|Release date(s)||Microsoft Windows, OS X
May 15, 2012
PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
September 3, 2013
|Genre(s)||Action role-playing, dungeon crawl, hack and slash|
|Mode(s)||Online single-player, multiplayer|
|Distribution||DVD DL, digital distribution, Blu-ray Disc|
Diablo III is an action role-playing video game developed and published by Blizzard Entertainment. It is the third installment in the Diablo franchise and was released in the Americas, Europe, South Korea, and Taiwan on May 15, 2012, and Russia on June 7, 2012, for Microsoft Windows and OS X. A console version was released for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on September 3, 2013. A PlayStation 4 version is planned to be released in 2014. This is the first Blizzard Entertainment video games to be published by Square Enix in Japan.
Diablo III set a new record for fastest-selling PC game by selling over 3.5 million copies in the first 24 hours of its release, and was the best selling PC game of 2012, selling more than 12 million copies during the year. During its initial launch, players weren't able to log on for hours because of server issues that were partially due to the volume of players simultaneously online. Diablo III received generally positive reviews from critics, although its digital rights management that requires an internet connection at all times, in game auction house, and lack of end game content were criticized.
As a sequel to Diablo II, new features included an online auction house, which allows players to trade virtual items with in-game gold or real life money, and artisans that can craft materials gathered by the player to create new items. The auction house functionality has proven controversial, with Blizzard expressing concern over its impact on the overall game experience. On September 17, 2013, Blizzard stated both the gold and real-money auction houses will be shut down on March 18, 2014.
- 1 Gameplay
- 2 Plot
- 3 Development
- 4 Release
- 5 Music
- 6 Marketing and release
- 7 Reception
- 8 Controversies
- 9 References
- 10 External links
Much like in Diablo and Diablo II, equipment is randomized. In addition to base stats (such as damage and attack speed for weapon or armor points on armor), higher-quality items have additional properties, such as extra damage, attribute bonuses, bonuses to critical hit chance or sockets (which allow items to be upgraded and customized by adding gems for various stat bonuses). Magic-quality have 1 to 3 random properties, rare-quality items have 4 to 6 random properties and legendary-quality items typically have 6 to 8 properties with varying degrees of randomness (for example, the Mempo of Twilight, a legendary helm, always has a socket, bonuses to elemental resistance, attack speed and life, a bonus to either Intelligence, Dexterity or Strength, and one additional random proprety, however the magnitude of these bonuses varies from item to item), and set items are a subtype of legendary items which provide additional, cumulative bonuses if multiple items from the same set are simultaneously equipped. Higher level monsters tend to drop higher or level items, which tend to have higher base stats and bonuses.
Gameplay is similar to that of previous titles in the Diablo franchise. The game is classified as an action adventure game that is played primarily using the mouse to direct the character with supplementary commands provided through the keyboard.
The proprietary engine incorporates Blizzard's custom in-house physics, and features destructible environments with an in-game damage effect. The developers sought to make the game run on a wide range of systems without requiring DirectX 10. Diablo III uses a custom 3D game engine in order to present an overhead view to the player, in a somewhat similar way to the isometric view used in previous games in the series. Enemies utilize the 3D environment as well, in ways such as crawling up the side of a wall from below into the combat area.
As in Diablo II, multiplayer games are possible using Blizzard's Battle.net service, with many of the new features developed for StarCraft II also available in Diablo III. Players are also able to drop in and out of sessions of co-operative play with other players. Unlike its predecessor, Diablo III requires players to be connected to the internet constantly due to their DRM policy, even for single-player games.
An enhanced quest system, a random level generator, and a random encounter generator are used in order to ensure the game provides different experiences when replayed.
Unlike previous iterations, gold can be picked up merely by touching it, or coming within range, adjusted by gear, rather than having to manually pick it up. One of the new features intended to speed gameplay is that health orbs drop from enemies, replacing the need to have a potion bar, which itself is replaced by a skill bar that allows a player to assign quick bar buttons to skills and spells; previously, players could only assign two skills (one for each mouse button) and had to swap skills with the keyboard or mousewheel. Players can still assign specific attacks to mouse buttons.
Skill runes, another new feature, are skill modifiers that are unlocked as the player levels up. Unlike the socketable runes in Diablo II, skill runes are not items but instead provide options for enhancing skills, often completely changing the gameplay of each skill. For example, one skill rune for the Wizard's meteor ability reduces its arcane power cost, while another turns the meteor to ice, causing cold damage rather than fire.
As in Diablo II, Diablo III gives players the choice to make hardcore characters. Players are required to first level up a regular character to level 10 before they have the option to create new Hardcore characters. Hardcore characters cannot be resurrected; instead they become permanently unplayable if they are killed. They also do not have access to the real-world money auction house. Hardcore characters are separately ranked, and they can only form teams with other hardcore characters. After dying, the ghost of a hardcore character can still chat, the name still shows up in rankings, but the character cannot return to the game.
Artisans are NPCs who sell and craft. Two types of artisans can be introduced by completing a quest for each: Haedrig Eamon the Blacksmith and Covetous Shen the Jeweler. The previously announced Mystic Artisan has been pulled, possibly to be released later on. Artisans create items using materials the player can gather by scrapping acquired items and reducing them to their component parts. These materials are used to create items which will have random bonuses. Unlike Diablo II, rare and magic items can be enhanced, not just basic weaponry and armor. Crafting can also be used to train and improve the skills of the artisans rather than create new items. When artisans gain new levels, their shop reflects their higher skill level. The process of salvaging items into materials also makes inventory management easier. Blizzard stated that this crafting system was designed so that it would not slow down the pace of the game.
Followers are NPC allies that can accompany the player throughout the game world. There are three followers in Diablo III: Kormac the Templar, Lyndon the Scoundrel and Eirena the Enchantress, who each possess their own skills and background. As followers fight alongside the player, they gain new experience, skills, and equipment as they level up. Only one follower accompanies the player at a time, creating a gameplay strategy decision. Originally, followers were only going to appear in Normal mode, however Jay Wilson stated at BlizzCon 2011 that followers would continue to be usable in later difficulty levels. Followers do not appear in co-op games nor against Diablo, as he will trap them in a cage of metal bones.
On August 1, 2011, it was reported that Diablo III would feature two types of auction houses; one where players spend in-game gold and another where players can buy or sell virtual items for real-world money. The real-money auction house is not available in Hardcore mode.
Prior to release Blizzard stated that nearly everything that drops on the ground, including gold, can be traded with other players either directly or through the auction house system. Aside from certain bound on account items, such as the Staff of Herding needed to access the Whimsyshire easter egg, Blizzard stated there would be very few items that would be bound to a particular character and therefore un-tradable.
In the gold-based auction house, a flat fee of 15 percent is taken from the final sale price of an auction. The real-money auction house fees are US$1, €1 or £1 (or equivalent) for equipment (weapons and armor) and 15 percent fee for commodity auctions, which include items like crafting materials, blacksmith and jewel crafting plans, and gold exchange. There is an additional 15 percent "cashing-out" fee from proceeds gained selling items in the real-money auction house.
While the gold-based auction house is available to any player regardless of which region they play in, the real-money auction is restricted to players on their home region. If they use the global play function to play in a different region, they will not be able to access the real-money auction house. The real money auction house was opened on June 12, 2012 (June 15 in the Americas).
In March 2013 former Diablo III game director Jay Wilson stated that he felt the existence of the auction houses "really hurt" the game. "I think we would turn it off if we could," Wilson said during his talk. But the problem is "not as easy as that."
On September 17, 2013, Blizzard stated both the gold and real-money auction houses will be shut down on March 18 2014.
Player versus player combat (PvP) was added to Diablo III in a limited form with the 1.0.7 patch, in February 2013. The Brawling system provides a simple free for all area where between two and four characters can fight and defeat each other as long as they like, but without any scores or damage being tracked. Players can participate by choosing from their existing characters, with access to all of the gear and skill they have gathered from playing the game in single-player or cooperative mode.
PvP content for Diablo III had been discussed throughout the game's development, but on March 9, 2012, Blizzard announced that PvP had been delayed and would not be included with the game's release. Lead designer Jay Wilson said in a post on Battle.net that the PvP Arena system would arrive in a post-release patch; it would include multiple Arena maps with themed locations and layouts, PvP-centric achievements, and a quick and easy matchmaking system. "We'll also be adding a personal progression system that will reward you for successfully bashing in the other team's skulls", Wilson added.
On December 27, 2012, Blizzard announced that the previously mentioned Team Deathmatch or Arena mode was cancelled, because it did not have enough depth. Instead a simple PvP system would be added for the time being. That PvP mode was initially named Dueling, and was renamed to Brawling before release. Although the PvP systems initially outlined were not released, Blizzard stated that they will add other full-featured PvP systems in a future free content patch. In a May 2013 interview, Diablo III developer Wyatt Cheng stated that the development team was looking to see how the Brawling PvP evolves, while they "continue to work on figuring out something more objective-based."
- The Witch Doctor is a new character reminiscent of the Diablo II necromancer but with skills more traditionally associated with shamanism and voodoo culture. The witch doctor has the ability to summon monsters, cast curses, harvest souls, and hurl poisons and explosives at his enemies. To power spells the Witch Doctor uses Mana, which regenerates slowly.
- The Barbarian has a variety of revamped skills at its disposal based on incredible physical prowess. The barbarian is able to whirlwind through crowds, cleave through swarms, leap across crags, crush opponents upon landing, and grapple-snap enemies into melee range. The resource used by the barbarian is fury, which is generated through attacking enemies, getting attacked by enemies, and using certain abilities. Fury is used for certain strong abilities and degenerates over time.
- The Wizard is a version of the sorceress from Diablo II or the sorcerer from Diablo. The Wizard's abilities range from shooting lightning, fire and ice at their enemies to slowing time and teleporting past enemies and through walls. Wizards fuel their spells with arcane power, which is a fast regenerating power source.
- The Monk is a melee attacker, using martial arts to cripple foes, resist damage, deflect projectiles, attack with blinding speed, and land explosive killing blows. Monk gameplay combines the melee elements of Diablo II's assassin class with the "holy warrior" role of the paladin. Blizzard has stated that the monk is not related in any way to the monk class from the Sierra Entertainment-made Diablo: Hellfire expansion. The monk is fueled by spirit, which has defensive purposes and is slowly generated through attacking, though it does not degenerate.
- The Demon Hunter combines elements of Diablo II's amazon and assassin classes. Demon hunters use crossbows as their main weapon and can also throw small bombs at enemies. The demon hunter is fueled by both discipline and hatred: Hatred is a fast regenerating resource that is used for attacks, while discipline is a slow regenerating resource used for defensive abilities.
The game takes place in Sanctuary, the dark fantasy world of the Diablo series, twenty years after the events of Diablo II. Deckard Cain and his niece Leah are in Tristram Cathedral investigating ancient texts regarding an ominous prophecy. A mysterious star falling from the sky strikes the Cathedral, creating a deep crater into which Deckard Cain disappears.
The protagonist arrives in the town of New Tristram to investigate the falling star which struck the cathedral, which is now emanating risen dead; the same cathedral that was the setting of Diablo. The protagonist accompanies Leah to the cathedral in order to rescue Cain from the crater into which he fell. After rescuing Cain, the protagonist learns that the only way to the fallen star is to defeat King Leoric, the former ruler of Tristram known now as the 'Skeleton King'. Cain informs the protagonist that Leoric's crown must be recovered to defeat him, and the protagonist searches for Leoric's crown with the aid of Haedrig Eamon, the blacksmith of New Tristram. After recovering the crown, the protagonist defeats Leoric and finds a stranger where the fallen star landed. The stranger's only memory is of a sword that shattered into three pieces as he fell.
The hero recovers the sword pieces from the Khazra Den and the Drowned Temple, opposed by the witch Maghda, leader of the local cult known as the Dark Coven. Maghda, however, recovers the third piece before the protagonist does and attempts to force Cain to repair the sword. Leah, however, kills the cultists with a surge of magical power, forcing Maghda to kill Cain and flee with the stranger. Cain, before dying, repairs the sword and tasks the protagonist with returning it to the stranger, revealing that the sword is angelic in nature. The protagonist pursues Maghda into the bowels of King Leoric's dilapidated torture chambers underneath his manor, rescuing the stranger and returning to him his sword after a violent fight with the Butcher, a powerful demon. The stranger's memories are recovered, and it is revealed that he is the Archangel Tyrael, the Aspect of Justice. Disgusted with his fellow angels' unwillingness to protect humanity from the forces of Hell, Tyrael cast aside his divinity to become a mortal and warn Sanctuary about the arrival of the demon lords Belial (Lord of Lies) and Azmodan (Lord of Sin).
The protagonist, Leah, and Tyrael travel to the city of Caldeum. The protagonist leaves to track down Maghda at Alcarnus as per orders from Asheara, commander of the Iron Wolves (returning from Diablo II), while Leah and Tyrael search for evidence of Belial in the city sewers. The protagonist heads to Khasim Outpost to try and pass the gate, but a suspicious man tells them to speak with Captain Davyd in the Command Post. When the hero walks in, Maghda thinks they were given as a sacrifice to Belial, but the hero cleverly states that the Lord of Lies sent her there as bait. Offended by the insult, Maghda orders the Imperial Guards (demons in disguise) to mince the hero. Thankfully, Davyd and the Iron Wolves reclaim Khasim Outpost from the serpent demons, and the hero is given access to Alcarnus. After freeing all of the prisoners at Alcarnus, the hero fights Maghda in her lair and destroys her, avenging Cain, then returns to Caldeum to rescue Leah from the grasp of the Imperial Guards. Asheara leads the hero and the follower to the palace to gain audience with the young Emperor of Caldeum, Hakan II, who blames them for the chaos in Alcarnus. Though the hero tells him that Belial's servants were the cause of the killings, the Emperor orders his guards to bring Leah in, then heads to the throne room - not before ordering the guards to take the hero down. With Asheara covering their escape, the hero, the follower and Leah sprint to the sewers, where Leah has learned that her mother, Adria (the witch of Tristram from the original game) is still alive. The protagonist aids Leah in rescuing Adria from the city's sewers.
Adria reveals that the key to stopping the forces of Hell is the Black Soulstone, which can trap the souls of the seven Lords of Hell and destroy them forever. The protagonist resurrects the soul of the traitor Horadrim, Zoltun Kulle, in order to recover the Black Soulstone, who reveals that it is hidden in his archives. After recovering Kulle's body and some of his blood, so that he can open his lair, the protagonist is forced to defeat him after he attempts to take the soulstone for himself. Upon returning to Caldeum, the protagonist finds the city under attack by Belial's forces. All of the citizens run for the sewers, and Adria and Leah fight their way to the palace with the aid of the protagonist, revealing Belial as having taken the form of Emperor Hakan to deceive them, and eventually defeat him. Leah traps his soul within the Black Soulstone, freeing Caldeum, after which she receives a vision of the demon lord Azmodan, who is invading Sanctuary from the crater of Mount Arreat (destroyed by Tyrael in Diablo II: Lord of Destruction) in order to retrieve the Black Soulstone and empower himself, becoming the Prime Evil.
The protagonist travels to Bastion's Keep with Tyrael, the follower, Leah and Adria to find it under attack by Azmodan's army. Tyrael instructs the hero to light the signal fires on the keep's walls. Then after that, one of the keep's soldiers instructs the hero to have the catapults to be put to bear. With that done, after the hero enters the stronghold, Azmodan cleverly tells the hero that his forces have breached the depths of the keep and that Sanctuary will be burned when they retrieve the soulstone for him. After traversing the depths of the keep and defeating the demon Ghom, the Lord of Gluttony, in the larder, the hero is instructed to check the Armory by Lieutenant Lavail. When the hero walks in, a large fire nova knocks the guards out cold, and shadows appear. After the shades are repelled, Tyrael instructs the hero to reduce Azmodan's siege weapons to piles of rubble. With this done, the protagonist travels to crater of Mount Arreat to confront Azmodan. Tyrael assists the protagonist in reaching the demonic gate protecting the crater, and destroys it with his sword, El'druin. After a gruesome battle with a huge Siegebreaker Assault Beast, The protagonist traverses the depths of Arreat's inner core to destroy the Sin Hearts, which empower Azmodan and his armies. Azmodan's consort Cydaea, the Maiden of Lust, attempts to protect the hearts, but is defeated by the hero. The protagonist then confronts and defeats Azmodan, and Leah seals his soul within the Black Soulstone. With all seven Lords of Hell trapped within the stone, Tyrael states that the Eternal Conflict between Heaven and Hell will be ended if the stone is destroyed. The protagonist returns to Bastion's Keep, but finds that Adria has betrayed them. Adria reveals she has been serving Diablo from the beginning, and that Leah's father is Leoric's son Aidan, the Dark Wanderer (the Warrior player character from the first game and Diablo's reincarnate body in Diablo II), who was possessed by Diablo. Adria sacrifices Leah and uses the Black Soulstone to resurrect Diablo. Now in possession of all the souls of the Lords of Hell, Diablo becomes the Prime Evil, and begins an assault on the High Heavens.
The protagonist arrives in the High Heavens to find it already under attack. Imperius, the Aspect of Valor, blames the protagonist and Tyrael for their downfall, causing Tyrael to give in to despair. After disposing of Iskatu, The protagonist meets Ithuriel, the Aspect of Fate, who instructs them to rescue Auriel, the Aspect of Hope, from Rakanoth, the Lord of Despair, in the Library of Fate, west of the Gardens of Hope. After rescuing Auriel and returning hope to the forces of Heaven, the hero is then instructed by Auriel to close the Hell Rifts. After this is done, the protagonist finds Tyrael, who has overcome his despair. Together, they attempt to stop Diablo from reaching the Crystal Arch, the source of power for the forces of Heaven, but not before a brawl with Izual, Tyrael's corrupted former lieutenant. After a long but fierce battle, Diablo is defeated and his physical manifestation destroyed. The Black Soulstone is shown falling from the High Heavens, still intact. After the battle, Tyrael decides to rejoin the High Heavens as the new Aspect of Wisdom, but remains a mortal, dedicated to building a permanent alliance between angels and humans.
Development on Diablo III began in 2001 when Blizzard North was still in operation, and the game was first announced on June 28, 2008, at the Blizzard Worldwide Invitational in Paris, France. The original artistic design differed from that shown at Blizzard Worldwide Invitational 2008 demonstration, and had undergone three revisions before reaching the standards felt necessary by the team behind Diablo III. The game would be simultaneously released on both Windows and Mac OS X platforms. It was also revealed that the game would require a constant internet connection to play, even for single-player mode.
The proprietary engine incorporates Blizzard's custom in-house physics, a change from the original usage of Havok's physics engine, and features destructible environments with an in-game damage effect.
Diablo III's lead designer is Jay Wilson, a former Relic Entertainment designer credited with work on Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War and Company of Heroes as well as Blood II: The Chosen for Monolith Productions. Its lead world designer is Leonard Boyarsky, one of the six co-creators of Fallout.
Bobby Kotick from Activision announced in February 2012 that Diablo III would not launch in the 1st quarter of 2012; a slide show presentation at Activision's quarterly financial report listed the game's launch sometime in Q2 of 2012, and the release date of May 15, 2012, was announced on March 15, 2012.
On May 9, 2011 Blizzard announced that Diablo III was expected to be released for external beta testing in Q3 of 2011. On September 7, 2011 Blizzard community manager Bashiok confirmed the start of the closed public beta test of the game with limited external testing by employees and their families. Testers were not restricted by a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) i.e. every participant would be free to show, share, or talk about any portion of the beta content. On September 20, 2011 Blizzard announced through their Diablo III site that the closed beta test portion of the game through invites, promotions and giveaways had begun. On October 22, 2011 at BlizzCon, Diablo III game director Jay Wilson announced during an open Q&A that a new wave of beta invitations would be sent after an upcoming patch. Blizzard announced on April 19, 2012 that there would be an open beta weekend for the game, starting on April 20, 2012 and ending the morning of April 23. The closed beta ended on May 1, 2012.
The content available in the beta included the possibility to try all 5 character classes in the first act up to the Skeleton King encounter. The players were also able to try various in-game features such as crafting through the blacksmithing NPC, the auction house, hosting and joining public games as well as earning achievements.
On June 11, 2012 it was announced at Apple's 2012 WWDC keynote that native Retina display support will be coming to Diablo III. The following day, a Blizzard's representative confirmed via the official Battle.net forums Apple's statement, the ongoing work by the developer on the optimization of the game engine for its rendering on the Retina display (and technically on other similar future high-density monitors) and that this optimization will be mainly for aesthetic purposes.
Patch 1.0.4 introduced the paragon levelling system. After reaching the level cap of 60, characters continue to accumulate experience points, gaining paragon levels (up to a cap of 100), each of which provides a bonus to core stats (making characters more powerful and durable) and magic find and gold find (increasing the quantity and average quality of loot drops).
Patch 1.0.5 expanded the difficulty settings with the addition of the Monster Power system. In addition to the Normal / Nightmare / Hell / Inferno difficulty system, players can also set Monster Power at any level from 0 to 10, with each level of Monster Power increasing the damage, health points, experience point yield and loot drop rates beyond the base value for a given difficulty tier.
The first PvP addition to the game was in February 2013 as part of patch 1.0.7; a simple free-for-all system called "Brawling" and multiple item crafting options.
On February 25th, 2014, patch 2.0.1 was released, introducing extensive changes in preparation for the Reaper of Souls expansion, scheduled for release on March 25th.
On January 10, 2012, Blizzard community manager Bashiok tweeted "Yup. Josh Mosqueira is lead designer for the Diablo console project" however a Blizzard spokesperson later clarified that Bashiok's tweet was only "intended as a confirmation that Blizzard is actively exploring the possibility of developing a console version of Diablo III," adding, "This is not a confirmation that Diablo III is coming to any console platform."
At Sony's Press Conference on February 20, 2013, Chris Metzen announced that Diablo III would release on both PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4. Activision Blizzard stated in their first-quarter 2013 earnings report that the PlayStation 3 version of Diablo III will be released in 2013. On June 6, 2013, Blizzard announced that both the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 port of the game, would be released on September 3, 2013.
In August 2013, Diablo III developers stated that they had started on the PlayStation 4 development of the game, titled Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition, and were looking at how to best utilize the new features of the PS4 controller, such as the TouchPad and the Share button. They are hopeful that characters from the PS3 version of Diablo III will be able to play directly on the PS4.
Expansion: Reaper of Souls
On August 21, 2013, it was announced at the German games fair Gamescom that Diablo III: Reaper of Souls will be the first expansion for Diablo III. It features the fallen angel of wisdom Malthael as the expansion's main villain and is set in the city of Westmarch, which takes inspiration from many Gothic medieval locations. The expansion will also include a new hero called the Crusader, an increased level cap to level 70, major improvements to loot drops including the ability to change item stats using an enchanting system, the ability to change the look of an item using transmogrification, and also an improved Paragon leveling system which will be account wide and not have a level cap.
Reaper of Souls is being developed for the PC and Mac versions of Diablo III, with a release date in 25 March 2014 for those platforms. Blizzard developers have stated that the expansion will also be ported to the PlayStation 4.
|Diablo III Soundtrack|
|Soundtrack album by Russell Brower, Derek Duke, Glenn Stafford, Joseph Lawrence, Neal Acree, Laurence Juber & Edo Guidotti|
|Released||May 15, 2012|
|Genre||Video game soundtrack|
Russell Brower was the primary composer of the music for Diablo III. Additional music was composed by Derek Duke, Glenn Stafford, Joseph Lawrence, Neal Acree, Laurence Juber & Edo Guidotti. When composing for the orchestra, Brower tried to respect the Wagnerian style from the expansion to the second game in the series, Lord of Destruction. The Overture is considered the main theme of the game and it has been performed by the Eminence Symphony Orchestra, and was released on iTunes in 2009 as a single. A similar composition was used in the cinematic teaser trailer of the game. The Tristram theme from the first Diablo, also used in the second game, is present in Diablo III with some changes.. Irish choral ensemble Anúna also feature on the soundtrack. Brower stated that "Working somewhat against conventional expectations, Hell is a beautiful and seductive sound, provided by Dublin’s uniquely astounding choral group ANÚNA".A full soundtrack was released on iTunes on May 15, 2012 (the same day the game was released), as well as part of the Collector's Edition of the game.
|Diablo III Soundtrack (77:46)|
|1.||"And The Heavens Shall Tremble"||2:24|
|2.||"The Eternal Conflict"||2:37|
|9.||"I Am Justice"||1:57|
|19.||"Garden of Hope"||3:25|
|21.||"A Tenuous Bond"||4:50|
|22.||"A New Dawn"||2:27|
Marketing and release
Diablo III was released on May 15, 2012. Players had the options to buy one of two retail boxed versions, a standard edition and collector's edition, or could also pre-order directly from Battle.net and download the installer in advance. On May 14, 2012 players who bought the downloadable version from Battle.net could install the rest of the game including patches. On May 15, 2012 the retail version could be bought from stores doing midnight launches such as GameStop. The Diablo III Battle.net servers went live at this time and people who downloaded the game could begin playing. Initially the launches were hindered by heavy server load with many users getting various errors, including the error 37 which reads; "The servers are busy at this time. Please try again later". These issues made the game unplayable for those affected, while some others experienced in-game bugs. Despite assurances from Blizzard that the problems leading to the connection errors during Diablo III's launch had been resolved, Eurogamer reported on May 31, 2012 that these errors were still ongoing, and had reappeared after patch 1.0.2 was released for the game. Many fans complained that the ongoing problems had caused them to lose their hardcore (permanent death) characters.
In South Korea, players waited up to 36 hours to purchase the collector's edition.
The release was also the source of a minor controversy in Australia when retailer Game went into voluntary administration the day before the release, and so was unable to honor pre-orders or offer refunds. In response to this, Blizzard Entertainment offered affected customers credit in purchasing the digital version of the game.
The game has yet to be released in China as it has not been approved by the Ministry of Culture however it continues to be sold under the name "Big Pineapple" (大菠萝 Dɑ Boluo) which sounds similar to Diablo in Mandarin Chinese in order to dodge the sales ban.
World of Warcraft promotion
Starting at BlizzCon in October 2011, Blizzard offered an "annual pass" for World of Warcraft, where players who signed up for a 12 month subscription to that game received a free digital copy of Diablo III once released, as well as guaranteed beta access for the Mists of Pandaria expansion to World of Warcraft and a special Diablo-inspired mount called Tyrael's Charger in World of Warcraft.
A demo version of the game, called the Starter Edition, was released simultaneously with the full release. It provides a limited introduction to the game where players can complete Act 1 up to the Skeleton King boss encounter with a level cap of 13.
For the first 30 days after Diablo III's release the Starter Edition was only available through a guest pass code, which was included with the boxed versions of the game. Players had the option to upgrade to the full game through their Battle.net accounts.
The Starter Edition was originally planned to become available to all users after 30 days (on June 14, 2012), however it was delayed until August 15, 2012.
IGN was positive about the new skill system stating "Instead of gameplay like Diablo II, where I often regretted how I allotted my ability points, Diablo III encourages experimentation and finding out exactly what works for your play-style. It's a vastly superior way to handle character abilities", and praised the overall gameplay, stating "the new systems really do make it a lot easier to enjoy Diablo III". IGN further praised the game's new gameplay design, in particular the rune and loot systems, the randomly generated levels and the game's enjoyable unpredictability. It stated the game's feel is quite intuitive and also praised the game's sound and voicing.
Rock, Paper, Shotgun gave mixed commentary during the game's beta period, praising the actual game itself by stating that it is much more direct than its predecessors and intuitive in its interface. However, it said the playing experience is spoiled due to lag in single-player mode caused by a lack of an offline single-player mode. Following the game's release, it reaffirmed its displeasure at the always-online DRM and offered a mixed opinion that the game was enjoyable but added "nothing new" to its genre.
Users have voiced criticism about the game's strong digital rights management which requires what is known as persistent online authentication, resulting in the lack of an offline single-player mode.
Erik Kain, a Forbes contributing writer, stated that the requirement to remain online is not necessary for single-player mode and that Blizzard is abusing its position as a "juggernaut" and is setting a worrying precedent for the gaming industry. In response to questions about the lack of offline single-player, Diablo III senior producer Alex Mayberry said, "Obviously StarCraft 2 did it, World of Warcraft authenticates also. It's kind of the way things are, these days. The world of gaming is not the same as it was when Diablo II came out."
Gaming Blend supported the game's fanbase (referring to the user ratings on Metacritic and Amazon) and rejected counter-criticisms of the community. It claims that the gaming industry at large is far too defensive of production companies' actions, to the point of accepting backward steps in game availability. William Usher, the article's author said, "Journalists should have been acknowledging consumer distaste rather than fueling it with pro-corporate pandering."
While Gaming Blend disliked the always-online DRM, it did give the game a positive review. It stated the game includes interesting opportunities for experimentation and has great appeal for replaying over and over. The review concluded the game is "smooth and entertaining." A GameArena critic questioned how Blizzard managed to "fail so spectacularly at creating reliable networking for Diablo 3" before going on to point out the lack of competitive multiplayer.
Before its release, Diablo III broke several presale records and became the most pre-ordered PC game to date on Amazon.com. Activision Blizzard reported that Diablo III had broken the one-day PC sales records, accumulating over 3.5 million sales in the first 24 hours after release and over 6.3 million sales in its first week, including the 1.2 million people who obtained Diablo III through the World of Warcraft annual pass. On its first day, the game amassed 4.7 million players worldwide, an estimate which includes those who obtained the game via the World of Warcraft annual pass. In its second quarterly report, Diablo III was reported to have pushed Activision Blizzard's expectations and as of July 2012, more than 10 million people had played the game. Diablo III remains the fastest selling PC game to date, and also one of the best-selling PC video games. As of the end of 2012, it had sold more than 12 million copies, and as of March 2013, Blizzard stated that Diablo III had around 1 million daily players, with 3 million unique players each month. As of May 2013 Diablo III had been played by 14.5 million unique players, according to Blizzard's released statistics. As of February 2014 the game has sold 15 million copies across all platforms.
On May 28, 2012, Blizzard Entertainment's offices in South Korea were raided by the Fair Trade Commission amid allegations that the company had breached consumer rights laws, including suspected violations of Korea's law on electronic commerce and commercial contracts. Players in Korea requested refunds from Blizzard based on their inability to play Diablo III, but Blizzard cited the terms of sale and refused to grant these requests. Hundreds of gamers filed formal complaints with the FTC, and in June 2012 Blizzard started offering players full refunds.
On June 15, 2012, French consumers group UFC Que Choisir announced that it had received 1,500 complaints in 4 days regarding connectivity issues with Diablo III. As a result of this, the organization asked Blizzard Entertainment to provide a permanent solution within fifteen days of that time (June 30, 2012) and to "communicate completely and transparently about problems encountered in due time". They also requested that gamers be given reimbursement for any troubles they may have encountered. In addition, they asked the French government to take a closer look at games with online-only DRM. On June 28, Blizzard replied to the Que Choisir that the box for Diablo III clearly labelled that a high-speed internet connection was required and that most of the stability issues had been fixed.
The German Federation of Consumer Organizations threatened legal action if Blizzard did not respond to complaints about Diablo III's lack of clear information on the German version of the box regarding the online requirement and lack of resale-ability.
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