The latest edition of Gus Mastrapa's Joystick Division column, Pretension +1, tackles the recent player rage over Blizzard's decision to require a connection when playing Diablo III. Let's jump straight to the main thrust of the column entitled "How To Freak Out About A Video Game":
"If you want to see some truly artful shit fits look no further than the kerfluffle inspired by the recent Diablo III press event. Gamers found three major issues to take umbrage with. They're mad about the real-money transactions in the game's auction house, they're upset that you need to be online to play the game and some are ticked off about the game's simplified skill system. It takes a certain, single-minded focus to find that many flaws in a video game you've never played. But gamers have a certain talent for going ballistic at the drop of a hat. All it takes is a headline. Reading the article is optional."
He goes on to explain why gamers fly off the handle so easily over seemingly little things. One of those reasons is because a lot of us – myself included – invest a lot of time, energy and money in our hobby. Admittedly some get a little too carried away at the slightest amount of change, and other times that rage might be justified.
Of course the column is called Pretension +1 for a reason, and Mastrapa goes on to list some ways that gamers can be extremely ridiculous. We'll just grab the highlighted points:
- In order to really get pissed about a video game you have to pour all of your being into that game.
- Make sure that your reaction is extremely emotional.
- Another valid approach to video game outrage is to make it a matter of principal.
- The key here is to be unflinching and unbending in your beliefs.
Finally, he closes with this gem:
"And lastly, if all else fails, if every petition or angry message board rant fails there's always the nuclear option. Blame Activision."
But honestly, the real nuclear option, if you really are outraged with what Blizzard is doing, is to simply not buy the game. Gamers are over reactionary online because they can be and because it is easy, but the truth is they'll buy Blizzard's next game because they know in their heart of hearts that company doesn't do things like force players to stay connected without a good reason.
They claim the always on connection is to keep players from cheating and because they want you to be able to play your single player character in your multiplayer game (it's tough as hell to hack a character that isn't actually stored on your computer, after all). So if all that sounds like nefarious reasoning to you, or you just can't stomach that kind of DRM then speak with your wallets..