I have even been an active member of Blizzard's community. I have attended Blizzcon several times, and I have a few technical help threads that were so well received that they are still stickied to the Mac Tech Support forums to this day after several years from their original creation.
However after all this fan dedication, I will not be buying D3. But all I wish to convey here is my honest reasons on why I won't be buying the game in a cool, calm, and hopefully concise manner. I do this here in this forum because I could not really find an appropriate "general concerns and feedback" forum.
I'll start off by saying that I am a pretty typical middle class citizen of the U.S. with a pretty typical middle class life. I'm a 28 year-old software developer, and I live just outside the city limits of one of the more technically advanced cities in the U.S.
Fiber-optic internet is common in the inner city and suburbs here. I however do not have such luxuries. Being just outside the city limits, like a huge percentage of the U.S. population, means that I'm mere miles away from having broadband of any type.
I have a crappy satellite connection that's barely faster than dial-up, and has an average of 2,800ms latency times. That's 2.8 seconds of lag. For EVERYTHING that I do. And yet, I play WoW. And I play WoW WELL. I'm used to staying ahead of my latency when I play. Blizzard, whether you want to admit it or not, this kind of setup is NOT uncommon.
However, WoW is the type of game that's pretty forgiving in terms of internet lag and latency. I cannot play less forgiving games like first person shooters on my connection. And I don't even try.
But let's get to the heart of the matter here. I can't believe I feel like I have to explain any of what I'm about to say to one of the biggest game companies in the world, but with the choices you've made in the past few years, starting with WoW, and cumulating with Starcraft 2 and Diablo 3, I feel this has to be said, whether it falls on deaf ears or not...
Diablo 3 is NOT a multiplayer game. Diablo 2 was NOT a multiplayer game. They are first and foremost a single-player games that have multiplayer options.
Blizzard, I'm sure you're well aware of Torchlight and that some of your own former Diablo developers left to go work on it. And I'm sure you're more aware of its sales figures than I am. However, I have bought the game twice. Once on Steam, the other time when it came out on Xbox Live. I love that game. And it's entirely a single player experience.
You have to consider the demographic. Dungeon Crawlers appeal to us introverts. They spawned from the "Dungeons & Dragons" types of games us geeks played in our basements in the '80's.
And I have to assume that you know exactly the sales figures that this type of game garners because of how many copies of the game you gave out for FREE via the WoW Yearly Pass. You knew full well that a lot of players wouldn't have bought the game otherwise without such a grand publicity stunt.
You knew from the start that "The D2 fans" wouldn't be enough to justify the kinds of costs D3 would take, or the revenue you wanted from it. So you gave out free copies. A lot of them.
But let me tell you something. I feel betrayed. The types of tactics you have used to restrict D3 to solely online play, to the marketing, to even the in-game development choices that I can only assume came from the corporate level. And you know exactly what I'm talking about.
I can't imagine that anyone in the corporate structure will care that I, as well as many, many other D2 fans, feel betrayed. And that's fine. I wouldn't expect you to. You have money to make.
But then... Why are you making games? The video game industry didn't start out as a very successful business model. Video games are software designed entirely for the purpose of entertainment. Something for people to do in their free time.
As a fellow software developer myself, I take pride when my software has the opportunity to brighten someone else's day. And that is exactly what the sole purpose of your products is supposed to do. Brighten someone else's day.
But my day is hardly brightened when I have to deal with things that hinder me from playing in the first place. The "Always-on" requirement of this single player game (with multiplayer options) completely restricts people like me, who were devoted fans from the very beginning. from playing at all.
If you were to come to my house today and look at my video game library, you'd probably be surprised. I don't own Call of Duty. I don't own a lot of the most popular multiplayer games out there today.
I own almost ENTIRELY single player games. Games like Final Fantasy, Torchlight, Skyrim, Portal, Batman: Arkham City, Mass Effect 1, along with countless older console and PC RPGs. These are the types of games I play.
THIS is the demographic that games like Diablo attract. And you've completely alienated us. In the end, it's a moral issue. You know damn well that Diablo 2 and Starcraft 1 were, and still are among the best selling games in the world, despite the rampant pirating. Something which I as a childhood linux geek ironically never did.
This was a selfish act on the part of whoever made these decisions, and it was a huge lack of moral fortitude on the parts of the people that implemented it without questioning it. If the recent server hacking that happened over this last weekend didn't drive that home for you, I don't know what will.
I know enough that I can't blame Blizzard as a whole for any of the game's issues that I take moral offense to. I know it was only a select few in the varying divisions of the company. But I hope this letter gets read by more than just the technical support staff, and that it actually has SOME impact on the future moral decisions of the company.
~ A betrayed fan,