Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Evil Has Survived

At long last, Diablo 3 has been officially announced!

The writing's been on the wall for a while. Blizzard have been quietly taking over the domains of fan sites (with full consent of the site owners, who were no doubt excited to be part of the announcement), and a writer told Slashdot a while back that he had been commissioned to write Diablo 3 tie-in books (sorry, since 10 seconds of Googling didn't find the exact article, I give up). When asked whether that meant the game was coming, he pretty much laughed at the question. If not, then why would Blizzard be paying him?

It's understandable that Blizzard was in no hurry. Diablo and Diablo 2 are still selling, at pretty much full retail price (for 2, at least). There aren't many games released back around the turn of the century whose publishers can say that. So, why put out a third installment, thereby sounding the death knell for full-price sales of the first two? I expect we'll see the price of the Diablo Battle Chest (the first two games plus some extras, like an expansion set) drop around the time of the new game's release.

It's also still a long way off. That's OK; Blizzard has a history of releasing games when they're ready. Patches are inevitable, but there's absolutely no excuse for any game getting to retail release with showstopper bugs. If you need to download a large patch (or any patch) immediately to make a brand new game playable, then the publisher messed up horribly and should be avoided in the future. Blizzard's track record means there's an excellent chance that the game will be released with all major bugs ironed out, and that it will be very, very good.

Diablo 2 was the game that turned my wife into a proper gamer. She had always played a lot of casual games (LBreakout2, Minesweeper, etc.), but Diablo 2 turned her on to the hard stuff. She eased in with a little Sword of Fargoal, moved on to Diablo 2 (LAN play is a big part of why we now have a home network), then got heavily into Neverwinter Nights. A copy of the Baldur's Gate II Collection sits next to our newer PC, as yet untried, because she knows that when she starts playing it she won't resurface for a long time.

We will definitely be purchasing Diablo 3 when it eventually ships. Maybe even two copies, if it supports LAN play and a separate copy is needed for each PC. I will be upgrading PCs as necessary. However, since Blizzard has historically been more interested in people being able to play their games than in showing off how hard they can push a system, I won't be surprised if I don't need to.

I really hope it supports LAN play. I have very little interest in playing on I like playing a little bit at a time, as I get the opportunity. The prospect of dealing with Leet Haxx0r twelve-year-olds (physical or mental) who have nothing better to do with their time than level up and yell "STFU, N00B! LOL!!1!" at anyone with a life offline doesn't appeal to me.

I'm guessing I'll be watching that play demo video a lot over the next year....

Enough rambling. Here's a picture of a chain-link fence in closeup, partially obscured by a finger.

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