I’m not a big gamer, I seldom buy and play computer games. There aren’t many titles that engage me for more than a couple of days, but those that do, however, I keep coming back to for years. That’s the case with my favorite games, such as ADOM, Starcraft, Counter-Strike, Half-Life, Grand Theft Auto series (only in 3D) and Neverwinter Nights. I was told that Diablo is a similar kind of game, the one that you keep coming back to, so since the long awaited Diablo III premiered last night, I figured I could give it a try.
I also figured that it’s a bad idea buying and downloading the game last night, since everyone will be trying to do that and the servers will go down. This indeed happened, and anyway I didn’t have time to play last night, I was working until very late at night/early in the morning.
Today I had a pretty tough day (possibly due to a sleepless night), so I thought it wouldn’t hurt to slay a couple of demons and zombies. I bought the game, downloaded the OS X1 client, downloaded 9+ gigabytes of files and… never even managed to play single-player campaign.
The message above, or some of its variants, keeps popping up, and I’m either unable to login with my Battle.net account, or get kicked out of the game after ~5 minutes of playing. I can’t resume the game, because the server awaits other party members (wtf?), and after quitting it and relaunching I’m usually not able to login again. I had what Blizzard installer called a playable game on my hard drive since about 6:00 p.m., it’s 12:24 a.m. now and I’m still unable to play. There are two observations one can make about it.
- Blizzard made a huge boo boo. They are known for releasing very few games, just one title every few years, but when they do release one, it’s usually revolutionizing the genre. Their games are polished, produced with a huge attention to detail and attract enormous amounts of players. They are highly anticipated, Diablo fans waited for the latest version of their favorite game for over 12 years. So when I see that it’s past 24 hrs after the game was released2, and people still aren’t able to play it, I imagine someone at Blizzard must be getting mad (not to mention how mad must Diablo fans be right now, especially those that payed those €59,99 some weeks ago when the game went on pre-sale). So in short, Blizzard, please fire some people. Preferably a lot.
- It baffles me as a 27 year old male why I can’t play a single-player campaign of a game that I already paid for because of server-related problems. Are Battle.net servers down? I don’t know, why should I care? Where are the times when you could buy a new, DRM-free computer game and simply play it? Is it only possible today via Humble Indie Bundle and, paradoxically, Apple’s Mac App Store these days?
Of course you could say that it’s no biggie, that it’s just a computer game and that if I’m not able to play it today I will (probably) be able to play it tomorrow, etc., and you’d be right, except that because of how my whole Diablo III experience is, I no longer want to play the game. I no longer give a shit, and I’m pretty sure there are others like me, and the fault is Blizzard’s entirely. One, because they couldn’t prepare for the hype they themselves created, and two, because their stupid DRM-restricted Battle.net ruins the whole gaming experience. It’s just so sad that even though we have better graphics and sound, and all the bells and whistles in modern computer games, playing the old ones is simply more fun.
- Actually, this deserves a note because it’s really a nice touch that Blizzard games are available for OS X. Not only that, they’re available for Macs at the same time the Windows version is released. Thanks, Blizzard. ↩
- Blizzard actually made one good move here offering the game for download prior to its release. You could have all the files on your hdd and simply activate the game via Battle.net once it’s released. I understand that the idea behind such solution was to reduce the strain on the servers during the release. Unfortunately, it apparently didn’t work out. ↩