Release Date Pushed Back, Incoming Changes

In the recent Activision Blizzard Q4 Conference Call, it was stated that Blizzard feels the beta and auction house testing are going well. However, they also stated that their current target for launch will be in Q2 (April, May, or June), not early 2012 as previously stated.

One of the likely causes for the release being pushed back is the re-working of the skill and rune systems. Even though it hasn’t been very long since beta patch 10 brought massive changes, we will likely see the current implementation of the skill system in another patch very soon. However, we will not be seeing the rune system changes in the beta- the best we can hope for is the community site to be updated.

Surprising Class Selection Poll

The official Diablo 3 facebook page is currently taking a survey asking “Which class will you play first when Diablo III is released?” and the results thus far are quite surprising.

Release Character

With almost 31,000 votes cast in the first 4 hours, the current leader is the Demon Hunter with 25% of the votes. Just behind the DH is the Barbarian with about 25% as well. In third place sits the Wizard with 19%, followed by the Monk at 16% and the Witch Doctor at 15%.

Aside from the Demon Hunter, the other numbers were about what I expected. Seeing what appeared to be the most neglected class (mostly due to lacking super awesome abilities in the beta and having the lowest damage output in the Blizzcon build) leading the pack is quite interesting. However, it is also interesting that the biggest gap between classes is only a 10% difference. While there will always be ‘flavor of the month’ classes, it looks as though there will be quite a bit of diversity at release.

Although the Demon Hunter doesn’t need my support, I too plan on riding the hatred train at release.

Esport Competition Instead of Blizzcon in 2012

Blizzcon logo, blizzard, diablo, d3, diablo 3, diablo iii

This year marks the second time since 2005 that Blizzcon will not be taking place in the Anaheim Convention Center. In fact, it will not be taking place at all, at least in the traditional sense.

However, unlike in 2006, there will be a massive Blizzard event taking place in 2012- the first ever Battle.net World Championship eSport event:

“Blizzard Entertainment is proud to announce the 2012 Battle.net World Championship, a major global eSports event featuring some of the best pro-gaming competition in the world. Slated to take place in Asia toward the end of 2012, the Battle.net World Championship will host this year’s StarCraft II and World of Warcraft Arena World Championship tournaments. Blizzard gamers and eSports fans from around the world will be invited to attend and witness some of the most skilled pro players on the planet battle it out for cash and glory.

We’re excited to be showcasing Blizzard eSports on a truly global stage this year. We’re also heavily focused on getting Diablo IIIMists of Pandaria, and Heart of the Swarm into players’ hands as soon as possibleIn light of our jam-packed schedule, we’ve decided to hold the next BlizzCon in 2013.

More details about the 2012 Battle.net World Championship and BlizzCon 2013, including specific dates and locations, will be coming in the months ahead.”

(source)

Like many of you, I’m rather sad that there won’t be a Blizzcon to attend this year but it is encouraging that despite canceling the intensive convention they will still be supporting the eSport community.