Blizzard Announces May 15 Launch for Diablo III

Big news today – Blizzard finally announced the release date for its upcoming RPG, Diablo III. After a long wait, the game will finally drop on May 15.

Blizzard CEO Mike Morhamie said, “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.”

The game will be available across many regions; here is the official word from Blizzard:

“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.”

Digital pre-sales for Diablo III kicked off today; anyone interested should head to Blizzard’s official site to reserve their copy of the game.

There will be a Collector’s Edition sold exclusively through retailers for $99.99. The Collector’s Edition comes in a special alabster-white case and includes a two-disc behind-the scenes Blu-Ray/DVD set, the Diablo III soundtrack, a 208-page art book, a 4 GB USB “soulstone” containing full versions of the first two Diablo games, a Diablo skull base, and exclusive in-game content for Diablo III, World of Warcraft, and StarCraft II.

Speaking of World of Warcraft, any players interested in getting Diablo III for free are encouraged to sign up for the World of Warcraft Annual Pass. This promotion binds you to a 1-year commitment to World of Warcraft, but also offers a free copy of Diablo III, available on launch day. The Annual Pass also opens up access to the Mists of Pandaria beta test for World of Warcraft. Sign up for the Annual Pass here, before the offer expires May 1st.

Here are some more details on the game from the official press release:

“In Diablo III, players take on the role of one of five heroic characters — barbarian, witch doctor, wizard, monk, or demon hunter — and engage in pulse-pounding combat with endless legions of evil. As they undertake an epic quest to rid Sanctuary from the corrupting forces of the Burning Hells, players will explore diverse and perilous settings, grow in experience and ability, acquire artifacts of incredible power, and meet key characters who’ll join them in battle or aid them in other ways.”

“Diablo III was built from the ground up to leverage the full functionality of the Battle.net platform, which delivers powerful matchmaking and communication tools, allowing adventurers to seamlessly join forces for exciting cooperative play. Battle.net also provides a secure infrastructure for the Diablo III auction house, a feature-rich marketplace that Sanctuary’s heroes can use to trade their hard-earned treasures. Players will be able to buy and sell weapons, armor, and other valuable items in the auction house in exchange for in-game gold. Players will also have the option to receive real-world currency for auction house sales, which they can apply to their Battle.net Balance for the purchase of a variety of digital products through Battle.net, including Diablo III auction house items, or cash out through a third-party payment service such as PayPal™ in most regions. Further details related to the auction house will be announced in the coming weeks.”

So, what do you think? This is definitely big news – Diablo III is one of 2012’s biggest upcoming titles, and this will shape the argument for “Game of the Year” when the time comes around. Let us know your feelings in the comments section!

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