Gamers haven't been thrilled at the prospect that Diablo 3 will require a persistent Internet connection for the single-player component of the game. According to senior producer Alex Mayberry, forcing users to maintain a link to Blizzard's servers will allow the company to "provide a much a much more stable, connected, safer experience than we could if we let people play off-line." You know, because safety has always been a big concern with single-player games that run entirely offline.
Although one might assume that combating piracy motivated Blizzard's decision, MTV says otherwise. Vice President of Online Technologies Robert Bridenbecker told the site that DRM was never part of the equation when Blizzard discussed making Diablo 3 an online game. Instead, the company wanted to create a consistent user experience that allowed characters to move seamlessly between the game's single-player and multiplayer elements.
Bridenbecker has been surprised by the backlash, citing that Blizzard has been doing online games for 15 years, and that the industry as a whole is moving in that direction. Requiring an Internet connection for an MMO like World of Warcraft is very different than mandating one for an RPG like Diablo, though.
I've never been all that into the Diablo series, but I'm curious to see whether enterprising crackers will manage to hack their way around the online requirement. Given how quickly DRM schemes are broken these days, I'd expect an offline patch to appear on torrent sites not to long after Diablo 3's official release, if not before the game hits store shelves.