A decade of waiting for satisfaction can leave an audience pent up with expectations that can never be met. People become so fixated on what they want rather than what they ultimately get that it doesn’t matter how good what they’ve been waiting for actually is, they’ll still be disappointed. Diablo fans don’t have to wait any longer though. Whether it’s as good as Diablo II is beside the point; they know that Diablo III will satisfy them. Just ask the 300,000 people that logged into play the beta version of the game at the same time.
Activision Blizzard hosted an open beta test of the long awaited game of crawling through dungeons, clicking on skeletons, enjoying potion sound effects, and waiting to see some purple text pop up over a sword over the weekend of Apr. 22. The number of people that turned out to play the sequel isn’t surprising by any means but it’s still impressive. Blizzard community manager Bashiok said on Twitter that Blizzard’s servers saw 300,000 simultaneous players in Diablo III over the weekend.
Bashiok didn’t say how many total users logged in, only that it was “a lot.”
That number may have been higher had Blizzard not run into some hiccups in the process. Many beta players reported trouble logging into the game—Diablo III requires a constant Internet connection to play—which could signal a rough time when the game officially releases on May 15. Then again, a beta test’s intent is to reveal these sorts of problems so that they can be fixed promptly.
Fans as closely follow beta tests for Blizzard games as the actual game releases. Anticipation of 2010’s Starcraft II, a sequel released twelve years after its predecessor, went through six months of beta testing. The initial closed beta test required a digital key to access and players spent hundreds of dollars at online auction websites to purchase access.
Troubles accessing the Diablo III beta highlight a sore subject between Blizzard and its audience though: Required persistent Internet connections. The company requires players of all its games to be connected to the Web to play, a measure intended to stifle piracy as much as maintain proper balance in competitive games like Starcraft. The Starcraft II Global League finals held earlier this month also demonstrated the problems of persistent connections as the championship match between Won “PartinG” Lee Sak and Lee “MarineKing” Jung Hoon had to be replayed after the Internet connection at the event went down.