Diablo 3 has been pulling a Darkspore since its release yesterday, thanks to Blizzard’s bizarre decision to prevent people from playing the game in single player mode without a constant internet connection. Even those who were able to get through to a server, like John Walker of Rock Paper Shotgun, had the delightful experience of lagging. Lag in a single player game.
I won’t get into Blizzard’s purported reasons for forcing people to play online in single player mode, mostly because I think those alleged reasons are disingenuous. What this really comes down to is the auction house. Blizzard has put a marketplace into Diablo III where players can sell gear to each other, with Blizzard taking a cut of each sale. If players could play offline, they could easily cheat and spawn an endless supply of top tier equipment to sell. This would depress the auction house market, killing a source of revenue for Blizzard. Thus, in goes the massively intrusive DRM.
There are a large and growing number of good, indie alternatives to Diablo III out there right now. Soldak Entertainment, Runic Games, Crate Entertainment; these guys don’t hobble your ability to play the game that you paid for in the name of milking you for yet more cash. These are guys that deserve your money. Blizzard, frankly, does not.