Diablo III release date divulged
Published: Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, May 8, 2012 10:05
In a recent press release, videogame developer and publisher Activision Blizzard announced that the long-awaited Diablo III would finally be available on May 15.
The workings of the third iteration were first made known by the developer at the 2008 Blizzard Entertainment Worldwide Invitational. Since then, they have regularly published updates, offered promotional materials such as wallpapers and online comics, and started a blog dedicated to the game.
Released in 1996, Diablo thrust players into a grim fantasy setting, battling against the legions of Hell in an effort to derail the end of times. Using a traditional isometric view, the point-and-click adventure is considered among the best class-based action-roleplaying videogames of the decade. Most familiar to the game are the visual representation of life bar and mana (magic) bar, portrayed as two translucent round vials that occupied the left and right side of the screen, respectively.
The third installment is a continuation of the battle against evil. Expanding the number of existing classes to include the Witch Doctor is a new class that joins oldies like the Barbarian and the Rogue. Each class has a distinct personality and skill set, which provides the player with different experiences of the game. Another new group added to the game is the mercenaries, which is a set of characters with crafted background stories that can be hired as companions.
Other changes include the replacement of the hierarchical skill-tree system with skill runes. Both the first and second games in the series allowed players to distribute earned points into a predetermined, static set of skills. Blizzard has replaced this with the new skill runes, which can be combined to create a much wider array of possible powers and augmentations. Whereas the old system was an irreversible progression, locking players into a particular style of play, these runes can be switched out on the fly. This allows a level of flexibility unparalleled in past iterations.
Another notable change is the addition of cooperative online gameplay. Although the second game in the series featured multiplayer functionality, the service was hindered by technological constraints of the time. Blizzard has assured that Diablo III will enable players to quickly drop in and out of games with ease, keeping groups together from one section to the next. However, the game can be experienced alone if one so chooses.
Daniel Namdar, a freshman and video game enthusiast, anticipates that Diablo III will be, “a fun and addicting game that keeps me entertained for a long time.”
Blizzard is also responsible for such hit titles as Warcraft and Starcraft. At a panel in 2011, during the enthusiast-powered celebration of the franchises known as Blizzcon, the developers set expectations for their newest contribution to the RPG genre with a game-play montage that captured gameplay alongside commentary documenting the differences between the three difficulty levels: Nightmare, Hell, and Inferno.
Peter Yip, a sophomore, explained his plans for the release: “I should be out there getting in line with a tent and a pee jar.”