Diablo 3 Beta Imminent?

Looks like Blizzard might be on the cusp of opening the beta for Diablo 3….ya know, soon(tm).  A press release went up on battle.net detailing how to get into the beta, and the common questions about the beta, which is pretty standard fare as it goes.

Exciting stuff — only been waiting for a year for this game, eh?

If past experience with Blizzard is an indication, I think we can probably expect to see the beta invites going out within the next couple weeks.  As to whether Diablo 3 will launch this year — I think chances are good they are aiming for the golden goose of releases – the ever-desired holiday release.

I’ll keep posting as I hear more….and hopefully I’ll get an invite and can post lots of pictures and whatnot.

Via Battle.net Diablo 3 Beta Announcement

More Diablo3: Buying and selling items for Real-world money

Not how I feel about this one.  It came out today that in Diablo 3, the Auction House in game will allow for the buying and selling of virtual goods.  No biggie, right?  Well, kinda … Blizzard is actually going to open it up to real world money.  That means that I could put my epic purpz up on the auction house, and make real money.  Yeah….uhm….yeah.

Blizzard made sure to point out that they would not be selling items on the Auction House, that it would only be player-to-player. It’s not meant to be a revenue stream for them (like they would need it anyway).  However, they did leave it open that they could potentially sell cosmetic items in the market.

Rob Pardo told Joystiq that no one had actually done something like this before, which I think is a little bit of selective remembering, since Second Life from Linden Labs has had a very similar (though not exact) model for virtual goods for real money in place for years.  So they aren’t the utter pioneers in this instance that they are at least presenting themselves to be outright.

But I still have to wonder what exactly this is going to do–to gaming, to gold-sellers, hell to even our real world economy.  This is an unprecedented change in the way that games work – Second Life, while similar, has never had the following that Blizzard does, and therefore hasn’t had the potential for massive change and massive impact on the industry that this does.

I can’t help but think that this move along with several others are Blizzard’s response to the rampant hacking and exploitation of the previous games, even though Diablo 2 though it remains a strong, heavily played game today.  Or maybe something to try and mitigate the gold-sellers that are so prevalent in every online game nowadays, but especially in the cultural phenomenon that is World of Warcraft.

Either way, it’s a bold move.  If Diablo 3 carries the kind of rabid following other Blizzard products have (which really, it’s been in development for about a decade, it’ll probably have more), players buying and selling virtual items for real money has the potential to change a lot of the rules of the gaming industry as they stand, which is always good.  But I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t make me just a little bit uneasy.

via Ars Technica – Diablo 3 will let you buy and sell items for real-world cash

Diablo 3 to require “Always On” Internet Connection

News today that Diablo 3 will require an “Always On” Internet connection to support several features of the primarily single player game.  So let me repeat that–a game, that has an online component (albeit a large one) but which can be played offline in its entirety, still requires you to be online at all times.

Wow.  So.  I’m gonna go ahead and say this is a bad idea.  Just check out the Ubisoft for justification for that statement. Blizzard says (and no doubt will actively maintain) that the always on status is ONLY to support key features such as an auction house, player chat, persistent server-side character storage, etc but I can’t help but wonder how much of it has to do with a heavy handed attempt to smack down the hacking and taking advantage of the system that was so prevalent in the first two Diablo games.  I know for me, the rampant hacking and exploitation of  Diablo 2 online was ultimately why I stopped playing it.

But I can’t help but feel they might be going too far with it.  As others have said, you can easily achieve almost the exact same result by requiring periodic check-ins as opposed to an always online model, which has been not the best received when other companies have attempted to use it.  I kind of wonder what makes Blizzard think that their gamers, arguably the most loud and obnoxious of all gamers, will take to this kindly.

When look historically at the kind of uproar generated by the art team trying to do something more with the art design than “Grind house muted colors complete with lots of blood that looks like it’s rotting,” and the uproar generated by the RealID fiasco which blew up the forums for days and days…it makes me wonder.  This has a ton of potential to not be well received, but Blizzard seems to be blissfully ignorant of this eventuality.  I think it’s become a question of not if there’s an uproar over it, but rather how much of one?

Blizzard seems to be making these somewhat gamer-unfriendly decisions more and more frequently lately, and I have to wonder what kind of influence Activision is having on the company as a whole.  My fear, the quiet, deep nagging fear, is that it’s much much more than is let on anyplace but internally at Blizzard.

via Geekosystem:  Diablo 3 Requires Always-On Internet Connection, Uh Oh