May 2009 was a sparse month for new game info. There was cool stuff to look forward to, as the month brought us our first word of the planned Blizzcon panels and saw the first 15 second sell out of Blizzcon tickets, but the only real game content came late in the month, when the Fallen Ones page was added to the official bestiary. There was plenty of other game and community activity, of course, and you are advised to read on for all the details.
The first news of note in May was a May 5th announcement that the D2 v1.13 patch would appear on the test realms before going live to the Battle.net servers. This is common practice with War3 patches, but has never before been done with a D2 patch. Sadly, delays set in and as of early July, the wait for v1.13 stretches on.
On the 7th we asked if fans would be interested in seeing new Diablo 3 comic books, and what sort of material should be covered in them. Comments were forwarded to the creative team.
On the 12th Blizzard revealed the panels scheduled for this year’s Blizzcon. Diablo 3 gets 3 panels, which will cover, Heroes and Monsters, Lore, and Art. (As usual, there were last minute changes. The Lore panel was scrapped and replaced with a Diablo 3 Open Q&A. Full coverage of the 2009 Blizzcon panels can be seen in the wiki.) There was no panel devoted solely to covering the expected new character announcement, but that didn’t alarm us since there wasn’t one just for the Wizard at the 2008 Blizzcon. Ultimately, the Monk was revealed with a new cinematic, and then discussed in depth at the Heroes and Monsters panel.
On the 14th Bashiok posted some great photos from a Blizzard cosplay contest in China, including some exceptionally good Diablo 3 outfits.
The 16th saw the first batch of Blizzcon tickets go on sale… and sell out in 15 seconds. Not that they were literally all sold in 15 seconds, but if you weren’t in the queue by then they were all gone by the time your turn came up. The second batch sold out just as quickly, when they went up for sale in June. Blizzard has yet to announce anything official about Blizzcon 2010, (aside from denying the Vegas rumors), but short of holding the event simultaneously in several venues, allowing several hundred thousand fans to attend at once, it’s unclear what they can do to provide enough tickets to meet the overwhelming demand. Perhaps they could create virtual Blizzcon tickets that would drop in-game, completing the “Blizzcon ticket = uber lewt” metaphor?
The 22nd brought a long-awaited bestiary update, with the official return of the improved and upgraded Fallen Ones. They now have hell hound pets, and Overseer units with greater powers. Plus suicidal berserker melee units. These guys were seen in action during play testing at Blizzcon, and their various wiki pages are full of detailed information, play reports, and screenshots.
On the 25th we posted a request for fans to submit questions about the future of D2. What’s Blizzard planning for the title from now on? Will it still be supported once D3’s here? Many fans replied, and the compiled questions were sent to Blizzard. Answers must wait for the v1.13 patch, but more recently Bashiok let us know that they will be provided eventually. (The wait goes on.)
The month wrapped up with a spirited debate about one of those issues that never dies. Will there be some admission charges to play in the new Battle.net 2.0? Blizzard has said that it will be possible to play SC2 over Battle.net for free. However their comments on this issue have been very carefully worded. While they’ve pledged that some minimal level of free play will be supported, it’s clear that Blizzard is planning/hoping to charge some fees for higher levels of service. The release of the Starcraft 2 beta, and the further details it will provide us about Battle.net 2.0 plans, continue to be delayed.
- All of May 2009’s interviews and major media.
- All of May 2009’s news headlines.