It was only a matter of time before Blizzard issued a statement of some kind regarding Diablo III's, ahem, bumpy launch. Said statement was delivered last night with the promise that servers appeared to now be, "online and running relatively smoothly." Of course, Blizzard then took the servers down 7 hours later for 2 hours of maintenance, but the important thing is that things are getting better.
Here is the body of Blizzard's apology, which followed a grateful thank you message to everyone who has taken part in Diablo III's launch:
"To that end, we’d also like to say that 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. 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."
In addition, due to the lack of server stability, Blizzard has delayed the release of the real-money auction house system. Originally scheduled to be released on May 22, a week after launch, it is now postponed for an unspecified amount of time. Expect to hear more once Blizzard can ensure continuous server stability, and a minimum of bugs.
Blizzard didn't have to make this statement, but whether it proves significant to fans who have dealt with unending server volatility over the past few days remains to be seen. What Blizzard didn't apologize for, and likely never will, is that Diablo III forces you to be online to play. Without that requirement there'd be no need for apologies in the first place.
Instead of an apology, I would have preferred a promise to fans that they will go out of their way to make us feel this perpetually online system is worth it. Make us feel like there's value in this system, and not just more of the draconian DRM gamers get everywhere else.