Diablo 3 is removing its auction houses ! That's a pretty significant about-turn for a game that's generated a lot of controversy from its extraneous features and requirements. So now, given that these trading posts are being removed, and given that the recent console version proves that an offline Diablo won't herald the rise of the Prime Evil, will Blizzard scrap the game's always-online requirement? Spoiler: no.
RPS poked the slumbering Blizzard giant, to be told by a rep:
"We do not have plans to implement an offline mode. While the always-online requirement made the auction house possible, the auction house was never the driving factor in our decision to make the PC version of Diablo III require an Internet connection. The game was built from the ground up to take full advantage of Battle.net, which provides a number of important benefits, including persistent server-side character saves, a seamless PC multiplayer experience, cheat prevention, and Real ID and BattleTag social features."
That's right, Blizzard are committed to the "multiplayer experience" line. To the point that, when given the option to appease fans of a solo Diablo 3 playthrough, it seems they prefer to bullishly insist that those players are doing it wrong. Sure, it's great if a company wants to offer extra support and features for those who choose to take their game online, but not even considering those who have a preference - or requirement - for the alternative seems increasingly mean spirited.