Blizzard: Auction House Going, Always Online Staying
Who knows, maybe by the time the second Diablo 3 expansion launches, likely sometime in 2015, Blizzard will finally get it right.
As we reported yesterday, Blizzard announced its intention to remove the Diablo 3 Auction House, real money or otherwise. That does not mean, however, the studio is ready to concede on the other big point of contention: there are still no plans for an offline mode, and Diablo 3 will remain an online-only game on PC.
In a statement to Rock Paper Shotgun, Blizzard gave this response to the always online question:
“We do not have plans to implement an offline mode. While the always-online requirement made the auction house possible, the auction house was never the driving factor in our decision to make the PC version of Diablo III require an Internet connection. The game was built from the ground up to take full advantage of Battle.net, which provides a number of important benefits, including persistent server-side character saves, a seamless PC multiplayer experience, cheat prevention, and Real ID and BattleTag social features.”
Couple thoughts on these decisions: I appreciate that Blizzard actually took the time to respond to RPS and admit the always-online requirement will remain, but singing the same PR song and dance about why D3 is online-only is just plain dumb.
You do realize, don’t you Blizzard, that the console version of your game is playable offline, right? You do also realize that the vast majority of reviewers out there have declared the console version is superior to PC (blasphemy) in part because there is no online requirement, right? I’d also like to point out that 99.9% of what you describe about “building it from the ground up” applies to multiplayer and co-op only. The fact is the vast majority of D3 players simply want to enjoy the campaign solo. You admitted as much last year when you got a good look at the Diablo 3 solo vs. co-op stats.
Just come out and say it: you made D3 always online as the ultimate anti-piracy measure. That’s it. Plain and simple.
I also love, and by “love” I mean “am completely dumbfounded,” that Blizzard announced the auction house removal yesterday, September 17, but said it won’t actually be taken out until March 2014. We all know about Valve Time, but this announcement/six-month lag to action should prove once and for all that Blizzard is the king of moving at its own glacial pace.
In June 2008, Blizzard officially announced Diablo 3 was in development. Maybe, just maybe around 2015 or so — eight long years later — we’ll finally get the offline, RMAH-free Diablo adventure we wanted to play in the first place.