January of 1997 would be a life-changing time for gamers. Blizzard North would develop and publish a new game under the Blizzard Entertainment label that would become the king mention among RPG players for decades to come. Please welcome to the stage: DIABLO!
Released on January 1, 1997, the original title Diablo would not only bring a whole new level to the RPG world as we knew it at the time, but it would also breathe life into an avid and dedicated fan base. During its introduction, the original Diablo title was not expected to make much of a splash. It was expected to merely hit the waves and disappear among other similar game genre titles, offering many themes found in other games, with much more in-depth character development required and complicated menus (to the non-player eye). But it did not. According to Blizzard Entertainment, the title sold 500,000 copies by April 1997 and 750,000 by June, making it the most successful game release of the first six months of that year. By November 1997, that number passed a million units sold. To this day, all versions continue to sell copies and inspire new RPG players every year!
Now, with numbers like that, it would seem only right to keep pumping out title after title, right? Using the fandom to make that quick cash? Well, Blizzard, a god among gaming companies, decided that was not the case. Instead, it opted to leave the Diablo title hanging and gave birth to another major fan favorite among older players, StarCraft. Fans would regularly cry out for news on the Diablo titles, begging for more, with Blizzard kept hush on whether or not they would ever revive the game at all, with only one DLC being released in November of ’97. In the year 2000, they heeded the call, releasing statements in late 1999 about a game release that would rock the gaming world. A release officially announced Diablo II at the beginning of 2000, to be released on June 29 to rave reviews. It also went from RPG (Role Playing Game) to RPGMMO (Role-playing games combined with massively multiplayer online features). For those keeping track, this was only two titles for the major franchise, and the second sold at a speed nearly rivaling light. It sold 184,000 units on its very first day! By its second week, it had sold globally one million units. By one and a half months, it had sold 2 million copies and, like its predecessor, continues to sell to this day. It also only got one DLC title Lord of Destruction, on June 27, 2001.
To add to Blizzard’s already astounding success, the company released another major MMO. It again dominated the online gaming world in 2004, when it gave birth to the World of Warcraft (WoW) universe, bringing the major RPG originally titled Warcraft: Orcs and Humans to the online genre. It became one of the largest titles in history for the MMO genre and, to this day, is considered by most major gaming forums, such as IGN or Game Informer, to be the most popular and immersive game to have ever crossed into MMO. WoW would take center stage with Blizzard for the next several years, with no real acknowledgment of any further work on any new Diablo titles. However, in 2012, Diablo III hit the shelves on May 15, selling 3.5 million copies in the first 24 hours and 12 million copies by the end of the year, winning it two titles that year. The first was best selling game of the year for 2012. Impressive, to be sure. However, the second was best selling PC game of all time, and since it has only fallen two spots, still holding on to 3rd place tightly with no end in sight. Like one and two, this title also received only one expansion in the form of Reapers of Souls on March 25, 2014.
Now, eight years later, Blizzard aims to move outside of its PC kingdom and begin domination of the mobile gaming industry! That’s right! Immortal is a free-to-play mobile device game, though Blizzard assures players that those with a Batte.Net account will still be able to cross-play regardless of the game’s intended platform. They also remind PC players that due to the mobile format, they may find their experience a little less comfortable on another device. However, it is assured the game quality in cross-play will be equal to the original mobile experience. New features include the removal of class-related items (such as mana for magic users) instead of having a cool-down system in place, with times ranging from 8-15 seconds depending on the skill and its power. This means skills of larger effect will have higher times than minor casting. Similar to most mobile games, the trailer shows amazing graphics in the form of cutscenes, but gameplay is an overview third person. This will prove no challenge to fans of the series as Diablo has always maintained a 3rd person aerial view, though the menu setup appears to be a little less complicated to accommodate the tap play design. In-game purchases will be available, though Blizzard has assured these will be totally optional through several statements. Nothing in the pay-to-play store will be required to see the storyline through to its conclusion and merely more for character customization than enhancing skills or ability in play. One can assume, though it is unconfirmed, that some form of alliance or claim can be joined or created in order to run in a group as opposed to solo, with friends being able to be added to ensure you can play with personal friends as well.
All in all, it seems to be set for success from the massive fandom of the title alone, not to mention widespread advertising across both online and television media, leaving fans and new players alike foaming at the mouth in online forums awaiting its release. It is another notch in the very impressive Blizzard belt, and Diablo itself, with the franchise only holding three titles to date that have kept fans playing for 25 constant years, singing their praises every step of the way, reinventing characters over and over again to keep reliving each one in a cycle of appreciation that can only be called miraculous. We look forward to seeing how this new installment measures up, and I, for one, already have it set to download upon release. Hope to see you there!
Be sure to take some time to peruse the other amazing content we have to offer and until next time! BeccaWolf signing off!