The always-online nature of the PC version of Diablo III raised a storm of criticism back in the days, but it looks like there are some - more or less unexpected - benefits to it. The console versions do not come with such a requirement, which means that the savefiles are not handled by Blizzard servers but rather locally, and that leaves the game open to all sorts of hacks and ill-intentioned tweaks, which - by an interesting set of circumstances - have grown to completely ruin the much-hailed social aspect of the game.
The Diablo III experience has from the beginning been conceived as a social experience, allowing people to play with other people, friends and strangers alike. Thanks to the unexpected effect of a number of exploits though, one might as well drop the "strangers" part from the above sentence. Here's what's wrong in a nutshell: some players exploit an item or another (in most cases the one called the Gem of Ease), tweaking it to give much more experience per kill than it normally would. This alone would be a problem, but not a particularly annoying one. The bigger problem is that if a player wielding an item laced with the hacked Gem of Ease joins a group, he will boost the experience production for all other members of the group as well, resulting in massive level-gains which essentially take away the enjoyment of the game from players who have nothing to do with the hack itself.
Console players are obviously outraged, some of them voicing disappointment at being ignored/let down by Blizzard. Help is already underway though. When a player's character is loaded in, a basic "sanity" check is run on the gear, so hacked/tweaked items are discovered and immediately disqualified. Starting with patch 2.4 - which is set to launch on PC and console simultaneously - the Gem of Ease will be capped at rank 100. Such measures will likely get the Gem of Ease thorn out of console players' sides, but similar problems may arise in the future due to - of all things - the lack of continuous connectivity.
Philip Thalberg has been working for Gosugamers since 2004. Join the world's biggest and best eSports destination right now!