Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Diablo III - Online Only & Cash Accepted!

News is spreading that Blizzard has made some very fundamental changes to Diablo III. I saw the news on both Slash Gear, as well as Daily Tech.

Online Only
The 1st impactful change will be that Diablo III can only be played online. This is a big departure from the previous Diablo games, where gamers could play their Diablo on a standalone, and the multi-player / online mode is optional. Thus Diablo III is the new 'World of Warcraft'? So is it going to be subscription based, or a one time payment much like Guild Wars? MMORPG wasn't how Diablo started but now Blizzard would make it so. Blizzard's Executive VP, Rob Pardo cited a number of reasons, including game piracy and character persist-ency benefits. 

I am not sure if this will appear to Diablo fans.  If I want to play MMORPG, I could stick with World of Warcraft, which I am already paying for, instead of a new Diablo III. The fun of tinkling with the characters, and different mods to see the super-duper items will no longer be possible. There will of course be the pressure of leveling up and competing for gears in a 'MMORPG' like environment for Diablo III.

A further search on Blizz Planet indicates that Diablo III is likely a one time off payment and no monthly subscription is needed. Of course, one will need to pay for further expansions, which were the case for previous Diablo games anyway.

Real-world Cash Accepted
The other impactful change is the introduction of real-money option to buy / sell loot in Diablo III's Auction House. If real money option is used, Blizzard will charge an actual listing fee, and a subsequent fixed transaction fee when item is sold.

Wow, that is like legalising 'gold farmers' in Diablo III. I am sure there will be plenty of gold farmers who hunt in areas where precious loot drops. Now the trade is actually legal when the loot is sold. Add a PVP element and I am sure the game play will not be as enjoyable. So I want to play Diablo III, I better play the game in group, where I have buddies who look after my back before I am being muscled out by gold farmers.

I understand the commercial reasons that persuaded Blizzard to adopt these changes, but as a gamer, I am not sure if I can appreciate the new Diablo III. O.k., I may have over-reacted to the news, and maybe Blizzard will introduce certain limitations and flexibility that continues to make Diablo III fun. We will see when we actually get to play the game - launch date remains unknown.

See related:
- The Weekend before Hell - Diablo III release

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