Diablo 3 anticipation: A retrospective on Blizzcons and waiting an hour in line to play 10 minutes of a game. Twice.

Diablo 3 was first announced on June 28th 2008 at the Blizzard Worldwide Invitational in Paris, France, but that wasn’t the beginning of my anticipation. I, like many others had been waiting for this announcement since Diablo 2 hit shelves in the year 2000.

My good buddy Canker and I were lucky enough to attend both Blizzcon 2008 and 2009, 2008 happened to be the first time that Diablo 3 was playable in America outside the Blizzard offices themselves. We got in line, it was a long line, but at the end of it were about 50 shiny new computers all loaded with the Blizzcon build of Diablo 3. An hour later it was our turn. One of the staff members herded us to a row of computers, we sat down, gave the poor bastards still waiting in line the smuggest look we could muster,  and created our first characters.  The wizard class had just been announced earlier in the morning and the venue was rife with videos of her prowess. What can I say? They won me over, and so that’s the class I picked.  Canker picked witchdoctor, and our two other companions choose another wizard, and a barbarian respectively.

As you may know the current beta contains about a quarter of Act 1, and climaxes with the defeat of Leoric the Skeleton King. The build we played dropped us into the middle of the Cathedral already armed and with a few talent points to pop into the (now defunct) talent tree. Whilst Canker ran around with flaming zombie dogs, I chose to focus on disintegrate because… well come on, its disintegrate. Even at this early stage, with only a cursory number of skills available the classes felt incredibly unique and polished, it was a fully satisfying experience. Unfortunately, due to every one’s fault but mine our time elapsed before we reached Leoric. His comeuppance would have to wait, for 3 years actually. Sheesh.

The next year we were back, at Blizzcon and in a not quite as long line. Only 3 of us were herded to our computer this time to face the minions of evil. I picked the Witch Doctor, and there started my obsession with the class. Canker and our other friend were both swayed by the new shininess of the just announced Monk.  Dropped into the middle of a desert this time, I mostly remember watching the monks place glowing circles on the ground before annihilating anything nearby, whilst I spammed swarm of locus because the death animation it caused was really cool. The game was even more polished at this point and playing again only served to set my anticipation into overdrive, where it’s been since.

We unfortunately could not make it out to Blizzcon 2010 where the Demon Hunter and Arena were announced, but right away the Arena piqued our interest. You may have guessed that, as well, we created this site! The both of us loved PvP in Diablo 2 (guided arrow is bullshit) and plan to jump headfirst into the scene once Diablo 3 is released.  You can check out the videos of the Arena from this build in our video section.

Which brings us back to the current day and the Blizzcon that only a few days away! From all reports, it seem like the major thing that will come out of this Blizzcon (Diablo wise) is lore and backstory. Hopefully we’ll learn whats the deal with the falling star that features so prominently in the beta, how the lord of terror is going to rise for a third time, and maybe even find out what every one’s favorite angel Tyreal has been doing since destroying the worldstone.  They will also be releasing a new cinematic, which are just always  incredibly amazing so be sure to catch that!  We’ll be paying close attention to the gameplay panel on day 1 and the open Q&A panel on day 2 for any other juicy tidbits Blizzard might release (hopefully on the arena system!) So far my magic 8 ball is telling me that its unlikely that we’ll get an release date announcement, so don’t get your hopes up too much in that regard, but hey, even magic 8 balls have been known to be wrong occasionally.

Oh and if you didn’t know, blizzard is streaming the opening ceremonies for free at http://www.blizzcon.com/live-stream/ at 11am PST on friday.  This might be when they announce some stuff, so be sure to check it out!

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