In past years, Blizzard Entertainment has used this tactic to announce a new game. On September 21, 2002 -- a splash page took over all Blizzard sites. Every hour the splash image would be changed and updated showing a blured portion. 24 hours later on September 22, 2002 -- Blizzard unveiled a new game at the Tokyo Game Show 2002 ... Starcraft: Ghost.
On May 2007, a splash page took over all Blizzard sites, showing an image per day displaying each game released since 1994 culminating with a game announcement at the Blizzard Worldwide Invitationals at Seoul, South Korea ... Starcraft 2.
The splash image today shows a rune from the Frostmourne sword, the master.CSS file in the page source shows a concept art portion titled 04.jpg which resembles a lot to a Tuskarr (walrus) -- and the source code says tundra. All look like part of the Wrath of the Lich King expansion. However, Blizzard is a master at misdirection when it comes to teasers. Today's teaser may hint Wrath of the Lich King -- but we have five more days of teasers to look forward.
Before your hopes get crushed by this, below I will show you a few powerful quotes from Diablo: The Sin War that point toward a new game. Our hopes might or not be crushed at WWI, but certainly not yet with today's splash image.
If you have not read Diablo: The Sin War trilogy and you are sensitive to massive spoilers -- do not read further. However, if you think the spoiler may encourage you to read the trilogy and/or ignite your hopes for a game announcement at WWI -- keep reading ...
Richard A. Knaak in our October 2006 interview hinted Blizzard had great plans for Zayl the Necromancer. I have no idea if Knaak meant Zayl would be an important character in any upcoming Diablo game, at least I do know he will be in a new Diablo novel not yet announced. Why would a Necromancer be of any importance in upcoming Diablo games? They are the protectors of Sanctuary. Protectors of Balance. The Diablo: The Sin War trilogy revealed Uldyssian's brother: Meldeln to be an important figure in Sanctuary. Of all inhabitants of Sanctuary, he was the chosen by Trag'Oul the dragon and Rathma to remember all the events after the Angiris Council wiped the memories of all humans. Trag'Oul renamed Meldeln with a new name as he did once with Rathma. Linarian was the former name of Rathma -- a name in ancient tongue. Meldeln became Kalan.
As you see, the Necromancers have a great responsibility in any upcoming Diablo game. Look at the Necromancers as the equals of the Night Elves (who serve Ysera and the Emerald Dream as guardians and protectors of nature and all of Azeroth).Trag'Oul: "I would call you Kalan. In the tongue of that of which I am, it means teacher, for you have risen far too high to be called by me as a mere student ... and we have need of you to show others the truth of the Balance."
Rathma: "There must be more who will fight to maintain the Balance," Rathma said to him. " The Balance is Sanctuary's best hope. When that day comes that the edyrem return, they must not fall into either camp, for then humanity will merely be an appendage of one side or another, dying for their causes and nothing else. Keep humanity balanced between the two, and it becomes the master of its own destiny." -- The Veiled Prophet, page 340.
There are two more spoilers from the novel that are of high interest to Diablo players.
Trag'Oul was contacted by other guardians (sentinels) such as himself, from other worlds. They stopped Trag'Oul from entering Sanctuary:
Who to expect in a upcoming Diablo game? The lesser Evils, Lilith -- mother of Rathma, and daughter of Mephisto; and the most important character above all ... INARIUS. Inarius created Sanctuary using the Worldstone, which he stole from Creation after resigning as Commander of the High Heavens. When the Angiris Council came to Sanctuary in the Sin War Trilogy, they ruled judgement over Sanctuary and the edyrem. Tyrael was the final member of the Angiris Council to vote. Tyrael voted in favor of Sanctuary and the edyrem's survival:"The gateway was nearly complete, and then the voices struck him from all directions. You cannot! You cannot! You cannot! At the same time, the gateway disintegrated despite his best efforts to keep it from doing so. Filled with an unaccustomed anger, he confronted the voices. This is my burden! This is my duty! You have no say in this, none of you! There was a moment of silence, and then, together, they responded, But we do ... this goes beyond Sanctuary now. Beyond all of us who stand sentinel.
The dragon grew wary. How so? How can that be?.
Their words struck him as nothing else could. Because the war is coming to Sanctuary, and if you interfere with what the Balance demands, it and all existence may be forfeit."
They left him, then, all the others who stood guard as he did over their separate worlds, left him with the knowledge that it was his Sanctuary whose imminent fate might decide theirs. -- The Veiled Prophet, page 168.
Mephisto appeared before the Angiris Council and offered a pact. Tyrael requested Mephisto to leave his Mark upon the spot inside the Cathedral of Light where Inarius had originally created all of Sanctuary. By placing his mark to seal the pact with the Angiris Council, Lord Mephisto looted his prize given in exchange of placing his mark ... INARIUS. Inarius was taken by Lord Mephisto to the Burning Hells.Tyrael: I DID CALL THEM ABOMINATIONS ... BUT I WAS WRONG! MY VOTE IS FOR THEM ... FOR I WOULD SEE WHAT THEY MIGHT BECOME ... AND MARVEL IN IT.
These quotes above can be interpreted as evidence that Blizzard might have plans to use The Sin War trilogy as the lore material to pave the path to a new game. Personally, and this is my opinion, I can see Blizzard releasing a RPG hack'n slash (3D) followed by an expansion and an MMO. The same way Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos and Frozen Throne paved the path to World of Warcraft."A black substance oozed from the bite, and this the demon let drip onto the spot the angels had chosen. As it touched, there was a searing sound, and several red runes suddenly materialized above the stain. They turned twice in a circle, then sank into what passed for Mephisto's blood. The black substance melted into the floor, vanishing." -- The Veiled Prophet, page 334.
You can order online the Diablo: The Sin War Trilogy -- as this is the lore ground for upcoming Diablo games.
For those interested, I am heading to the Blizzard Worldwide Invitationals this week. I am leaving on Thursday, June 26th. I want to thank Blizzard for inviting me to WWI, and specially all the fans who donated. With your donations I was able to get a passport. It arrived last week.
I will be reporting from the Porte de Versailles Exhibition Center (Blizzard Worldwide Invitationals) to update a live journal every few minutes when possible. I will have a press badge to access the press room. So keep an eye on DiabloFans.com News section for news updates.
If a Diablo game is announced, I will update the News & Announcements section, and at some point might request questions from fans to ask the developers -- live. With me is coming Kazo (from Slovakia) who will record video. His work for DiabloFans will be vital. Thanks, Kazo.