Blizzard says it was wrong to include offline mode in Diablo II

By on November 14, 2013, 3:00 PM
blizzard, diablo, gaming, pc, diablo iii, diablo ii

It isn't exactly news that a lot of the Diablo fanbase was disappointed with the release of Diablo III. Blame it on the lengthy development period, or the daunting task of creating a sequel to Diablo II. But aside from that there were two major issues that upset Diablo players, the auction house and the lack of an "offline" game mode.

One of those problems will soon be a thing of the past come March 2014 as Blizzard is finally set to close an auction house that has seen almost nothing but ire since it released with the title back in May 2012. The ability to "buy" the best possible armor and weapon combinations with real money upset a lot of hardworking players, not to mention it hurt the title's in-game gold-based economy.

But what of the other glaring issue? Blizzard developers have remained vigilant in enforcing their "always online" policy in Diablo III and it doesn't seem likely that they will be doing away with it anytime soon. In fact, according to one Blizzard team member, it was a mistake to even offer an offline mode in Diablo II.

In an in interview with Rock Paper Shotgun, lead designer Kevin Martens addressed the offline/online predicament with the Diablo series and made his stance very clear too:

"I don’t think people necessarily remember how mad they were that they had an offline mode and online mode in Diablo II. People will be like, 'I wasn’t mad!' But I was there at the time, and then I studied this for a living. It sucks when your friend or brother is online and he wants to join this game, but you realize you’re an offline character and he’s an online character, and there’s no way to transfer over because offline characters can be hacked and hex-edited to hell and back, right?"

That small rant displays how Blizzard feels about possibly implementing an offline mode into Diablo III. Keep in mind that there is already an offline mode available for the console versions of the game, which may offer a slight hint at the differences in development between PC and console, since it appears to be much easier to include an offline play option for stand alone gaming units.




User Comments: 35

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Per Hansson Per Hansson, TS Server Guru, said:

If he has so good memory perhaps he might also remember that 13 years ago a quite significant number of people where on dial-up, me included.

And to this day there are people still on connections which are so poor that an online-only mode is a major inconvenience at best, or deal breaker at worst.

1 person liked this | cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Even with on-line games, I have a tendency to solo through it. I'm not interested in on-line only modes. This only shows how Blizzard doesn't have my interest at heart, no matter how insignificant it may be.

1 person liked this |
Staff
Per Hansson Per Hansson, TS Server Guru, said:

Indeed same here @cliffordcooley infact when I got my preordered copy of Diablo III on launch day I could not play it because the servers where overloaded. I got so turned off so I put the game away and did not start playing it until last week!

1 person liked this | MilwaukeeMike said:

This whole 'forced connection' debate sounds like something that would be debated either way. if offline were allowed there could be hacked players, cheating, and probably a bunch of other issues we don't know of right now. And if that were the case, we'd all be complaining about those.

I know no one likes being forced to do anything like being 'forced' to play online. But online gaming has trade-offs, and for every vocal complainer there are dozens who don't care. They do their best to please as many as they can, and that's all they can do. A solution that makes everyone happy is a fantasy.

2 people like this | lipe123 said:

Ugh these guys are so disconnected from reality by now I can't take a word they say seriously anymore.

Not even going to bother with the expansion since the core of the game is flawed.

1. No choice on builds, manually change stats.

2. Loot drops are too random and too much, yellow items drop every 7 seconds and are totally useless. Drop me one every 20 minutes that actually does something!

ThanosPAS ThanosPAS said:

This whole 'forced connection' debate sounds like something that would be debated either way. if offline were allowed there could be hacked players, cheating, and probably a bunch of other issues we don't know of right now. And if that were the case, we'd all be complaining about those.

I know no one likes being forced to do anything like being 'forced' to play online. But online gaming has trade-offs, and for every vocal complainer there are dozens who don't care. They do their best to please as many as they can, and that's all they can do. A solution that makes everyone happy is a fantasy.

...but I believe

This whole 'forced connection' debate sounds like something that would be debated either way. if offline were allowed there could be hacked players, cheating, and probably a bunch of other issues we don't know of right now. And if that were the case, we'd all be complaining about those.

I know no one likes being forced to do anything like being 'forced' to play online. But online gaming has trade-offs, and for every vocal complainer there are dozens who don't care. They do their best to please as many as they can, and that's all they can do. A solution that makes everyone happy is a fantasy.

...but I think that "always online" is the choice that makes them most happy than the rest of us. It has so much less to do with our security than protecting their product (and cash flow) from "freeriders". Always online is a move further from your customers and closer to greater profitability. Nothing more.

1 person liked this | Mavrickx888 Mavrickx888 said:

If he has so good memory perhaps he might also remember that 13 years ago a quite significant number of people where on dial-up, me included.

I'm included in the lucky dial-up users of yesteryear as well. Until we got DSL about a year after I got Diablo II, I had to just play offline mode.

I personally don't have a huge problem with online only games... when they work - I'm looking at you Blizzard and EA. I'll start getting fully on board with online only games when terrible launch problems, constant server crashes, and general server-side failures aren't the status-quo.

If you want me to buy into your *Insert AAA Title here* online only game, then fix your servers so that I can actually play within the first month without being disconnected constantly or just generally unable to play.

dennis777 dennis777 said:

Wow Blizzard

Diablo 3 version PS3+xbox360 = has offline mode up to 4 players, can transfer save game via USB.

Guest said:

Oh yeah, sure... game would have been so much better playing on 56k modems. 128k isdn for the rich ppl.

I guess blizz got fire in the bong again ;)

WangDangDoodle said:

Blizzard is as greedy as EA and they're more arrogant than Capcom! The team that made Diablo II is gone with the wind and Activision bought the company. Blizzard isn't Blizzard anymore, just like Bioware isn't Bioware after EA bought them and fired everybody! Brand loyalty is a disease of the brain, and I've suffered this affliction long enough. Blizzard is joining EA and Capcom on my boycott list.

1 person liked this | misor misor said:

It sucks when your friend or brother is online and he wants to join this game, but you realize you're an offline character and he's an online character, and there's no way to transfer over because offline characters can be hacked and hex-edited to hell and back, right?

lol, then let his brother connect thru LAN so the can both play offline... or let the other brother quit offline play, go online so they can both play at the same mode of the game.... no hassle.

pure online 5uck5.

1 person liked this | demonlord721 said:

Wow, its quite amazing how stupid blizzard is. Hmm, looking for a system where you can play with your friends and family without worrying about hackers... Ever hear of this new thing called Co-op? Its a shame that the majority of games out there overlook the fact that people want to play with their friends (you know the real ones that you know "IRL" instead of a bunch of whiny teenagers or hackers. That's the whole reason games like DayZ have private server hacks so people can play a fun game without the people who make games unbearable... I'm looking at you CoD.

1 person liked this | Night Hacker Night Hacker said:

Offline mode = bad? What a crock of shit!!! Not everyone enjoys playing online, I for one HATED IT for the most part. It had it's moments, but the huge amount of gold sellers/gear sellers that spammed every chat room was far too annoying for my liking and I was glad to have an offline mode to play at my leisure without the spam. I also had some online characters for playing with friends, so again, this idea that we only had ONE character, off line, and that ruined it for online play is a lame ass excuse! I HATE having to connect up to play a game. I played D2 FAR MORE than D3, I levelled a toon to 40 in D3 then never played again since, but I played D2 a lot and still boot it up every once in a while... OFFLINE... and love it.

4 people like this | Night Hacker Night Hacker said:

This whole 'forced connection' debate sounds like something that would be debated either way. if offline were allowed there could be hacked players, cheating, and probably a bunch of other issues we don't know of right now. And if that were the case, we'd all be complaining about those.

I know no one likes being forced to do anything like being 'forced' to play online. But online gaming has trade-offs, and for every vocal complainer there are dozens who don't care. They do their best to please as many as they can, and that's all they can do. A solution that makes everyone happy is a fantasy.

Why would I complain if someone hacks their offline character? People done it all the time on Diablo 2 and it didn't bother me in t he least, why would it? It's OFFLINE... it doesn't effect anyone but the person playing the character. This is flawed logic. So long as the offline characters are kept separate from online characters, who cares about hacked offline characters??

1 person liked this | yukka, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Blizzard held characters online in diablo 3 so they could easily have offline characters that didn't interfere with the online server characters. I don't remember that being the case in diablo 2 or the online characters were stored locally ya some point and uploaded when you finished played. Either way that was poor and they should have seen the hacks coming.

This article title should read "Blizzard deny online only mode for Diablo 3 purely for DRM, points to Diablo 2 in lame attempt to pull wool over gamers eyes".

The console version needs a copy of the game disk to run so they don't mind offline coop. There's your DRM. The PC needs a constant connection with an account created with a cd key. It's all about money so I wish they wouldn't just make shit up. We ain't stupid.

Jason Stockler Jason Stockler said:

"since it appears to be much easier to include an offline play option for stand alone gaming units."

Who are you kidding? easier? hahaha Look, pc or console has nothing to do with whether or not it is easy or its hard to make a game to play offline. It has everything to do with software piracy and corporate greed. Blizzard is slowly loosing its main cash cow base - yeah people are quitting world of warcraft. They arent stupid. they are going to make everything forced online. they are afraid of software piracy and I cant blame them considering how greedy they are and how expensive D3 still is.

Once D3 is selling for less than 10 bucks, I'll buy it. Because the game is so linear its not worth much.

5 people like this | Alpha Gamer Alpha Gamer said:

"it was wrong to include offline mode in Diablo II" - it is never wrong to give people an OPTION

MilwaukeeMike said:

Why would I complain if someone hacks their offline character? People done it all the time on Diablo 2 and it didn't bother me in t he least, why would it? It's OFFLINE... it doesn't effect anyone but the person playing the character. This is flawed logic. So long as the offline characters are kept separate from online characters, who cares about hacked offline characters??

You'd complain if they weren't offline. You'd complain if their hacked character ended up online, or you'd complain if your character was no longer allowed online because you hacked it. It's not my argument, it's right out of the quote from the game's lead designer.

My whole point was, they know more about this than you. You have a little information and therefore you think the solution is easy. It's not. Don't you think there must be a valid trade-off for requiring a connection? By doing so they upset many of their customers, so we have to believe their solution in is the best interest of the greatest number of people. Or you'd have to argue that Blizzard is in the business of p!ssing of their customers and not selling games, which we know isn't true.

Maybe they did it to prevent pirated games, in which case you should be upset at the thieves.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple and wrong." Not my line either, but it's true, and it applies here.

Capaill said:

I think Diablo II is the game I have played the most .. ever. And I only played it in offline solo mode. I also played WoW a lot and again only in solo mode. Then Skyrim was awesome. And I have recently spent at least 4 months playing Guild Wars 2 as a solo player. I have no interest in joining guilds or parties -- I play to enjoy the story and the gameplay and to try out different characters and races and classes. If you enjoy the fantasy RPG big world type of game, then I do recommend GW2. Unlike WoW, it's a once-off purchase, no monthly subscription. But it's an MMO, so you do have to be online.

I think Blizzard realise people are moving away from the monthly subscription model as it is difficult to justify spending $300 on one game over a 2 year period. The RMAH in D3 was an experiment to find an alternative revenue stream and I hope it has backfired for them. There are plenty of free games out now that are pay to play or pay to win. But we also need quality games that are not going to bleed us dry after the first purchase.

MilwaukeeMike said:

It has everything to do with software piracy and corporate greed. .

When a person gets upset at having their hard work stolen, they're justified and have the right to prosecute and sue. But if that person works for a corporation, then they're greedy?

Guest said:

If Diablo 3 had actually taken inspiration from Diablo 1 and 2, I might actually care. But as it stands, Diablo 3 is a big pile of ****. I'll stick with Path of Exile which is also an online only game (however it is free to play, so you can't really complain). PoE destroys D3.

1 person liked this | Alpha Gamer Alpha Gamer said:

I think Diablo II is the game I have played the most .. ever.

Same here.

1 person liked this | Guest said:

Ppl were expecting D3 to be a life changing event but it's just a game. I took it as a game and I had a lot of fun, and that is despite me being in my 30's and having played all the others to the death in my prime days. Highly underrated game imho.

Alpha Gamer Alpha Gamer said:

Ppl were expecting D3 to be a life changing event but it's just a game. I took it as a game and I had a lot of fun, and that is despite me being in my 30's and having played all the others to the death in my prime days. Highly underrated game imho.

Duuuuuuuuuuuuuuude, you said it all.

I played this game from beginning to end with my girl and we had a blast!

We're planning to do the same with Path of Exile

Guest said:

That was the only thing Blizzard learned from Diablo 2, how to make more money by preventing piracy. Then they went further with the real money auction house. If only they had continued with the same game, rather than whatever Diablo 3 is. I mean, Diablo 3 as a game is good if you aren't expecting a Diablo game. At least Path of Exile picks up where Diablo 2 left off.

jester376 said:

Well, personally I have conflicted views as to the Diablo 3 game complaints. Yes, they could have not had any server issues when the game was first released. However, how would they know how many players would be playing Diablo 3 after a 10 year+ gap from their last release? Something you should ask yourself. Yes, they could have sent out a poll, but whats guaranteeing that every single interested player is gonna look at that poll, plus they have to spend extra money to hire somebody to keep track of the poll for them since their usual teams are tied up doing other things. On one note, I do agree that the auction house was a mistake, something Blizzard has already admitted, and is in the progress of removing it. With the offline thing. yeah I was disappointed that they didnt offer it like it they did in D2. However, times are progressing, and almost everything is going online, and as their other two major titles are already online, as a business why would you want to make your other major title offline, especially given the trouble they had with all of D2's hacking issues? I'm not trying to justify Blizzards actions by no means, but it's so easy to stop and say me me me me me and not look at it from the business side of things. Some people dont have a mind for business which makes it more difficult for those people. But if you have one or know a little of business, atleast take a moment and look at both sides of the equation before coming out with the solution. And as MilwaukeeMike already stated above, "A solution that makes everyone happy is a fantasy land."

Guest said:

Well that was a very long paragraph with run on sentences. As for D3 launch, with all the pre-orders they should have been more prepared. Luckily after people played and realized that apart from story, it had nothing to do with D1 or D2. So they quit playing, which in turn lowered server stress. :p

Guest said:

Don't they realize you could of used open battle.net to play offline characters online?

no?

BSim500 said:

"Blizzard says it was wrong to include offline mode in Diablo II"

Anyone else looking forward to a Torchlight 3? I don't even look at Blizzard's "offerings" anymore...

Guest said:

Torchlight is good by all standards, however I have a hard time adapting to the cartoon graphics. But that was true with Diablo 3 graphics as well. Since Diablo 2 I have craved a dark and gloomy, Path of Exile has fulfilled that for me. And we have Grim Dawn to look forward to as well. I own the alpha, but it needs a lot of work (obviously being in alpha stage).

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

I have to get a kick out of the arrogance of video game manufacturers. They know they have a captive, addicted, rabid following. Sometimes I think they'll say whatever it takes to make you whimper like two year olds, just for the sadistic pleasure it likely brings them.

TorturedChaos, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

If he has so good memory perhaps he might also remember that 13 years ago a quite significant number of people where on dial-up, me included.

Agreed. I had dialup when it came out and could not play online with any reliability. Few times I tried, it took forever to load and I always lagged out with 30 minutes or so.

1 person liked this | Xclusiveitalian Xclusiveitalian said:

Even without offline mode, DIablo III is a horrible game. It lost the true soul of the DIablo Series. No longer allowing you to adjust your stats. Linear worlds with too many scripts. Diablo was that game were world generation was awesome, every single playthrough was different, even doing the same quests. In Diablo 3 it always feels the same. It became...a....a...a console game. =(

1 person liked this | Ghost410 said:

So.. the answer is Diablo 2 had it wrong? Really? D2 is one of the best games in the history of gaming. D3 is a lousy game. It's design was driven by marketeers with a total focus on farming players for more cash. Did they not think we would notice? There's no offline mode because they can't exploit their base for more cash in offline.

Guest said:

The electronics industry in general is wanting to make us completely reliant on the Internet. This gives them total and absolute control over how we play games, watch TV and access our IT devices for home and business usage (Steam, Office 356, iCloud etc....). In the early days of computing, organizations ran Mainframe computers and users had the old "Dumb Terminal" keyboard mouse and monitor with a black screen and flashing green cursor. This is what the manufacturers are trying to achieve now but on a global scale via cloud computing. When you turn on your device, it will display nothing unless you subscribe to it!! When Broadband speeds become fast enough, the OS will be downloaded rather than installed. I might be wrong!?

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