There were a ton of huge launch events around the world on Monday night, when Diablo III debuted. Blizzard collaborated on most of them, but others were run by individual gaming shops and fun seemed to be had at all.
This long post links to and quotes from numerous articles about the launch events in Irvine, London, Berlin, Paris, Warsaw, Funan, Cape Town, and more, and at the bottom of the post is a 53-shot gallery with numerous photos of the awesome stage decorations, excited fans in long lines, cosplayers (many of them sexy girls), autographing Blizzard developers, and more. Best of all, there’s nary a word about Battle.net down times or insufficient supplies of D3CEs to go around.
We’ll start off with the Irvine event, as it took place just a mile from Blizzard HQ, had over 100 developers at it, and over 2500 fans, one of them our own staff writer Nizaris, who took a bunch of photos and wrote up an account of the hours he spent at the Irvine signing.
Media coverage of this from Yahoo Games, FrondulaChub, RipTen, and Hello Aperture with a nice series of artsy photos from the event. You can even flashback to a 4.5 hour live stream from the signing, if you really need to know.
Here’s the start of Nizarius’ write up; click through for the rest of it and numerous other photos and coverage of other events around the world.
The Diablo 3 launch event in Irvine was nothing less than crazy. Not crazy in the good way, but crazy in the “why did I do this to myself” way. This isn’t to say I didn’t enjoy myself, but the way the event was handled left a lot of people confused. I called the vendor 3 separate times to confirm the process they were using – each employee gave vague details that didn’t coincide with each-other, and Blizzard CM’s did not know either.
There were 3 lines total: 1 for ordering your CE or regular copy at Gamestop, as receipts were only available for the event starting 10 AM on the 14th. After this, a 2nd line was formed directly after this in a court across the entire mall. This was the grueling part. If you were to save your spot in the queue for signings, you needed to wait in that line. All day – well, at least until 6PM when registration started for wristbands. There I sat, for the Diablo community (and for myself), waiting to get a wristband to secure my place.
The event started promptly at 8, involving a mixture of lore trivia, live-sketches, a retrospective, and all of the promotional videos for classes, the 15th anniversary, music creation, and of course the Titmouse video that debuted last week. Throughout the event they held “loot storms” where employees shot shirts and mousepads into the crowd. Me, thinking I’d never get one and thus not try, ended up getting hit in the face with 2 shirts in a row.
But why was it so crazy? Well, one of the employees let slip that they were preparing for about 1000 participants. I sat there, mouth agape, wondering why they’d ever assume that such a small number would attend. In fact, there were so many participants that Gamestop ran out of wristbands to give to people. Needless to say, the event was shoulder-to-shoulder with over 2.5k participants – more than double their expectations. From the same employee, they stated that they predicted that they would be there until 5 in the morning. Now that’s dedication.
Unlike any other midnight launches, there were over 150 developers signing copies. You could only choose one line for signatures, which would net you about 75 signatures per copy of the game. It’s an insane amount of developers who came out to dedicate their night and morning to fans around the world.
Overall, the experience was positive and the product has been definitely worth the wait. For a game that I have waited nearly 10 years for, I am glad I was able to attend the event. I just hope that Blizzard realizes that, in the future, they need a better venue and a much better process for packing in their ravenous fans.
Also from Irvine, a video of short, humorous interviews with the devs from the Irvine event, courtesy of Coin Op TV.
The London event had the best cosplayers, if by “best” you mean, “female models in small outfits.” (And I suspect that yes, that’s exactly what you mean by “best.” I even posted a forum vote about this one, where you can choose from team angel, team demon, or both.
The best coverage came from CVG, who posted an article, plus a posted a 10m video of the huge crowd, cosplayers, Bliz employees, and more, from the London launch. They have some nice interviews with people in line, and the guy in front had been there for 70 hours, with another guy at 60 and counting.
Rose Tinted Gamers posted a write up of the event, as did the game shop host, MCV UK who said it was their biggest game launch ever. There’s a bit of.
No media coverage of the Berlin opening, attended by Designer Kevin Martens and Lead Programmer Jason Regier, but pictures. A photoblog called Berlin Sidewalk took a bunch, and there are also pictures on Blizzard’s Berlin launch page.
No news on this one either, but there are some nice pics on the Blizzard launch page.
I haven’t seen any news coverage of the Paris launch, but there are a few photos from it on Blizzard’s EU launch page.
This opening was attended by Keith Landes Senior Sound Producer, and Noel Wolfman Cinematics Production Director. No news, but pics on the Blizzard Stockholm launch page.
Capetown, South Africa
Not an officially-Blizzard sponsored event, but the write up on a local event blog sounds pretty awesome.
As I turned the corner a wave of pizza aromas hit me and I realised that there was something happening everywhere: There were cosplayers in the back, while an open bar sat in the front. A massive amount of people were all around, waiting in anticipation for the hour to arrive – the hour when Diablo would make his return after more than a decade of waiting. About 30 mins here, we were asked to proceed upstairs, but what awaited us there was something I did not expect.
No pics yet, though the article promises some to come. I shan’t be checking back for them, alas.
An official Blizzard launch event. No pics on the Blizzard page, but there’s a local news story with a pic of a Demon Hunter cosplayer, so props to her for the costume.