It's pretty impossible defining Blizzard without Battle.net, its multiplayer matchmaking platform and the first in-game service of its kind. It was a major selling point for Diablo, but the RPG's legacy—perhaps even the legacy of multiplayer gaming itself—could've turned out differently if not for a last-minute whim. In an interview with
, Diablo designer and former Blizzard North head David Brevik reveals the trailblazing title was initially a turn-based solo adventure with no online capability whatsoever.
"Diablo, originally, was a single-player, turn-based DOS game that evolved into real-time action-roleplaying," Brevik explains. "We made up Battle.net six months before the end of [development on] Diablo. The idea of it came six months before the launch, so we went back and we made Diablo multiplayer."
Wow. It's somewhat humbling to consider how close history might've changed with just a single decision. Battle.net flourished as an essential component of Blizzard's subsequent games, but Diablo's version of the service was extremely rudimentary, providing only chat support and basic game listings. I'll always remember it as the bedrock for some of my earliest online gaming experiences of
begging for gold
slaying demons with friends.