Ubisoft isn’t the only one bringing back always-on DRM – Blizzard has their hands in that scandalous bucket, as well. While we know an MMO has to be played online, who said an RPG like Diablo III needs to be? Blizzard, that’s who. There is a little bit of difference between Blizzard and Ubisoft, however small – Blizzard claims that requiring an always-on connection will help stem the tide of cheaters that will otherwise attempt to take advantage of the connectivity between online and offline play in Diablo III. Unlike in Diablo and Diablo II, you will be able to use the same character in both online and offline modes. Blizzard can’t usually manage what you do with your character in the offline realm, so money and other items can be duped. They didn’t want to allow this sort of possibility in the online realm for the game. Thus this DRM decision was made.
Another reason, which we recently witnessed, is that Diablo III will feature an auction house where you can pay real money for in-game items. Rob Pardo, the VP of Game Design for Blizzard Entertainment touched on these when he said, in response to all the questions, “One of the things that we felt was really important was that if you did play offline, if we allowed for that experience, you’d start a character, you’d get him all the way to level 20 or level 30 or level 40 or what have you, and then at that point you might decide to want to venture onto Battle.net. But, you’d have to start a character from scratch, because there’d be no way for us to guarantee no cheats were involved.”
I actually can see some semblance of logic in that statement. I never played previous titles in the Diablo series, but I don’t think I’d want to level a seperate character for online pay, especially being as busy as I am now. Does that justify what is essentially always-online DRM? Maybe, maybe not. But it is a thing nonetheless.