“Hello, my friend. Stay awhile and listen…” – Deckard Cain
As I write this, gamers across the planet are probably already busy exploring the dungeons of Sanctuary, unleashing their powers against hordes of demons. On May 15, 2012, Blizzard Entertainment Inc. reported a record of more than 2 million pre-orders for Diablo III and held 8,000 midnight launch events in retail stores worldwide. In the Philippines, Diablo III was launched at noon at the National Sports Grill in Greenbelt Makati by IP E-Games (the official Blizzard games distributor in Southeast Asia). If you’re a fan, I don’t need to tell you that the game looks awesome, as you’ve probably already seen the trailers. I used to play Diablo II with my sister years ago (her character was a Sorceress while I played Necromancer and Druid later in the expansion pack) and I know a lot of people who have been waiting over a decade for this moment.
In Diablo III, there are five powerful character classes to choose from: barbarian, witch doctor, wizard, monk & demon hunter. Based on the video introductions shown for each character during the launch, am already drawn to the demon hunter class. This class also got the loudest applause from the media people and bloggers present. Here’s a brief description of humanity’s last defenders from the game’s quick start guide included in the game box:
Photo credit: Diablo 3 Guide
Barbarian: The barbarians are proud warriors, once the vigilant protectors of the sacred Worldstone. They are fierce melee combatants who can wield two weapons at once or a single massive weapon for more destructive force. Armored in thick plate and driven by rage, these primal fighters wish only to crush their enemeies and see them driven before them.
Wizard: Masters of both arcane power and vibrant elemental energy, the wizards are fast, fluid and clever opponents. These daring scholars are trained in the mystical arts, pupils of eastern schools shrouded in shadow and secrecy. What they lack in heavy armor and brute force, they make up for in destructive power and manipulation of their foes.
Monk: Quick and agile, these spiritual warriors have transformed their bodies into the ultimate weapons. Dedicated to the defense of righteousness and the eradication of evil from Sanctuary, the monks are melee powerhouses with unique abilities that balance life and death. A single harmoniuos blow can destroy and enemy and heal an ally.
Witch Doctor: Emerging from the southern jungles to fight evil, the witch doctors use trickery and sinsiter tactics to overwhelm their foes. They are adept at calling upon otherwordly beasts, undead creatures, and indescribable apparitions to fight for them. With extensive knowledge of dark voodoo magic, the witch doctors are masters of hexes, curses, and poisons.
Demon Hunter: As ranged-weapon experts, the demon hunters focus on keeping their foes out melee range through a variety of deadly ammunition and traps. Recruiting individuals with personal, often tragic, experience with demons, this order studies these hellish monsters with a cold, calculating intensity to turn their demonic powers against them.
Players can control any male or female characters from one of the five distinct classes and explore the dark fantasy world of Sanctuary. The game promises to have an easy interface, fast-paced action, and visceral gameplay (it’s been rated as Mature 17+ for blood, gore and violence). It also includes new features that will really take the action-RPG experience to the next level.
One thing you should know right away is that you can’t play the game offline. According to the FAQ: “Players must be online in order to play Diablo III to take full advantage of the new version of Blizzard’s Battle.net platform. Players will have access to several features through Battle.net, such as comprehensive stat-tracking; persistent characters that will not expire and are accessible from any computer that has Diablo III installed; a persistent Real ID friends list across multiple Blizzard games, along with cross-game chat and the ability to have friends seamlessly jump in and join each other at any time during their quest against Burning Hells.”
Other notable features of the game include:
- Numerous indoor and outdoor areas bringing vivid new regions in the world of Sanctuary
- New auction house system for buying and selling loot using real-world money or in-game gold
- Interactive environments with dangerous traps and obstacles, and destructible elements
- Randomly generated settings bolstered by scripted events for endless, dynamic gameplay
- Vast assortment of fiendish monsters, with unique attack patterns and behaviors
- New quest system and character customization options for the ultimate action RPG experience
- New skill system that lest players customize their abilities as they progress through the game
- Advanced social features & multiplayer functionality over Battle.net with support for seamless cooperative play
- Four different difficulty settings – Normal, Nightmare, Hell, and Inferno — that progressively increase the challenge and reward players with more powerful armor, weapons, and abilities
- Hardcore mode for players who seek the thrill of constant peril that comes witht he possibility of permanent death for their character
- Brand-new 3D graphics and physics engines enhanced with spectacular visual effects
Game requirements and cost:
Diablo III will be available for Windows XP/Windows Vista/Windows 7 and Macintosh at a suggested price of $59.99 USD for both the retail DVD-ROM version and the digital version
sold directly from Blizzard. The Macintosh version will support English (enSG, enGB, enUS), French and German. The suggested retail price in the Philippines is 3,145 PHP, 89 SGD in Singapore, 218 MYR in Malaysia and 2,150 THB in Thailand.
A special alabaster-white Collector’s Edition, sold exclusively in retail stores at a suggested retail price of $99.99 USD, will include the full game on DVD-ROM, a behind-the-scenes Blu-ray/DVD two-disc set, the Diablo III soundtrack CD, a 208-page Art of Diablo III book, and a 4GB USB soulstone (loaded with full versions of Diablo II and Diablo II: Lord of Destruction) and corresponding skull base, as well as exclusive in-game content for Diablo II, World of Warcraft, and Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty.
You can also purchase Diablo III digitally via the game’s official website (http://www.diablo3.com). To get a taste of the game, watch the video below: