Gaming's annoying future has a great article on why the Diablo 3 debacle represents the annoying future of gaming.

We handed Blizzard 64 dollars and said, “I would like to be a monk named Fuckhole, please.” And in return, they took our money first and responded second, “No, that name doesn’t quite sit with us. Take out the cursing, and you can play. Well, for an hour or so, that is. Maybe. We’ll see how it goes.”


About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • Lou Doench

    That’s why I wait 3-6 months before playing a new game.

  • Alverant

    Gaming’s annoying present (time not gift) is commericals that show rendered cutscenes and no actual game play. While cut scenes can add to the gaming experience, it doesn’t tell you much how well the game actually plays.

  • Alverant

    Lou, and a bonus is that sometimes it’s cheaper than on release day.

  • ‘Tis Himself

    I’ve been playing Civilization games for years. I refuse to get Civ V because I’d have to go through Steam to download it. The Civ V forums at the CivFanatics website have similar stories to the Diablo III/Blizzard fiasco told at Cracked.

    Just let me buy a CD or two so I can load my game in piece. I don’t want to go through some gaming merchandising conglomerate so I can play a computer game by myself.

    • sqlrob

      Just let me buy a CD or two so I can load my game in piece

      That doesn’t mean squat any more. Many disk based games require authentication to Steam (or GFWL)

      • Rory

        It’s ridiculous. When I can enjoy ‘Arkham City’ very well just pretending to be Batman and smashing skulls, thank you very much. I don’t need Windows Live popping up little alerts to let me know I’ve maimed my 900th hoodlum.

    • Alverant

      Steam isn’t too bad. It’s a convenient way to get game demos and such. I don’t think I’ve bought anything with it, but it did install when I got Civ5 two years ago (disc version). They have a big library of out of print games and some are really cheap. They had Cuthlu Saves The World (parody of the old school RPGs) for like $3.

      But Blizzard is not getting any of my money.

    • Drakk

      What’s your main objection to Steam? I ask as an enthusiast gamer who uses it purely out of convenience (I really don’t want to catalogue a 40+ CD library) without really knowing what the major criticisms are.

      Origin, though. Snarl.

  • Bob Jase

    Sorry people but you should have listened to me when I warned you that a 3rd edition of D&D was a sign that nothing good was evolving in gaming.

    • Fredric Martin

      3rd Ed was infinitely more playable than 2nd, but still a junk system.

  • Marshall

    There ARE people working on the problems, and trying to push gaming in a more positive future direction. My favorite example?

    Extra Credits

    Great stuff, gives me hope. Watch the ‘harassment’ episode, for example. That episode gained enough of a response that Microsoft actually invited them to come talk to people in high ranking positions at the company about these problems, possible solutions, and to show them what they’ve been working on since that episode was released. Things aren’t all doom and gloom.

  • Joven

    I tried, I looked past people’s previews of Diablo 3 as kinda meh with my hands over my ears going LALALALA like a creationist walking through…well, reality.

    I could forgive the graphics, almost forgive the linearity, barely look past how dumbed down and stripped out everything is…you know, if I could play it.

    I couldnt even INSTALL the thing at my house (i have shitty dialup, and even though I got it 1 day after release on a nice shiny disc…it wanted to download a crapton of stuff), so I took it to work where theres a good solid connection, and played some there. And then it decided it didnt want me playing anymore.

    Finally got it back up, and then it decided to dump my progress, so now I’m not playing it. I looked and apparently Blizzard had to be dragged kicking and screaming to refund people who pre-ordered from some big place in Australia that went under and who couldnt get their game, and figured its pretty damn futile trying to get anything back from them.

    I know im not even going to bother trying to play it again, maybe once theres a crack I’ll try (and Im assuming ill have to start over, which is why Im not even going to bother now), but whatever. Hope they enjoy my money, cause its the last I’ll ever give them.

  • Who Cares

    I knew that this was planned so I didn’t buy the game (even though I’ve got D1 & D2).
    Same goes for anything published by Ubisoft which was the first set of idiots to require a persistent online connection or you’d have to play a crippled single player game. EA is going the same way with Origin. Steam at least is bearable since only when you install you need to have an active online connection.
    It isn’t that I don’t have a decent connection it just is that the only time I want to have to keep a connection to the internet open while playing a game is when that game is of the MMO type.

  • MurOllavan

    I cracked Skyrim due to same reasons. Pretty sad as I’m a software author myself.

  • fastlane

    If you want to get away from the big game companies doing this, take a look at some the (rather impressive, IMO) offerings on kickstarter.

  • Zengaze

    Im going to rock the boat now by telling everyone skyrim is crap. Dragon shield up.

    See us atheists like a bit of woo world as much as a theist, the only difference is we know when we are suspending reality.

    Skyrim actually beat the trend of badly broken box of bugs (I know it had some, but no game crippling). But skyrim did follow the trend of ripping the heart out of games, running away from complexity towards the casual gamer. I could write a whole essay on that.

    • Drakk

      Having played Morrowind and Oblivion I know exactly what you mean.

      Except I like what Skyrim did.

      Oblivion’s mechanics were so completely counter-intuitive and punished players for making what would seem to be sensible choices (If you want to be the best you can at destruction magic, don’t take destruction magic as a major skill?? What?)

      I see what you mean by skyrim taking away a lot of complexity what with axing the vast majority of its stats. I don’t feel that that move particularly took away all that much depth from the game, though. As far as I know Oblivion’s stats only mattered in that they were used to determine another set of derived stats, and had very little direct interaction with the game on their own. My reaction to that is…eh, why? Just let me control the derived stats directly and save me the hassle of figuring out what affects what, and save yourself a few lines of code.

      It’s simpler, to be sure, but I don’t think it’s shallow.

  • Nick Johnson

    I paid for Assassin’s Creed: Revelation (don’t buy it, it sucks) and downloaded it. After completing the install it said it had to contact their servers for a one-time activation and to my *luck* their servers were down that weekend. So, instead of playing a mostly single player game after I had purchased it, I had to wait 2 days before I could play it.
    D3′s fail, and continued failing, is just another reason to support indie games on kickstarter.

  • karmakin

    The guilty party isn’t Blizzard.

    The guilty party is actually ArenaNet. Wuuuut? You say? The problem is that what could conceivably be single player experiences (Guild Wars 1 was designed from the ground up as a game that the PvE could be achieved start to finish single player..ironically Guild Wars 2 is almost entirely a multi-player experience.) are put into what is fundamentally a multi-player shell. Diablo 3 isn’t the first on the block. Hell, I don’t even think it’s the 10th on the block. (There’s a whole ton of F2P games that do something similar, actually, that are almost directly modeled after Guild Wars where it’s a combination of open hubs and instanced stages where you can choose how many players actually play..Dungeon Fighter Online is a particular favorite of mine)

    Diablo 3 is just the next evolution of that step. They took out the annoying hubs, streamlined things a bit, and released it. Ta Da!

    The Diablo games were proposed, from the ground up, to be fundamentally multi-player experiences. One and Two, for a variety of reasons didn’t live up to those expectations. back then was far from good enough, item hacking and duplication ran amok, there was no real economy for those games.

    Diablo 3 set out to fix those problems, and by and large it did. Now, yes, an off-line single player mode was the casualty of that decision. Is that something you might not like? Sure. I don’t think it’s the new direction for the gaming industry however. I think it’s only going to be done when it makes sense to do it, for games with a primary multi-player focus. And as much as you might not think that D3 HAS a primary multi-player focus, Blizzard does. At least that’s what they want. And it’s not about the RMAH either. (I think that’s a fix for the initial problem of expanding the multiplayer environment via an auction house)

    If people are going to argue against that, and think that it’s not good or annoying, that’s fine. I don’t want to see all games go online. But the occasional game that features smooth integrated multi-player including things such as chat, an AH, a friends list, etc.? That’s something I personally list as a pro, not a con.

    • ginseng

      It would be nice to at least have the option to play offline.

  • F

    Welcome to The Cloud. Enjoy.

  • Dave

    PC gaming’s annoying future. Console gaming on the other hand has none of the problems.

    • Joven

      Because surely they’ll stop at ‘VIP passes’ to lock content/game modes, tying games to the console, etc…

      On PC its ‘whatever it takes to stop piracy, even if it doesnt.’ On consoles, its becoming a race to see who can be the most anti-consumer in an attempt to destroy the used game market.

  • Echidna

    I still reckon Nethack is unbeatable for gameplay.

  • JG

    How soon after Skyrim (practically an alternate reality for maybe 300 hours of my neural activity) we’re prepared to call bad MMO “the future of gaming”…

    BTW, I’m playing through D3 slowly, in Korean, so I’m having the unusual experience of an intense and idiosyncratic speed lesson, sometimes at the expense of my character’s life…

  • Rawnaeris

    Think about the ques for each expansion of WoW. We just can’t see where we are in line.

    Ok, fairness addresses, it’s freakin lame and stupid to not have any of the game available for offline play. I would have loved to be able to play it at airports, hotels, etc. that don’t always have Internet or free Internet when they do have wifi.

  • longstreet63

    Well, my own lengthy gamingexperience has shown me that I don’t ever want to play with others. In fact, wht I like to do is mod a game I like so that I will enjoy it more, albeit idiosyncratically.

    Having loved D1 and D2, well, I’m just not buying D3. That’s a shame, really, but it is what it is. They didn’t make it for me.

    And I burned out on Skyrim rather fast. I really don’ understand what could make someone go back to such a plodding, repetitive game. Yet, I devoured it for the first hundred hours or so…

  • Katherine Lorraine, Chaton de la Mort

    I’m honestly more irritated about the microtransaction F2P type stuff that keeps popping up, where the future of gaming is no longer about your skill level in the game but where you’ve got enough IRL money to throw at the game. It marks a dangerous precedent where game companies will have to tailor to that model, where those who refuse to participate in the F2P purchases will be at a disadvantage – even to the level of being kicked out of guilds and clans.

    And it will happen, mark my words. One of these days, WoW will open up microtransactions.

    • JT Eberhard

      I don’t have a problem with microtransactions as long as they’re for things that don’t unbalance gameplay.

      If they’re for cosmetics or experience boosts or things like that, I’m alright with them. But the second somebody can use them to acquire better gear that gives them an advantage in PvP, I’m out.

      • Katherine Lorraine, Chaton de la Mort

        Oh yes, I agree. Sorry, I should’ve clarified that point. I have indeed purchased cosmetic microtransactions in League of Legends (skins.) I’ll extend your thing to PvE considerations as well, because if say, you can buy the Sword of 1000 Truths and it gives you decent DPS, people are going to want to limit their recruitment and runs to people who’ve bought the Sword of 1000 Truths.

        I could totally see the ad “LFG 1 DPS, must have Sword of 1K Truths.” The game would no longer be about who is the best and who is awesome at their job, but who got mommy and daddy to buy them a digital sword.

  • unbound

    The other aspect of the future of gaming is the lack of innovation around the products anymore. For both Diablo 3 and Starcraft 2, the games came out more than a decade after their predecessors but the changes were evolutionary. 10+ years = incremental improvements / changes???

    Don’t get me wrong. Both games are well done and fun to play. But consider that Starcraft 2 still operates in a 2 tier environment. Total Annihilation (which came out about 6 months before Starcraft) already had 3D terrain.

    Diablo 3′s most notable change? Real world money transactions for items.

    Disappointing that a major developer like Blizzard doesn’t seem to be putting as much effort into their franchises as they could.

    • Metaphysical Ham Sandwich

      Half the people complain that it’s so different from Diablo 2. Half the people complain that it’s not innovative enough.

  • chrisj

    That’s OK. Diablo 3 has outrageous problems, but we’ve got both Torchlight 2* and Grim Dawn (Kickstarterfinisher closes today!) coming in the near future to keep ARPG fans slaughtering the minions of evil, and since you can buy both for quite a bit less than the cost of D3, I’m just regarding it as money saved. Which is a pity, because before they went crazy I was actually looking forward to it.

    *Minor smug: today’s email included a Torchlight 2 beta key. Should be a good weekend :)

    • chrisj

      I could have sworn I closed that tag. Oops.

      • JT Eberhard

        I got your back. :)

        • chrisj

          …and on the blog, too. :)

          Having now had a chance to put some time in, I have to say TL2 seems even more awesome than the first Torchlight game was. FTB squad for online co-op play?

    • Adam

      IIRC, both Grim Dawn and Torchlight 2 will be $20 each. So I can get two games that don’t have DRM out the ass and look a lot more fun or pay for 2/3 of a game that won’t even let me play offline.

      • chrisj


        My remaining $20 went on the Shadowrun returns kickstarter, which I’m hoping will also be awesome (albeit in a rather different game-style). Given the availability of modding tools for at least two of the three, I’m expecting to get a lot more hours out of the money that way than if I’d given it to Blizzard.

  • Sophia Dodds

    I’m of two minds about D3. I like the content for the most part, the story is continued a bit and it’s relatively gripping when the gameplay is smooth.

    The giant arsehole of doom opens up under it however, when you consider that the single player mode has LAG. Lag.
    I like to think I have a nice, solid internet connection. Playing diablo somehow raises my ping to somewhere in the 200-300 range, 500-600 or even higher sometimes. Issues go from having your game freeze for a few seconds to having your charaacter zip back half a screen every few seconds so you have no idea where anything is or if you’re even alive.
    The whole idea of having the entire game be online only is stark raving mad. I can understand from an economic perspective, but not having ANY option to play the game offline at all stinks of pure corporate baloney. They’re pushing hacks and dupes (and piracy, duh) as the reasons for online only, though having an offline mode with no option to transfer the character online would solve pretty much any hacking issues for the online market.

    Secondly, difficulty and replay value. Is it just me, or is normal mode ridiculously easy? I didn’t die once and I’m not exactly a hardcore gamer. The other two games have me dying repeatedly even when I play them now on their standard difficulty settings. Makes me wish I’d rolled a HC!
    The difficulty was what kept me coming back in the first two games, not some arbitrary ‘achievement’ system that unlocks useless cosmetic patches for a freaking banner of all things – which isn’t even visible in-game and has no reason to be there other than showing how many hours you’ve wasted performing pointless tasks.
    Also, I’m a new mum with no time to play – and I’ve beaten the single player campaign in a couple of days without dying. Not… quite right. This wasn’t a speed run either, I was looking for books and side quests! Madness.

    Thirdly, the obligatory “Australia tax” whinge. Really. Everyone on the forums seems to have paid $60 for this game. I paid $88. Our dollar is STRONGER than the US dollar right now. Every game costs more here, for the sole reason that games cost more here. This is from the official site even, not a brick-and-mortar store. Need to find a way to change my geographic location thingy for purchases, because it’s getting ridiculous.

    It’s a fun game, but not worth close to $90 for a broken single player experience that’s governed by the Servers of Crapness.