Posted by: seanmalstrom | March 2, 2014

Email: Diablo 3 and Battle Net

In a mildly amusing case of timing, I was going to download Diablo 3 again to see if they’ve changed it around somewhat by now. Your post made me think it might be a bit better than before, so I grabbed the installer.I was surprised to see that it’s no longer a simple Diablo 3 downloader/installer, but now it wants to install some Battle Net “Desktop App” to keep track of all new Blizzard games in one place. Do they really need to try to draw people even further into their Battle Net nonsense?

I don’t know if they are trying to get people to become Blizzard players, as opposed to being Starcraft/Diablo/Warcraft players, or what the idea here is, but I find it rather repelling. I mostly played Diablo 1&2 and Starcraft 1 in offline single player, with the occasional LAN game and the very rare Battle Net game. The Battle Net games were usually inferior due to latency and connection/server problems, so I would prefer to avoid them. Obviously, the relatively small amount of time I spent with Diablo 3 and WoW was online, but even then it seemed like they were clearly separated. Now I can’t even install D3 without extra crap being forced upon me!

We are PC gamers, for crying out loud! We don’t need all these “platforms” everywhere. I’m perfectly fine with a console like the Wii (or a “console” like the PS3) having all digital games in one place, but I feel like there are these digital platforms popping up a little here and there in the PC gaming sphere and I really don’t like it. I’m not a fan of a publisher, so I don’t need to have some “app” of theirs where I have to go for all of their games.

I just want to be able to grab that one game I want and install it without any other services or nonsense running on my machine for no good reason. Is that too much to ask for from this mess of a games industry?!?

Best wishes,

A long time reader

P.S. You’ve indicated that you have contacts in or close to Blizzard employees. Have you heard anything about this all-games-in-one-app move?

I actually don’t see how much has changed. You talk about people being a ‘Warcraft gamer’ or Diablo gamer’ or ‘Starcraft gamer’ but not ‘Blizzard gamer’. On Battle Net, all these gamers would see each other. They would have different icons by their names. If you were playing Starcraft, you would see your friend playing Warcraft.

With WoW, obviously WoW players live in WoW and weren’t on Battle Net. Blizzard unified the accounts so if someone was on Starcraft, their friends in WoW would know that and could talk to them even though they were in a different game.

Back in the pre-Battle Net era of the golden Kali period, we could chat and talk to people playing different games (of course, not in game). That was 1992-1995 I think.

I don’t see any issue with Blizzard’s ‘hub’ that starts. I don’t see it as much of a change at all. Playing Blizzard games from DOS to Windows was a frightening transition. Windows allowed all these children into our multiplayer games!

Is your complaint that the hub means that Blizzard wants to ‘console-ize’ its games? To stop being ‘PC-ish’? But what does PC-ish even mean? To me, PC-ish means non-GUI. I was so resistant to Windows 95! “End of PC gaming!” But the GUI allowed some new types of games to come out.

I just see Blizzard trying to make money and make customers like any other company.

My current reactions to Blizzard: I have mixed feelings about Starcraft 2 (hate HATE HATE the ‘hardcore ladder system’) and HATE HATE HATE how all the arcade maps are multiplayer. I really enjoyed the Starcraft 2 single player and I’m looking for single player Starcraft 2 custom campaigns or maps.

With Diablo 3, I really enjoyed the vanilla game until you finished it. The loot system and endgame sucked. Now, it seems Blizzard is striving to fix that. We’ll see how it goes. I find other games like Torchlight 2 to be boring compared to Diablo 3’s crunchy combat.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE that Blizzard still supports the online for Starcraft, Warcraft 2, Warcraft 3, Diablo 1 and 2. This MUST be mentioned because no other company does it, and we need to encourage more of them to do it. I still buy the old games for people because they are still supported. $20 for Warcraft 3 is still a great value as is $10 for Starcraft, a game made around fifteen years ago.

World of Warcraft is the typical gamer experience: fell in love with it and played it until it destroyed my life. I did return to it during Cataclysm. Now, I will never touch it again. If people want to play it, more power to them.

I hate Hearthstone. The game is unfun and doesn’t seem balanced. Then again, I never liked Magic: The Gathering.

I have no idea what Heroes of the Storm will be like. I have a neutral view on MOBAs. I’ve found I enjoy playing them single player with bots instead of with insane teams full of kiddies. I wouldn’t mind a MOBA mechanic single player adventure game. In fact, that is the Blue Ocean to the MOBA sphere. I think such a game would have great appeal. Games like Diablo don’t have much adventure in them. I hate being pinned to a few environments.

If Blizzard wanted to make a console game such as Rock and Roll Racing 2, I would be on board. I just want good games period. There is too much mediocrity in the world.

My view of what Blizzard is doing is that Blizzard used to be the dingy game company like any other back during the early 1990s. Then, with Warcraft 2 something happened. The RTS games were on PC because the interface to do them was only on PC. During 1994, the PC platform saw a HUGE BOOM with the Internet. All of Blizzard’s successes since them have been entirely due to riding the Internet wave. Blizzard saw that Kali made Warcraft 2 much more fun by playing network games over the Internet so they included in the CD. Then they made Battle Net. Battle Net created the differentiation between Diablo, Warcraft, and Starcraft among other games. It allowed online multiplayer accessibility. Most people don’t know how to network. Then, of course, World of Warcraft blew the top off which was entirely Internet based game.

If I was the president of Blizzard, I would clearly see that the Internet is the platform for Blizzard. Some games are to show that Blizzard can be an ‘and’ company as opposed to an ‘or’ company. Diablo 3 is for PC. But Blizzard wants to show that it can also make it for console. What about tablets and smartphones? Blizzard is saying “And’ with Hearthstone. Heartstone is playable just fine on the PC. I don’t see Blizzard leaving the PC. They just want more money so they are trying to add in more ‘ands’. If there is a Rock and Roll Racing 2, I am sure there will be a PC version too.

I really enjoy the single player experience myself. I don’t see why single player is seen to be ‘not included’ with the Internet. What I mean is that with something like Starcraft 2, they have the single player campaign but we know most of the focus in on the multiplayer for the ‘E-sports’ crap. Why not have new single player campaigns we can buy or trade? Why is is assumed the Internet has to be utilized only for multiplayer and, then, only for hardcore multiplayer? Fuck that shit.

I don’t like the ‘always online’ with their PC games. If they want DRM, let us do the DRM check when we download the game. LAN has become a Blue Ocean area. I do understand piracy is a huge concern especially in outside North America and Europe. The companies are interested in making money and there is apparently data that makes them rather bear the ill will of offline gamers or LAN gamers. These companies are interested in making customers and selling games, not the opposite.

I do know that the wages of Blizzard employees are tied to the sales of the games. When Blizzard games sell more, the employees will get more money. They do want people to like and buy their games.

Blizzard is also facing the burden of standards. When they made Warcraft 2, Starcraft, and Diablo 2, they were not “BLIZZARD”, they were just ‘Blizzard’. They were just another game company among many. They weren’t know for making classics where you play forever. They have an insane standard to meet for their new games.

What’s even worse is that even if the game does become a classic, most gamers won’t be able to recognize it at the beginning. When I think about it, I never liked the Blizzard games at first. I did totally fall for Warcraft 2 and World of Warcraft. Starcraft I thought sucked until Brood War came out. Warcraft 3 was a huge disappointment to me until the Frozen Throne. For all we know, Diablo 3 might become a classic after Reaper of the Souls and the next expansion.

Due to these incredibly high standards, the Blizzard ‘hate’ I’m seeing on the Internet is way over-amplified. I don’t see Blizzard saying ‘screw you’ to a negative reaction of a game. After Pandaria, Blizzard is putting out an expansion which is Anti-Pandaria full of cruel, nasty, demonic warlords. After Diablo 3, Blizzard got rid of Jay Wilson and the Auction House and is doing much work on the game. I don’t see any hostility from Blizzard to the old time Warcraft, Starcraft, or Diablo gamers. They may not be patching the games, but they still have the old online working which is more than can be said from any other game company.

What I don’t understand is how Blizzard gets all this hate while Nintendo keeps getting a pass. Nintendo has a huge hostility toward their oldschool gamers. If we say that we loved Zelda 2 for X reason, Miyamoto will say that reason doesn’t exist, that I should be ashamed for even saying that, and that Zelda 2 is the ‘black sheep’ in the family despite it being a blockbuster success. It was only little more than half a decade ago that Nintendo dismissed anyone who said they enjoyed 2d Mario and disliked 3d Mario. When Wind Waker came out, we expressed our discontent and the sales showed it. Nintendo’s response was to make Twilight Princess, which WAS successful, but then follow it up with two Wind Waker sequels on the handheld and a remastered Wind Waker version for the Wii U. Nintendo might as well give us the middle finger. And look at the reaction Nintendo had to people not buying Metroid: Other M. “You don’t understand it,” or the more common, “You keep imposing of what you define as Metroid onto the game.” It all translates to: it is the customers’ fault they don’t like the game.

When Nintendo makes terrible games, their hardware sales go into a nosedive. Instead of pointing out that there is something wrong with the games, everyone, and I mean EVERYONE from the analysts, the game reviewers, to the hardcore gamers who live on Gaming Message Forums, all say in unison: “The software is amazing. However, the problem is with the hardware/ the marketing /the timing/ the etcetera.” How does Nintendo keep getting a pass on making bad software? The analysts always praise the software because they are paid shills for other companies and want the Nintendo software to go third party. The game reviewers want to stay on good terms with Nintendo to stay on the Nintendo beat. The obsessed Nintendo fan has a superiority complex and thinks playing Nintendo games makes him or her more ‘sophisticated’ than other gamers. If you don’t like the latest Nintendo game, then you just aren’t ‘sophisticated’ to understand it. “Did you read the manga?” they would say to people criticizing Metroid: Other M.

Nintendo kept getting a pass because they got to keep playing the NES card or Gameboy card or another nostalgic card. “The game is Mario Kart. You can’t criticize Mario Kart. I remember when I was six and got Mario Kart 64 for the N64. I played the Block level for hours with friends…” Now, I don’t think Nintendo can rely on those ‘cards’ anymore to pretend their software is good. When the software was actually good that sold hardware, such as brilliant software as Wii Sports and Wii Fit, we saw the opposite occur and everyone criticize it. The analysts hated those games because they sold hardware and meant Nintendo wasn’t going to be going third party. The game reviewers hated those games because they didn’t lead to young men to their websites to click on their advertisements. Obsessed Nintendo fans didn’t like those games because it didn’t remind them of their youth with the N64, SNES or some other console. Ironically, the games were said to be terrible as they sold hardware left and right. Third parties tried to copy the software and couldn’t get the quality right. Wii Sports is still in the top 5 best motion games for the Wii.

Now I get this email from someone who is upset over Blizzard putting up a hub when launching their games. This isn’t a complaint about the game. This is like a Nintendo fan complaining about the Wii menu when launching a game. Blizzard certainly has made some mistakes, but they get the gates of hell unleashed upon them when they make mistakes. Yet, Nintendo’s mistakes receives a pass. The blame for Nintendo’s market failure all varies but it is always summed up as “the problem is somewhere other than Miyamoto”. After all, he is a GOD. And GODS don’t make mistakes. No. The mistakes is in the little people for not understanding the GOD or carrying out the GOD’S ORDERS as commanded.

Am I the only one who is dumbfounded by the massive difference in response from gamers? Blizzard gets crapped on for legitimate mistakes and even things that aren’t a big deal. Yet, Nintendo software never gets crapped on. EVER.


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