Blizzard apologizes for 'Diablo' disaster

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By Winda Benedetti

What was supposed to be the triumphant return of a beloved game franchise has turned into one devil of a disaster. And now, Blizzard, the company behind "Diablo III," has issued an apology.

"We’ve been humbled by your enthusiasm — and we sincerely regret that your crusade to bring down the Lord of Terror was thwarted not by mobs of demons, but by mortal infrastructure," came Blizzard's message to players posted in the game's community forum last night.

Gamers have spent the last two days trying ... and often failing ... to play "Diablo III" after Blizzard's servers were apparently overwhelmed by the launch-day crush. It's a game fans have waited more than a decade to play.

Blizzard's apology explained:

As many of you are aware, technical issues occurring within hours after the game's launch led to players experiencing error messages and difficulty logging in. These issues cropped up again last night for the Americas and Europe servers. Despite very aggressive projections, our preparations for the launch of the game did not go far enough.

We’ve been monitoring the game 24/7 and have applied several optimizations to help our systems better weather the global rush. As of late last night, specifically 11:50 PM PDT on May 15, all systems have been online and running relatively smoothly. We’re continuing to monitor performance globally and will be taking further measures as needed to ensure a positive experience for everyone. This includes some maintenance to implement additional improvements for each region.

Blizzard also announced that they are investigating issues that players have run into with the achievement system. Meanwhile, the company said that, due to the ongoing difficulties, they will not be opening their real-money auction house as planned on May 22. They plan to launch the auction house at a later date still to be specified.

Of course, Blizzard's message did not address perhaps the biggest source of the "Diablo III" gamer rage — the company's decision to force even those playing the single-player portion of the game to connect to the game's online servers.

"The decision for online only was made i imagine for various security reasons (RMAH, AntiPiracy, Anti Hacking, etc), but in retrospect, having a game that depends HEAVILY on stable servers, why wasn't there a more planned release to make sure the servers could stair step into stability?" asked a gamer by the name of "briarben66" in the community forum. 

Added another, "They are maximizing profits and sacrificing the gamers enjoyment. To save a buck from pirates, they make us, the paying customer, suffer with this intolerable service."                                

But other players have taken the connection issues and error messages in stride.

Wrote one player going by the name "Morrissey": "Meh. Error 37 is frustrating, but OH. MY. GOD... Diablo 3 is beautiful, epic, and amazing!! I love this game!!"      

If you're one of those left feeling ... frustrated ... by your encounter with "Diablo III" here's a little video to help you laugh away the pain.

Winda Benedetti writes about games for msnbc.com. You can follow her tweets about games and other things here on Twitter or join her in the stream here on Google+. And for more video game news and reviews be sure to check out the In-Game Facebook page right here.