So, Diablo 3 comes out tomorrow, as you all probably know at this point.
Diablo 3 has to be the most controversial subject in gaming right now. It’s arguably one of the most widely anticipated games ever at this point, and yet there’s an overwhelming number of former Diablo fans expressing rage, disappointment and disinterest in the game because of its required Internet connection and real-money auction house. It’s caused any forum thread regarding Diablo to turn into a battlefield of fans vs. ex-fans, one side saying Blizzard is stupid and evil now and the other side saying they’re butthurt over nothing.
Personally, I’m not happy about the required online connection, but I’ve preordered the game regardless and am very much looking forward to it. I don’t like that you have to play on an online server even for single player, but I understand why they’re doing it (anti-piracy, more incentive to buy auction house items, etc.) and I’m confident that it won’t ruin this game for me, especially since I’ll mostly be playing multiplayer with friends anyway.
I played Diablo 1 when I was three years old. It was the first RPG, as well as the first graphically violent game, I ever played. Everyone in my family played it, and we all had fun. Diablo 2 was a rare example of a game that both my brothers and I all played obsessively. My brother Neil, who normally doesn’t particularly care for games, played Diablo 2 for hundreds of hours, getting multiple characters to level 80+ and literally decking them out in the very best items in existence without using cheats.
I’ll admit I felt nostalgia tingling through my spine as I played the Diablo 3 beta during the open weekend. As pitiful as it may sound, this franchise has played a prominent role in my life. Furthermore, I’ve loved every single Blizzard game since Warcraft 2, so it seems unwise for me to skip this latest installment.
If you’re abstaining from D3 because of its always-on DRM, I respect that. It’s your choice, whether you base it on principles or a lack of a reliable connection. Hell, it took me awhile to decide whether I’d be buying the game myself. I wouldn’t dare take the choice away from you.
But you are not a holy crusader battling the forces of evil. You are not a courageous protester standing up against corporate injustice. You’re just a guy (or girl, of course) who’s decided not to buy a game because it doesn’t let you play offline. And that’s fine, so long as you don’t talk about it as if Blizzard is “evil” and anybody who’s buying the game is stupid, wrong, and/or “part of the problem.”
I understand it’s easy to get upset about the fact that its required online connection won’t stop Diablo 3 from selling incredibly well and being loved by critics and gamers. I’m against the always-on DRM template, and I don’t like that it’s being used in a game I’m so interested in. But this won’t become the norm for every game, no matter how well Diablo 3 does. Even if it’s adopted by EA, Activision and Ubisoft (and I doubt all three of them will put it in every game they release) there will still be plenty of other studios who don’t use it. Thanks to Steam, Desura, Kickstarter and so on, there are plenty of avenues for independent developers to release high-quality games with no required connection.
It’s easy to hate anybody who supports Diablo 3, but consider where I stand. Diablo 3 is a game I’ve been looking forward to for years. I played through the beta and enjoyed it thoroughly. I don’t like some of the choices they’ve made regarding it, but my internet connection is generally reliable enough for it not to be a huge problem, and from my perspective it seems like a game that will be worth every dollar I spend. This doesn’t make me “weak-willed;” I’ve done my research, weighed the pros and cons, and concluded that this game is worth purchasing despite its flaws. It’s not ignorant; it’s what you’ve done for literally every game you’ve spent your own money on.
It’s easy to preach about “the principle of the matter” until you realize that if you were truly 100% against the idea of a publisher trying to keep control of its product after it’s been sold, you would have stopped buying games as soon as they added serial keys. The truth is that everybody draws a line at some point, and you shouldn’t hate us for drawing our lines a bit farther down the road than you.
In short, if you don’t buy the game, that’s fine. Just don’t patronize those of us who do.