Diablo 3 - Preview @ StrategyInformer
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October 1st, 2011, 19:07
I agree that they are unlikely to change it back midway through piracy or no, but I don't think it has anything to do with racking up online sales. It's just been Blizzard's vision to make gaming more of a social network where you can catch up with your friends. And social networks only work when people are online to use them. Not sure that I agree with that vision, but that's what they have been promoting for years now. Starcraft 2 has never been changed to be playable offline, and there are no item sales or transaction fees to promote there. I doubt they are worried about piracy any more either.
As for the delay, it's entirely possible that it could be delayed to late 2012. Other then SC2, every one of Blizzard's major titles has been massively delayed. Blizzard is not shy about making major changes and scrapping ideas during the delay period either.
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