Tuesday, 2 August 2011

On Diablo 3, DRM & Items for Cash

Today, the news broke that Diablo III would have no offline mode, no mods, and an auction house that will let players list items for real-life money.

The internet's reaction has not been pretty, to say the least. A lot has been said on this topic already. I can't really add a new viewpoint to the offline and the auction house. Always-on is bad. Their reasoning for it is that players may get a character to level 20 or 30 offline and then realise they want to play online, so to avoid frustration they removed the offline. Completely. Lots of things have been said about playing on planes and in places without reliable connections, but response from Blizzard has been lukewarm. I'm unable to find a proper source for this, but apparently the quote goes: I want to play Diablo 3 on my laptop in a plane, but, well, there are other games to play for times like that. Fuckwads.

As for the for-money auction house, Blizzard have said that for people who don't want to buy things with real cash, there's a regular one, for in-game gold. But it begs the question, if people can list their items for cash and could make a profit for their unwanted items, why would they ever use the one for in-game gold? Gold, traditionally, has never had much use in Diablo games. There are no money sinks other than gambling and gambling is almost useless. You earn more than you can ever use very very quickly. Also, do you list your profits from Diablo III on your tax form? I mean, you have to take prizes won into account, so why not actual earnings? It's a road fraught with danger.

I also had a moment of silence for the death of mods. Blizzard unequivocally stated that mods are not allowed for this game, not at all, not ever. Which is a shame. Diablo II may not have had modding tools, but that did not stop the community, not one bit. There are some fantastic mods out there which bring so much longevity to the game, such as Meridian XL, Zy-El (My personal favorite, and how I've mostly played Diablo II for about 3 or 4 years now), and many, many more.

I'd also like to make a little point about boycotts. Saying you're going to boycott a game or company is all very well, but very few people actually go through with it. The lure of a game is just too much and they break down in the end. If you do want to boycott, go ahead. But please, make sure you let the developer know that you disagree with their practices, otherwise they'll never know and never miss you. You can submit tickets here, email here, Facebooks here and here, and get their Twitter here. Let them know, and for Pete's sake, don't forget and go buy it!

(From a person who boycotted EA's PC games back when the DRM for Spore was announced, emailed them with a list of all the games she wouldn't be buying, and hasn't bought one since. I'm still kind of sad I never got to play Spore, but to this day it still has it's draconian DRM.)

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