The battle may never end. More than 13 years after its initial release, Diablo 2 remains a reference point for the games we play today. It helps that the action RPG still gets some tender loving care from Blizzard, like the upcoming ladder system maintenance. New players will be able to jump into the competitive hunt for loot with minimal fuss, even after all this time.
Indie hit Torchlight, the action RPG that pushed all of our kill-loot-kill buttons in the decade between Diablo 2 and Diablo 3, is now available for free from GOG. The DRM-Free Summer Sale launched early this morning, and it'll run for 17 days and feature over five hundred games on sale.
Starblo. That was the actual codename Blizzard gave to a prototype sci-fi-themed Diablo-clone - as revealed by Shacknews in an interview snippet with David Craddock about his upcoming book on Blizzard Entertainment, Stay Awhile and Listen. Apparently, a team at Blizzard North were toying with the idea of propelling Diablo's slot-machine formula into space shortly after Diablo 2's launch.
Blizzard have finally announced a release date for Diablo 3! It'll be released digitally and in shops internationally on May 15 and is available to pre-order now on Battle.Net. It'll arrive a bit later on June 7 in Latin America and Russia.
Alongside the release date announcement, Blizzard have revealed the Collector's Edition. That comes with a skull of Diablo with a crystalline USB stick that looks as though it'll plug into the demon's forehead. There's a copy of Diablo 2 and its expansion, Lord of Destruction on the stick.
Diablo 3 has been causing controversy with South Korea's ratings board for ages. Diablo 3's real money auction house has been the main source of the problem. The idea of playing for financial gain conflicted with South Korea's stern anti-gambling ethos, but the problem has now been resolved. Dualshockers noticed the appearance of an official 18 rating for Diablo 3 on the South Korean game rating board site. Blizzard have had to make concessions to guarantee the rating, however.
Here's the Diablo 3 trailer from the Blizzcon opening ceremony. It's another extraordinary bit of CGI work from Blizzard. Plot-wise, it sets up the hunt for the black soulstone, the true significance of which is as yet unknown. The giant evil toad chap is called Azmodan, he's one of the Lesser Evils. He rules half of hell. The other half is ruled by the tricksy Belial, who's also likely to make an appearance, as he and Azmodan have been at war for control of the underworld for centuries. Either way, it's nice that Azmodan decided to appear in a prophetic dream and tell us all his evil plans. We'll get to violently thwart them when Diablo 3 is finally released next year.
The release window for Diablo 3 has shifted from sometime this year to early next year. Blizzard have decided to use the time to extend the current beta. "We didn't put so many years of work into Diablo III to release a game that was almost ready," says co-founder and CEO of Blizzard, Mike Morhaime. "The beta test is going very well, and we look forward to making the most of the extra time we're taking to deliver an experience that lives up to our vision for the game and the expectations of our players."
The announcement also says that Blizzard will be "potentially adding more testers than initially projected," so if you're eager to get an early look at one of the most anticipated PC games in development at the moment, make sure you've opted in on your accounts page on Battle.net.
We're on the beta, and we've been playing it to death. Read our Diablo 3 first impressions for our first thoughts.
Ever wanted to stride down to the local store while listening to World of Warcraft soundtrack, turning your sortie for sundries into a grandiose quest to obtain milk because you suspect the milk you have has gone off and you're not sure but screw it you can never have enough milk anyway? Well then you'll be delighted to discover that Blizzard have opened up a music store, selling soundtracks to World of Warcraft, StarCraft 2, Diablo 2 and even a bit of music from Diablo 3.
Each individual track costs $0.99 and albums cost $9.99. Stick the StarCraft 2 music on in the background while preparing dinner this evening, and use your skyrocketing actions per minute ratio to make a feast fit for a Zerg brood.
Yesterday we reported that Diablo 3 will let you buy and sell items for real money. During the event, the inevitable question about gold farmers came up: doesn't this just make it safer and easier for them?
Executive producer Rob Pardo replied: "Theoretically that’s true, but I mean there’s really nothing… what’s the difference between a player that plays the game a lot and a gold farmer? I mean they’re really doing the same activity."
This is going to be interesting. On Tuesday, Blizzard invited us to their headquarters in Irvine, California to announce that Diablo 3 will feature an auction house that lets players buy and sell in-game items for real money.
At the same event, they revealed that Diablo 3 requires a constant internet connection to play - there's no offline mode at all.
This is not the same as the microtransaction model we've seen in other games: Blizzard themselves aren't selling any in-game items. The auction house will be entirely player driven: everything you see there was found by someone, and most of the money spent to buy it goes to the player who found or crafted it.
Read on for more details, and Blizzard's justifications for it.
When we were out at Blizzard on Tuesday, they told us players would be able to buy and sell items for real money, and the game will be online only. There's another part to that, closely related: not only will mods not be supported, they're specifically forbidden by Blizzard. Official quote below.