Are We Entitled to Diablo III?
Another day, another chance to play Diablo III. I’ve never played a Diablo game or anything similar to it before but having tried it now, I get why everyone adores this series and have been pining for it for over a decade. I sit down in front of my computer monitor, launch the game, log in and within minutes, I’m back where I left off the day before.
As I start making my way down a staircase, I wonder to myself how far will I make it through the game until the servers kick me out. The only reason I had stopped playing the day before was because I was thrown out after an hour or so of playing. As it turned out, the Diablo III servers were not going to be kind to me today and I saw the error 3003 message after only three minutes of playing.
I stared at the screen and I came to the realization that I was done for the day. I didn’t want to log in and start my game up and get invested in a play session for fear that my game would abruptly be stopped. Therein lies a major problem Blizzard has on its hands as not only do I know that I’m not alone in this predicament, I would wager that a vast majority of those who bought or have played Diablo III feel the same way.
By now, many of you who follow video game news and releases are aware of the troubles Blizzard has been having since Diablo III’s release a week ago. With the onslaught of gamers trying to play the game all at once at launch, the servers have been unable to support the weight and many have been unable to play the game at all, even in single-player mode which still requires a connection to the servers. Everyone has run into the Error 37 message, which has become an internet meme in less than a week.
Understandably, some people are upset, while others have been quick to dismiss these complaints as examples of undeserved entitlement. One side is upset that they can’t play the game they paid $60 for (or more) and took a day off work to play, not to mention that this has been on the heels of 12 years of anticipation for most. The other side argues that this is par for the course for game launches dependent on servers. There are always connection issues when a game is first released and players need to ride it out until it eventually becomes stable. Furthermore, they claim that Diablo isn’t really a single player game anyway.
What either side doesn’t seem to understand is while both arguments are essentially justified to an extent, neither realize the actual issue at hand. The reason I was so demoralized after being removed from my game session after three minutes is because it’s due to other people potentially playing it illegally.
Requiring a constant internet connection is just another form of DRM. We the consumer are essentially caught in the crossfire between publishers and pirates. There are other reasons we’ve been told the internet connection is necessary for, the primary one being the real money auction house and the need to regulate it. Regulate is an appropriate word as it means more than you may realize. This DRM is clearly Blizzard trying to regulate who’s playing and stave off piracy but it comes to the detriment of the consumer, the gamer who actually went to the store, either digitally or their nearest brick and mortar establishment and paid money for their copy of Diablo III. This is the person Blizzard is not even targeting with this anti-piracy ploy. Innocent gamers are becoming casualties on the piracy attack front because Blizzard decided that their piracy problem should affect non pirates. Simply put, this is asinine. Their problems are not ours and we as a consumer should not be punished for other people’s POTENTIAL crimes. If anything, we should be rewarded for supporting the developers behind this title.
To be clear, those who say that this isn’t really a single player game should realize that this isn’t a MMO either. MMOs are more of a service rather than an item purchase and for logical reasons, should be dependent on an internet connection. Not being an MMO, if you are not able to play Diablo III or any game at any time you like after paying money for it due to a business decision implemented by a publisher to stop those who potentially wouldn’t pay money for the game, then it’s time let those whom it concerns know that this kind of practice will not be tolerated. If anything, this shows that the corporations that develop these titles feel entitled to do whatever they want with their products regardless of how it will affect us paying customers.
I’ve had a blast with Diablo III, when I do get to play it. It should be understood that I’m not attacking the game proper in any which way. The game itself on the contrary, is extremely entertaining and polished and it definitely lives up to the expectations built upon it. It’s a shame, nay unacceptable, that this well crafted game is being held down by this most offending of DRM practices this side of Ubisoft and it is indicative of a brewing trend publishers are implementing in many of their big name titles. We as a community should be upset with these issues and should recognize that this is a stance on a business practice, not the game itself. Don’t worry about coming off as unwarrantedly entitled because you are entitled to be able to play a game you paid for and Blizzard is entitled to allow you to do so. Don’t let obtuse business practices prohibit your ability to enjoy this piece of entertainment.