Blizzard’s upcoming Diablo III has been attracting plenty of discussion recently, largely surrounding the
real currency auction house and the game’s requirement that players remain connected to the Internet while playing.
MTV Multiplayer, Blizzard vice president of online technologies Robert Bridenbecker noted his bewilderment at the negative reaction the revelations had garnered.
“I’m actually kind of surprised in terms of there even being a question in today’s age around online play and the requirement around that,” he said. “We’ve been doing online gameplay for 15 years now, and with World of Warcraft, our roots in Battle.net and now Diablo III, 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.”
Blizzard’s justification for making the game online only is so that players can easily play either solo or multiplayer with the same character. In Diablo II, you had to specifically create a Battle.net character to play online—and there was no way of converting an existing single player character to online. This was largely in an attempt to combat cheating and hacking when playing online.
Bridenbecker claims that despite many community members’ assumptions that the online requirement for Diablo III is to do with DRM, it’s actually not something they considered.
“Internally I don’t think [DRM] ever actually came up when we talked about how we want connections to operate. I don’t look at DRM solutions and go ‘wow, those are awesome.’ I look at those and say, ‘
wow, those kind of suck.’ But if there’s a compelling reason for you to have online connectivity that enhances the gameplay, that doesn’t suck. That’s awesome.”