Rock, Paper, Shotgun
discusses the always-on DRM in the Diablo III
beta in an article titled "How Diablo IIIís DRM Will Affect You," posted under the heading "Why Blizzard Must Reconsider." This recaps Blizzard's reasoning for requiring a constant internet connection to play the upcoming action/RPG sequel, and in spite of there being a better reason for risking players losing their progress due to crashing than was the case in Settlers VII
, says: "it doesnít make the problem go away, and I want to strongly argue that Blizzard reconsider their decision, in the face of its simply breaking their game. Because no matter how perfect your connection, it will affect you." The author describes losing progress due to server glitches, and grants that this is still a beta, but notes that such glitches are still to be expected occasionally once the game launches for real. He also goes on to outline the following "more striking and regular problem" he has encountered:
You canít pause. In fact, in most ways, the game acts like an MMO. For instance, quit it, and youíre given the optional cooldown to have your player clear the server properly. But itís not an MMO. Itís not even close to an MMO. So when Iím playing the single-player game, and Iím in the middle of a frenzied mob, and thereís a knock at the front door, thereís nothing I can do. As happened to me yesterday. Twice. On another occasion I was surprised by a phone call that led to my having to do some other things. Iíd safely left my character in a cleared area, but long between checkpoints. When I came back to the PC, Iíd been idle for too long and the game had logged me out.
Iíd been logged out of a single-player game because I was away for an hour. And thus lost all my progress (although not my items and stats) since the last checkpoint, a long, long way back.
In fact, currently, losing your connection (either by idling or the server going down) resets huge chunks of what youíve already played, such that the map is blank, and you need to battle through it again. Whether thatís an issue with the beta, or something that will also carry through to the finished game, we obviously donít know. But itís another clear example of how having your single-player, offline game require a constant connection is massively idiotic and counter-productive.
Games with occasional checkpoints are obviously a massive pain for anyone who might or need to stop playing at that moment Ė something thatís not exactly an uncommon occurrence. But a game where thatís the case, AND you canít even leave it running in the background, is beyond acceptable.