Prayers were answered when Blizzard announced the sequel everyone wanted back in 2008. Since then, a lengthy wait compounded by delays has meant the buzz surrounding the game has risen to fever pitch. With the game's release only a matter of days away, we've assembled all the essential information you'll need as you prepare to enter the dungeon once again.
The Opening Cinematic
The Black Soulstone Trailer
Once again we'll return to the world of Sanctuary. Set 20 years after the events of Diablo II, it is up to a new generation of heroes to defeat the evil rising from the darkness.
Diablo III will once again feature a carefully balanced fusion of hack and slash dungeon crawling with RPG-lite elements. Gamers will explore both new and familiar settings, as they battle across two continents and several smaller islands.
Action will be viewed from an overhead perspective, very similar to the isometric perch of old. Events will be brought to life using a custom 3D engine, and environments will be destructible.
Solo players will get help from time to time. Followers are NPC allies that join you in your adventures. Followers will include Kormac the Templar, Lyndon the Scoundrel and Eirena the Enchantress, and each will level up as they gain more experience. You can only have one buddy at a time, so picking one that suits your individual style will be essential.
There are going to be five character classes, and you can choose the gender of each. They're all customisable, with each skill set adaptable, allowing for experimentation as you progress. It's a flexible system that will give gamers much greater control of the way they play.
The Witch Doctor will remind many of Diablo II's Necromancer (Blizzard has said that it's not a replacement class; in fact the Necromancer may return in a later expansion). The Witch Doctor has the ability to summon monsters, hand out curses and hurl explosives at his enemies. Spells are powered by Mana, which regenerates slowly over time.
The Barbarian will once again be a picture of power and physical prowess. They'll be able to Cleave through crowds of enemies using their brute strength, crushing all that stand before them. Hit them and you'll make them angry, and you wouldn't like a Barbarian when they're angry. Fury builds up when attacked, or when attacking, and is the resource a Barbarian relies upon to pummel their enemies into submission.
One class that needs very little explanation is the Wizard. Fire, ice and lightning springs forth from their finger tips, time can be slowed down and walls walked through. A wizard's spells are all fueled by arcane power. And as attack damage is now linked to weapon damage, Wizards now have as much reason to seek out great loot as every other class, a good weapon will make their spells more powerful, even if they never actually use it.
For close-quarters combat look no further than the Monk. Using ferocious melee attacks, this class lets players get close and personal, with the Monk utilising lightning speed and deadly blows to great effect. Spirit fuels this class, which is generated slowly by combat.
The Demon Hunter uses his/her crossbow to deal out death from a distance. Agile, but relatively vulnerable, the Demon Hunter has to keep their foes at range. This class is fueled by hatred and discipline; hatred regenerates through attacking, and discipline from defence.
To see more details for each class, as well as passive and active skills, click here.
Diablo III will launch with single player and co-op content, but Blizzard recently admitted that; "the PvP game and systems aren't yet living up to our standards."
Whilst there will be plenty of people disappointed by the delay, the promise of its eventual inclusion should make the wait bearable.
When PvP content is brought online, Blizzard will introduce "multiple Arena maps with themed locations and layouts, PvP-centric achievements, and a matchmaking system that will help you and your team get into fairly matched games quickly and easily. We'll also be adding a personal progression system that will reward you for successfully bashing in the other team's skulls."
There will still be plenty to keep us occupied whilst we wait for the inevitable PvP patch. Players will be able to drop in and out of co-operative play, leveling up characters in preparation for the launch of competitive multiplayer on Battle.net.
For those of you out there who like to live life on the edge, Hardcore mode might be for you. Once a character has reached level 10 it can be activated. This mode makes your character dangerously mortal.
Once a character has died, it's game over. The end. No more. That character is an ex-character. A ghost will still be able to chat, and achievements will still show up in the rankings, but they'll never be able to return to the game. Don't get too attached, or don't die, the choice is yours.
This ain't no console game (yet), and so your PC's specs need to be taken into consideration. Here are the minimum and recommended specs, straight from the Blizzard's mouth.
Windows® XP/Vista/7 (latest service packs) with DX 9.0c
Intel Pentium D 2.8 GHz or AMD Athlon 64 X2 4400+
NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GT or ATI Radeon X1950 Pro or better
1 GB RAM (XP), 1.5 GB (Vista/7)
12 GB available HD space
DVD-ROM (required for retail disc versions only)
Broadband Internet connection
1024x748 minimum resolution
Windows Vista/7 (latest service packs)
Intel Core 2 Duo 2.4 GHz or AMD Athlon 64 X2 5600+ 2.8 GHz
2 GB RAM
NVIDIA GeForce 260 or ATI Radeon HD 4870 or better
Mac owners can view recommended specs here.
With such a long period of development, there's Diablo III related interviews from as early as 2008. We talked to lead designer Jay Wilson not long after the games announcement. Fast forward two years and we talked to Wilson again, this time at Gamescom 2010. Last year we talked to Josh Mosqueria at Gamescom 2011.
There are going to be launch events taking place across the globe, with the UK official event taking place in London at HMV (150 Oxford Street, Greater London, W1D 1DJ).
Starting at 22.00 on May 14, those in attendance will be treated to giveaways and contests with exclusive prizes. Members of the Diablo III team will also be on hand to sign copies of the game and talk to fans. Other stores around the country will be opening at 23.00 (later that evening), where gamers can pick up either the standard edition or the Collector's Edition of the game.
There will be two editions of the game release. The standard and the Collector's Edition.
The Collector's Edition will include:
Exclusive aesthetic artifacts for Diablo III, as well as an exclusive World of Warcraft in-game fetish shaman pet and exclusive StarCraft II Battle.net portraits and army decal.
A behind-the-scenes Blu-ray/DVD two-disc set with over an hour of interviews detailing how the world of Sanctuary came together.
The Art of Diablo III, a 208-page art book that catalogues numerous pieces of Diablo III art, from early concepts to final 3D renderings.
The official Diablo III soundtrack CD, containing 24 original pieces from the game.
A 4GB USB soulstone, preloaded with full versions of Diablo II and Diablo II: Lord of Destruction, and corresponding Diablo skull base."
If you're looking for more Diablo gear then head over to the Blizzard Store, they have merchandise to sell to you.
There have been many calling for the game to be ported over to Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. Blizzard recently admitted that they want to build Diablo for consoles, but at the time they wouldn't elaborate any further. We remain hopeful, not least because since then, this tweet has all but confirmed Blizzard's intention to port the game across and, in doing so, bring Diablo III to a whole new audience.
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