Update: You can start to install the digital download on May 14 11.01pm GMT+8 and the server live date is May 15 3.01pm GMT+8.
For some, this has been a wait more than a decade long. It gets more excruciating as we approach May 15. Diablo III is featured on our local paper today. One couple has postponed their honeymoon to next year in anticipation of the game’s release. That is some kind of commitment! I am unsure if I would love Diablo III that much. Not even sure if Cynthia who gets the game free thanks to WoW annual pass would enjoy playing this game with me. I have faith in Blizzard. They make good games. And to my readers, here are nine things you should consider doing in getting yourself ready for this upcoming epic gaming journey.
1. Watch the Cinematic Trailer
Here is a little crash course for you. Mortals have been using Soulstones to trap the three Prime Evils from Hell. The bad guy you see in the video below is Azmodan, the Lord of Sin, who is also one of the four Lesser Evils. According to Book of Cain (which I will cover later), the Lord of Sin is a clever manipulator who trades in vice and coruption. He is passionate and plotting – both to very dangerous degrees. He is by far the most charismatic and seductive of all the Evils.
Little has been revealed about Azmodan, yet it is hinted that he is looking for a promotion to be a Prime. I suppose Diablo III may tell a deeper story on this Lesser Evil, who is by no means less evil.
2. Read Book of Cain
When I played Diablo II eons ago, I did not really get into the story. In fact, I did not complete the game. I have participated in the closed beta. It was a pleasant experience, with voice acting and etc. Still, I could not quite get the story. What I missed was the lore.
To fully enjoy Diablo III, you have to read the lore. There is one such book that fits the bill. It is Diablo III: Book of Cain. 148 pages only, with tons of artistic illustrations. The book tells the story of the beginning of time, before Heaven and Hell were created. It is a book of mythology that defines the universe of Diablo. In this realm, mortals as products of angels and demons are not powerless. That’s why we get to trap the Evils inside the Soulstones in previous episodes.
Evil is back in this third episode. Get acquainted with the lore today!
3. Pre-order the Game
Unlike Starcraft II, there will be no price difference between getting a local physical copy or downloading the game online via Battle.net. Either way, after online registration, you will be able to download the game client to any machine – PC or Mac – in the future. Getting a physical copy saves you the hassle of spending 6 to 12 hours downloading the game. Getting a virtual copy saves the environment (sort of), with one less packaging, and you get to download the game client in this very moment. The choice is yours.
Local copy of the game is marketed and distributed by Asiasoft here in Singapore. For pre-order information and more, visit this link.
4. Attend the Launch Party
Like all Blizzard games, there will be a launch party at Funan DigitaLife Mall and it is held on May 15, 2012 from 9am to 9pm. For those who have pre-ordered the game, you may collect it from 3pm onwards. Marc Messenger, the lead developer of this game will be there. There will be cosplays, hourly giveaways, and lucky draw.
5. Create a Battle Tag
You will need a Battle Tag in order to play Diablo III. It is a name that represent you in Battle.net. So, choose wisely. Since it may take time for you to dream of a handle, start dreaming now.
From my experience, a short Battle Tag is much desired. You may wish to call yourself Iamawesome1337. Unfortunately there is a space constraint in the game interface. To others (and even to you), your portrait may show Iamawe… instead. This may frustrate you. Think of something short. It doesn’t have to be unique. Because Blizzard will tag a 4-digit random code behind your tag.
Diablo III is meant to be played with your friends online. It is built that way. Enemies scale up as more join the party. So, start socializing with your friends and sharing your Battle Tag. Mine is Lace#1115. See you in the game!
To create a Battle Tag, you will need to first create a Battle.net account. Head to http://battle.net for more information.
6. Pick a Class
At launch, there are five classes to choose from: barbarian, wizard, demon hunter, witch doctor, and monk. You will need to pick one to start your journey. The question is: Which one will you pick?
I have participated in the closed beta. I enjoy all five classes. With ten character slots and a shared stash for you to pass the items around, you are free to experiment what works for you.
Barbarian and monk are melee classes. You get to face the enemies up close. Barbarian is the traditional warrior class. You jump into the battle faster than any other classes. And you hack and slash your foes away, right to their faces.
Monk on the other hand is a nimble melee class. You get to jump in and out of the scene and to think how to deal damage without taking too much of it.
Witch doctor, demon hunter, and wizard destroy enemies from a distance. Witch doctor summon pets to assist you. Damage over time is the key strategy. Contrast to wizard, wizard deals direct damage. Initially I thought wizard would be boring to play, but it is not. As for demon hunter, first, know that this class does not come with a pet (somehow WoW players associate the word ‘hunter’ with pets). Second, this class gets to carry two bows that do some really funky stuffs. It is probably the most interesting class in this genre.
In short, pick your first based on your play style or even artistic preference. However, I suspect you will get to play all eventually, in different difficulty settings.
Still need more inspiration on which class is for you? Head to PC Gamer site and read how game developers may pick as their first.
Oh, when you first start the game, make sure you pick the correct geographical region. You are allowed to switch between the three regions. The game is not region locked like Starcraft II. However, characters created in different regions are not connected.
7. Know Your Resources
This may sound obvious. Official forum is the best place to get up-to-date information, contributed by the community as well as the developers. There will be discussion and sharing on how to play your classes better.
Character profiles will be available for the tracking of your and your friends’ progress. There is a skill calculator for those who enjoy fine tuning their characters’ abilities based on play style. Have you ever wondered what Diablo III is? The video below will have the answers for you.
8. Watch the Wrath Animation
For those who enjoy watching animation, this close to 7 minutes video clip depicting the conflict of High Heavens and Burning Hells is not to be missed. It is created by Blizzard Entertainment teamed up with renowned director Peter Chung and acclaimed animation studio Titmouse. This video does make more sense if you have read Book of Cain as recommended earlier.
9. What’s Your Excuse?
Come this May 15, you may find your colleagues disappear, your loved one disappear. Try to think of the annual Great Singapore Sale, or the upcoming Euro Cup. People do disappear for various reasons. Be sympathetic. Chances are, your friends are busy fighting demons in the Burning Hells.
If you are finding it hard to come up an excuse for your colleagues, or your loved ones, here is a fan-made website http://www.sorryformay15.com that may just do the job for you!