Friday, May 25, 2012

And Then I Thought, Wait A Minute!

The "big" thing right now in gaming, be it console or PC gaming is Diablo III.  Now, I've only played Diablo and Diablo II, although I haven't finished either.  So a quick explanation on that note:

Diablo:  I played this a bit a great many years ago, sometime between 1997 and 1999.  I didn't beat it that time because my computer failed, I think, I don't quite remember.  I then picked up a version of it that required a virtual CD drive (since my notebook didn't have a light drive) and then the 30 day trial for the virtual drive ran out and I couldn't access the game after that.

Diablo II:  I got a copy of this from one of my friends just over a year ago and while I finished the main campaign, I was about 80% through the expansion Lord of Destruction and then I apparently decided that my computer should try to have some tasty Guinness, which I found out was not compatible.  I managed to salvage the hard drive, which means I should be able to continue from where I left off, I just haven't gotten around to it yet.

Enter May 15, 2012 and Diablo III is released.  Within hours I noticed on Facebook that a lot of people were commenting about "Error 37" or "Error 3003" and other issues "logging on."  I was confused.  I thought maybe it had to do with the product registration key.  Turns out in order to play Diablo III, you have to be constantly logged on to the internet.  This type of thing is far from anything new, but it was shocking news to me in regards to Diablo III.

Early reports behind Blizzard's decision to require a constant internet connection were based on maintaining the integrity of the game and to combat hacking as was prevailant in the first two games.  More recent (at the time) murmurs are that it's because of the in game auction house, as a way of maintaining a stream of revenue for a game that doesn't require a subscription to play, a la WoW.

When I read this (on May 16th), my first thought was "Fuck that, I won't be playing Diablo III then!"  I didn't like the idea of purchasing (or leasing the rights to play a game, depending on who you talk to) a game and not being able to play it if I'm secluded in the mountains or in an airport (or airplane) that doesn't allow for free wifi/internet.  I wouldn't want to support that business model.

Then I realized that I had a Steam account, a Steam icon in my tab, and that same day purchased Dear Esther for myself and Dr. Potts; not to mention that I have also purchased Portal 2, Breath of Death VII, and Cthulhu Saves the World.  If I was so against Diablo III, being an "internet-play-only" game, why was I so in favor of spending money for games through Steam, which are only virtual copies of games?  I loved Diablo and Diablo II, so why wouldn't I want to support Diablo III?

It all came down to the price tag.  Most of the games I've bought through Steam were under $10, with the exception of Portal 2, which was $19.  But, since I got Portal for free as a promotion back when Portal 2 first came out, I didn't have a problem shelling out a couple "extra" bucks for a game I'm sure I would like.  So I guess for me, a lot of my feelings about whether I feel a game is "worth it," is based on price and my ability to play that game.  Would I still buy Diablo III for $59.95 if the single player adventure didn't require an internet connection, I don't know.  Probably not as I still feel that $60 is a bit steep for me to shell out for any video game, regardless if it's a hard copy, digital copy or how I'm able to play that game.

The Shotgun Hypocrite


  1. Doo-uude, Steam and Diablo III are totally not comparable. If you can't play Diablo III without an internet connection, that is just horrible. But you can play Steam Games without an internet connection!

    Also, I'm going to Austin to visit Emily, so I won't really be posting for the next week.

  2. Point 1: Dr. Potts is right. I guess I just assumed that every time I start a game on Steam it says something about being connected to Steam, that it had to be online to be playable. Guess I was wrong about that. My bad on that part. More research/brain thinking for me.

    Point 2: I just read a really good article about the whole "have to be online to play" thing that is rumored to be more prevalent than I had previously thought:

    One of the most disturbing things that this article points out is the rumor/possibility that games on the next "next generation" Xbox and Playstation systems might require always on internet connections and can block "used" games from being played. Being someone who can't afford new games at new game prices, I often end up buying used games as there aren't any other options for some games out there.