Can you remember a birthday present that you got back in 1996? Because I can. I remember it well and to this day call it one of the best birthday presents of my teenage years. I was getting ready to head back from winter break in school, and my Mom wanted to give me one more birthday present. My birthday had come and gone a few days before, but she had just gotten back from the mall with her sister and hands me a computer game, “I wanted to get you one more surprise, and the guys at the store said you would love this, because you like those sword games… it’s new.”
Not many people can say they are a Diablo addict thanks to their mother. But Mom came through and made up for any game purchase she had made before that one, (I did appreciate every attempt though, if you’re reading this Mom!) for sure, this was her home run. I easily spent the last two days of winter break not sleeping, leveling my Wizard and playing a game with a complete stranger from England no less (who remains a pal to this day!).
Simply put, the Diablo series has been my favorite series ever since I picked up the original game. The simplistic game-play, a couple of key-presses and a ton of clicks, resulted in hours of entertainment for myself and my friends (and it still does). Diablo 3, in the sense of game play, certainly keeps the spirit alive.
Diablo 3 is everything you loved about the first game, and its sequel. There’s the near infinite variety of loot, five fully customizable characters (who can now be of either gender), and random levels and dungeons. The right stuff is here, and here to kick ass.
By now it’s no secret that Blizzard requires you to always be connected to the internet to play Diablo 3, even if you’re playing by yourself. I have to single this out, because it’s the VERY big reason I am giving Diablo 3 the final score I am (and not a perfect 5 that it should be getting if this were not a factor). In order to play Diablo 3, at all, you have to connect to Battle.Net. Even if you’re someone like me, who is perfectly happy playing a game by themselves.
Not having a single player option, at all, is a huge disappointment. Even though the heart and soul of Diablo is playing with friends and other people, the fact that you do not have that choice is a big let down. Blizzard did the same with Starcraft II, and I’m still just as unhappy about that as well. There is a big drawback to this system, and that’s if the servers go down.
I’m sorry, Blizzard, Diablo 3 is NOT an MMO, but Blizzard seems to gleefully treat it like one. If the Battle.Net login servers need maintenance, you can’t play the game. No, seriously, you can’t play the game at all, even if you just want to run around for awhile by yourself. I can understand on the multiplayer standpoint, this is a great way to level the playing field and keep things fair… at least on paper.
However, read forums and news articles, and Blizzard has already suffered a rather embarrassing hacking that resulted in character loss. Sadly, were there a single player option, at least the people who loved playing solo would still have their characters. The much touted Auction House? Pretty much broken since day one, it has been almost a week since you could buy and trade commodities in the “gold only” auction house.
Oh, yeah, there’s supposed to have been a Real-Money auction house (where you can sell and buy in game items for real money) but that won’t be available for a couple of weeks yet… that’s almost a month since release. Frankly, consider how terribly the regular Auction House seems to be running, I wouldn’t trust the real-money auction house at all. it’s only a matter of time before those lovely gold farmers in China break into that and destroy it. If you think I’m being all doom-and-gloom, just google “Diablo 3 don’t play public games”.
I can’t tell you how angry/sad this makes me, a big fan of the series. Because the game itself is fucking fantastic. There’s no other way to put it, it’s amazing, it’s addictive, and fun as all hell. Comprised of four acts, and then four tiers of difficulty, this game will keep you busy until the next sequel (read: ten years). Sadly, the online only requirements, a broken auction house system, and the inability to play public games (open them up to strangers) without getting hacked by half of China, it’s just sad. A very big failure on Blizzard’s part. Not to mention the PVP arena should be implemented in the future, another launch feature that got pushed back.
I hate that I have to bash Diablo 3 in this way, there’s so much good here. A secret level that had my friend and I laughing the entire time, not to mention we spent hours playing this game together and thoroughly enjoyed it. In the end though, you are at the mercy of Blizzard’s Battle.Net servers and the hope that their “always-on” software code works like it should without you getting hacked.
That isn’t the case though. I do recommend you get this game. Diablo 3 is fantastic, it’s a one of a kind game, a game that you will play for years… Unless Blizzard goes bankrupt and the servers go bye-bye, as of now you’ll never be able to play it single player. My advice? Do NOT open your game to the Public (an option in the menu when you start a game), this is one of the surest ways to get hacked. Wait, wasn’t that “always-online” requirement supposed to stop that?
It was, but well, it doesn’t. So in the end, you lose in this one either way. Diablo 3 is a fantastic game, but we can’t ignore something as glaringly bad as the implementation of this always-online requirement.
Because of that, as much as I love this and want to call it the perfect game, you have my final take here, take it or leave it.
Diablo 3: 3/5 – Perfect gameplay marred by a horrible online requirement that is still subject to the hacking and cheating it’s supposed to prevent.