Blizzard "surprised" at fan rage over Diablo III online requirement

Earlier this week, Blizzard announced that the forthcoming Diablo III would be online-only, despite not being an MMO. Fan reaction has been brutal. MTV's Russ Frushtick writes:

"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," said Bridenbecker. "We've been doing online gameplay for 15 years now…and with 'World of WarCraft' and our roots in Battle.net and now with 'Diablo 3,' it really is just the nature of how things are going, the nature of the industry. When you look at everything you get by having that persistent connection on the servers, you cannot ignore the power and the draw of that."

He also points out that you can play solo online, and that it's about where saves are saved, not DRM, which sucks as far as they are concerned, hurrah.

But here's the thing. Even if Blizzard did it for the good reasons Bridenbecker describes, news of the cash-for-items marketplace and a ban on user modifications emerged at the same time. Because there are no coincidences on the Internet, this makes it look like a scheme to get everyone online where they may pay to upgrade characters, share their doings on social networks, and all that nonsense--even if that's not really the deal at all. It's created fear, uncertainty, and doubt about a game series that's been a gold standard in zero-bullshit single-payment solo 'n' multi PC gaming for a decade.