My guess is that it will arrive 3rd or 4th quarter of 2011.
The news surrounding this highly anticipated sequel has been quite shrouded lately. Anyone who frequents the Battle.net forums knows that there’s been an information drought for Diablo 3 the past few months. Bashiok has been good about tossing the occasional bone out to the rabid fans, but all that’s done is to let people know that at least someone is paying attention, so as to not create a mutinous uproar.
BlizzCon 2010 will no doubt provide the next wave of massive Diablo 3 information updates. I’m sure there will be some little tidbits announced along the way, but don’t expect anything of importance until October. For example, things like the fifth and final playable class will not be revealed until Blizzcon 2010. My money’s on the Rogue making a return. 😉
Update: 10/22/10 – Looks like I called that one wrong… the Rogue will not be returning for Diablo 3. However… I was right about one thing… it’s a ranged class. Blizzard introduced a new doozie of a class… The Demon Hunter. Many of you may already be familiar with the class’ description, but if not, click here to find out more. I was pretty confident that a Barbarian would be the first character I’d level, but now I’m not so sure. Dual wielding crossbow pistols and exploding bolas..?! Sign me up! 😀
OK, now as far as Diablo 3’s release date… Blizzard had announced last year that they had two major releases slated for a 2010 release. Now that we’re here, we know what those are… Starcraft 2 and World of Warcraft: Cataclysm. Obviously, those simple facts rule out any chance of Diablo 3 being released this year.
I highly doubt that Diablo 3 will hit store shelves any earlier than summer 2011. If I had to put money on it, I’d bank on a release date that comes just before the holidays. However, being that the Diablo games have been traditionally released during the summer, and given the fact that they seem pretty far along the development path at this point, I wouldn’t rule out a July-August 2011 release.
A 2012 release date for Diablo 3 is also quite likely, but I’m still going with Q4 2011. Why..? Being that the only major undisclosed piece of the puzzle is the fifth and final class (which they started conceptualizing straight away upon development), I highly doubt there is enough finish work and testing to delay the release another two years.
Bottom line… I expect Diablo 3 to be released about one year after Cataclysm. Will it be a WoW killer..? I doubt it. They’re two totally different games. Blizzard may lose a few WoW subscription renewals here and there, but I suspect players will be splitting time between both RPGs by then. I know I will.
Of course, it’ll probably be like a 90/10 split in favor of Diablo 3. 😉