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DRM Games

Reaction To Diablo 3's Always-Online Requirement 591

Last week we discussed news that Diablo 3 will include a real-money auction house for items and require a permanent connection to the internet even for single-player games. Fan reaction has been loud and varied, with many decrying the restrictive DRM. Blizzard exec Robert Bridenbecker said he was surprised by the outrage at the online requirement, saying, "it really is just the nature of how things are going, the nature of the industry. When you look at everything you get by having that persistent connection on the servers, you cannot ignore the power and the draw of that." Some other developers came out in support of the scheme; id Software's Tim Willits said always-on would be "better for everybody" in the end. Max Schaefer, one of the makers of Diablo 3 competitor Torchlight 2, said he understands why they did it, even though Torchlight 2 is not doing the same: "... it seems that most of what they are doing is related to trying to keep a truly secure, cheat-free economy in Diablo III. Whatever you do, you have to make sacrifices. We sacrifice a cheat-free environment to give players the most options, they are sacrificing options and flexibility for security of the economy like you would in an MMO. I understand their approach and sympathize with the technical difficulties of what they are trying to do."
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Reaction To Diablo 3's Always-Online Requirement

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  • Single Player? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 11, 2011 @07:06AM (#37053906)

    it seems that most of what they are doing is related to trying to keep a truly secure, cheat-free economy in Diablo III

    Could someone explain how a SINGLE player game would affect the economy of the ONLINE game?

    The only possible reason for this is that they intend to let you buy items for your single player game from the Auction House.

    As shown with Ubisoft games, it probably won't take long for the hackers to break the DRM and post the "clean" version on torrent sites. Which means that for those who have no interest playing online, once again the pirated version would be superior to the paid version as you could play anywhere.


    • Could someone explain how a SINGLE player game would affect the economy of the ONLINE game?

      no, because it's impossible. Bullshit excuse is just that, a bullshit excuse.

    • The only possible reason for this is that they intend to let you buy items for your single player game from the Auction House.

      You answered your own question.

      No doubt the connection isn't just going to be a persistent online check. They're likely going to tie in drops, character, and inventory to the server instead of the client, so the concept of a patched offline version seems more like a pipe dream. If they control the generation and storage of items, they don't need to worry as much about people hacking in items and then trying to sell them.

  • by captjc ( 453680 ) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @07:07AM (#37053908)

    When it comes to a single player game, who cares if I cheat? If the game gets hard in a place, I have nothing against cheating. I can't stand endless grinding in single player RPGs so I cheat. If anything, I would rather have games that make it so I do not need to cheat. Batman: Arkham Asylum was, for me, the perfect game. There was no grinding, no real difficulty spikes, and never did I feel that any boss or puzzle was impossible.

    For multiplayer, fine. put cheat detection, require Battle.NET, whatever. If I am playing with other people I want to feel that the games are fair. But don't restrict what I can do on single player. If what I do in single player impacts multiplayer so much that it requires these kind of measures, then that is just plain bad game design. Also, until I have broadband internet access everywhere I take my laptop, constant internet requirements are going to guarantee I will not buy the game.

    • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @07:20AM (#37053988) Journal
      Sometimes, cheating in multiplayer is fine too. We had one LAN game of Diablo II where most of us had characters that had completed the game once so could play on the second difficulty level. One player had never played the game before. Someone found a character editor online and we put together a character for him that was at approximately the same level as the rest of us. With something like battle.net, that would have been impossible.
      • by digitac ( 24581 ) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @10:33AM (#37056250) Homepage
        Don't worry, that won't be an issue in any future Blizzard games. There is no more LAN play.
    • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) *

      If the game gets hard in a place, I have nothing against cheating.

      L.A. Noire did a pretty good job handling that, I thought. If you failed 3 times at a physical challenge (a car chase or whatever), it gave you the option of skipping that section. I tried to avoid it, but I did use it once--in that section where you're on the swaying platform of the movie set and have to balance it to get across. Fuck that noise, I'm playing L.A. Noire, not Uncharted.

      Now some might complain that this makes it too easy. To them I say:

      1) You don't HAVE to use it. Feel free to set the game to

    • by Alphanos ( 596595 ) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @11:34AM (#37057224)

      Who cares if you cheat in a single player game? Blizzard does. They care because they want to sell you those cheats for real money in their new auction house, and if you can cheat for free then you're not paying them to do it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 11, 2011 @07:10AM (#37053924)

    This is not about the economy. If it was, they would do the same thing they did for diablo ii. Local games were not part of the economy. Battle.net games were. There's no reason they couldn't do the same thing for Diablo III. Unless their real purpose is preventing piracy.

    I'm having a LAN party in September. Starcraft II is not on the game list. Starcraft: Brood War is. I own Starcraft II, but not everyone coming does. They would all buy it if it allowed LAN play. As it is, we will be content playing Starcraft, Unreal Tournament Classic, and Terraria.

  • Really? The Diablo series is most fun when played over battle.net, do they REALLY worry about the "90% PC game piracy" ?? That's bullsh*t . The only people who are screwed over this inexcusable decision are the legitimate players. There WILL be a pirated version of the game sooner or later. Maybe those game companies-execs should start thinking of better ways to counter piracy - what about lower prices? Ok now i'm being irrational..
    • by Elbereth ( 58257 )

      The thinking is that pirates have a very short attention span. Most pirates are (theoretically) uninterested in playing games that are months old; if you can keep the game secure for a month or two, then the DRM has justified itself. The people who were sitting on the fence will purchase the game, rather than pirating it, and the people who would have been freeloading are kept off your servers, reducing your operating costs.

      Does it really work out that way, in real life? Who knows. But the MBAs really a

    • by Machtyn ( 759119 )
      Fun is relative. I had more fun not playing on battle.net. I didn't have to worry about getting slashed when I stepped out of the town by a duper.
  • by ciderbrew ( 1860166 ) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @07:27AM (#37054030)
    Another point would be - I just don't want to be tracked by yet another company. All my time spent, all the clicks I make. The usage habits within a UI, that I'm not aware of, that [could / can / will ] be used with other data sets at some point in time to identity me from the next guy. 15 mouse moves makes it me is a worry to think about. Also, it's another username/password account to deal with, to be hacked, to be used in wonderful ways you can't think of.

    If I could sound sincere, I think I may almost have a decent point with this one. - Think of the planet [i don't]. How many extra tons of CO2 does this extra level of DRM cost our world? Every cpu in use and telephony item between here the there - needlessly used. Scale that up to millions of people worldwide ... It's EVIL! [needs more sincere]
  • I just won't get it or play it. I recently got a refund on a Ubisoft game because of their "always on" DRM. I haven't bought StarCraft either, since I heard it has a similar requirement. I really don't care if Diablo III has a multiplayer component at all, since I'd never play it online in the first place. Developers are free to design their games as they wish, and consumers are free to vote with their wallets. I played all the previous Diablo games and expansion packs, and was really looking forward t

  • by stiggle ( 649614 ) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @07:31AM (#37054058)

    My PC isn't always connected to the net - its a little hard to get a decent connection when you're out at sea. So I don't buy "always connected" games. Which is a shame, because there are some great single player games out there which have been crippled by needing a permanent net connection.

    It was on my list of games to get - as I loved the previous Diablo games, but if they're going to cripple single player with online DRM then I'm out.

    • by Elbereth ( 58257 )

      What about a satellite connection? Could that work? Since all you need is a network connection, the latency shouldn't really be a problem.

      Yeah, it sucks that they're using this online DRM, but there'll probably be some sort of crack, eventually. No DRM scheme is totally unbreakable. Anyway, there's always classic Diablo, plus the Diablo clones: Sacred and Sacred 2 were both pretty decent, though they both have pretty strong DRM, as well.

    • by GrumblyStuff ( 870046 ) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @12:16PM (#37057932)

      Out to sea...?



  • Just make an always-online and a never-online version, so you don't lose customers while not compromising the security of the online market.
  • by dokc ( 1562391 ) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @07:41AM (#37054146) Journal
    I enjoyed Diablo I, bought 2 LoD to play in the LAN, played it last year again from beginning, but I decided not to buy D3. First of all because they didn't created a Linux client (piece of cake for a OpenGL game wit already existing Mac client, but I suppose it will be playable under Wine) and now especially because of this always online crap. I never play MMO, I don't have time for it, and I don't want to be bullied by people actually living in BattleNet. I just want to play Single player sometimes and local LAN with friends.
    Sorry Blizzard, but you will not get money from me this time.
  • by polle404 ( 727386 ) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @07:45AM (#37054182)

    No singleplayer offline?
    no money from me, then...
    I don't really have a lack of connection options, I work for an ISP, I have broadband, I have 3G dongle I can use in my laptop, I even have a 'Droid phone i can get data through, should i have forgotten my 3G dongle...
    Heck, in about a 1/3 of the commuter trains there's free wifi!

    Don't change a thing.
    Blizzard's bad gamedesign/need to snoop on my gaming sessions/me finding myself in an area without coverage is going to ensure that i will 'vote with my dollar' so to speak, and my vote goes to the company that makes a game playable for me, where ever I am.

    If I choose to do a 'Kaczynski' and do my singleplayer gaming from a remote cabin in Wisconsin, it's my choice, not Blizzards.

  • Power companies don't sell you generators, wind turbines, solar panels, etc., they sell you power. After all, why make a handful of sales to you when they can keep selling you power every day, ad infinitum?

    The Web is evolving, (or devolving), into the same model, with games such as Diablo 3, other cloud services, OS's that need to 'phone home' to function, etc. Sure, ISP's have always enjoyed the benefits of this way of doing business, but now other businesses are finding similar ways to cash in.

    I don't lik

  • by mwvdlee ( 775178 ) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @08:09AM (#37054392) Homepage

    Slightly offtopic, but at the end of TFA: "Last month Ubisoft said its strategy had resulted in "a clear reduction in piracy of our titles which required a persistent online connection, and from that point of view the requirement is a success".".
    Did Ubisoft also increase profit, or did it only reduce piracy?

    • Seeing the source, my money is on "neither".

      More bullshit from a bullshit artist. It's an industry wide epidemic. Thank God for indie games and the rise of F2P...

  • by H0ek ( 86256 ) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @08:17AM (#37054480) Homepage Journal


    Now the developer for Torchlight 2 has given a clear and measured response that I can literally buy in to. Blizzard simply believes they are protecting the customer. For most customers this may work just fine, but I apparently am not like "most customers." Regularly I make trips to the in-laws up in the most remote part of Idaho. My father-in-law still uses dialup for his infrequent E-bay purchases and cattle futures report. When I travel to my in-laws, this is precisely the environment where I need a long single-player campaign that does not need a constant on-line connection. The original Torchlight kept me sane and entertained for hours while I avoided conflict with "the other side" of the family. It seems this will also be true for Torchlight 2, thus I will very likely buy the game - simply to preserve what's left of my sanity.

    Diablo 3, not so much. I'm not one to spend money on a second game when the first still needs to be thoroughly played.

    Now, I'm pretty certain Blizzard does not care about my lonely little circumstance. That's fine by me, I don't care much about their game if it appears to be unusable to me. I just hope developers like Torchlight continue to provide an awesome alternative, otherwise my money will go unspent - at least until I am committed to the asylum. Then it will be spent for white coats and medication. O_o


    • by Hatta ( 162192 )

      Blizzard simply believes they are protecting the customer.

      You're not actually naive enough to believe that, are you? Blizzard simply believes they are protecting their bottom line, and fuck their customers if they have a problem with it.

  • all about the $$ (Score:4, Interesting)

    by SpinningCone ( 1278698 ) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @09:07AM (#37055038)

    It's really about the greed. the DRM is really *NOT* for piracy. honestly i dont think blizzard gives a flip about piracy, a major component of the game is online multiplayer. games like that have been hard to pirate back in the D2 days if your key wasn't legit bnet would kick you out. sure you could use a keygen for single player but online wouldn't accept the key.

    this really stems from the micro trans shop. blizzard knows a lot of people like to start with single player to get a feel for a game before jumping in. they want you to be able to transition your SP character to a MP character and buy crap from their store to support that character.

    personally i knew it was going to be like this last year when i didn't buy starcraft 2 because of their DRM bullshit. now i won't be buying D3. the saddest part is how completely unnecessary it is. they could easily secure a healthy online economy with old school cd keys and leave the single player alone and even offer lan or open bnet.

    and offline SP isn't just about gaming in the middle of nowhere, i like to cheat in SP sometimes. i downloaded hacked lvl99 D2 characters just for shits in giggles an had a few hours fun obliterating the game and testing various builds to see which one i wanted to shoot for online.

  • by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @09:23AM (#37055214) Homepage Journal
    Actually all the big game publishers can blow me. I'm moving toward supporting smaller developers with much lower priced titles and games that enable collaborative creation of content in game. As highly polished as the offerings of the big game publishers are, there is really nothing all that creative that you can do in the worlds they create. It's all there to keep you clicking for meaningless rewards so they can keep milking you as a cash cow. Everything these days is just a front end to a downloadable content store where you pay real money for things that will disappear the moment you let your subscription lapse.
  • HAHAHAHAHA! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Chas ( 5144 ) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @10:31AM (#37056230) Homepage Journal

    Blizzard exec Robert Bridenbecker said he was surprised by the outrage at the online requirement

    Then he's lying or he's had his head shoved up his ass for the last 5-10 years. The response to "always on" DRM has been almost universally negative. It indicates just how out of touch these guys are with the market and their potential customers.

    "it really is just the nature of how things are going, the nature of the industry. When you look at everything you get by having that persistent connection on the servers, you cannot ignore the power and the draw of that."

    Yup. You get a game who's very playability depends on a fragile authentication system that may not always be there. If either side has any connectivity or stability problems *POOF* no game! You have a customer that is completely unable to play the game they paid for. Bravo! Bravo! Monetizing downtime!

    Some other developers came out in support of the scheme; id Software's Tim Willits said always-on would be "better for everybody" in the end.

    HOW? Because it kills the secondary market? How is being absolutely dependent on an auth server EVEN FOR SINGLE PLAYER MODE good for the consumer? How is being unable to resell old games good for the consumer? What Timmy is saying here is it's "better for everybody who's a game publisher".

  • by LambdaWolf ( 1561517 ) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @11:07AM (#37056784)

    I'm surprised that more people aren't complaining about the limit on purely-offline, single-player characters. (I.e., you can't have any, and can have only ten online characters at a time, even if they never see any multiplayer.) It's enough to keep me from buying the game. I'm a chronic altitis [tvtropes.org] sufferer and I won't be able to relax and enjoy the game if I know I'm tapping a finite resource when I click the "New Game" button. Even if the game is good—especially if it's good—I'd rather avoid the temptation to get invested and be all the more be frustrated when I eventually hit the ten-character limit. Better to just play Diablo II and Torchlight instead.

    And by the way, the game will still be cracked.

I came, I saw, I deleted all your files.