Is Diablo 3 Blizzard’s Answer to SWTOR?

Over the past couple of days we’ve had an unusual number of news regarding Diablo 3. The game will have an auction house where players will be able to sell items for real money, some new info on Runestones has surfaced, some new screenshots and leveling info as well. Blizzard also announced that playing Diablo III will require an active internet connection, meaning you will always have to be connected to Battle.net in order to play.

Of course when considering the auction house that’s a necessary move, but many players have expressed their disappointment about it. In any case, that’s not what this post is about. One other thing that we heard even before but seems to make even more sense now is that Blizzard is pushing for the release of D3 this year, and I can think of no other reason than Star Wars: The Old Republic.

Bioware recently got us access to preorders for SWTOR and announced beta weekends in September. They are no doubt working extremely hard to get this game out this year as their targeted window is this year’s holiday season, most likely meaning December. One thing SWTOR has going for it and it was already mentioned on some blogs is that the game might take a huge chunk of World of Warcraft‘s player base since Blizzard has nothing to give to players to keep them engaged at this time: no expansion or game coming out soon.

But things have just turned as Diablo III, a game that has been years in development and wasn’t expected to come out this year is apparently being pushed out as soon as possible in order to compete with SWTOR, as ridiculous as it may sound. Blizzard is notorious for not releasing games which aren’t “ready”, but Star Wars is no doubt pressuring them to finish it in the coming months. Rob Pardo, executive producer for D3 explained:

“We always do the standard answer, ‘when it’s ready.’ When we actually announce a release date, that’s because we know we can hit it. Typically nowadays we announce release dates around three or four months before the game comes out. We’ve already said that we’re working hard to get to this year, but it’s going to be tough.”

Even if Blizzard doesn’t think Diablo is ready for this year, we will no doubt have a torrent of information about it and access to beta this year. After all, something has to keep us from trying out this new Bioware’s MMORPG, right?

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