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Diablo 3 Lead Designer Kevin Martens was quoted in this article about offline mode in D3.
RPS: OK, now the big one. The auction house is out, but the online requirement is still in. You’ve explained that it’s all about community and whatnot, but would adding in a simple option to play offline really hurt? I mean, the game’s already that way on console, and it’s not like your community would just up and disappear. Plus, if they did, I think that’d mean they never enjoyed being online with your game in the first place.
Martens: It’s interesting when you’re in the moment in gaming culture – when you’re playing the game right now – we see its flaws very well. When we look at the long history, it becomes sort of a rosy past. I don’t think people necessarily remember how mad they themselves were that they had an offline mode and online mode in Diablo II.
This will probably be controversial for me to say. 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?
And then we had that split between expansion characters and normal ones as well [in Diablo II]. The community was inherently divided. And that’s what it boils down to. Long before any of this happened, we wanted to solve the trading problem. But before we even had the auction house, the always online thing was there.
The game is most fun when you can play with other people. To be ghetto-ed off to the side and not part of the real game, we didn’t want that to happen. This is an online game. We want people to play together. All of that predates the auction house. I can see how people would think otherwise, but the auction house was a salve we came up with in the last few months of the project. It was a six-year project.
RPS: Diablo III’s been out for a while, though. Don’t you think that changes the context a little? It’s not like people would be blindsided by this. They’d just have a new option, and so long as you explained the ramifications clearly – “This character won’t be able to go online, here is why” – I feel like most people would be OK. Better than them not being able to play the game at all, right?
Martens: Well, we have to remember that a lot of new players are still coming in regularly. You can have a solution that works really well for the most knowledgable people, but you can make it much worse for the people who want to join the community as well. We’re adding more community features as well. Clans and groups are coming too. You know, this is the game we made.
RPS: What if people don’t want to commit to a community? What if they just want to play the game?
Martens: We didn’t make that game. That’s the straight-up answer. We did not make that game, and we’re not going to turn this game into that game. We have the online mode because we learned a lot over the many, many years that Diablo II was in development.
That was the wrong choice to allow people to play offline, and we still stand by that. And we think Internet access is widespread. If someone has no Internet access, then yeah, Diablo III is not the game for them.
[PR motions that time is up]
RPS: Thanks for your time.
Edited by Plutarch#1568 on 11/13/2013 4:50 PM PST
Why did you put It was the wrong choice to play offline in D2 inside "..."
I originally found the article on PC Gamer. And it was titled: Blizzard says it was wrong to allow offline play in Diablo II.
When we look at the long history, it becomes sort of a rosy past. I don’t think people necessarily remember how mad they themselves were that they had an offline mode and online mode in Diablo II.
I see! So for the 10 or so years we played Diablo 2, we weren't only Not Having Fun (TM), but we were actually mad about it and don't even remember!
Online only would be fine if we didn't have disconnects and such ALL the time. I know some people play without a hiccup whereas myself, with a good pc and 95 MB hardwired connection still see DC's for whatever reason all the time. I for one LOVE HC but just cant play it. The most anxiety I get from HC isn't what monster pack ill run into or anything, its when I DC will I be in town or mid fight and how much invested time will I lose , not because of a fault on my own, but that the server just decides its about time for another random DC.
I would abandon my toons, ALL of them to play offline and NOT have to worry about anything but myself. You have to sign a waiver in HC, id do the same for offline.
May I add the dev said it was made to be online and at the same time, we have offline console. Kinda nullifies the reasoning doesn't it?
Heheh, yea, but they "obviously" know better than those who played it :)
We still, from time to time, when nostalgia hits us, have small LAN parties playing some D2 and duelling our heads off:)
What, were you not here when the game was still being developed and Jay Wilson said that all that stuff we remember basically never happened?
This is hardly a surprising comment.
I think I'll not buy the game after all.
I'm sorry to have to say this, but I'm really starting to think that Kevin Martens had to be the single most clueless, tone-deaf bork working at Blizzard. Why do they keep letting him do interviews?
Here's the thing, Kevin: our memories of D2 are not hazy recollections of back in the day. Nor are our memories of D3's launch, when Always Online epically failed, or of the nearly two years since, during which time y'all still haven't t managed to completely fix the game's persistent lag, rubberbanding, and hardcore DC death issues. Now you're wanting players who've quit the game once, many of them because of D3's onerous (and it is onerous) always online requirement, to essentially give you a second chance to make first impression. That's already a lot to ask, but you're going to top that off by refusing... to address one of the game's most contentious remaining features? And then "justify" it with this... drivel? Srsly?
All I can say, Blizz, is that when the pre-expansion patch drops, you'd damned well better have your server-side issues nailed down tight. If those returning players experience any lag, or rubberbanding, or log in failures, or random DCs, or any of the other issues that drove them away from your game in the first place, do you really think they'll stick around, when they didn't the first time? Or pay extra for more of the same?
It's very rare for people to give you a second chance to make a first impression. It's even more rare for them to give you a third. Blizzard, you need to stop expecting that customers will keep paying for whatever crap you choose to dole out. Happy, engaged players will tolerate a lot from you, but that's not what you have right now in D3, where something like 90% of your paying customers have already quit once.
Based on a blue post on the old D2 forums, the majority of D2 keys sold didn't even create a battle net account. So he's saying the majority of people who played D2 played it wrong. OK gotcha...
He uses the same old terrible PR line where people don't understand the difference between offline characters and online characters even though its easy to add a message like hardcore that you cant go online with your offline character. *snore*
Hey Kevin, if there was no offline in D2, i wouldn't of played it. Since it had offline i played it for over 10 years.
I also find it incredibly amusing how he says its straight up more fun to play with other people, even though everyone likes to play games differently. Its his opinion that its better with other people, i personally love to solo. And with the amount of people who played public games, ( a minority ) I'm not alone.
I'm sorry Kevin but D2 was best played with friends over LAN or offline IMO. If D2 was online only back then, it would have failed miserably.
He also doesn't mention that its not just internet access, but how far away you are from the server that matters, permanent high latency because your company was to cheap to provide more localized servers was a slap in the face. I didn't play D2 online initally because it was a rubberbandfest, D3 turned out the same...
Here's the thing I took away:
If I played offline, and wanted to play with a friend, I had to create a whole new character. It didn't matter if I was 99 offline. Going online meant starting that grind all over again. It didn't make me mad, but it did annoy me a little. That and I was a bit of a purest - I didn't hack my way through D2(like I did in D1).
Frankly, I don't mind the online requirement. It allows them to update that much quicker. It allows me to take the character I've been playing for hours upon hours alone, and help my wife level her character. It allows me to choose, alone or with others, without leaving a game, or needing to switch to a new character.
I really don't get the hostility to any of this. If you don't like it, don't play. Pure and simple. So many other games on PC require online, yet this is the one every one is complaining about.
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