Archive for March, 2012

Diablo 3 Beta – secret areas

Thanks to a “benevolent” bug in the beta, you are now able to explore 3 additional areas: Festering Woods, the Fields of Misery and the Drowned Temple.

The areas will be available in the retail version that launches May 15th, but this is a good way to judge if the other content is on the same level as the areas provided in the beta.

We all remember Age of Conan which had amazing 1-20 leveling in Tortage, which then transitioned into a lackluster trek across almost barren areas. Of course, with something like 5 years of development (or 10 depending on counting), Diablo 3 will have no excuse when it comes to barren areas.

Diablo 3 release date – May 15

Finally, we got it!

Diablo 3′s release date has finally been confirmed by Blizzard – it’s MAY 15. You can purchase Diablo 3 as a regular edition for about $60 or Collector’s Edition for $100. Of course, you can also get it for “free” by purchasing a full year of WoW. You can also get a digital edition straight from Blizzard, keep in mind in Europe the price is 60 euro!

Mike Morhaime, Blizzard’s CEO said in a statement:

“After many years of hard work by our development team and months of beta testing by hundreds of thousands of dedicated players around the world, we’re now in the homestretch. We look forward to putting the final polish on Diablo III over the next two months and delivering the ultimate action-RPG experience to gamers worldwide starting on May 15.”

A bit more details on the rollout, country by country:

Starting May 15, gamers with a thirst for fast-paced action and adventure will be able to purchase Diablo III at retailers throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, South Korea, Southeast Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and the regions of Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau. In addition, gamers in the regions above as well as in Mexico, Argentina, Chile, and Brazil will be able to buy Diablo III digitally via Blizzard’s Battle.net website.

Players in the listed Latin American countries and in Russia will be able to purchase Diablo III at local retail locations starting June 7. Digital availability for the Russian version of the game will also begin June 7. In addition to the English version, Diablo III will be fully localized into Latin American Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, French, German, European Spanish, Italian, Polish, Russian, Korean, and Traditional Chinese.

Blizzard fires 600

In the midst of all the Diablo 3 news, Blizzard has stunned the media with a grim announcement: Blizzard has fired 600 people.

The reason for the layoff is unclear but Blizzard stated that the World of Warcraft team will not be affected. I think they meant that the live (development) team will not be affected, because it’s pretty obvious where the cuts will be the deepest – WoW’s customer support and community services.

Considering that Blizzard had added 5000 people to handle WoW’s unprecedented success in terms of customer support, it stands to good reason that now that their subscription numbers are suffering (2 million lost), they will reduce the support staff accordingly.

The real question is whether this will delay Diablo 3 even further. Mike Morhaime was quick to state the company is “continuing to develop, iterate, and polish Blizzard DOTA, Diablo 3, StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria, as well as other, unannounced projects.”

I guess he listed them in order of release. The DOTA (custom Starcraft 2 map) will probably come out in April-May with Diablo hopefully following in June. It remains to be seen if this is more smoke and mirrors from Mike – after all, he said they are doing EVERYTHING they can to release Diablo 3 in 2011. Obviously, “everything” was not enough.




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