Blog » This holy place has been desecrated

Blizzard dropped the bomb on Diablo III this month. You’ll need a persistent online connection to play in single player mode. Modding the game is forbidden. The auction house will be for real money transactions only.

I think the Internet exploded.

Pictured: Redditors trying to assault Blizzard headquarters

Did Blizzard announce anything else? Was there any good news? I vaguely remember hearing something about a fifth character class. No matter. The big question among Internet nerds is, what can we do to stop this atrocity?

The barbarian unleashes his Epic Fart talent

Step one is to complain. That’s complete. Step two is to not buy the game and render it unprofitable until Blizzard changes its mind. That’s… unlikely. It has a slightly better shot than the Modern Warfare 2 boycott, as Diablo III is PC-only, and the kind of people most interested in the game would probably hear and be upset by these new restrictions.

I wish the Diablo III boycotters luck, because I won’t be joining them. The new rules don’t affect me, and while I’m sympathetic to their arguments, I agree with Blizzard that online-only, real cash games are the future. It’s like boycotting the MacBook Air because it doesn’t have an optical drive. Plenty of other people don’t mind these restrictions and can make the product profitable without you.

Seems sad, but that’s capitalism, baby. On the flip side, it creates an eager market for people selling Diablo III-esque games without those restrictions. If I were the Torchlight 2 developers I’d send Blizzard a big “thank you” cake.

In the interest of science I’ve compiled a list of pros and cons for Blizzard’s decision. Feel free to assign weights to each item and make up your own mind. Oh, and buy that Crystal Nethersword when I toss it up on the auction house.

Advantages Disadvantages
Once bought, can be downloaded from the Internet for free Game stops working when Blizzard's servers shut down
Can play your characters from an Internet cafe Unplayable for large swathes of people: rural areas with poor/no Internet; soldiers on active duty; frequent travelers
Always fully patched Possibly forced to sit through who-knows-how-many patches before you get to play
Reinstall/switch computers without fear of losing your save games No mods for disabled gamers
Easy identification and punishment of griefers, cheaters Impossible to cheat and quickly bring a new player up to a high level for co-op play
Found a rare item? You can sell it for real money. Want a rare item? Get out your wallet.
Strict control of in-game purchasing results in less annoying gold spammers Dislike paying cash for in-game items? Too bad, the last big developer of traditional games has come over to the side of microtransactions.
Less cheating and item duplication
Gameplay analytics for better balance changes, more satisfying content
Less features means less bugs
Easily use your single player character in multiplayer without starting over