebody to code something emulating a Blizzard D3 server with quite some logic.

      • by PIBM (588930)

        except that most probably the crack will not be able to provide exactly the same experience as the backend server of diablo III. Ever tried to play on an illegitime wow server ? It's the same word, yet, people are unable to provide the same information about what is going on in the background. I guess that they kept most of the important stuff on their diablo III backend, and that even a crack could not fix that.

        • by Luckyo (1726890)

          Actually most of the "private" WoW servers are carbon copies of blizzard's own servers. Blizzard leaks a whole lot of code server side apparently.

          The reason for "different experience" lies in various modifiers applied to servers (like gaining way more exp) as well as oftentimes asshole-ish owners.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by AntiNazi (844331)
            Unless a LOT has changed in the last few expansions, they didn't leak enough. Huge amounts of quests and integral spells did not work on privates last time I tried to play on one (admittedly during vanilla). These were things people definitely wanted to work but couldn't make happen, not your standard mods of xp and gold amounts.
        • Reminds me of Project 1999 [project1999.org] a recreation of classic EverQuest. It's an absolutely phenomenal experience for anyone with fond memories of EQ. However, it's not perfect as the world has been pieced together from various leaks, logs and web posts but in all honesty that's half the fun!
      • by cheekyjohnson (1873388) on Tuesday May 15, 2012 @02:54PM (#40008435)

        No, because then I'd be supporting a company that supports DRM. Instead, I'll just not buy the game at all.

      • by Torodung (31985)

        In this case, I'm pretty sure there is more than just activation/validation being processed on the servers. Certain aspects of item generation (read: loot drops) is not local to your machine, to prevent cloning/forgery/imbalance in the marketplace.

        So cracked Diablo III (if possible) is likely to be Diablo III without exclusive, sweet loot. There's no telling how much of the game is on the server, and replacing that server code is going to be far trickier than no-opping over some validation checks.

    • by gblackwo (1087063) on Tuesday May 15, 2012 @02:23PM (#40007997) Homepage
      Blizzard is one of the few companies to patch their older games years later to no longer require the CD's to play.

      It wouldn't surprise me if down the road they patched Diablo III to no longer require an internet connection.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by firex726 (1188453)

        But there is no guarantee of that.
        15 years down the road, if they take the servers down will anyone care? Will anyone even remember this post?

        But then we'll have a ton of games that are on a planned obsolescence scale.

      • by perpenso (1613749) on Tuesday May 15, 2012 @02:59PM (#40008503)

        Blizzard is one of the few companies to patch their older games years later to no longer require the CD's to play. It wouldn't surprise me if down the road they patched Diablo III to no longer require an internet connection.

        Just to elaborate on this for those unfamiliar with Blizzard's older games. It is *not* that they simply put out a patch to remove the CD requirement.

        The older starcraft and diablo games have been actively supported for over 10 years. Periodic updates for bug fixes, exploit fixes, new features, new support for communities and tournament organizations (thinking about some starcraft 1 updates), etc.

        Blizzard has a team dedicated to actively maintaining and enhancing their "old" games. It is *not* an afterthought for the original dev team if and when they have time like at other companies.

        • by Vaphell (1489021) on Tuesday May 15, 2012 @03:32PM (#40008881)

          'actively maintaining' is an overstatement. Usually Blizzard promises some patch 'soon' and 2years later it is still nowhere in sight. I don't know if WC3 players got their promised last patch ever. In case of SC1 few patches fixing meaningless shit nobody cared about, botched the community antihack and few other useful features for no benefit whatsoever and the community had to fix the shit again instead of waiting for some blizzard intern to change 3 lines of code and get approval for release which could take months.

        • by addie (470476)

          Unfortunately as I learned last week when I bought a copy of Diablo II from the Blizzard store, that's not always the case; D2 isn't supported under OSX 10.7 and above. That's not Blizzard's fault, as it was Apple who removed support for PowerPC applications, but it's an exception to your argument.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 15, 2012 @02:24PM (#40008025)

      While it's anecdotal for a single company, you can still play Diablo and Diablo 2 on Battle.net, not just on single player. As long as Blizzard exists you'll probably be able to play Diablo 3. It's not perfect, but at least it's not as bad as some companies (EA, Ubi).

      • by Vaphell (1489021) on Tuesday May 15, 2012 @02:41PM (#40008269)

        the difference is that here you got almost mmo requirements - server does much more than it did in case of older titles, which was facilitate connection between players. You don't need much power to do that. Afaik in D3 the servers provide monster AI, control the amount of map data sent to the client (to fight maphacks?), manage drops and shit - the computing power required stops being trivial and the maintenance will cost some serious dough.

        • by hairyfeet (841228)

          Not to mention everyone here seems to be forgetting that D1 and D2 and their crazy support lengths were both PRE ACTIVISION BUYOUT and now that they are owned by a company with a giant douchenozzle for a CEO will that stay the same? Considering how Bobby Kotick looks at his customers with such contempt that typing his name into google the first search that popped up was "Bobby Kotick is the devil" really doesn't give me much warm fuzzies when it comes to the lifespan for D3.

          This man has made it clear he w

    • by Spad (470073) <slashdot@NOsPam.spad.co.uk> on Tuesday May 15, 2012 @02:24PM (#40008031) Homepage

      To quote the PC Gamer "live review":

      I alt+tab out to check my net connection, and it’s working fine. When I get back in, the game’s quit to the main menu with an error saying there’s been an error – it has a number but no specifics. When I try to get back in, it throws up another error that says to make sure all of my party is ready. I’m playing single player. In a few minutes I’m able to log back in and play again. I’ve lost all my progress through the current zone and the world has reset and repopulated with monsters, but my character, items and quest status are intact.

      There’s a lot to say about the fact that this can happen even in single player, but I’ll keep it brief: this is utter bullshit.

    • by Hatta (162192) on Tuesday May 15, 2012 @02:26PM (#40008049) Journal

      Indeed. I will not be playing this one. Even pirated. Torchlight II will get my money, time, and affection. Blizzard can FOAD.

    • by LambdaWolf (1561517) on Tuesday May 15, 2012 @02:34PM (#40008171)

      The real evil here, where players will suffer even if they don't mind jumping through the hoops, is the limit of 10 characters per game copy, even if they are only used for single player. That pisses me off. I've been told you don't "need" more than that many, because there are only five classes times two sexes, and apparently no exclusive character choices such that you would need alts for game-mechanics reasons. But you're SOL if you want to enjoy the game experience from level 1 forward and don't want to delete any of your old characters.

      But... I went and picked up my collector's edition this morning anyway. I already play all-online games such as World of Warcraft with similar limitations. I can reluctantly live with with paying for Diablo III as long as I think of it that way: as a limited Internet service and not a game you can really, you know, have. It would be a better product if it were the latter, but oh well. Hopefully it will at least be fun.

    • by Samantha Wright (1324923) on Tuesday May 15, 2012 @02:34PM (#40008181) Homepage Journal

      You are, of course, severely late to the party; a lot of interesting discussion on this point happened way back in August. Here's the Slashdot conversation from then [slashdot.org]. I believe the consensus is that since this is Blizzard and not EA, no boycott like the one that marred Spore's release will transpire, and the loss of flexibility will simply be accepted.

      Another controversy from about the same time (which didn't receive Slashdot attention) is that all gameplay-altering modifications are banned [kotaku.com] in D3, a somewhat harsher stance than the one Blizzard took with WoW interface mods. There has been some concern [battle.net] that DarkD3 [technabob.com], a mod that diminishes the game's 'painted' look to make it clearer and crisper graphics may be cause for a ban, but so far the word is "probably not".

    • at least simcity 2013 will only need it to start the game.

      Now why can't it be once a week?

    • by arkhan_jg (618674) on Tuesday May 15, 2012 @02:35PM (#40008195)

      Pre-ordered a copy a couple of weeks because a bunch of friends are also going to play it, despite me normally avoiding always-on DRM for single player games like the plague. Retail copy arrived today, get home to play. Had already preinstalled the game, put my retail code in via the website... And have spent literally the last hour (6.30 to 7.30pm UK time) trying to login to the bloody thing to play single player, nothing but error 37 and error 75.

      Fuck Blizzard for requiring always-on DRM, and then cheaping out on enough servers to meet demand. Fuck em right up the arse.

    • by RogueyWon (735973) * on Tuesday May 15, 2012 @02:38PM (#40008225) Journal

      I've had a general policy of not buying games for any platform if their PC version requires an always-on connection (aside from MMOs, which it would be unfair to penalise, as "always on" is the very nature of the game there). This means I've missed out on every Assassin's Creed game since the original and a few other titles to boot.

      I agonised about Diablo 3. It did look, at face value, like a straightforward case of Ubisoft-style DRM. However, Blizzard did push quite hard the line that the game had integral features that meant they couldn't have done it without the always-on without making serious compromises to the game. I was... unconvinced. So I decided to wait and see how things went at launch.

      As it happens, Blizzard then wheeled out that "subscribe to WoW for a year get Diablo 3 free" thing at just about the time when I was in the market to get back into an MMO. On balance, I decided that I might as well go for that.

      Now that I've had a few hours with Diablo 3, I can conclude that if it hadn't been for the WoW special offer, this would still have been firmly in the "boycott" camp. I've yet to see any online features that could not have been made 100% optional at no expense to the player (though possibly at some expense to Blizzard through lost real-money auction house fees). If you're in the "undecided" camp on D3 over its DRM, my advice would be to avoid it.

      • by black3d (1648913)
        BTW, Assassin's Creed is available DRM-free from GOG.com. http://www.gog.com/en/gamecard/assassins_creed_directors_cut [gog.com]
    • by Translation Error (1176675) on Tuesday May 15, 2012 @02:45PM (#40008309)
      I personally don't like the required internet connection, but I wouldn't say it's strictly to prevent piracy. I'm sure everyone remembers what a mess dupers and hackers made of Diablo II; having everything server-side is an effort to stop the same thing from happing to D3. And with the real money auction house, such measures really are necessary because in-game items have an actual cash value.

      So, yes, I'd prefer it if there was an offline single player mode with modding possible, but I understand why they don't have one and that there are benefits to doing it that way.
    • by TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) on Tuesday May 15, 2012 @02:47PM (#40008343)

      Yes, by virtue that I am not poor and can afford the game and have access to constant broadband internet. Also 10 - 15 years from now, Diablo 4 will be out requiring probes stuck in various orifices to play so why would you want to play a 10 - 15 year old game that doesn't use probes?

    • by allanw (842185) on Tuesday May 15, 2012 @03:56PM (#40009141)
      I don't really understand this argument. In Diablo 2, you could play single-player, but that character would never make it onto battle.net. Sure, you could just always play LAN games with your friends, but you'd never be able to take any of your progress online. Or if you go on open battle.net, anyone can just edit their save file and give themselves whatever items or levels they wanted. In Diablo 3, it's the same thing if you want to play your character on closed battle.net.
    • I agree with you and have an even more advanced stance on this. Video game releases do not belong on the front page of slashdot, unless they are showcasing something that is technologically revolutionary. This is just an advertisement for some crappy game.
  • NewFail (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SJHillman (1966756) on Tuesday May 15, 2012 @02:21PM (#40007953)

    NewEgg has failed me for the first time in a decade. I pre-ordered a copy ($10 off) but they didn't bother shipping it until today (UPS 3 day). Considering D3 has an interesting DRM that allows you to install it before the launch date and just prevents you from playing it until then, it would have made more sense to me if NewEgg shipped them late last week so they would arrive today or yesterday. One egg off for poor planning.

  • I can't believe it took over 14 (or 13,12,11 depending on time zone) hours from the launch of Diablo III for an article to get on /. I guess all the gamers were busy trying to log in?
  • Don't care (Score:5, Informative)

    by vadim_t (324782) on Tuesday May 15, 2012 @02:26PM (#40008047) Homepage

    Requires an internet connection even for single player.

    Not paying for that. I'll go find some indie developer to give my money to instead.

  • Polish Mode (Score:5, Funny)

    by SJHillman (1966756) on Tuesday May 15, 2012 @02:29PM (#40008097)

    "Diablo III had been in the works for quite some time — another example of Blizzard's notoriously long development cycle — and game director Jay Wilson said it was in "polish mode" for the past two years."

    No fair that Poland got it two years early >_>

  • Release Failure (Score:5, Interesting)

    by don depresor (1152631) on Tuesday May 15, 2012 @02:29PM (#40008105)
    So they told us that having to connect to their servers to play in single player mode wouldn't be a problem, that we should trust them.

    And now the EU login server is melting under the pounding of thousands of angry players trying to play solo.

    And to add insult to injury they didn't even have the nice idea of implementing queues like most similar systems do..
    • Re:Release Failure (Score:5, Insightful)

      by 0123456 (636235) on Tuesday May 15, 2012 @02:31PM (#40008125)

      And to add insult to injury they didn't even have the nice idea of implementing queues like most similar systems do..

      Why should anyone ever have to queue to play a single player game?

      • Re:Release Failure (Score:5, Informative)

        by don depresor (1152631) on Tuesday May 15, 2012 @02:36PM (#40008205)
        Because right now you have to login to their servers to play single player, and since the autentication servers are overloaded they just reject most of the connections, so you have to try a hundred times to get logged in. A queue would somewhat aleviate that problem.

        Seriously, that stupid online single player idea is a damn fuckup...
        • Re:Release Failure (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Ardaen (1099611) on Tuesday May 15, 2012 @03:58PM (#40009179)

          No, a queue is a fix for a manufactured problem.

          Similar problem solving:
          Because your friend keeps stabbing you in the leg with a sharp knife, we've hired a paramedic to follow you around.

          Proper solution:
          Because your friend keeps stabbing you, we arrested him. As a result you will not get stabbed by him again.

      • Queuing for single player would be bad. But right now, Diablo 3 is in the extremely embarrassing position of not even letting you play single player AT ALL.

        Seriously, this has got to be one of the worst game launches of all time. #error37 is trending like CRAAAZY on twitter.

        First the game wasn't actually out at midnight, even though there were midnight releases. Its out at midnight PDT, which is 4 am on the east coast. Yay!
        Second, you get online, and the servers were so hit at midnight PDT that you c
  • Not quite ready yet (Score:5, Informative)

    by sl4shd0rk (755837) on Tuesday May 15, 2012 @02:30PM (#40008117)

    Add this [arstechnica.com] to the borked-beta weekend and I think they have more polishing to do.

  • by ilsaloving (1534307) on Tuesday May 15, 2012 @02:50PM (#40008391)

    Oh look, here's another game I'm not going to buy. I don't care how good your game is, if you pull bullshit DRM stunts like this, it's off my radar now and forever.

    Maybe I'll download the pirated version and play that, just out of spite.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 15, 2012 @02:51PM (#40008397)

    Not even 12 hours after launch Blizzard is taking down US zone servers down for 3hr maintenance. Task: Calculate uptime so far.

    http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/5051765603?page=1

    11:30 a.m. PDT- We are in the process of performing an emergency maintenance for Diablo III servers in the Americas to resolve several issues that are currently impacting the game. This maintenance may cause some interruption in communication, ability to log in, use of in-game features, and disconnections. We anticipate all servers will be available for play at approximately 1:30 p.m. PDT. We will provide further updates as necessary. Thank you for your patience.

    10: 22 a.m. PDT- We are in the process of performing an emergency maintenance for all North American Diablo III servers to resolve several issues that are currently impacting the game. This maintenance may cause some interruption in communication, ability to log in, use of in-game features, and disconnections. We anticipate all servers will be available for play in approximately 1 hour.

    Thank you for your patience.

  • by Kenja (541830) on Tuesday May 15, 2012 @03:02PM (#40008539)
    Lack luster story and quests, progression is on rails, no character customization and the itemization is dull. Bit of a let down overall. The defense is that the game doesn't REALLY start till nightmare difficulty, but that feels like a cop out to me.
  • by Tanman (90298) on Tuesday May 15, 2012 @05:03PM (#40010017)

    The important thing about the D3 launch is this:

    People who bought the game online and pre-downloaded it with the advertising from Blizzard that they should (paraphrased) "download it early so you can play the minute it goes live," still cannot play the game.

  • by Mr EdgEy (983285) on Tuesday May 15, 2012 @05:53PM (#40010625)

    I think something that has been missed by posters so far on the DRM issue is the fact that, if/when my internet connection fails, often the first thing I do is go looking for single player games I have installed on the computer.

    If you can't do that, it rather defeats the point of single player mode, at least to me. If the Internet connection is up I'm generally doing more productive things than playing games nowadays.

  • It's May 15th and I'm going to rant, and you know why: Diablo.

    I have a love/hate relationship with Blizzard. I love Diablo, but I absolutely LOATHE Blizzard as a developer.

    First: Go here and page down to the Diablo section: http://us.blizzard.com/en-us/games/legacy/ [blizzard.com]

    Do you see the PSone version listed? No. And you won't see the PSone version of Warcraft II listed either! It's not as if those games got bad ratings either, both got ABOVE average ratings at the time. It's like Blizzard doesn't want to admit one of their premier franchises had a console release at all.

    And for those who don't know, this is the PSone version:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yv5dQwCFWoQ [youtube.com]

    It actually plays better (and faster) with direct movement control. And it's the ONLY version to have French language support, not even the PC version has that. (also German and Swedish even in the US version)

    Then they did Diablo II...which I've never played because it never got ported. This is D2 as it's called:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ea8Ma7qqQaQ [youtube.com]

    Like D1, it was isometric 2D and since it came out in 2000 the PS2 should have been able to handle a port easy. But Blizzard never did it, and I think the following is the reason why:

    2001's, Baldur's Gate Dark Alliance:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=srBRB18mHEs [youtube.com]

    Notice how in the review, Diablo is mentioned? BGDA is a Diablo clone, and a very good one, with a true 3D engine with a rotatable camera. It was a VERY popular game. The company that made it, Snowblind, licensed the engine out and there were more similar games made a LOT more. Good times, good times. Blizzard simply couldn't release D2 on consoles with Snowblind having trumped them with their engine.

    And as always Blizzard said, "Oh were not doing Diablo III yet, it''l be ready when it's ready"

    And my thoughts were, "yeah, if you were still had theconsole developer get-up-and-go like in the old days D3 would have been out in 2002! Because the sequel comes out in 2 years or less or heads will roll. Lazy Bums."

    It didn't come out in 2003, or 2004, or 2005, or 2006, etc etc. Really what were they doing? It's not like a developer can't develop an MMO AND single player games at the same time......Square-Enix did....twice.

    So eventually D3 was announced in development, and eventually video was released in 2008.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3NR6XNYs8f4 [youtube.com]

    When I was that video my first thought: "Did Blizzard buy Snowblind's engine, because it looks EXACTLY like a snowblind engine game on the PS2."

    in 2010 they posted job listings for people with console experience for a Diablo-related concept. So I expected the game to be cross platform from the start But then Blizzard executives said things that implied that a console release wasn't certain, very very stupid things
    One was reported to say that D3's gameplay "might" work on consoles. Might? It's rather funny that he said, "Might" Since
    the original Diablo game was released for the PSone... in 1998. Doesn't he remember?

    He also said that the controls might be an issue. Well now, considering D1 was released for the pre-dual shock PSone
    I don't think that's a problem at all. Heck, the modern consoles have USB ports so a keyboard+ mouse control
    option could be thrown in alongside a traditional controller one. In fact, having played both the PC and PSone versions of
    Diablo, I can say that the control pad suits the game better because it's less stressful on the hands. I can play the PSone
    version for far far longer without crippling hand fatigue/pain.

    In an interview Alex Mayberry is quoted as saying: "We want to give console players the Diab

  • by wynterwynd (265580) on Tuesday May 15, 2012 @06:27PM (#40011013)

    ... who just didn't really like the game?

    Maybe I'm just older and my tastes have changed, maybe I didn't give it enough of a chance, but for whatever reason I didn't really like Diablo 3.

    I played in the Beta for a few weeks, on and off - it never really hooked me. It was prettier than Diablo 2, but it didn't seem graphically more impressive than WoW. The colors were wrong, too bright and bold - big departure from D1 and D2. The gameplay was... kinda boring and repetitive. I didn't really care why I was going to click these things to death, and even the act of clicking them to death got very tiresome very quickly.

    The class system was stagnant and unfeatured, linear progression unlocks are dull - I did hear about using runes to change talents/skills, maybe that's where the spice is but I saw none of that. The enemies were very standard fare with zero challenge and no real hooks to keep me playing. Again, maybe that changed with the full release, but I just don't feel the need to pay $60 to find out.

    Maybe I've been MMOing too much but I've come to expect a little more thought required and challenge from my games. Or maybe I'm just getting old. Either way I Loved Diablo 1 and 2, but this one just didn't have the magic juice in it for me.

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