Blizzard was surprised by the reaction to the news that upcoming PC game Diablo 3 cannot be played offline.

Earlier this week Blizzard announced that Diablo 3 requires an internet connection to play at all times sparking an outpouring of anger from PC gamers.

"I'm actually kind of surprised in terms of there even being a question in today's age around online play and the requirement around that," Robert Bridenbecker, Vice President of Online Technologies at Blizzard, told MTV Multiplayer.

"We've been doing online gameplay for 15 years now... and with World of Warcraft and our roots in Battle.net and now with Diablo 3, it really is just the nature of how things are going, the nature of the industry.

"When you look at everything you get by having that persistent connection on the servers, you cannot ignore the power and the draw of that."

Most gamers believe Blizzard's decision was an attempt to combat PC game piracy, but Bridenbecker denied this.

"Internally I don't think [DRM] ever actually came up when we talked about how we want connections to operate," he said.

"Things that came up were always around the feature-set, the sanctity of the actual game systems like your characters. You're guaranteeing that there are no hacks, no dupes. All of these things were points of discussion, but the whole copy protection, piracy thing, that's not really entering into why we want to do it.

"I'm a huge purveyor of online sites and from my standpoint, I don't look at DRM solutions and go, 'Wow, those are awesome.' I look at those and say, 'Wow, those kind of suck.' But if there's a compelling reason for you to have that online connectivity that enhances the gameplay, that doesn't suck. That's awesome."

Bridenbecker stressed that Diablo 3 is still suitable to gamers who prefer the lone wolf approach.

"There seem to be folks that believe that because you have to be connected, it's like you're on Facebook or out there with the rest of the world. That's really not the case.

"Yes, you're going to have a connection, yes, your character will be stored on a server, but it doesn't mean you have to socialise with people.

"It doesn't mean you have to do anything but play the game by yourself. You'll still be able to have a private game. You'll still be able to go off and play the game solo and adventure solo. You can opt to bring other people to your world if you want, but that's up to you."

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Wesley Yin-Poole

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