It’s poor. For a game that’s meant to be played 100% online, Blizzard hasn’t delivered a strong service here. What’s more is that they haven’t promised to do so, either. In fact, the Terms of Use specifically state that they don’t even have to:

BLIZZARD DOES NOT WARRANT THAT YOU WILL BE ABLE TO ACCESS OR USE THE SERVICE AT THE TIMES OR LOCATIONS OF YOUR CHOOSING; THAT THE SERVICE WILL BE UNINTERRUPTED OR ERROR-FREE; THAT DEFECTS WILL BE CORRECTED; OR THAT THE GAME CLIENT OR THE SERVICE ARE FREE OF VIRUSES OR OTHER HARMFUL COMPONENTS.

Koreans have already taken suit with them, with the FTC having raided the local office last week. This came after many Korean gamers were unable to access the service and so began requesting refunds. The company is under investigation. However, Blizzard’s policy in Korea is that the game is completely non-refundable or at least that’s the rumor. I tried reading through the current FTC laws and regulations, but didn’t find any words specific to “refund”. However, check this document (links to PDF) on page 47 for the regulation under which the unfair retail policy could fall.

In other news, New Zealanders and Aussies must connect to American servers if they wish to play. Of course, Blizzard could have hosted their service locally in order to give them an optimal experience, but for reasons unknown, they didn’t. The already overworked, overloaded American servers must also make room for the people down under. Hey, we feel your pain down there.

The NZ/Aus players have been complaining in their own little corner of the forums. It seems a great way to keep their complaints from the rest of our eyes. I wonder how many of us on the American servers even know that this traffic is hitting us and impacting our own gameplay.

Combat

Hardcore mode, even in D2, was a really huge gamble on servers that could (and did) disconnect often and for no reason. That was 12 years go. Remember when facing Diablo how, when he breathed his hellfire, the fight would turn into a picture gallery for about 30 seconds? Can you believe that’s still true today for many players? 12 million online customers later and Blizzard has no idea how to resolve this issue for about 6 million active players. Something’s wrong when you’re still having the problems today of 2000. Very wrong.

Skill/ability delays and lag are rampant. No doubt the special spell effects and dungeon loading play their role in deadly lagfest of Battlenet. Expect to die often. The hardcore population is even smaller than usual so far. My guess is the server performance issues are currently too great to make any time investment in permanent characters.

There are more threads in the Tech Support forum than in all the class forums combined as of last Friday.

Conclusion

Don’t try to offer a service you can’t deliver. The servers mostly work, but the service as a whole is pretty bad right now. If the richest game developer in the world can’t handle it, we can only hope other companies won’t try this.

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