Diablo 3 "Always Online" Requirement Helps Fight Hackers, Says Blizzard

Logan Westbrook

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Feb 21, 2008
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Diablo 3 "Always Online" Requirement Helps Fight Hackers, Says Blizzard


Trading offline play for fewer cheaters is fair, right?

Apparently, it's not pirates that Blizzard is targeting by requiring Diablo 3 to be hooked up to the internet all the time, it's hackers. Game director Jay Wilson says that including an offline mode would make it a lot easier for people to hack the game, and that was something that Blizzard really didn't want.

"If we allow an Offline mode, it changes the structure of the data that we have to put on the user's system," Wilson explained. "Essentially we would have to put our server architecture onto the client so that it can run its own personal server." He said that allowing offline play in Diablo 2 had enabled a lot of cheating and item duplication, and the Diablo community had made it clear they didn't want the same to happen with the sequel. "I would never guarantee that we're never going to have [cheating and duplication] in Diablo 3," he said. "But it's one of the things that our community has been the most vocal about, wanting this fixed, and if we essentially are putting the server out there ... we're not really going to be able to do better than Diablo 2."

He also said that he didn't really think the "always online" condition was all that unreasonable, as internet connections were hardly rare, and that opting out of the online experience meant that you weren't really playing the game as intended. "We've always viewed it as an online game - the game's not really being played right if it's not online, so when we have that specific question of why are we allowing it? Because that's the best experience, why would you want it any other way?"

Wilson acknowledged that the decision had upset people, but said that it was impossible to please everyone all the time. In fact, he added, every choice that Blizzard made would upset a certain portion of Diablo 3's potential audience, no matter what it was. "Some people don't like fantasy games, so should we have not made Diablo a fantasy game, because some people don't like that? Some people don't like barbarians. Should we not have put a barbarian in the game because some people don't like it?"

While the way he phrases his arguments leaves something to be desired, nothing that Wilson says is factually untrue. You could even make the argument that the internet connection is just another system requirement, like a graphics card or processor, and most people will never be in a position where they are unable to play Diablo 3, at least not for want of an internet connection. However, "most people" isn't everyone, and it's a little disappointing that Blizzard couldn't come up with a better way to stop people cheating than dictating how people play the game.

Source: PC Gamer [http://www.pcgamer.com/2011/08/22/diablo-3-lead-designer-on-lack-of-offline-mode-the-game%E2%80%99s-not-really-being-played-right-if-it%E2%80%99s-not-online/]


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microhive

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Mar 27, 2009
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This will certainly prevent the game from being cracked within the first couple of months. Takes a while to build a battle.net clone.
 

Doom972

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Logan Westbrook said:
Trading offline play for fewer cheaters is fair, right?
Wrong for several reasons:
1) People will find a way to cheat through.
2) I don't care if someone wants to cheat, as he's only ruining it for himself.
3) My internet connection sometimes dies on me without me noticing - which could mean losing hours of gameplay. I know there are many other gamers who have this problem.

The only online DRM That I can tolerate is steamworks.
 

Jumwa

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Jun 21, 2010
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Blizzard sends out another rep to lie and contradict the project lead who admitted it was about piracy when the always-on requirement was first revealed.

You can have an offline experience completely separate from the online that wouldn't allow any further cheating or exploits. They're painting it as a black or white situation, when they know full well there can be both if you just separate the two entirely as so many other games have done and still do.

Blizzard has joined Ubisoft in a competition for "most anti-consumer gaming company", and I guess I can only say: best of luck?
 

AquaAscension

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The last sentence has way more meaning in it than I think was intended. Blizzard, at the end of the day, is NOT dictating how people play the game in the strictest sense of the word. They are forcing those who are playing to also be connected, but this is quite a far cry from dictating how the game is to be played by people who purchase it. Misleading by virtue of its broadness, that sentence would be struck down were it offered as an argument in a court.

Additionally, what other methods would you suggest? Server mods? Then people would cry WoW. There is no winning. There is, however, a lot of whining to be had here. I think the always on has more to do with legal stuff of their online auction house. Keeping in mind that Diablo 2 had a third party auction house, I'm totally fine with the inclusion of an in-game one. Less duping, less cheating, less griefing. I don't know if you remember or not, but Diablo 2 was kind of a cesspool of assholes at times.

I'm still scarred from being scammed (the youngling I was) by a teleporting barbarian. That. Bastard.
 

AndyFromMonday

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Feb 5, 2009
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How does it help fight hackers? Last time I checked, Single Player and Multiplayer were two different things that did not in any way interact with each other. The same goes with LAN. This is just Blizzard spewing out more bullshit.
 

Crazie_Guy

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I see plenty of people who never really played D2 on bnet. Getting rid of item duping is a massive thing, and saying its one of the most vocalized concerns is certainly no lie. And no, these cheaters are not 'only ruining the game for themselves.' Item duplication played havoc with the online economy. No high rune was ever safe from randomly disappearing...
 

IndianaJonny

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Jan 6, 2011
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This is not about genre choice or game mechanics, it's about the downright awful combination of denial of access tagged with forcing gamers to play a certain (more costly) way. I have yet to hear one concrete reason as to why this DRM decision is good for the gamer.
 
Feb 13, 2008
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"Some people don't like fantasy games, so should we have not made Diablo a fantasy game, because some people don't like that? Some people don't like barbarians. Should we not have put a barbarian in the game because some people don't like it?"
Some people don't like strawmen arguments. Should we not have used a strawman argument?

You know what people really enjoy about Diablo, and other games? Choice and ease of use.

You know what you're denying them? Choice and ease of use.

Do you actually see the real world any more, Mr. Wilson? Or just "THE BEST POSSIBLE WORLD".

And when everyone else reaches level umpty-ump, the hackers and cheaters and pirates will have cracked your Always On, and be hacking, cheating and pirating away on the end-bosses as much as they want.

So even in your perfect world, there's a rotten stinking corpse lying, beaten up, in the alley.
 

beeflard

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Aug 19, 2011
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Man, as a longtime hardcore diablo fan with no internet connection at home, this attitude saddens me. This dude is trying so hard to make it sound like they had no choice. That strawman argument at the end is totally insane. I cant believe adults are saying this and expecting other adults to buy into it. Honestly, if somebody makes a sp crack i'll have to get it, NOT buy the game..... sorry, but if i wanna play the game (i do, god i do) thats the best i can do. There's gotta be a lot of others like me. I hope sales are lackluster and fans get vocal.
 

Signa

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I love all the double-speak. In the end, it's not about piracy or cheaters or modders, it's about protecting Blizzard's bottom line. If there is a chance in hell that a player could create a high-level item without waiting for it to drop, Blizzard will lose the money they have their hearts set on.
 

Sabrestar

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Apr 13, 2010
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You know what? I don't care what their justification is.

I don't always have an internet connection. I would only have played the game in a single-player mode, because that's how I prefer to play. I will not be buying Diablo 3 specifically because of this requirement.

Blizzard, I am a lost sale because of this. You may feel that there aren't many people like me, and that you can afford to lose our business. That's your prerogative, and I gracefully acknowledge your right to do so. I also acknowledge my right to refuse to buy your game as a result, and to make it clear that your requirement is the reason.

Now off to Blizzard's site to find the right address to send my statement. And then? Nothing. I'm going to stop getting upset about it, leave it be, and go play another game. And that $50 or so that would have winged straight into Blizzard's bottom line will go to some other enterprise. And that will be the end of it.
 

rembrandtqeinstein

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Sep 4, 2009
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Dude is spinning so hard that if he was hooked up to a turbine he could solve the world's energy problems.

[quote]Essentially we would have to put our server architecture onto the client so that it can run its own personal server.[/quote]

Man I hope this guy didn't touch any of the code for the game because if that is what he truly believes I wouldn't trust him to make a sine curve on a graphing calculator.

Client server 101 dude, don't trust the client, all logic is on the server. Poof, instant security. Even with full access to the server code if it is programmed correctly there is NOTHING a client can do that can compromise it.

What this guy is advocating is security through obscurity and it might slightly slow down potential hackers it is never a long term security strategy.

How about a compromise, you have your little closed system and make your money, then in a few months release a "patch" that adds offline single and multiplayer. Then I'll pick up the game, otherwise no sale.
 

Aggieknight

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Dec 6, 2009
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I personally own every Blizzard game ever made, including the Lost Vikings on NES.

Sorry Blizzard. I refuse to purchase single player games with "always on" requirements. I'm too often in hotels, relatives' houses or other places with unreliable internet connections to buy a single player game with "always on" crappy DRM. Doesn't even count the times I'm on an airplane (what, I need to pay $10 to play D3 in flight?) or my ISP's service is down.

I understand your desire to fight hackers and pirates, and to mine my personal play-style. Please understand my desire to use something I purchased when and where I want to. Also understand my desire to not pay for something that is more restrictive than what others "steal" for free.

Don't worry, I won't download a hacked copy of your game. I will gladly be playing Torchlight in its stead.
 

Phishfood

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Jul 21, 2009
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Doom972 said:
Logan Westbrook said:
Trading offline play for fewer cheaters is fair, right?
Wrong for several reasons:
1) People will find a way to cheat through.
2) I don't care if someone wants to cheat, as he's only ruining it for himself.
3) My internet connection sometimes dies on me without me noticing - which could mean losing hours of gameplay. I know there are many other gamers who have this problem.

The only online DRM That I can tolerate is steamworks.
This This this this this 1000x this.

I don't give a flying monkey **** what people do to their offline games. If you wanna load up D3, start a game and hack in the best armour and weapons possible from level 1, give yourself infinte potions and max hp I really don't care.

Now, online games I am sharing...yes I care. But saying I need to be online to stop me hacking a game I want to play offline and alone? WTF.
 

Imperioratorex Caprae

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May 15, 2010
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AquaAscension said:
The last sentence has way more meaning in it than I think was intended. Blizzard, at the end of the day, is NOT dictating how people play the game in the strictest sense of the word. They are forcing those who are playing to also be connected, but this is quite a far cry from dictating how the game is to be played by people who purchase it. Misleading by virtue of its broadness, that sentence would be struck down were it offered as an argument in a court.

Additionally, what other methods would you suggest? Server mods? Then people would cry WoW. There is no winning. There is, however, a lot of whining to be had here. I think the always on has more to do with legal stuff of their online auction house. Keeping in mind that Diablo 2 had a third party auction house, I'm totally fine with the inclusion of an in-game one. Less duping, less cheating, less griefing. I don't know if you remember or not, but Diablo 2 was kind of a cesspool of assholes at times.

I'm still scarred from being scammed (the youngling I was) by a teleporting barbarian. That. Bastard.
^This in so many ways. People romanticize the past and forget the nasty things that used to go on with Diablo 2. Between that and certain issues with maps on the original Starcraft, I hated Battle.net for years and refused to play on it, not because of Blizz but because of assjack players who figured if they can exploit something that means "working as intended".
 

otakon17

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Hey, Blizzard here's a tip: Get rid of the always-online that way you won't have to keep pulling excuses from you nethers to try a placate a good deal of you customer base who don't like it. Someone mentioned it already but I'll put it up here again:

Single Player characters that CANNOT be used in Multiplayer.

Really, I'm asking now is it that hard to figure out something to use like that?
 

WabbitTwacks

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Dec 8, 2010
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I don't understand why all the guys who say that they have an unstable internet connection insist on not buying the game. Of course you won't buy it if you can't play it! That would be the same if I said that I wouldn't buy the game because I don't have a fancy video card to run it. Damn you Blizzard for not making a game that can run on my crappy integrated card! I'm gonna go play Baldur's Gate instead. Or Mario Brothers. Whatever.
I would love to have a Single Player mode in Diablo 3 as much as the next guy but I'm not gonna whine about the lack of it and say that I'm gonna go play another game while I can have fun playing both.