Developing a game that requires and always-on Internet connection, while a great way to combat piracy, is also one of the biggest hindrances to gamers’ enjoyment of said title. Couple that feature in with a hotly anticipated game like Diablo 3, and you’re bound to find more than a few upset fans. But, the idea to require a constant connection isn’t unheard of and it oftentimes improves the experience, but that’s if, unlike Diablo 3‘s launch, it runs smoothly.

So, you see, Blizzard is in a bit of hot water (still) because of their decision to require the always-on connection — a decision that resulted in many being unable to play the game for the first few days — and they’ve avoided outright addressing it. But now, it seems, they’re willing to clear the air, and let gamers in on their thinking. It’s not going to change any minds, but it does at least shed some light on Blizzard’s perspective.

For President Mike Morhaime, requiring a constant connection was integral to the long-term integrity of the product they were putting out. Diablo 3, much like World of Warcraft or StarCraft 2, is an investment, and Blizzard hoped to keep that investment pure for gamers by keeping cheating to a minimum.

“While we’ve never said that this requirement guarantees that there will be no cheating or game cracks, it does help us battle those problems (we have not found any fully functional cracks). More important to us is that the online requirement is critical for the long-term integrity of the game experience.”

Unfortunately, as we all know, preserving the purity of the experience came at a price: play time. Rather than keep the riff raff out, Blizzard kept everyone out, greeting them with Error 37 for the better part of the midnight launch. Now, strides have been made to keep gamers from advancing too far in the game, but ultimately the legacy of Diablo 3 is tarnished by a decision that Blizzard still refuses to take the blame on.

Things like PvP and co-op are important parts of the Diablo 3 experience, in Morhaime’s mind, but those are ancillary pieces to what is largely a single player adventure. No gamer wants to be told how they should be playing a game, nor should they have to be hindered by something like Internet availability.

“I fully understand the desire to play Diablo III offline; however, Diablo III was designed from the beginning to be an online game that can be enjoyed with friends, and the always-online requirement is the best way for us to support that design. The effectiveness of the online elements – including the friends list and cross-game communication; co-op matchmaking; persistent characters that you can use by yourself, with others, and in PvP; and some of our customer support, service, and security components – is tied directly to the online nature of the game.”

By now it’s just something that Diablo 3 players will have to deal with, whether they like it or not. Obviously the hope is that Blizzard’s next project, StarCraft 2 expansion notwithstanding, will feature a smoother launch, and perhaps then the required online connection’s advantages can be seen.

Do you see Blizzard’s side of the argument in regards to Diablo 3‘s always-on connection requirement? If the game had launched without a hitch, do you think Blizzard would need to be justifying their decision?

Source: VG 24/7