World of Warcraft subscribers who opt into the Annual payment model (which means you’re committing to 12 months of payments, but it’s still a monthly payment) will get Diablo III for free. Crazy! You have questions, we can tell. After the break you’ll find the full Blizzcon FAQ with tons of new info about everyone’s favorite monster-clicking simulator:
Q: What is Diablo® III?
A: We’re developing Diablo® III to be the definitive action role-playing game and a true continuation of the Diablo series. Players will adventure through rich and varied settings, unraveling an epic storyline, engaging in combat with hordes of monsters and challenging bosses, growing in experience and ability, and acquiring items of incredible power. Diablo III will be a fitting sequel to Diablo II, with the easy interface, fast-paced action, and visceral gameplay that Diablo players have come to expect and enjoy. It will also include many new features that will take the Diablo action-RPG experience to the next level.
Q: Which characters will be in Diablo III?
A: Players will create a male or female hero from one of five distinct classes — barbarian, witch doctor, wizard, monk, or demon hunter — each equipped with an array of spells and abilities. New customization options will provide for an even greater level of character specialization than the previous Diablo games, allowing players to create unique characters brimming with power.
Q: What can you say about the different classes?
A: The heavily armed barbarian is one of the stoic guardians of Mount Arreat. Armed with powerful abilities and moves, this plate-wearing savage wields ferocious weapons to annihilate the demonic forces threatening the world of Sanctuary.
The fearsome witch doctor hails from the terrifying Tribe of the Five Hills of the legendary umbaru race. The witch doctor is equipped with spells and alchemical powers; can summon mongrels, locust swarms, and zombie armies; and hurls fiery concoctions to annihilate any demon foolish enough to trifle with the powers of the umbaru.
The wizard is a wielder of the elements and a master manipulator of time, who combats the hordes of the Burning Hells by launching environment-shattering lightning bolts, channeling explosive arcane energies, and creating pockets of space outside of the normal flow of time.
The monk is a skilled warrior of unparalleled dexterity. Armed with speed, holy fervor, and a quest for physical and spiritual perfection, the monk becomes a deadly apparition in the heat of battle, moving faster than the eye can follow to strike down enemies with a barrage of lightning-fast blows.
The demon hunter has a sole purpose in life: to track down and destroy every last demonic being that dares to threaten humanity. Lithe and notoriously deadly with a pair of dual crossbows, the demon hunter brings an entire arsenal of gadgets and traps to the battlefields of Sanctuary.
Q: What is the story of Diablo III?
A: The game takes place on Sanctuary, a world of dark fantasy. Unbeknownst to most of its inhabitants, Sanctuary was saved some twenty years ago from the demonic forces of the underworld by a few brave and powerful heroes. Most of those warriors who directly faced the armies of the Burning Hells — and were fortunate enough to survive — went mad from their experiences. And most of the others have buried their haunted memories and pushed the horrors from their thoughts. In Diablo III, players will return to Sanctuary to confront evil in its many forms once again.
Q: Will players interact with any familiar faces or places in Diablo III?
A: Yes, definitely. Players will return to Tristram and certain other locations from the previous games, and they’ll also be exploring new areas of Sanctuary. Players will also encounter several new characters as well as a number of characters from the previous games, including Deckard Cain.
Q: Will Diablo III be running on a new engine?
A: Diablo III is powered by a new graphics engine that can display characters and hordes of monsters in lush, fully 3D environments. Powerful special-effects and physics systems allow for realistic object dynamics and cloth simulation, enabling players to lay waste to the minions of the Burning Hells in spectacular ways.
Q: Will Diablo still have randomized events?
A: Diablo III builds on the random environments of the previous Diablo games by adding random scripted events and encounters throughout the game, creating a dense and exciting world alive with quests, NPCs, and dynamic encounters.
Q: What can you tell us about Battle.net®?
A: Diablo III will benefit from Battle.net® upgrades that will provide some exciting new features for players. Cooperative online play remains a primary focus, with multiple enhancements being planned to make connecting with your friends easier and playing together even more fun.
Q: Will I need to be connected to the Internet to play Diablo III?
A: Yes, players must be online in order to play Diablo III. Diablo III was built from the ground up to take full advantage of the new version of Blizzard’s powerful Battle.net platform. Players will have access to several features through Battle.net, including an advanced achievement system as well as the Diablo III banner system; a powerful co-op and PvP matchmaking system; comprehensive stat-tracking; persistent characters that will not expire and are accessible from any computer that has Diablo III installed; a persistent Real ID friends list across multiple Blizzard games, along with cross-game chat; a shared stash accessible by all Diablo III characters on the Battle.net account; and the ability to have friends seamlessly jump in and join you at any time during your quest against the Burning Hells. Together with the security-related benefits that Battle.net provides, these Battle.net-based features are integral to the Diablo III game experience.
Q: How will PvP be implemented in Diablo III?
A: While Diablo III is designed primarily for cooperative multiplayer, we are building in support for competitive player-vs.-player gameplay as well. We’re focusing on team-based PvP in an arena setting, allowing groups of players to battle head to head in beautifully hand-crafted locations. We also plan to integrate Battle.net’s matchmaking system, a progression-based ranking system, and more.
Q: What matchmaking functionality will the game include?
A: With Diablo III, it will be easier than ever to quickly group up with your friends or other players in the community. When looking for a group, players will be able to simply broadcast an invite to all of their Real ID friends. Anyone who sees this broadcast can accept the offer with one click and automatically be added to their friend’s game.
We’ll also be including a robust public game finder for those times when you just want to play with whoever’s available on Battle.net as opposed to Real ID friends specifically. This feature will bring together players based on different factors, such as the part of the game they’re looking to play through.
Regardless of whom you group with, the game is designed to offer a seamless, fun experience. Players will be able to easily transition between single-player and cooperative play with their characters at any point during their Diablo III campaign, and the game will dynamically adjust to accommodate for additional players midstream. This means more-powerful demons to slay, more loot exploding out of corpses, and more fun on the fly. In addition, the game will offer each player their own individual loot drops, health globes will be automatically shared among players, and players will be unable to go hostile at will, all of which should eliminate unfair ambushes and other types of griefing.
For player-vs.-player matchmaking, the game will group players together in the PvP arenas based on level and skill, making for fun, closely matched PvP action.
Q: What is the banner system?
A: Think you’re better than all of your friends? Your banner will prove it. The banner system will be a visual representation of the achievements players earn across all of their Diablo III characters on their Battle.net account. A player’s banner will have multiple components that can be earned through various modes of gameplay. Completing the game at different difficulty levels, defeating bosses, progressing in PvP, playing a Hardcore-mode character, and earning achievements will all unlock different ways for players to customize their banner and show off what they’ve accomplished.
Q: What is the shared stash?
A: The shared stash is an inventory-management feature that allows players to stash items in a collective storage space for all of their characters. Items in the shared stash are accessible to the player regardless of which character is currently being played.
Q: What difficulty settings will be available in Diablo III?
A: Players will have the opportunity to play the Diablo III campaign through four successive difficulty settings: Normal, Nightmare, Hell, and Inferno. Each difficulty setting will progressively increase the challenge and will reward players with higher tiers of armor, weapons, gems, crafting recipes, and runestones. Players must complete Normal to unlock Nightmare, complete Nightmare to unlock Hell, and complete Hell and reach level 60 to unlock Inferno.
Q: Will there be a Hardcore mode?
A: Yes, players who seek the thrill of constant peril that comes with the possibility of permanent death for their character will again have that option in Diablo III. All four difficulty settings — Normal, Nightmare, Hell, and Inferno — will be playable in Hardcore mode. Players choosing to participate in Hardcore mode will only be able to play with other Hardcore characters and will only be able to trade items in the Hardcore version of the gold-based auction house.
Q: After completing the game on Normal, why would I want to continue playing on more difficult settings?
A: Diablo III continues the series’ tradition of offering advanced levels of challenge once players play through at Normal difficulty. Due to the game’s randomized elements, including the monsters you’ll face and the layout and content of the areas you’ll explore, you’ll have a different experience with each play-through. In addition, the challenges you’ll face will ramp up significantly at the Nightmare, Hell, and Inferno levels. Playing at these settings before your character is at the appropriate level would provide a less-than-optimal experience. Once your character is ready, though, significantly greater rewards and levels of power await you at the Nightmare, Hell, and Inferno difficulty settings.
Q: When will Diablo III be released?
A: We plan to release Diablo III in early 2012. As with all Blizzard Entertainment games, our goal is to create a game that is as fun, balanced, and polished as possible. We intend to take as much time developing Diablo III as is necessary to ensure the game meets our own high expectations and those of our players. We’re aiming to release Diablo III on both Mac and Windows simultaneously in as many regions as possible, and to localize the game in several languages. We’ll have more details to share about countries, languages, and specific dates as we get closer to release.
Q: What will Diablo III be rated?
A: The Diablo III rating will be determined by the ratings boards in each region. We will announce the rating that Diablo III has received in each region as we get closer to launch.
Q: What are the system requirements for Diablo III?
A: We’ll announce specific system requirements at a later date.
Q: Will Diablo III include support for bots and/or mods?
Q: Will Diablo III be offered digitally as well as at retail stores? How much will it cost?
A: As with our previous games, we do intend to offer Diablo III for purchase digitally as well as at retail. Specific details regarding pricing and availability for each region will be announced closer to release.