Diablo III Review: Blizzard's Brilliant, Blundering Wreck

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There's a lot of good things to be said about Diablo III. Perhaps even more importantly, I trust Blizzard to fix the problems that exist today. I've worked with and known people at the company for 12 years; the programmers, developers, and GMs at Blizz are gamers and players first and foremost. Barring a major apocalypse, there's every reason to think people will be playing Diablo III ten years from now.

Even in a world where bats drop plate armor, bleeding skeletons stand out.

So if that's the case, why am I being so harsh? Simple: Since when does anyone need to make excuses for a Blizzard game? None of the WoW expansions have ever shipped in such a broken state, I've never been functionally unable to play a game 10 days after it shipped, and the company has never before discussed launching a paid service tied to PayPal and other funds without following basic security practices.

WoW's launch woes were understandable; Blizzard had no experience in the MMO business. This isn't 2004, and Diablo III isn't just a sequel -- it's a test flight for a new type of "freemium" business model and a demonstration of the kind of social network Blizzard wants to create. It was an opportunity to revisit a beloved world and tell the next chapter of an epic saga.

The company has never dropped the ball this way before. They didn't just fail to meet abstract, impossible expectations, they've failed to deliver a functional gaming service measured against very concrete latency standards. If you haven't bought D3, or haven't played yet, should you?  Yes. When? Later. When it's fixed. When doing so can send a message to the company that it can't rest on its name. But most of all, buy it when you're guaranteed to get the kind of service everyone else should've been enjoying this past week.

  • Great Gameplay
  • Excellent Cinematics

  • Storyline makes Michael Bay look like Stanley Kubrick
  • Terrible online experience
  • Latency, hacking, and poor security practices

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