Remember when you first heard stuff like how either Steam or StarCraft 2 require you to be online for authentication purposes? That the process to play or utilize either service offline can be a bit circuitous, but at least it’s still possible to be offline. But, Diablo 3 differs in that you must be online to play at all — not just for authentication.
Executive vice president of game design Rob Pardo notes that the wealth of improvements and features Diablo 3 brings to Battle.net necessitate the always-online requirement. Specific additions that he refers to include:
While Pardo recognizes that people sometimes want or need to play offline (such as internet outages, or playing on a laptop during an airplane flight), he notes that the increased security, plus benefits like the above, outweigh those other concerns. “I want to play Diablo 3 on my laptop in a plane, but, well, there are other games to play for times like that.”
Interestingly, before our own play session for preview purposes, we saw what happens when you try to play offline (or get knocked offline): you get stuck at the login screen (a la World of Warcraft). The reason? The beta server wasn’t online. How do you feel about this? Are you already online all the time anyways (for Steam or WOW)? Or is this a significant issue? Let us know in the comments below.