Diablo 3 slated for Q2

Blizzard earnings call.

Oh earnings conference calls, how I love you. You are the one place I can reliably get straightforward, no-bullshit answers about release dates and the success or failure of specific franchises. Blizzard had just such a call this afternoon, which means we finally know something about the release date for Diablo 3. We don’t have a date, but the game is slated for Q2, which is something.

I was really hoping to see the game by this past November, so Q2 feels like a long way off. Blizzard did just give 100,000 more beta invites out, which means more people will have a chance to play through the highly polished first parts of Act I. I was impressed with the beta and really enjoyed myself, but it’s just so damn short.

Some of the other interesting news from the earnings call was that Blizzard will be launching multiple titles in 2012. The safe bet is that they’re talking about Heart of the Swarm, the next Starcraft II xpac, but the hopeful guess is that they’ll launch Blizzard DotA within the year. I’m honestly experiencing a bit of MOBA fatigue, but more options and competition in the industry should mean better games overall, so I’m excited for it. I’m also curious what Blizzard plans to make of this “Blizzard Arcade” business. Trying to pack in a few titles for the casual gaming crowd? I’m sure I could be convinced to spend a couple bucks here and there on Blizzard titles.


Getting pumped for Diablo III

I’ve been on the lookout for a new distraction for quite some time now, but none of the major game releases in the past several months have really captured my attention. Skyrim was good for a time, but while I’m sure I’ll go back to that world on occasion, there’s only so much that I feel truly compelled to do in the game. The Old Republic was an absolute flop for me. Even the DotA 2 beta feels a little lackluster of late. That’s mostly due to the losing streak I’m currently wading through, but also because not all of my gaming buddies have the title and the hero pool remains a bit limited.

I’m not expecting Diablo III to change the gaming industry as we know it. I’m not expecting it to be the best game of 2012. I’m not really expecting anything, which is why I think I will probably enjoy it. Dungeon slashers aren’t particularly interesting games, but they’re usually a lot of fun. I especially like the features of Diablo III aimed at more fun, instead of just min-maxing a character for damage (although that can be a pretty good time, too).

A few videos have recently popped up (like the one above) showing off the effects of different runes on class spells. Though some are a little uninspired (zombie becomes zombie with poison cloud), a lot of the rune effects make significant changes to the way a character feels, which I think is awesome. Personally, I’m most interested in the witch doctor, but the monk is a close second. I’m sure at some point I’ll get into the wizard – I just couldn’t stay away from the sorceress in Diablo II – but I’m guessing that’s a ways off.


Diablo 3 Might Make It To Consoles

Tyrael looking badass.If there’s any Blizzard franchise that could be easily ported to a console it has to be Diablo. The game is as wonderfully simple as it is delightful, which is probably why so many people are playing Diablo II this long after its release.

Apparently Blizzard isn’t opposed to that idea, either. Geoff Keighley’s Twitter page paraphrases Blizzard’s Paul Sams as saying the company (Blizzard) hasn’t ruled out consoles for the new dungeon masher. In fact, they’re already talking to first parties (which I’m assuming means Microsoft/Sony – that should sufficiently boil Kotick’s blood).

We also still aren’t clear on a release date for Diablo 3. While Blizzard has said that SC2 and WoW: Cataclysm will be their only releases in 2010, that doesn’t completely rule out a 2009 release. 2011 seems a bit more likely, but that’s a lot of wait for a game that, frankly, doesn’t really push the boundaries. Sure, Diablo II was my go-to game for a couple years there, but there are plenty of other releases I’m more excited about in the next year or so, some of them even Blizzard titles.


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