Diablo 3 fiasco: People have to take a stand against always-online DRM

Posted By | On 15th, May. 2012 Under Editorials | Follow This Author @KartikMdgl

It’s been a decade since Diablo 2 was released and people understandably are very excited for its sequel, Diablo 3. According to Blizzard, the game already has two million pre-orders and it looks set to break records worldwide, but there is a very grave issue that some people are neglecting here.

Diablo 3’s launch has been a clusterfuck of epic proportions. There are a bunch of errors users have encountered, which range from “servers busy” to “this game is not licensed on your account”. Look, the game isn’t cheap. For a PC game, it is quite expensive and when people pay up so much for games like these and encounter these errors which locks them out of something they own – people have to start questioning.

This isn’t about Blizzard specifically. There are other publishers watching this and looking at the commercial success of Diablo 3 – which does not even allow you to play the single-player campaign without logging onto Blizzard’s servers. So why is this so interesting for them? – Because it is a spectacular deterrent to piracy and extremely anti-consumer as well.

I do not want to pay up so much money and get locked out of the single-player component. Just no. This is a very serious issue that infuriates me to no end. Just imagine if other publishers start doing the same, and in the end, our beloved hobby will be destroyed by these corporate entities who only care about their own financial interests.

It’s the trend that we’ve been moving towards,” said Senior Producer of Diablo 3, Alex Mayberry to justify the always-online DRM . “Obviously StarCraft 2 did it, WoW authenticates also. It’s kind of the way things are, these days. The world of gaming is not the same as it was when Diablo 2 came out.”

The world of gaming or whatever the hell that means, has not changed; the bottomline is, consumers should not be locked away from the single-player content. Coming from someone who has to review this game and had to wait till the servers went up for everybody, I can’t even explain what a frustrating scenario I’m facing right now.

We have deadlines and a lot of things to do – and things like these make it so much more difficult for us. That’s not all; imagine coming home from work tired and thinking about leisurely spending a few hours on a game, only to find out that you are at the mercy of these companies.

This should not happen. You paid them money and should be able to access the entire content (or at least the single-player mode) without any hassles. I hope this doesn’t set a precedent where publishers like Ubisoft and others try to combine always-online DRM with their most popular games and lock you out of the single-player mode, too. You know they are watching this – and want to test it out desperately.

It’s also our job as the media to spread awareness and send a message to these publishers that such anti-consumer policies should not be implemented and will not be tolerated by the paying consumers.

However, people will forget about all these things soon, unfortunately. Here’s what’s going to happen.

Diablo 3 will go on to sell a lot of copies (and based on what I’ve played, it sort of deserves those sales), and the always-online DRM will gain in popularity with other publishers who will slowly but steadily lock people out of single-player modes in a bid to combat piracy. In the end, the paying customers will suffer, but the pirates won’t. They will always find a way. Why? – Because we all know that terribly implemented DRM solutions do not work, unless you nicely try to screw customers like Blizzard have done here.

With the rumors of next-gen consoles having anti-used games technology, I really wonder where exactly are we heading? Things aren’t looking too rosy right now.

P.S. Always-online DRM is the worst form of DRM. It really is.

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  • anon

    Ill pirate this later after the drm thing has been cracked and removed.

    • David

      And this is why they implimented this system…..

  • Vince

    “People have to take a stand against always-online DRM”

    I did. I didn’t buy it. If you think anything else will stop always online DRM, you are being naive. Diablo III will sell tons of copies, people will complain, petitions will be signed, forums will be flooded with whining gamers and, unfortunately, nothing will change because Diablo III sold tons of copies. That tells developers that you, as a consumer, are OK with it.

  • Jason Adams

    In this case, isn’t about piracy to the game, but more the RMAH they implemented. They probably figure out sometime in the early development that they can’t get RMAH to work, unless they host the game on their server side which essentially remove the single player option. All this because some top executive told the developer they need more revenue from the game.

  • JustReading

    I agree. I didn’t buy it either and I own both copies of part 1 and 2. But I’ll be damned if I can’t play just because there servers r down.

  • Ryan

    As a member of the military nothing sucks worse then being overseas on deployment and all you wanna do is play a game on your laptop to get away for a bit and then you get denied because you must login to play. I was so mad when i couldn’t play starcraft 2 while i was overseas. I felt i had been ripped off for my money and really brought down not just my morale but many others as well.

  • Chris M

    Knowing that hacking ruined D2 and knowing it was because people were able to exploit the offline portion of the game in order to do said hacking, I have to say I’m not against the always on-line DRM in this game. I am generally against things like this in most games, I’m sure Blizzard have a monetizing agenda and I’ll admit that disconnects are an inconvenience, but if stops them game from being ruined like D2 (by idiots), I’m all for it.

    • anon2

      Not really. You think that just because this silly DRM is in place people won’t hack in the actual game? You think dupes won’t exist just because you need an internet connection to play the game? I doubt it. Like my anonymous predecessor, I’ll pirate this game as well. I can’t afford it: third-world country and whatnot. This does nothing against piracy. Stop giving your money to companies that constantly screw you with nonsensical DRM, DLCs and shitty payment subscription plans. Start pirating games. If you keep giving away your dough, companies will keep pulling shit like this.
      Pirates have been around since Amiga days. Why do you think they make such a fuss over it now? It’s because companies are greedy as fuck. That’s all there is to it. Same with Hollywood studios. They aren’t suffering because of pirates. They aren’t going under due to piratebay. They just want more money. Just refuse.

  • guest

    I like how people keep giving their money away to devs that keep fucking them over. DLCs, shitty DRMs, even shittier subscription plans, MMOs locking users into a pay-to-win cycle. Just fucking wake up already. This isn’t about pirates hurting the business. Pirates have been around since Amiga days. Their argument is that internet being commonplace in most of the world turned piracy into a huge problem that quite literally bankrupts companies. Guess what? Internet being commonplace means computers became commonplace as well. The market for Blizzard, EA or Ubisoft to push their games has grown as much as piracy has. This is exclusively about money. Big companies want big turnovers at the end of the year. Fuck that. They come up with shittier and shittier games each year. Same as movies. Just stop giving them your hard-earned money, kids.

  • Grunger

    While I agree that DRM and online-only DRM solutions are completely terrible for the gamer (not the gaming world, or industry, because that stops where the buck does), I really wish you wouldn’t use such blatant sensationalism in your criticism of it. The fact that your cush job as a video game reviewer has a deadline or that some 40 year old dude can’t play after his 9-5 really doesn’t matter–what does matter is the fact that people like me, who only play video games all day, are seriously crippled by the lack of our abuse substance of choice. It’s like saying, “Hey Mr. Heroine Addict, please step away from your heroine that you paid for.” Pigs disgust me.

    • anonymous

      If your life revolves exclusively around playing games, that’s your problem, not Blizzard’s. Also, game-reviewing might be a ‘cush job’, but playing video games all day like you claim you do sounds pretty cushy as well.

      inb4 agoraphobia, panic attacks, diseases and pro-gaming.

  • Paul Black

    I couldn’t agree more with your report. I’ve been happily pc gaming since doom and I’ve always considered it a great form of entertainment and worth every penny we pay for quality titles. I have always legally purchased my games and have a rather vast collection of bought and paid for titles.

    This new trend is very alarming and I too agree that other companies will surely adopt this approach if Blizzards attempt is successful. I don’t play multiplayer games. I find it completely uninteresting and would rather take my leisure time and enjoy it at my own pace with a good well design game campaign.

    The recent aggressive attempts at DRM are really only hurting the paying customers of these companies. People who line up and shell out happily for their gaming entertainment should not have to jump through some ridiculous online hoops just to enjoy what they paid for. this is a terrible trend and NEEDS to fail.

    I do agree that DRM is needed as piracy is rampant in the software industry, but even a system like Steam where you validate a game upon installing or starting then from there enjoy a disconnected single player experience stored locally on your own machine is acceptable by todays standards. It’s a fair and workable option.

    Lets face it. Blizzard is just greedy. Upon the insanely profitable World of Warcraft success that has people forgetting to feed their children because they are addicted to a game they would at that point pay anything for. They are set to make a fortune off gaming addicts through their online real money auction for diablo’s game loot. Diablo 3 is just a wrapper for that system. The game itself isn’t even that great. It’s literally a clone of diablo 2 with modern graphics and animations. The gameplay mechanics are virtually identical to the previous version. That’s not a bad thing. The original was fun. But there really is nothing new there. However, the online aspect forced on me has utterly ruined this game for me and I’m personally DONE with blizzard products at this point.

    If this is a sign of the direction the gaming industry is going (which by the way is a multi billion dollar industry these days) then I for one am very sad about it.

    • Paul Black

      the bad publicity is definitely hurting them. In what is most likely an effort to stem their public relations disaster over this, Blizzard is now actively deleting negative and complaining posts from their Diablo 3 tech support forums. If you see or create a negative post there about the over aggressive DRM, the forced online element, server latency or failures and hacked battle.net accounts, you can bet it will mysteriously disappear from their site soon enough. But they will however offer to SELL you a mechanism for hacked account protection. Like their servers getting hacked is somehow their customers responsibility for not buying account protection! Hilarious. and sad at the same time.

  • Daniel

    I agree with the simple do not buy. I refuse to buy any game with invasive DRM. Unfortunately many buy them and whine about it, sortof like the spouse that gets beaten and keeps going back… just walk away, don’t look back 🙂

  • f89ef

    Isolating customers. Is never good business. Lots of people (customers,cash cows) don’t live in the big grid. For a lot of people they don’t have steady enough connections for this always on crap. Old one time activation.

    Even without the risk of origin like data mining from them I don’t want any part of a game I want to play single player dependent on the company. Ever. Their servers could go down, time could pass and they may shut them down totally and then the item you buy is useless. Call me old fashioned but I expect games to function like they always have. I can put in a cartridge or disc and it won’t give me crap 10 years later. Could you imagine putting in Chrono Trigger and then getting unable to start super nintendo server inactive please purchase the game again each new system we release.

    If game developers won’t give players what they want and expect then the good folk in eye patches will. Start selling products again instead of temporary, loose,unreliable access to them and our moneys may once again enter your pockets. Til such a time- fuck you and arrgh

    • harry

      i believe in the end theyre going to bring an offline patch theyre most likely doing it for piracy probably give it a few months and theyll bring one out otherwise people are just gonna stop buying anything to do with blizzard also funny thing alot of people complain about the online requirement yet they still buy the game cause they cant resist playing it


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