Diablo News on November 30

Posted by Daeity On Saturday, November 19, 2011

I wanted to remind everyone that this coming November 30th is Diablo's 15th Anniversary which is a pretty big milestone for the franchise.

As you might have noticed, Blizzard has been doing a lot of "celebratory" activities recently. They've had a lot of interesting things prepared for their 20th Anniversary, and even though they have minor Anniversary activities within the World of Warcraft, they reserve special bonuses for more notable milestones.

We plan to reserve this sort of celebratory bonus for the most notable milestones or events in the future.
(FYI: World of Warcraft was released on November 23, 2004, which was the 10th Anniversary of the Warcraft franchise.)

I don't think that the game will be released (or the release date announced) on November 30th of course. They still haven't tested the RMAH yet and technical stress testing is far from completion. And, they still need a major ramp up of beta testers too due to the high attrition rates associated with the short beta gameplay.

The 15th is still a big deal though, and there will be something for all Diablo fans.. it won't just be limited to beta testers like how the WoW Anniversary is limited to WoW subscribers only.

There might be a minor announcement (a major beta wave sometime after Dec 12th), but I'm expecting some kind of information release like more lore, loot details, D3 art galleries, maybe a retrospective video, music, "making of" videos, etc. Simple stuff to keep Diablo fans busy until the release date.

(* UPDATE: There is a "Diablo 15th Anniversary Music CD" available in the Blizzard Store.)

The "Book of Cain" is also rumored to have moved it's arrival date up from Dec 15 to Nov 30 coincidentally as well. :)

November 30th would be a great time to announce the Diablo 3 release date though. It could be used as the "big bang" to finally close up the whole Blizzard 20th Anniversary celebration that has been going on over the past several months. After all, they had originally planned on a surprise D3 release announcement at Blizzcon 2011 which no one knew about (except one person/blog) and Nov 30 is awfully close to their originally planned release date (Nov 24).

Now that I mention it.. you know, it's funny that the individuals who scrutinized TOD's old March post conveniently forgot about something rather important. During the Q4 2010 (Feb 2011) Quarterly Earnings Call, Blizzard stated that they would not be releasing any games during 2011. It made the majority of gaming sites.. "no releases in 2011". That was the firm belief of everyone.

And then on March 23 2011, Daeity said that they were actually intending on releasing Diablo 3 in 2011 before Christmas, that there would be a surprise at Blizzcon, and there was a "mid-Jan backup date". Whether you originally read it in March, or in August when the site was brought back up, people were still saying no releases in 2011.. but TOD was saying the opposite.

Then suddenly, Blizzard announced on September 23 2011 that "'Soon' Was Too Soon -- Diablo III to Arrive in Early 2012" and D3 had been pushed back to 2012. They revealed publicly that they were fully intending on releasing D3 before Christmas. This is the first time Blizzard ever announced anything like this, and apologized.. that's just how big of a deal it really was. They had already announced "no releases in 2011" so there was absolutely no need to ever make this post since 2012 was already the target like everyone knew. That apology ended up confirming why TOD kept saying that it was going to be a "big surprise" at Blizzcon 2011.. they've never done anything like that before, it was a very big deal. No one else was reporting this, it was just one person, and it turned out to be true just like everything else.

On a side note, while I was looking over that old Q4 2010 post, there was also this interesting piece:

Confirmation regarding lay-offs. Both Vicarious Visions and Freestyle Games have been hit with notices shortly after the meeting. According to Activision Blizzard's 8-K, they'll be getting rid of approx. 500 employees. The decision was made Feb. 3, and will be taking place on March 31 for the staff.

This same time last year, they laid off approx. 200 people. Apparently, February is the time of month when the non-performing studios need to start worrying.
This further confirms what I was writing about earlier regarding the "mass layoff" WARN notification system. Apparently, the 200 employees were reported to the WARN system.. but there were another 500 employees who were laid off, but it wasn't reported in the WARN system. Interesting.. apparently a "mass layoff" can be 1 to 5 employees, but 500 employees isn't considered a "mass layoff". :)