Blizzard announced today that its hotly anticipated (no hyperbole - everybody wants to play it) action RPG Diablo III will require players to be connected to a server at all times in order to play. When we say "at all times" we mean even when you are playing the single-player game. Blizzard also announced that players will be able to create up to 10 characters, which will be stored on Blizzard's servers. This is the main reason why you will need to have a constant connection to a server. This "always connected" scheme applies to all game modes including cooperative play, single player and multiplayer.
Rob Pardo, Blizzard's executive producer for Diablo III, claims that this was done to fight against the kind of hacking that previous Diablo games fell victim to:
"In both Diablo and especially in Diablo II, I think the intuition for a lot of people when they're playing the game is 'I want to make my character offline away from that scary battle net environment," said Pardo. "And then once I have this powerful character, I'll jump online.' But the problem with that concept is we can't really detect if they're cheating. They might have the capability to hack their character, things like that, so at that point we can't really allow that character to be in the battle net environment. Then they're going to have to restart their character, which is exactly what happened in Diablo II, which was really unfortunate."
"Your character will be online on battle net the moment you start playing," he continued "You can play a solo experience like you would in Diablo II, it's just your character is on Blizzard's servers and authenticated." This character can then hop into multiplayer games and trade items with others through battle net.
Chances are players will not be happy with this constant connection business, which is similar to what Ubisoft has been doing with select game titles to facilitate its horrible DRM scheme. We'll continue to follow this story and bring you reaction to it as it rolls in.