Since the release of Diablo III this May, we’ve heard a lot about the “always online” requirement. While there are those among us who don’t seem to mind having to play Diablo III while logged on to the Internet, many others are less than thrilled about it. Why should a game that had worked perfectly fine on offline mode in previous iterations suddenly require an Internet connection while playing? Most gamers attributed it to Blizzard’s desire to fight piracy and make the game impossible to crack. This sounds all well and good, but according to Blizzard President Mike Morhaime, that isn’t quite the case.
Morhaime posted an open letter to Diablo III gamers yesterday on the official Battle.net forum, which covered a variety of topics. As expected, Morhaime highlighted the title’s immense success in the two months since it was released, and briefly explained the “build diversity” that Blizzard hopes to achieve with the latest Diablo III patch, version 1.0.4. But mainly, he clarified the reason why Diablo III players always have to be connected to the Internet. Morhaime admitted that there always would be a possibility the game would be cracked, though he has yet to encounter a cracked version that works. Yes, he admitted it – being online would help Blizzard in its war against piracy. But according to Morhaime, the real reason is, and always will be Diablo III being a game “that can be enjoyed with friends.” He stressed the interactive features of Diablo III, such as the friends list, co-op matchmaking and customer support, and ended the paragraph on the always-online requirement by saying “this was the best long-term decision for the game.”
The Blizzard head honcho also covered a few of other points in his letter, such as the real-money auction house and the upcoming PvP update, also known as Patch 1.1. To be honest, we’re not too convinced about the always-online explanation, as there are thousands of Diablo III players who can get by fine playing solo. But kudos nonetheless to Morhaime, who took time out from his busy schedule to address gamer concerns via Battle.net.