Wednesday, January 11, 2012

When does a game stop to be single-player?

In yesterday's thread about Diablo 3, SolidState claimed that one can't compare Diablo 3 with a MMORPG, because Diablo 3 was a single-player game. Whoa there, hold your horses! Is Diablo 3 really still a single-player game?

To the best of my knowledge, you can't even play Diablo 3 offline, it requires an always-on internet connection. You *can* play it in an "instanced" version without other players, but you can also play parts or even the majority of MMORPGs solo or instanced. And the moment you visit the auction house, you necessarily interact with other players, just like you do in World of Warcraft. And then of course you can play Diablo 3 with or against other players, in cooperative PvE or in arena PvP. So if for example you had the possibility to cheat in the single-player part of Diablo 3 with some sort of dupe or god mode, it would potentially affect other players as soon as you play multiplayer with that character.

So would you still call Diablo 3 a single-player game? Or are we one a scale of grays where the difference between Diablo 3 and a game like World of Warcraft or Guild Wars isn't all that marked any more? How far can you push a game and still pretend it's a single-player game? At what point does it stop to really be one?

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