PC gamers around the world will likely be calling in sick on May 15, when Blizzard releases Diablo III.
Blizzard has been working on Diablo III since 2008, and released a closed public beta in September, but the company has stayed silent about a release date until now.
“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, Blizzard chief executive and cofounder Mike Morhaime said in a statement. “We look forward to putting the final polish on Diablo III over the next two months and delivering the ultimate action-RPG experience.”
The Diablo series, which began in 1996, helped popularize the point-and-click action role-playing genre. Players take an isometric view of the battlefield and guide a hero through hordes of monsters, gaining new skills and collecting better weapons and gear along the way. Although the formula of hacking, slashing, looting and leveling up seems simple, it has proven to be an addictive blend.
Diablo III adds a new hook to the series with auction house, a Blizzard-approved trading post where players can sell their items for in-game gold or real-world currency. Although the potential for people to profit from grinding though the game has raised some ethical concerns, Blizzard argues that the sale of items for real money is inevitable, and at least this way it's safe and secure.
Last week, Blizzard announced that it was delaying the player-vs.-player portion of Diablo III because it wasn't good enough. It will be released later as a free patch. “After a lot of consideration and discussion, we ultimately felt that delaying the whole game purely for PvP would just be punishing to everyone who's waiting to enjoy the campaign and core solo/co-op content, all of which is just about complete,” lead designer Jay Wilson said.