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August 3, 2011

6

Diablo Strike 3: No Mods, Always Online, Microtransactions

Posted by on Aug 3, 2011

Further reinforcing my suspicions that it won’t be THE dungeon crawler of 2011, PC Gamer is reporting some very disappointing new facts about Diablo III.  I’m not even really surprised that the threequel will require a constant internet connection or ban LAN play.  Blizzard has demonstrated an increasing disregard for the players/their customers, and there have been signs all along that Diablo III would follow in the footsteps of their other recent releases.

No, what hurts is the microtransactions.  Now, instead of running the most difficult bosses for hours hoping for those epic drops, people will be able to buy themselves better equipped characters and (consequently) spots further up the Battle.net Ladder, using real world money.  Show me a game that microtransactions have improved, and I’ll show you a…wait.  You can’t show me a game that microtransactions have improved.

As was confirmed yesterday by Runic Games via Twitter, Torchlight 2 “will still support mods, LAN play, and will be a one time purchase” without “subscription fees, item sales, [or] DLC”.

I’ve said it before, but Torchlight II is looking pretty good right about now.

  • You know, I heard about the microtransactions and was terrified for a second, but I’ve gone and read up on them a little bit. Basically, Blizzard is creating something called the ‘Auction House’ where you can buy and sell things from other players for a listing fee. There’s a version of this for gold, and theres a version for real money.

    At no point will you be able to buy anything with real money that wasn’t already found by a player in a game. Even if you do buy something, someone had to go run Duriel 1000 times to get it. So who are we kidding, Blizzard is just providing a real framework for the shenanigans that already happens in these games and taking a slice off the top. 

    Eve Online has a similarly endorsed real money market (although less structured), where you can use in game money to buy time cards, or exchange time cards (which you buy with real money for in-game money. That’s never caused any real problems for that game.

    This isn’t to say that I think this is a great idea, since nothing irks me more than the ‘buy your way to the top’, but I think in this case the people who refuse to pay aren’t placed at a disadvantage.

  • Tyrael’s Junk

    I can’t believe this is the first I’ve heard that Diablo needs to be always online.  I knew about the microtransactions and thought, as long as they’re readily attainable to other people through greater effort, it will be fine.  I’ll trade 10 hours of my time for $2 of purchase.  But always online is a dealbreaker; I played WoW for years and even a cable connection never assured me that I wouldn’t die in the middle of a raid/quest.  This is something I loved about D2, that you could level and play with your friends on a LAN, and then go online.  Now I’m waiting for Torchlight 2.  This sucks after 10 years.  And as much as they say it’s not about DRM, it totally is.

    • See, I always played D2 on the Realms, so this always online stuff isn’t any different for me.

    • See I have the complete opposite opinion on this.  Like Chris, I have always played D2 on the Battle.net realms and really don’t enjoy playing any other way nearly as much.  And while part of this is about DRM (which I have less of a problem with in this case, considering the way Blizz handles granting me access to my games), I think a lot of it is about controlling the online experience to be the best possible for everyone.  The more they can control the playing field and make it fair for everyone involved, the better.

      The thing I had a much bigger problem with when I first heard about it was the auction house that would let players spend real money to get ahead in the game.  The thing I love about games like World of Warcraft is that to get the best gear and a high level character, you have to put in the hours and the work to do it.  Unless you are buying things from a Chinese gold farmer, I know that if your character is better than mine, it’s because you’ve spent more time getting it there.  So the fact that Blizz was suddenly reversing this stance was surprising to me.  Now that I’ve learned more about it, it definitely makes more sense than I originally thought.  The problem of the aforementioned gold farmers has been huge in WoW, but if Blizzard can create a legitimate venue for the exact same transactions so that you know you’re not going to get screwed over, then it will keep the game ecosystem healthier.  Add in the fact that these aren’t just items being sold by the servers, but that players actually have to find them in the world and make money when they sell them, and my objections start to fade a bit.

      Obviously I could be wrong about all of this, but with Blizzard, my stance is always “let them put the game out before I judge it fully.”  They’ve never let me down before when I’ve done it this way, so I owe them the benefit of the doubt this time too.

      • Tyrael’s Junk

        All this being said, I am still buying and playing the crap out of this game when it comes out too… you guys getting any beta keys?

        • Here’s hoping.