Diablo 3 on console is slightly better than the PC version, in a myriad of small ways. One big thing is has over us and all our mates, however, is an offline mode – the kind we’d been told in no uncertain terms we weren’t allowed on PC. So when’s ours coming? Still never, say Blizzard.
“On PC, we really want players to feel they’re part of the bigger Blizzard and Diablo community,” said Diablo game director Joshua Mosqueira.
Mosqueria inherited the top job from Jay Wilson after leading Diablo’s jump to the consoles, and thus has seen the debate “from all angles”.
“Something Kevin [Martens, lead content designer] says all the time is: Diablo plays best when you’re playing with other people,” he told Eurogamer at Gamescom. “Because not a lot of people connect their consoles to the internet, that’s where the whole idea of having to get four people on the same couch playing together [comes in]. That’s how we get that social aspect.
“But on PC, we really want players to feel they’re part of the bigger Blizzard and Diablo community. It’s a choice of platform and opportunity for our players to benefit from. There’s a more secure item trading environment, but also a more social environment.
“We have a lot of plans to make online matter. For us it’s about that connected experience.”
Martens made the argument that Diablo 3 was “a co-op game from day one”.
“We didn’t add co-op in. It’s not a value added feature. It is the ideal,” he said. “It’s not something we want to force upon people, but the idea it’s always available – the whole drop-in, drop-out thing – has been of value since the very beginning of the project. We tried to make the game with that in mind.
“As we add new things, as we look to the future, we’re still trying to enrich that. We still are doing a lot to make online matter. Improved matchmaking, new social systems and extra rewards for playing together.”
When Diablo 3 console’s offline mode was announced, explained Mosqueria, it was but a matter of seconds before forumites were asking for an online-only mode to prevent cheating: “We cannot win.”
“Each game stands on certain pillars that hold the game up,” added Martens. “What are those core things that never change? A good vision for a game can state those in such a way that no matter how you iterate over and over again and change all the details, those things still stand true. The online one is one we’ve tried to stick to throughout the whole thing.
“It’s not going anywhere.”
What I’m hearing is this: we can’t have an offline mode until we start playing our PCs from our couches. Have you got a decent second-hand furniture shop round your way?