Alright, this is a little continuation of the last post, mainly to set an example of what you should not do. Blizzard is becoming the perfect example at this, and is quickly showing that they are either incompetent at market research or out-right lying to their consumers non-stop. Neither option bodes well for them. So today, let’s just jump straight into it, analyzing some quotes and seeing just how far away from reality Blizzard has fallen.  All quotes are from Robert Bridenbecker, the Vice President of Online Technologies, and you can see the original article here.

“We can provide a much a much more stable, connected, safer experience than we could if we let people play off-line.”

There is so much wrong here I don’t even know what to say… For starters, Blizzard, how do you provide a more stable experience than someone’s computer? This is ridiculous. The most stable possible the game could be is running as a stand alone copy on a computer without any kind of requirement. Stable? Ha, let’s see. That lovely game you just bought from Blizzard is completely worthless if…

  • Your internet dies, even for a second
  • Blizzard is doing server maintenance (And they will have to eventually)
  • There is a server connection error Blizzard side
  • Blizzard ever decides to stop hosting the servers

Think any of those are unlikely? I have to reload Team Fortress 2 at least once a night because my connection hacked up and died, and I lost the ability to use my personal weapon sets, but I was still able to play the game. The way this is, the moment you lose that connection, you just lost everything from the game. Bye-bye until it’s back.  Maintenance probably won’t be as bad as World of Warcraft, but your still not allowed to play the game you spent money on because of some arbitrary crap. Your game is worthless until those servers come back. But wait! Blizzard is a big company! Surely they wouldn’t have any problems making sure the connection is on, right? You know who else is a big company that’s been doing this always on garbage? Ubisoft. Don’t like Ubisoft? That’s fine, BioWare did it too, but at least those people could play their freaking game and only the DLC went away. But that’s still content they paid for, ripped away from them because of the companies’ failures, not any part of the users. They did nothing wrong and still lost the ability to play the games they paid for. Oh! Almost forgot, Capcom did it too. On consoles. Also remember folks that roughly 20% of all PS3s and Xbox 360s are still not connected to the web, and up to 60% of Wiis are not as well. Every one of those games is a wasted purchase to those people, but hey, they can take the game back if it doesn’t work. You can’t return opened PC games with authentication keys in America, so you’re just down the drain if you’re one of 10% of Americans without Internet or the 12% with dial-up, you’re flat out of luck and out 60 bucks if you buy this. Leads me to this though…

“And, at the end of the day, how many people are going to want to do that?”

Well, look up at the 22% of all Americans your going to be selling dead weight to. That’s almost a fourth of the entire population, and you are giving them no way to play your game. But what about people like me, who are dedicated gamers with high-speed internet? You know, the internet I had to go three days with a couple of months ago because of a storm. I could have, and did, play some games when the power came back on, but until our ISP got everything worked out, I couldn’t do anything that required a phone home system of DRM (Which is exactly what this is). So, internet failures mean no games, is that all? Nope. I was also stuck in a car for 12 hours twice in the span of a week, since we had to drive across the country to make it to a wedding in Niagara Falls. Guess what Blizzard! I don’t have internet in a moving car either, but I can easily use a laptop (my preferred gaming machine already) with an adapter to make it last. Or what about a plane flight? I’ve been on those before, so incredibly annoying, and also without internet, but I’m alone with my laptop. Again. And again, sometimes  with ways to charge it on the go so I can keep playing. But that’s alright, you don’t believe in offline anymore.  Instead of wasting money buying a game I can’t pay, I’ll just go back to Monster Hunter.

Speaking of Monster Hunter, and this might come as a shock so Blizzard, hold on to your hats, some people want to play alone. Here will be a fun little test to anyone who buys this game on release: boot up Battle.net and look at the list of games, and see how many are password locked with one single person in them. Some people like to play alone. I know I do, and if not alone then with an extremely small set of friends. But my friends can’t play all the time, so I could have had a choice; Play offline with a character that can never go online to amuse myself, or be forced online and keep playing the character I like, getting further and further ahead of my friends. Guess which one Blizzard picked for you. And I don’t want to hear about confused idiots who thought their characters would be available online too. Make a big, massive “THIS CHARACTER IS OFFLINE ONLY” text block when they roll it and make the block un-closable for a couple of seconds to make sure the player gets it. Boom, done, now everyone knows their offline character can never come online, and Blizzard doesn’t have to worry about hacked characters or duplicate items from players who are offline and away from big brother’s watchful eye.

“I’m actually kind of surprised in terms of there even being a question in today’s age around online play and the requirement around that”

This one is going to be short, because it’s just depressing to read more than once. If you honestly didn’t see this as a problem, you have the worst market research team in history. Look at any game released with this kind of system and you’ll see the exact same thing. No one likes to be told when they can play the games they bought with their own money, and no one likes being forced to play a certain way.

Last time I checked, authors didn’t say we can only read their books when they were awake, and directors didn’t tell us we had to watch their movies wearing goofy hats. What gives you the right to dictate how and which people get to play your game, Blizzard? Weren’t games released before just to be fun?

* And before someone tells me I forgot a point, look right here. EA is still alive and strong, and shutting down servers all the time. If EA should ever die though, all of their servers are gone for good. All of them. That’s just one publishing house, now think about the rest of them. And before someone says “They’ll patch it to make them playable!”, show me a current game were they have ever followed through on that hallow promise.