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Editorial

May 17, 2012

Diablo 3 Server Issues are Barely Relevant

Diablo 3 got off to a pretty rocky start on Tuesday. Like most sane people, I spent all day with my new love and it was awful. I experienced intermittent issues and the servers went down for emergency maintenance three separate times. Is anyone really surprised? I’ve been waiting for this game for over ten years and I’m not a snowflake. There are millions of Diablo fans and even more Blizzard fans that were just as eager to get their hands on a release day copy as I was. Server issues are to be expected for any day one release and in reality, don’t affect the quality of a game over the long term. It is my personal opinion, and it is my further opinion that said opinion is the right opinion, that day one server issues should be nothing more than a footnote, barely mentioned as the reviewer goes on to talk about the thing that the developers put years of their time into creating.

Still, that didn’t stop users from dropping unfair reviews on Metacritic, where I personally saw the average score reach 2.0. “If I can’t play the game I can’t rate it…” says one user, who then proceeded to give it a zero anyway. Another user writes, “Absurd how badly blizzard screwed this up. There isn’t even an offline mode … Other than this the game itself is very fun and plays smoothly.” He also gave the game a zero. I know what you’re thinking. These are just random people on the internet. If you attempt to hold them to any standard of quality, you’ll only end up hurt. I get that. There was another user that called Diablo 3 “a diablo clone”, so obviously I don’t take what they said to heart, but the sheer number of similar reviews leads me to believe that the majority just doesn’t understand what a review is supposed to be.

So when I write my review I won’t be mentioning the server issues, because in a week they wont matter and in five years they won’t be remembered, but I’ll still be playing Diablo 3.



About the Author

Michael Bachmann
Mike is a professional amateur, dabbling in many things. One of those is writing of course, but also co-hosting and producing "Fistful of Pixels", an improv comedy show about theoretical video games.




  • Mike Rentas

    They’re not relevant to the quality of the game itself, but they’re certainly relevant to the overall score. It’s unplayable on planes and trains, any time your internet connection goes out, and any time the battle.net servers go down. The fact that the company that runs the biggest MMO in the world could screw the launch up so badly should be proof enough that this sort of thing is a flawed concept. There are benefits to it for sure, but also huge drawbacks.

  • WrongPassword

    So you would be alright if always online DRM is implemented in Mario, Halo or GTA?  As I said on metacritic, enjoy your server crashes, connection drops, lost progress, gold farmers and lag monsters.  If you don’t demand a single player game to work out of the box, there is something wrong with you.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_DRMR25YG3IN2R4P77NULCP2YUA Someone

    I would’ve raged about the DRM but after a few days observing the gaming sites…I noticed something more sinister than the thousands of disgruntled gamers : the gaming sites’ neutrality and misuse of power.

    This article itself is sheer pandering and selective journalism. Everyone mocked at BF: Bad Company, BF3 and a lot of other games for their launch day server issues. Those problems were mentioned again and again in reviews and affect the overall score. This site even have an article asking other journalists about their thoughts on BF3’s server issues. Like a mix tape of bad things they can say about the game.

    But now its NOT going to talk about Diablo 3’s server issues? Saying it’s irrelevant and everyone will forget about it in the weeks to come? Those issues will NOT affect Diablo 3’s scores? Why make a fuss about what one developer did but suddenly silent when another developer did the same thing.

    This directly associated with the online DRM. For two years there was a global campaign against Ubisoft’s own online DRM led by gaming sites. They actually succeeded. Ubisoft initially tried to compromise by fixing their DRM to make it better but in the end it culminates with them ditching the DRM for the latest Ghost Recon.

    But now the gaming sites turned a blind eye when Blizzard also used a similar DRM! WTH, man! It’s like what the proverbial monkeys did :  see no evil, hear no evil, say no evil when it comes to Diablo 3 . But when another guy did the same they couldn’t wait to ruin him. They moved heaven and hell (and its minions of raging gamers) to give Ubisoft a hard time.

    It’s not simply about which developer provides a better online DRM. It’s about the gaming sites, the journalists leading readers/gamers on a crusade to ruin one developer’s efforts to protect its interest ONLY to suddenly just to stop before ruining their favourite developer who is doing the exact thing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/serioussam24 Michael Bachmann

    I’m flattered you think I have any power to misuse!

    Here’s the thing about Diablo 3 that separates it from certain Ubisoft games: It’s not really DRM. Jay Wilson has said on multiple occasions that Diablo 3 is a cooperative game, not single player. While that doesn’t mean you can’t play the game single player, it does mean that it was designed around creating the best multiplayer experience possible. There is a big difference between requiring an always on internet connection to keep people from stealing Assassin’s Creed 2 and requiring and always on internet connection to enhance the core experience. We could have a whole discussion about why Ubisoft was wrong.

    That being said, Diablo 3’s always on connection is a topic that’s been beaten into the ground since it was announced last year and pretty much everyone interested in the game has chosen their side. Agree or disagree, the fact remains that Diablo 3 is a game that requires an internet connection. I plan on reviewing it as such and have no interest in debating DRM when there are much more important gameplay aspects to talk about. If you disagree with the always on connection, you’ve already made up your mind and probably wont be reading my review anyway.

    As for the apparent mixed signals the site is sending about day one server issues in game reviews, all I can do is point you to the top of the page where it says “Editorial” and leave it at that. The article expressed my own personal beliefs. Do I think that Blizzard should have been more prepared, especially given the popularity of Diablo 3 and their experience with World of Warcraft? Probably. But I don’t see the point in talking about isses a week later that most of the people reading the review will probably never experience. The point is to tell the reader whether or not a game is worth playing, not to crucify a developer for past mistakes. Should those issues be rampant for a week or two weeks then yes, that’s probably something to talk about. For the most part, however, they’ve cleared up. No harm done.

    As for those Metacritic scores, I think we can all agree that you can’t rate a game 0/10 and say “It’s pretty good” in the same breath.

    I appreciate the comments! They keep me honest. :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=698460803 John Parie

    The whole “unplayable on planes, trains and automobile” argument is mute. Everyone is well aware that this game requires an Internet connection to play. You can’t by a car knowing it needs gas and then bitch about the fact that it needs fuel to run. This issue isn’t one that sprung up at the last minute and caught people off guard. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=200801958 John Albright

    What, you mean I need ELECTRICITY to play this game? That’s bullshit, Blizzard. What if my power goes out? What do I do until then, hm? Tell me, Mr. Entitled Editorial Person: what is Blizzard’s justification for this “always on” electricity scheme they have going?