I'm very happy with the way Diablo III is turning out. Blizzard seems to be on the same level with my opinions about how Diablo III should be. As more and more time passes more and more information is given about the game. I think we have finally received all the data we need to make the most accurate guess we can make. So let's look at the release dates of Blizzard's most recent and most popular titles:
Diablo --- January 2, 1997
Diablo II --- June 29, 2000
Diablo II: Lord of Destruction --- June 29, 2001
Starcraft --- March 31, 1998
Starcraft: Broodwar --- November 30, 1998
Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty --- June 27, 2010
Starcraft II: Heart of the Storm --- TBA
Starcraft II: Legacy of the Void --- TBA
Warcraft: Orcs & Humans --- November 1994
Warcraft II: Tides of Darnkess --- December 9, 1995
Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal --- April 30, 1996
World of Warcraft --- Novemeber 23, 2004
World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade --- January 16, 2007
World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King --- November 13, 2008
World of Warcraft: Cataclysm --- December 7, 2010
It's easy to see that Blizzard tends to release their games between /November - January/ and /June - July/ (with a couple exceptions).
With Diablo III looking like it is very near to completion; Items, Classes, Quests, Dungeons, Skills, etc. have all been discussed time and time again. We can now see that they are on the final stretch with the information they CHOOSE TO GIVE US.
World of Warcraft has just had an expansion announced for next month, so it's safe to assume that, the WoW franchise is taken care of for awhile. But as you can see, Starcraft II has TWO expansions already announced. And by looking at the release dates we can see that Blizzard typically likes to release expansions for non-mmorpg games around a year after the last/original.
Looking at Diablo's release history we can see that Diablo II and it's expansion were both released on June 29. Diablo 3 was also announced on June 28, 2008 (coincidence?).
Starcraft doesn't seem to have a release correlation of any kind. But one thing should be noted: Starcraft II was announced on May 18, 2007, a little over 3 years before it's release.
So the next Blizzard release should be in /June - July/, 2011. And it looks like it's between a Starcraft II expansion pack and Diablo III. And by looking at the data, both have almost an equal shot at the spot. Since a Double release of some kind seems out of the question who will it be? Let me think of some reasons for each release:
Starcraft II: expansion1
-Release at this time will be around a year after the orginal, keeping with the general trend.
-The game is already out and an expansion seems like a simple addition since even the names have already been released.
-Could be released in /November - December/, 2011 and still be in the 1 year expansion trend.
-June seems to be a historical release month for the Diablo franchise.
-The game seems like it is near to completion.
-There will be HUGE sales with this title, so the sooner the better for Blizzard.
-Starcraft II was released roughly 3 years after it's announcement, Diablo III may follow this trend.
-Diablo III has alot of information released about it. All 5 classes, items, stats, interface etc. There seems to be little unknown.
-We have no idea how much of the game is completed since we don't know the outline.
- It may not meet Blizzard's standards by this time.
I also must add, Blizzard HAS to have some sort deadline for all their games...just look at the release dates.
My personal opinion is that Diablo III will be released in /June - July/, 2011 and that a Starcraft II expansion will be released sometime after Novemever 2011.
Due to tons of reading about when Diablo 3 is going to be released... I would have to go for around June to July 2011... Many interviews with Jay have said that the beta will "Probably" be released about 6 months before the actual game, meaning we get the beta around December 2010- January 2011 IF the release date follows the June theory. I don't know about everyone else but I think they had this all set up when they first announced Diablo 3 in 2008. These are just my thoughts though :D.
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Nov-Dec 2011 just because those are when my holidays start. Don't get me wrong, I'll skip school for a month straight to play D3 when it's released, but the failing grades will always be there, picking at me incessantly - ignoring my constant nagging to leave me the hell alone and to stop acting like my mother. So yeah, either they should release it right now, or a year from now. And it doesn't seem too likely they'll be shipping them out tomorrow...
I would say August-September but it is not an option. My exact date is the 13th of September I think? I believe it is a Tuesday.
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I made all the choices based on the data. I'm sorry if any of you had slightly different opinions. But please keep in mind the ONLY 2 games out of all of them to break this trend are Starcraft and Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal, made in 1998 and 1996. EVERYTHING ELSE falls into the release option areas listed. This has to be a marketing strategy or a tradition by Blizzard. Not to say that Diablo III can't break this trend, but after 11 titles so far that make the trend, I'd have to say your not considering the data.
I'd say its more about how long their development takes.
Here's a list of how long their games have been in development:
Starcraft: Announced spring 1996, released April 1998. (2 years of development.)
Diablo 2: Announced Sept 1997, released June 2000. (2 years, 9 months of development.)
Warcraft 3: Announced Sept 1999, released July 2002. (2 years, 10 months of development.)
World of Warcraft: September 2001, released Nov 2004. (3 years, 1 month of development.)
Starcraft 2: Announced May 2007, released July 2010 (3 years, 2 months of development.)
Their latest two games took 3 years and 1-2 months to develop, and when put in context with Diablo III's progress, I'd say that Diablo III will take something around 3 years and 2-3 months, putting it in for a release in August-September 2011.
And if so I'd have say they would release it in the /November - December/ 2011 section (keeping with their marketing/traditional trend). But historically June has been a big month for Diablo. So that's the only thing keeping me from having the same opinion as you.
I'm also going to check and see how much info was given about each game on announcement day if I can find it.
After watching Starcraft II's video I see that only a very small amount was given. I can't find World of Warcraft's announcement video(s). If someone could give me a link that would be great. But Diablo III had quite a bit of info given on announcement day so I'm hoping this means that it was further along in development.
I don't think a summer release is very realistic unless people think the beta is going to start soon. The beta probably won't start, however, until all classes have a potentially final skillset, and I'm not sure if the Demon Hunter is really that far along.
I just don't see D3 needing much beta testing. Especially, if it is not the whole game that is allowed in beta. ARPG require a lot less testing/balancing the RTS or mmo's. Most of the balancing can be done through math calculations. All the beta will be for is to get a general public view of the game like UI's, quest readability, focus of the game.
I just wish the beta would be announced so that I could get a solid time frame.
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In every beta I've participated in it was just a teaser for the community. Nothing really ever got changed while you were playing it to test it out. Most often it was an older version of the game being worked on at the time and anything that was wrong with it was obviously going to be changed with the final product. But I've never been in a Blizzard beta (I could have been in the Starcraft 2 beta, and I think I got invited to the cataclysm beta) and from what I've read people do extensive BUG reporting. Like quests not working, a glitch in a spell, a map generation bug out, etc. It's that time for Blizzard to fix those 1 in 100 000 chance bugs they don't often see in studio.
And for everyone saying Quarter 4 I would have to agree with you because we are getting very close to a beta deadline. The only thing keeping me from not having a Quarter 4 release opinion is that June seems to be Diablo's month. But like another thread said maybe they'll release the beta then. But Blizzcon is going to to be pretty boring this year either way. Maybe with a Quarter 4 release they'll have a Diablo III release announcement as their feature.
-- EDIT: I just looked at the other thread with the leaked "Product Slate" and judging by Titan's estimated release date the announcement of whatever that is could be the feature at blizzcon. Which puts a little more of my faith into that image. And so a little more of my faith is towards Q4.