'Diablo 2 Resurrection' Includes 30 Day Online Check In For Reasons Nobody Can Figure Out

from the DRM-is-the-devil dept

When we’ve talked about any plans to put in online DRM pings when it comes to console gaming, we’ve typically centered that discussion around the console makers themselves. For older Xbox consoles and, well, all things Nintendo, this has been a particularly annoying problem. Nintendo wanting online checks is just so on brand so as to be only mildly annoying. If you buy Nintendo, you know what you’re getting. Microsoft’s plan to have online checks for the Xbox made less sense. Piracy of console games isn’t nonexistent, but it isn’t exactly a massively huge problem given the technical know-how needed in order to use pirated games on modern consoles. Even for game publishers like Activision Blizzard, which has found itself in the headlines for entirely more significant reasons as of late, DRM was typically only included on PC ports of games, not on the console versions themselves.

Until now, it seems. Owners of Diablo 2 Resurrected have discovered that it has an online check that makes the game unplayable if the game hasn’t checked in within 30 days, even on consoles.

Here’s an interesting turn of events: it seems that those who own Diablo 2 Resurrected, if you don’t log in (online) at least once in 30 days, you cannot play it offline regardless of platform. This was brought to our attention by Twitter user DoesItPlay1, who tweeted that this can be removed with hacks, and servers no real purpose.

This was later confirmed independently. As the post notes, there doesn’t seem to be any real purpose to this. Again, console piracy is not to be equated with PC gaming piracy. Putting this check in place for thousands of legit customers to stave off whatever level of console piracy there is for this Diablo title is essentially solving the math problem wrong. On top of that, for those motivated enough, this online check is easily patched out of the game.

So, annoying paying customers to combat a problem that really isn’t that big a problem via a method that is wildly ineffective. Yup, sounds like DRM to me! As the post notes, this is both an annoyance and a poorly timed one.

Given how much bad publicity Activision and Blizzard Entertainment has been in the past few months, this is probably the last thing gamers want to see from the developers. While I understand that this is a way to combat piracy, why is it activated on consoles too? Or better yet, wasn’t there a better way of implementing it without restricting players who bought it legitimately?

With DRM? Nah, dawg. The only real solution here would be for Activision Blizzard to be more forward-thinking and realizing this online check DRM was fit only for the dumpster to begin with.

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Companies: activision blizzard

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Comments on “'Diablo 2 Resurrection' Includes 30 Day Online Check In For Reasons Nobody Can Figure Out”

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PaulT (profile) says:

"While I understand that this is a way to combat piracy"

But, of course, as already mentioned it’s really not. People wanting to pirate will still do so, and when they do they will still have a better product than the one bought legally. I fact, as often seen, the presence of this DRM is actually a driver for "piracy", since some people who recognise this fact will download a cracked copy after they buy the legit version, safe in the knowledge that they’re not "stealing" since they paid for a copy, they just want access to the version that doesn’t try to stop them playing the game they bought.

"Or better yet, wasn’t there a better way of implementing it without restricting players who bought it legitimately?"

No, there isn’t. DRM is software whose entire purpose is to try the stop people from running the software it’s attached to. Like all software, it may have bugs or design issues that make it work imperfectly. It can never operate as well as it not being present in the first place for legal owners of the software it’s infected.

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Strawb (profile) says:

Re: Re:

From the linked article:

This can’t possibly be real, right? Well, our own Jimmy Lara who played Diablo 2 Resurrected online before (and haven’t played it in quite a while), tried it just now, and yep, we were greeted by that authentication message you see above.

I know, clicking links and reading them is hard.

Anonymous Coward says:

We’re talking about a company that released a product (Diablo III) that supported an OS (MacOS Snow Leopard) and then forced users of that OS (myself) to upgrade to a new version that no longer supported my OS. Then they changed their OS Requirements page to say that "You may need to upgrade your OS in order to continue to play this game."

Samuel Abram (profile) says:

Nintendo

Nintendo wanting online checks is just so on brand so as to be only mildly annoying. If you buy Nintendo, you know what you’re getting.

Hold on a sec, I have a Nintendo Switch, and I have never, ever needed an online check to play any offline Nintendo Switch game. It would also hobble the console when people play it on the Subway (at least the inferior ones in the US that don’t have Wi-Fi on board), on car trips, or on cruises or wherever. What do you mean by "online checks" o Timothy Geitner? I’m legitimately confused.

Nintendo does indeed deserve a lot of criticism for their draconian enforcement of their IP but I’ve never seen them have an always-online system for the Nintendo Switch (which, as I had explained, would defeat the functionality of the system).

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Nintendo

I don’t know how it works on the Switch, but online check doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re checking every single time you load the game. It might check in the background on a regular basis and cache the result, only failing if it hasn’t been online for a certain amount of time.

To give a completely different example – Netflix allows you to download, but the licence will expire after 30 days if it hasn’t been able to connect and confirm you’re still subscribed. But, this happens in the background and the counter will reset if it’s been able to perform a check within that time, so you’d not notice that it’s doing the check unless your app has been offline for longer than that.

Anonymous Coward says:

One thing to hopefully come of the buyout...

At least upcoming new owners Microsoft learned their lesson when they went for the market leader in the 7th console generation, to losing so much of that share in the 8th before their console even launched by trying to introduce this kind of DRM. It took them eight full years, a commitment to game preservation, and services like Game Pass to build back the consumer confidence they lost from just that XBox One prelaunch announcement of a feature they wisely removed from it prior to the actual launch.

With luck these lessons will be applied to Activision titles going forward.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: One thing to hopefully come of the buyout...

I was literally still meeting people in 2019 who refused to get an XBox One because they had seen that 2013 announcement and believed the console had regular online check-ins for your disc-based games, a stark lesson in how much more reach a big global announcement at a huge trade show can have over any amount of backtracking and "we have heard you and changed our policies based on your feedback" statements issued in interviews and on social media.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: One thing to hopefully come of the buyout...

Which is why the new system is a subscription plan (GamePass).

It’s still flat out telling you from the get go that you don’t own anything. But because Microsoft didn’t scream it from the heavens and people’s perception of it is "wE gEt So MaNy GaMz!", the general public has welcomed Microsoft’s Extend with a warm Embrace yet again. Guess we’ll have to wait and see how much longer it will be until Microsoft’s Extinguish comes into play….

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