Diablo III – Actual Multiplayer Action

Despite one unexpectedly long down time, all of 30 minutes long and which among other things allowed me to get my own Error 37, Diablo III seemed to be having a good night.

Hopefully they are getting things reinforced for what will no doubt be the extra heavy load that will come with the weekend.

When things were back up, I put in the Battle.net Battletags of a couple of people I knew as friend invites.  Battletags are the “not quite RealID” alternative that Blizzard came up with when it became clear that not everybody wanted their real name made public when playing an online game.

Having sent out the invites, I went AFK for a bit.  I sure as hell wasn’t going to exit the game!  I’ve seen my error 37 message, I’m in the club, and now I want to move on and play the game.

When I came back I found one of my old friends… both “old” as in I have known him for nearly 20 years and “old” as in very close to my own age… in the game with me.  This was kind of cool because I had played the original Diablo online with him way back when that was the hot new game.

And with somebody in the game with me, I got to sort out a bit of how multiplayer works.

I was, for example, able to jump right out to my friend Xyd by clicking on his banner in town.  This action also earned me an achievement, because this is Blizzard.

Dropping in and out of somebody’s game seemed very easy.  This might keep me from posting my Battletag on the blog for all and sundry.  But if you have friends you want to play with, it is easy to find them.  An upside of the always logged in I suppose, unless you don’t want to be found.

The difficulty of all the mobs went up when he joined.  They did not go up as much as they used to back in Diablo II however.  I recall that being a shock back in the day.  We used to play Diablo, where the mobs were the same with one to four people, at widely different levels, each person off in their own corner but all able to chat while we played.  Then came Diablo II and we tried that and all got pummeled.

We each lost our hired minions.  With multiplayer, you do not need a helper.  We did get to keep Leah, as she is a quest mob.  But there was only one of her, and she does spout some inane dialog when things are quiet.  She kept going on about an Inn she wanted to open.

I am not sure, but the game may have sync’d up our quests.  When I got back to my computer and joined Xyd, we were both on the same stage of the same quest.  This was either incredible luck… well, we were both level 10 at the time, so maybe not that incredible… or the game does something.  But I am not sure which.

And it was pretty fun.  Xyd is a witch doctor while I was playing as Vikund the barbarian.  We ran around and beat the crap out of things and generally moved ahead in the game.

Xyd and Vikund running around

Playing with somebody else made me start to look around for what else the game does to support multiplayer.  The only item, aside from the awkward (for the instance group) party size that I spotted right away was an apparent lack of built-in voice communications.  That seems like an odd oversight, given that Blizzard has built-in voice in other games already and the “always gotta log in” nature of Diablo III.

But other than that, things went well.  Hopefully I will find more time to play with friends online.

Diablo III is not just a single player game.

7 thoughts on “Diablo III – Actual Multiplayer Action

  1. scotth

    I was on for a while last night; then the servers were overloaded an I got kicked. Cracked had a Diablo rant up today. The guy said that at one point Diablo crashed Battlenet, which meant no one could play WoW or Starcraft either.


  2. Rohan

    For the quests, quests aren’t really tied to the character in the same fashion as WoW. For example, you can go back and do any of the quests again, even on your own.

    So when someone joins your game, they get the quest you are working on.

    To put it another way, the quest isn’t a property of the character, it’s a property of the current game. So you can take the same character, and drop her into any game, and she will inherit the quest from the game.


  3. wizardling

    Multiplayer is the only attractive thing about D3 for me. D2’s bnet was so awful (yet oddly pay to play’s WoW worked fine…) it was mostly a SP game for me, anyway. Not to mention what a risk muling in D2 MP was with servers constantly crashing.

    So I can see myself getting D3 when it hits the bargain bins, or not at all if it’s player population has gone the way of older games by then. But Blizzard – you don’t get full price from me after crap like D2’s bnet mess and still not having fixed bugs present in D2’s beta! e.g. fend bug.

    Yep – I’m a cranky old cynic nowadays :-)


  4. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    BNet could certainly be hit or miss in the Diablo/Diablo II days, though how much of that was Blizzard and how much was the internet connections of the people with whom I was playing, I couldn’t tell you. It was the same with StarCraft.

    Some of it was no doubt more apparent because in Diablo, and especially in StarCraft, the Bnet was trying to keep client systems closely in sync. In WoW, if you are losing a lot of packet, the client just keeps you running along doing whatever and is generally in no hurry to get you back in sync. Connection issues are simply not as noticeable in WoW due to design choices, unless you are in a boss fight or a battleground.

    I got my copy of D3 via the “subscribe to WoW for a year” program, which has worked out fairly well. I play WoW a few days a month, so it wasn’t wasted money. I haven’t been interested in the WoW Panda beta though.


  5. wizardling

    You’re right, but I found myself sorely disappointed I got fairly low pings (usually between 100 – 300ms – enough to PvP well in BGs) in WoW, yet D2 as recently as 2009 (I gave up for good on MP D2 then) was horribly laggy with pings many times larger than WoW’s, and suffered massive hiccups (where everything would stop for several seconds) interspersed with so-so at best play.

    I remember back on dialup in 1999 D1 and SC ran well, so I can’t help wondering why ten years later on fullspeed ADSL I still couldn’t get D2 running without massive lag and stuttering. Plus even in 2009 servers crashed constantly due to exploits (I was shocked rampant exploiting would still be worthwhile many years later).

    Not to say you’re wrong, but it is tough to accept that even D1 MP (not that there was anyone else on) in 2009 worked ok, yet D2 still failed badly. It felt like Blizzard just never cared to support D2 properly. Part of the problem is of course that I live in NZ half the world away, so I’ll never get those magical 30ms or less pings Americans do. But every other Blizzard bnet game managed ok…

    That and crap like Fend being broken for ever has made me rather bitter about the Diablo franchise, or at least it’s online-only future. If I’m feeling _really_ cynical I can roll my annoyance at WoW being severely dumbed down from vanilla (to the point where I quit without even running Cataclysm – I’d bought the collector’s edition which now gathers dust :-D ) into my bitterness, but then I’d start sounding like a real crank, heh.

    Well, the upside is – as disenchanted as I may be with today’s Blizzard, early Diablo 1 gave me some of the best ever online multiplayer experiences of my life (and that’s saying something! But D1 was crazy outstanding fun, even compared to early MMOs). Likewise SC in a different less social way. So there are a lot of good memories there :-) It’s just Blizzard;s time has past for me, I think. I’ve quit WoW, not bought SC2, and will only buy D3 once it’s a fraction of it’s current price – and even then only if there’s still a decent playerbase. So maybe never. Once upon a time I bought every Blizzard game without a second thought, and every one was wonderfully entertaining hit after hit… *sigh*


  6. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    Yeah, the last time I went into Bnet with D2, which was a few years back, it was horribly laggy just playing solo. I don’t know what was going on then, but it was clearly during the “We only do WoW” period at Blizzard. I have only played it solo since then.

    On the other hand, there were still a lot of people logged into Bnet.


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