Blizzard has become infamous for holding back the release of a game until it's "done," so this news should come as no surprise, even if it is a disappointment. Earlier today, CEO and co-founder of Blizzard Entertainment, Mike Morhaime, announced that the company would not be meeting its end-of-the-year goal for Diablo III. Morhaime said that he expects Diablo III to be finished sometime in early 2012. The upside of this news is that the beta phase will be extended. The downside is obvious.
"With every game we make, the temptation is always very strong to launch as soon as possible. However, we didn't put so many years of work into Diablo III to release a game that was almost ready," Morhaime wrote on the Diablo III blog. "The beta test is going very well, and we look forward to making the most of the extra time we're taking to deliver an experience that lives up to our vision for the game and the expectations of our players."
While we would have liked to play the game sooner, Morhaime is right: expectations are high, and we'd gladly trade a few more months of waiting for an experience that meets them. If you haven't already opted in for a chance to participate in the beta you still can. People with a active Battle.net accounts can do so through their account settings. If you don't have an account, you can get one on the beta FAQ page.
One last note is that the delay puts Diableard Challenge participants in terrible peril. Morhaime prudently anticipated this and offered to release people of their beardly burdens to avoid the inevitable tragedies. He wrote that the Diablo III team “hereby issue an official reprieve to all Diableard participants, including Blizzard employees, if you want to trim or otherwise manage the lower half of your face.” In other words, you can shave again. We're thankful that Blizzard is allowing us to release our facial hair, even if our beards aren't quite done yet.
Sep 23, 2011