So, Diablo III launched this week. Like many eager gamers, I hoped to explore dangerous dungeons and gather amazing loot on day one, but four days in, my Diablo experience is less than stellar. If you're having issues with running the game, here are some helpful tips I discovered while trying to connect to Blizzard's servers.
1) Open ports
When Diablo III kept crashing on me, I had no idea what to do. I was sure it was just the server overload, but as Blizzard addressed these issues, I couldn't accept that was the whole truth.
The reality is that many Blizzard games require you to completely readdress how your router interacts with your computer. Not having played a Blizzard title consistently since the first Diablo, it took me a long time to figure out that my router might be interfering with how I connected to Diablo III's servers.
You can find your settings by accessing your router's IP address. I'm not entirely sure that granting Diablo III special permissions actually helped my perpetual connection issues, but it seems to have helped.
2) Resetting my Battle.net password
Apparently, some server issues around Diablo III require players to reset their passwords. I did this approximately three times to no avail. Each change seemed to summon a new 3000-level error while trying to simply authenticate my account.
This valuable recommendation came directly from Blizzard. If you can't properly connect to its always-on DRM servers, it must be the install's fault.
Since late Monday evening, I've installed Diablo III 10 times. I think by now I must have a complete and functioning version. Yet my connection is poor and refuses to let me even make a character.
4) Updating your router firmware
Did you know that little box you plug into your modem actually has firmware? I have a Belkin N+ router that I've used for two years now. Besides Diablo III, none of the PC games I try to play that perpetually access a server have had the same number of game-ruining glitches.
Through Blizzard's help pages, I discovered that my router's firmware might be to blame. After updating, the incessant disconnect issues I faced actually grew worse. I'd like to think I'm a tech-savvy person, but this one PC title is completely rewriting what I know about online play and video games.
Finally, I was able to log in and create a character. Oh, but actually starting the game was a mystery, as every time I tried, the server connection timed out….
Despite the literal days I put into making Diabo III run correctly, it's still a gigantic mess. The first four elements of this list pushed me closer to playing the game. By chance, I managed to connect to a server and even start playing, but as of today I am only at level 10 with my first character.
No matter what time of day I play, or which character I connect with, latency rules my time online. Diablo III is currently a world void of interaction and combat. Every time I try to speak to a non-player character or attack an enemy, I'm met with a nearly two-minute delay on the action. Some gamers talk about a two-second lag making a game unplayable, but what if that delay actually took a minute or more?
Diablo III seems like a fascinating experience, and one I've longed for since my early days with the series, but Blizzard's adoption of always-on, server-based piracy protection makes the game virtually unplayable.
I'm not an idiot when it comes to reconfiguring PC settings, but Diablo III makes me feel like one.