Blizzard's controversial decision to demand Diablo 3 users have a persistent online connection isn't necessarily there to combat piracy, believes Torchlight 2 developer Runic Games. It could in fact be a vital measure in ensuring the security of the game's new real-money auction house.
CEO Max Schaefer – a co-creator of the original Diablo while at Blizzard North – told Eurogamer that he sees the "onerous" DRM measure as an unavoidable consequence of Diablo 3's ambitious trading features. As such, he argued, it's a valid move.
"We were very happy to see we have more points of distinction now between us and Diablo 3," he joked, while discussing Blizzard's recent announcement.
"However, we fully understand why they're doing what they're doing. They've kind of gone the opposite way we have with an open game and modding tools and stuff like that, whereas they want to have an absolutely secure economy and preserve the complete integrity – or at least try to preserve the complete integrity – of the gameplay.
"To do that you have to have some of these pretty onerous restrictions. I kind of understand where they're going – you have to have those things to have a truly secure economy.
"I don't think it's an invalid choice. While I'm happy they're doing it as it gives us a great opportunity, I also understand what they're doing and I don't think it's an invalid thing to do."
So, Diablo 3's DRM is there to keep the auction house safe?
"Yeah, pretty much. They want to have that be meaningful. I don't really know why they don't allow single player offline as you could segregate those characters and not run into that, but the bulk of what they announced really makes sense given what they're trying to do."
Schaefer also offered a little more information on exactly what sort of DRM measures Runic will be implementing with Torchlight 2 when it launches later this year.
"We don't have zero DRM, we just have very simple DRM. In fact with our boxed copies we'll have almost no DRM at all," he revealed.
"The way we're handling it is that you'll have access to our patching and matchmaking service only by logging in with your account. You don't need to use either of those but that's how we're approaching it.
"We don't want to penalise our honest customers just to squeak out a few more sales from people who pirate."
For more on Diablo 3's auction house, see Eurogamer's in-depth look at Blizzard's new system. For more on Torchlight 2, check back later today when we'll have more details straight from Schaefer.