Today heralds the beginning of a new era of Diablo. Blizzard Entertainment prepares for its largest launch ever with an excess of 1.5 million copies of Diablo II being released worldwide. After two stages of public beta testing, the newest title by the makers of the Warcraft series and Starcraft, Diablo II, has gone gold. Prepare for the rush as the slated release date is the end of June. Movies that gross $20 million in the first week are considered blockbusters; 1.5 million copies of a game retailing around $50 is $75 million. Ambitious? You bet.
Blizzard Entertainment plans release in several different languages, and plans to have these players interact on Battle.net, the worldwide network that makes first person shooters look like a small piece of internet gaming. Although the ESRB has not yet set a rating for the game, it appears as if a majority of the single and multiplayer action will be enjoyed by older audiences as Blizzard anticipates a rating of M to be assigned to the game.
For those of you with concerns over system requirements, have no fear: this 3 CD game won't require you to buy a new computer. The requirements are a Pentium 233mhz, 32mb of RAM, 650mb of hard drive space, 4x CD ROM, and a DirectX compatible video card. For those more interested in multiplayer, the increased strain of four players rushing through this world of 1's and 0's will require some more power. Specifically, multiplayer will need an extra 32mb of RAM for a total of 64mb, and a total of 950mb of hard drive space. Naturally, Blizzard has included support for the current 3D graphics cards, supporting Glide and Direct 3D cards with at least 8mb of of video RAM. Mac user? Don't worry, mark your calendar for a Q3 release.
So you haven't heard a single thing about Diablo II yet, busy with finals, and jobs, and life? Five classes, 150 skills, and 30 unique skills per character increase the diversity in the game from the three classes in the first game. Those who were sickened by the endless dungeon crawl will be excited to learn that there are four towns, complete with wilderness in between, as well as multiple dungeons.
But how does the plot hold up? Well, Diablo is back in the second installment, seeking out his two brothers to grasp the world in their cold grip. Your job is to stop the onslaught of the evil legions and to end the tyranny of all three brothers forever. The game boasts 25 minutes of full motion video, as well as a 70 minute soundtrack capturing the essence of the dungeons and towns.
All eyes are on Diablo II to live up to the reputation of its predecessor, which sold over 2 million copies in 1997. Blizzard hopes that this will keep fans distracted enough to give them uninterrupted time to work on Warcraft III, the next game in their queue for completion. As Diablo II moved from the drawing boards to beta tests, RPGamer has been bringing you all the pertinent information. Now it's up to you, the fans, to judge the game for yourself. Cautious? Look for a staff review coming soon as this summer of epic rpgs is truly upon us.