Some major announcements were made in the opening ceremony of Blizzcon 2011. I wanted to highlight them. Two announcements in particular are big for Diablo 3 players.
Free Diablo 3 with WoW Annual Subscription
This was a big surprise to me. I didn’t hear any rumors about this prior to the announcements. They actually got me to consider re-subscribing to WoW again. I had to look at the details and the pricing before I made my decision not to. It basically works like this:
- Your WoW account has to have been created before October 18, 2011, so it’s only an offer for returning players.
- You have to have a recurring subscription set up in your Battle.net account for WoW with a valid credit/debit card. (PayPal is not accepted)
- Subscription options and fees are the same as always (1, 3, and 6 month options with $1 or $2 off for paying ahead longer, minimum $13+tax per month).
- You signup your account for the annual commitment. The Cancel Subscription option on your account is removed for 12 months. You can change your subscription period or credit card but not remove either of them.
- When Diablo 3 releases, you get the digital download version added to your account for free.
I think this will be a huge deal for WoW players. Many of them already have recurring 6 month subscriptions, so they basically get a free game. If this offer had happened a couple years ago, I would have absolutely loved it. The problem is I don’t care for WoW anymore.
Assuming I went with the 6 month subscription, I would pay $155.40 plus 8.2% tax (where I live). Okay, so $168.14 is the minimum I can pay for 12 months. Now Diablo 3 is going to cost $60 plus tax, or $64.92 in my city. So to take advantage of this I am paying roughly $100. That would be great if I still loved WoW, but I’ve long grown bored of it. I’m also trying to reduce my game expenses. Paying an extra $40 is not in the budget.
New Diablo 3 Cinematic
To me this looks like it could be the Intro Cinematic or Act 1 Ending Cinematic. If you played Diablo 2, they had a cinematic at the end of each act to sort of set things up for the next act. Leah (the girl) seems to be still in the Tristram Cathedral doing research when she is somehow mesmerized by the Dark Soulstone, whatever that is. Somehow she sees a vision or is actually transported to Azmodan, one of the Greater Evils (on the same level as Andarial and Durial in Diablo 2). The current beta in the first act does not have Azmodan. However, we know the beta is not the full Act 1. I definitely can see Azmodan being the Act 1 boss.
Belial, another Greater Evil, is speculated by many to be the Act 2 boss. We know Belial is in Act 2 from comments by Blizzard employees. This means the first two acts are shaping up similarly to Diablo 3. You have Act 1 and Act 2 with Greater Evil bosses. The only question is what happens in Act 3 and 4. We know Diablo is actually in the game, so he could definitely be one of the act bosses. The cinematic seems to make Azmodan the big baddie though, so I wonder how Diablo and his brothers fit into this.
These announcements don’t have to do with Diablo 3, but I figured I would just add them anyways since I’m already writing about Blizzcon.
Mists of Pandaria – This is the new WoW expansion, but to me it feels kind of like a joke. I mean the Pandaren were sort of an Easter Egg in all the games up to this point, always funny characters with a Samurai/Japanese influence. The main things are the new Pandaran playable race (both sides share it), a new Monk class (shared again), and a level 90 cap. Chris Metzen said there wasn’t really a great evil this time. Like the two sides are just going there for natural resources maybe or other strategic reasons and continuing the war. I wonder what that will mean for the raids though. Maybe different bosses for each side?
Gameplay trailer for Blizzard DOTA – This is another humorous announcement. It looks to have about 12 heroes from past Blizzard games (Arthas, Jim Raynor, Thrall, etc.) with various Dota roles. It has this weird inter-dimensional theme where two, what look like Transformers, force the past heroes to fight over and over for them. The two Transformers are the two Dota sides obviously. In the voiceover there was mention of ladder points, so I wonder if this is to become a formal addition to the SC2 ladder. There could be the normal ladder and then a special Dota ladder. Of course there will probably be tons of achievements added for this special game mode.
Heart of the Swarm gameplay trailer/cinematic – They showed a little bit more of the expansion. It seems to me like the campaign will be a lot of fun. They also showed a bunch of the new units, but didn’t say which units will be available in multiplayer and which only in single player. They have also said there’s a good chance existing multiplayer units would be removed as needed for balance with the new units. This will probably have huge repercussions on the pro Starcraft 2 scene.
I think this is the most announcements I have seen out of a Blizzcon. Now that Blizzard has 4 development teams (WoW, Starcraft, Diablo, Titan), they have that much more to talk about and announce every year. I especially like how the opening ceremony is streamed these days and also free to watch. They do give a lot more information if you pay to watch everything, but the big announcements is all I need. I can get the little details from the major game sites and fansites.