Blizzard apologizes for Diablo 3 servers, delays real-money auctions

By on May 17, 2012, 12:30 PM

Last night, Blizzard issued an apology to gamers for the rough (understatement?) launch of its long anticipated, treasure-hunting click fest, Diablo 3. The statement came shortly after Diablo 3 servers took yet another nose dive yesterday evening, angering some players who have spent more time trying to log on than actually playing.

Diablo 3's server failures are particularly controversial because of its always-online DRM scheme. Even gamers who prefer the intimate privacy of single-player must log on and maintain connection to battle.net servers... or else.

"We’ve been humbled by your enthusiasm -- and we sincerely regret that your crusade to bring down the Lord of Terror was thwarted not by mobs of demons, but by mortal infrastructure."

Source: us.battle.net, "Bashiok" - Blizzard community manager

In addition to thanking everyone who's been playing -- or trying to play -- Diablo 3, Blizzard reports that the overwhelming technical difficulties it has experienced have been in spite of aggressive projections and planning. In order to provide temporary demon slaying relief, Blizzard says is has applied "several optimizations" which are expected to help during peak times. The company also states that it will closely monitor the Diablo servers to address additional technical shenanigans, should more problems arise.

Citing its recent difficulties, Blizzard has also pushed back the release date of its real-money auction house. The already delayed feature was slated for a May 22 launch, but as of now, there is no ETA until Blizzard posts more updates in the "near future".

If ever always-on DRM had a chance to work properly, you might think Blizzard, an experienced developer with deep pockets, and Diablo 3, a record-breaking game birthed with immediate highborn status, would be able to make it work. Instead, Diablo's server woes highlight a fundamental problem which always-on DRM schemes always suffer: honest players pay the price. Ubisoft helped us understand this a couple years ago, but Blizzard's recent failures manage to once again showcase its shortcomings.




User Comments: 31

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bandit8623 said:

its sad that the ping to blizzard also effects the gameplay. even at best my pings are around 100ms and you can notice delay in game machanics.. at times I had pings of 3000+, making it unplayable.

mevans336 mevans336 said:

its sad that the ping to blizzard also effects the gameplay. even at best my pings are around 100ms and you can notice delay in game machanics.. at times I had pings of 3000+, making it unplayable.

When you're just playing single player your ping causes in-game lag?

Guest said:

Normally I highly agree with the statements on issues here at techspot, but I highly disagree with this one based on the misinformation given. Blizzards "Always on DRM" isn't in place to be DRM at all. Diablo 3 is a multiplayer game by nature. But you are treating it as a singleplayer one. Having the ability to play singleplayer, does not make it a singleplayer game. Blizzard has stated this before launch, durning launch, and continues to state it. I cannot provide a source for this information at the moment, but Jay Wilson has been very clear with it. The game should be treated as an MMO to the regard of playing stability, and no MMO launch is without its issues.

Kibaruk Kibaruk, TechSpot Paladin, said:

its sad that the ping to blizzard also effects the gameplay. even at best my pings are around 100ms and you can notice delay in game machanics.. at times I had pings of 3000+, making it unplayable.

When you're just playing single player your ping causes in-game lag?

Yes, there is no single player, just a private game.

Staff
Rick Rick, TechSpot Staff, said:

Diablo 3 is a multiplayer game by nature. But you are treating it as a singleplayer one. Having the ability to play singleplayer, does not make it a singleplayer game.

To that, I would say then, Blizzard should remove single-player since multi-player is so essential to the experience. Why even bother catering to single-player?

If we're going to pick on technicalities too, it's also not an "MMORPG" -- only 4 (unless they've changed it) can play in any given game. That's pretty far from "massive", in my opinion.

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

"Why even bother catering to single-player?"

Because there is a significant population of computer gamers who don't care for online gaming? Although I enjoy an occasional online gaming bout, for the most part I prefer gaming on my own, so I fall into that category. Plus they already have the game built, so might as well fit the single-player option in to generate sales and satisfy those customers.

Guest said:

"Blizzards "Always on DRM" isn't in place to be DRM at all. Diablo 3 is a multiplayer game by nature. But you are treating it as a singleplayer one. Having the ability to play singleplayer, does not make it a singleplayer game. Blizzard has stated this before launch, durning launch, and continues to state it."

Okey, so, halo, gta iv, gears of war, etc...... aren't single player games since they have multiplayer........ Come on, even fifa, pes and street fighters are single player games, you blizzardbot.

Tygerstrike said:

All its going to take is one more server error and Blizzard will be flooded with returns. Ppl would rather wait till bugs are fixed instead of the non stop attempts to log in. A good chunk of players, who have to work, come home and try and play and get either crappy to no service. If Blizzard doesnt get their act together soon I see a mass exodus on par with FFXIV.

Guest said:

It's a little disingenuous to frame the "always online" aspect of Diablo 3 as purely a DRM choice when it's really a security choice. Steam has proven that you don't need always online DRM so the security benefits of keeping as much as possible server-side and trusting the client as little as possible are clearly the biggest reason for the always online requirement.

Plus it means that I don't have to juggle single-player and multi-player characters and I like that. Lag spikes in my single-player experience sucks and downtime sucks even more, but considering the long-term, I can deal with some launch issues.

Staff
Matthew Matthew, TechSpot Staff, said:

"Why even bother catering to single-player?"

Because there is a significant population of computer gamers who don't care for online gaming? Although I enjoy an occasional online gaming bout, for the most part I prefer gaming on my own, so I fall into that category. Plus they already have the game built, so might as well fit the single-player option in to generate sales and satisfy those customers.

I think the point is more that single player shouldn't be done if it can't be done right. I believe the backlash surrounding always online DRM is slightly overblown, but Diablo 3's launch underscores a serious problem with mandatory connections. If companies want to implement such requirements, they need to ensure they're as transparent as possible to users. Also, I don't understand why Diablo 3 can't have an offline mode that saves data and syncs it with Blizzard's servers once you're connected again. There are probably many other viable win-win solutions that seem largely unexplored for whatever reason.

amstech amstech, TechSpot Enthusiast, said:

Blizzard is one of many company's that want to keep a constant eye on players/users, hiccups/glitches/issues, gameworld commerce, stability, performance etc etc.

This requires constant feedback and users requiring to be online. Even for single player.

The gamer in me doesn't like it. I want to play and want to play now, using the attitude of my 11 year old self who's mom took his SNES controller away. The grownup in me wants Blizzard to do whatever they need to address issues and know about problems, and to make the experience better. This part of me has no issues with Blizzards business decisions.

Children need to stop acting like Children.

Gars Gars said:

I follow the topics about D3

cos I don't buy it (to skip 'enjoyment' of the new release and safe some time/nerves/ and ofc. money

why?

cos it's looks like the start of WoW in 2005(EU)

exactly

its mean - patching, upgrading, bug fixing, 'server maintains', etc == not playing what you pay for

yes, Blizz makes awesome stuff, but like every Windows, its need to be polished/patched/fixed to start playing normal

and at last but not at least

whats wrong with the demo versions?

play to 5lvl for free and then go buy the full game

thats was my 50 cents

bandit8623 said:

its sad that the ping to blizzard also effects the gameplay. even at best my pings are around 100ms and you can notice delay in game machanics.. at times I had pings of 3000+, making it unplayable.

When you're just playing single player your ping causes in-game lag?

yes, I should have been more clear. I am playing the single player (by myself) and ping spikes make the game really hard to play.

MilwaukeeMike said:

If ever always-on DRM had a chance to work properly, you might think Blizzard, an experienced developer with deep pockets, and Diablo 3, a record-breaking game birthed with immediate highborn status, would be able to make it work. Instead, Diablo's server woes highlight a fundamental problem which always-on DRM schemes always suffer: honest players pay the price.

1) If deep pockets and experience made for perfect systems then Windows should have been bug free sometime around windows XP. 2) To say this system doesn't work is a very premature statement 48 hours after the game launched. 3) Your entire argument is based on a 'problem with always-on DRM schemes' when it has been discussed here and listed on Diablo's site quoted by an admin, that the issue was a launch problem, and has nothing to do with millions of players being logged on at the same time. It's an issue of millions trying to log on at once. (see the explanation of Error 37 [link]

You complain that this is unacceptable, but think how ridiculous it would be to have a stadium that could hold 80,000 and allow them to all walk in at once without waiting in any sort of line.

LNCPapa LNCPapa said:

It's actually more like having a stadium that can hold 80,000 and then selling 120,000 tickets to a particular game. Sure you can have 80,000 in at any given time but you have to wait till 40,000 leave before the rest can come in. I guess if the airlines can get away with overbooking why shouldn't everyone else be able to as well.

Guest said:

"The gamer in me doesn't like it. I want to play and want to play now, using the attitude of my 11 year old self who's mom took his SNES controller away. The grownup in me wants Blizzard to do whatever they need to address issues and know about problems, and to make the experience better. This part of me has no issues with Blizzards business decisions.

Children need to stop acting like Children."

You Blizzardchildren.

mevans336 mevans336 said:

Yes, there is no single player, just a private game.

That is absurd. (For Blizzard to have implemented it that way.)

Night Hacker Night Hacker said:

I've been playing nothing but single player and still I get "thrown out of the game".... this is why I HATE games that force you to connect to play single player. This should have been done more like Diablo 2 and I won't be buying another single player game that forces me to connect. PERIOD.

This reminds me of that Futurama episode where their sons are advised to apologize using nice cheap words.

MilwaukeeMike said:

<p>It's actually more like having a stadium that can hold 80,000 and then selling 120,000 tickets to a particular game. Sure you can have 80,000 in at any given time but you have to wait till 40,000 leave before the rest can come in. I guess if the airlines can get away with overbooking why shouldn't everyone else be able to as well.</p>

The error was not a 'you have to wait in the queue' error. (Which WoW has had in the past, and Blizz has learned from.) The error was 'the server is unavailable' when you tried to log in. Everyone who got in said the game was fine. The only time the login servers will be stressed like that is at launch, while the number of players online at any given time will probably go up as more people get the game.

<p>
Yes, there is no single player, just a private game.
</p>

<p><br /></p>

<p>That is absurd. (For Blizzard to have implemented it that way.)</p>

Forcing you to be connected is not a DRM stunt. It's because of their real money AH. If you had full control of your game copy, it's only a matter of time before someone figured out how to duplicate items. By always being online, Blizz is in control of how many of a certain item is found. You can imagine the outrage, and maybe even lawsuits, if someone were able to create their own items.

insect said:

There has been approximately 10-hours of down time in 72 hours of release. I would call that a success.

Also, the game is f-ing amazing, single-player or not, and I don't notice the online bit of it at all - it's completely non-intrusive.

Anyways, if you don't like it, don't play it. Return the game and go offline. Despite the problems, none of the people I've played with have considered returning it and use the downtime to sleep.

Guest said:

Its a game NOT the end of the world.

And launch problems aside a great game, im very much enjoying it.

Guest said:

Three words: Path of Exile

This game is currently is closed beta and is practically free. Give it a try

Guest said:

Huh? Multiplayer game? It IS a singleplayer game with optional co-op. Online only bull is to serve Blizzard...

Guest said:

Did you send this from your PC at your Blizzard office? There are many ways to address performance issues or make "better the experience" apart from keeping an eye on you at all times. Blizzard redicules itself by being greedy. And "children" don't forget.

ramonsterns said:

<p>Its a game NOT the end of the world.</p>

<p><br /></p>

<p><br /></p>

<p><br /></p>

<p>And launch problems aside a great game, im very much enjoying it.</p>

Because the success of a game never had implications on the rest of the industry, right?

Guest said:

I don't see why people are complaining... did you not know how the game worked before you paid 60.00 for it?? If you didn't, then you're basically admitting your a ***** that pays for things before looking into them in any way shape or form. And really, Would you like to go back to Lan Co-op, sure, lets just go back to the 80's. Lets not use better systems, new technology, or our brains. 10 or so hours of downtime, not that big of a deal really. I think, bottom line, people just like to *****.

jackal2687 said:

Am I the one that gets my a$$ handed to me in Hell difficulty. Im not really complaining about the error 37 code. I am just frustrated that it seems I can't find any good items and I have to buy everything on the auction house.

avioza said:

<p>IAnd really, Would you like to go back to Lan Co-op, sure, lets just go back to the 80'sp>

Never left actually, I still do regular Lanning. The cloud gaming does allow for some of my friends who have kids now to play more often though. Actually a local dedicated server would be ideal.

I did not purchase D3 btw... and it's true... people do like to complain.

Guest said:

The worst thing about all this is it all leads back to money. Blizzard have turned into a company that would rather have more money than happy customers. Do the F**k care about you guys not being able to play, you've lined their pockets already, they couldn't care less. Bullshit? Have you hard about there real money auction-house plans? Still think the always on thing is just to make the game "better for everyone"? What a joke! If people could dupe items, they could sell the in these shitty auctions and Blizzard would :O Lose money? I have lost so much faith in this company since this game was announce/released, they are just another blood sucking corporation solely intrested in taking money. Diablo is a brilliant game, but they have really taken advantage of this to suck as much money as they humanly can without outright stealing you money.

gingerbill said:

<p>There has been approximately 10-hours of down time in 72 hours of release. I would call that a success.</p>

<p> </p>

<p>Also, the game is f-ing amazing, single-player or not, and I don't notice the online bit of it at all - it's completely non-intrusive. </p>

<p> </p>

<p>Anyways, if you don't like it, don't play it. Return the game and go offline. Despite the problems, none of the people I've played with have considered returning it and use the downtime to sleep.</p>

well EU servers are donw almost every day with a problem , the last 2 days they been down as long as they been up , last night more problems , today login problems. EU servers are rubbish.

Guest said:

Problem with games you can play offline and online is the second a game is introduced

people work to cheat or steal from others. With online game only Blizz servers control

what drops, if your own computer determines it I can see the 135 pages of "dupe"

programs for D3 overnight. Its sad that so many people feel they have to cheat and steal

to enjoy a game but I'm just as happy that Blizz is keeping the control of the game in their

back pocket and not giving hackers a freebie.

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