On July 5, 2018, Jessica Price, narrative designer for Guild Wars 2 developer ArenaNet was fired over a conversation she had on Twitter. The resulting fallout from that discussion, the Reddit Mob, and everything that’s come since has been a battleground for the discussion of women, sexism, and gaming.
News today that Diablo 3 will require an “Always On” Internet connection to support several features of the primarily single player game. So let me repeat that–a game, that has an online component (albeit a large one) but which can be played offline in its entirety, still requires you to be online at all times.
Wow. So. I’m gonna go ahead and say this is a bad idea. Just check out the Ubisoft for justification for that statement. Blizzard says (and no doubt will actively maintain) that the always on status is ONLY to support key features such as an auction house, player chat, persistent server-side character storage, etc but I can’t help but wonder how much of it has to do with a heavy handed attempt to smack down the hacking and taking advantage of the system that was so prevalent in the first two Diablo games. I know for me, the rampant hacking and exploitation of Diablo 2 online was ultimately why I stopped playing it.
But I can’t help but feel they might be going too far with it. As others have said, you can easily achieve almost the exact same result by requiring periodic check-ins as opposed to an always online model, which has been not the best received when other companies have attempted to use it. I kind of wonder what makes Blizzard think that their gamers, arguably the most loud and obnoxious of all gamers, will take to this kindly.
When look historically at the kind of uproar generated by the art team trying to do something more with the art design than “Grind house muted colors complete with lots of blood that looks like it’s rotting,” and the uproar generated by the RealID fiasco which blew up the forums for days and days…it makes me wonder. This has a ton of potential to not be well received, but Blizzard seems to be blissfully ignorant of this eventuality. I think it’s become a question of not if there’s an uproar over it, but rather how much of one?
Blizzard seems to be making these somewhat gamer-unfriendly decisions more and more frequently lately, and I have to wonder what kind of influence Activision is having on the company as a whole. My fear, the quiet, deep nagging fear, is that it’s much much more than is let on anyplace but internally at Blizzard.
via Geekosystem: Diablo 3 Requires Always-On Internet Connection, Uh Oh