Have you ever known that game that you HAD to have, and it wasn’t just enough to have it eventually, but you needed it the minute it was released? Well for a good number of people, Diablo III is one of those games. Out of a small group of friends I play with, most of them have talked about clearing this week for the release of Diablo III. For those who weren’t able to request this time off from work, rumors of being sick have been brought up for at least a couple of days this week just to make sure they had time to play Diablo III as soon as humanly possible, not to mention for as much time as their bodies will let them. To make even those friends look normal, I also had one buddy talk about selling everything he had for food he would need to no longer actually leave his room, but just play this game for the rest of his life. This release will be huge to say the least.

If you were fortunate enough to just go with the digital copy of the game, you will be able to do a couple of things to prepare for this release before the servers go up. After you have purchased Diablo III, Blizzard suggests that you create a BattleTag during the day in order to avoid trying to doing any other task aside from just playing the game at release. The servers are expected to go through the most stress during the next couple of days, and the site will be taking care of the traffic for anyone who bought a hard copy of the game and still needs to set up their account. If you have purchased the digital copy, the client is available for download now and you should be able to start installing the game and making sure everything pulls up for you so you don’t have issues at midnight.

Now, about the game itself, Blizzard has released quite a bit of information for the game already and has much of it available on Battle.net. In the game you will have a blacksmith, who will be able to make items for you with the materials you gain. He is also able to salvage magical items you don’t need. On the site you can see the progression of the blacksmiths workshop as you put more gold into upgrading him. There are also recipes up already to show you what materials will be needed to make items as you upgrade the workshop along with the price to upgrade him each level. To achieve all 10 levels and allow your blacksmith to make everything he can, it looks like you will need to save 593,000 gold.

Another friendly person in the game is the Jeweler. Similar to the way you were able to combine gems in Diablo 2, the Jeweler will help you do the same thing in Diablo III. Like the blacksmith, the Jeweler will need to be upgraded with gold before he will help you in all the upgrades he is capable of. There are again 10 levels but the total cost for his upgrade is only 140,000 gold. The recipes for gems is up on the site as well, with all gems currently being a 3 to 1 ratio for the upgrade and higher gems needing other items in order to be combined together. Aside from making gems, the Jeweler will also be able to add sockets to items and remove gems currently in your equipment so they can be reused in new equipment.

Now that we are done with the helpers you have out of combat, let’s look at the followers you will have going into combat with you. Similar to Diablo 2, you will be allowed one follower to go with you into battle. These followers will level up with your level and gain new skills and armor to help you in your fight. There is also the option to customize the skills they will be using to make sure they match your play style.

 

The first follower we will look at is Eirena the enchantress. She has three types of spells she will be able to cast for you: debilitating magic, arcane blast and supportive spells. Her debilitating magic will put creatures into a trance, turn them against one another and more, causing them to be easier to kill. The arcane blasts she has will be used to either damage the creatures directly or send them flying from the point of impact. Her supportive spells will let you infuse your attacks with demon-slaying energy or place a protective shield around you to block damage from enemies.

 

Lyndon the scoundrel is another follower you will have access to. He will be ranged damage follower. He has ranged killing abilities, allowing him to shoot multiple bolts, poisoned arrows or explosive shots. His disabling shots will cripple and blind creatures that are around, but also a couple extra skills that will keep him safe from danger also. You can also select to have Lyndon help his allies out by sharing his knowledge of the best way to attack an enemy and either increase your critical hit chance or cause you to do more damage for a short amount of time.

 

The last follower is a Templar named Kormac. He will help you in mostly a defensive role, but also has his Holy Justice to purge the demons you will run into during the game. He has skills that include healing, taunting and intimidating, life regeneration and over all resource generation for mana, arcane power, hatred, fury and spirit.

Now if your anything like my friends and me, you were watching for the classes before they were even named and knew as soon as the teaser videos came out showing what they could do. Well here’s a brief look at the five classes available tonight.

Barbarian

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Barbarians are able to swing massive weapons with ease and even have a special weapon type, mighty weapon, on top of the fact that they can dual wield weapons normally meant for two hands. The more damage done and dealt to a barbarian the angrier it will be, gaining fury to unleash on the enemies. The shouts of the barbarian are enough to strengthen allies and make enemies flee. And to keep the barbarian alive, they can wield heavy shields and have skin like metal armor.

Monk

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The Monk is a master at fighting unarmed or with lighter balance fist weapons and staff like weapons. When making multiple attacks in succession, the monk channels a spiritual power that allows him to do more damage along with other special abilities when releasing this power at the creatures around. They can also manifest their spirit into mantras that strengthen the monk and his allies. This is all supported by the monks amazing speed at attacking, moving between enemies, flanking and dodging attacks.

Demon Hunter

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Demon hunter are similar to a ranger, until you hear they will litter the screen with scores of arrows and projectiles as they use longbows, grenades, hand-thrown weapons and even have the ability to dual wield crossbows. They have the ability to lay traps made up of mines, caltrops, or your generic steel-jawed traps. They are also a master of the shadows, allowing themself to be cloaked in darkness and dodging attacks and slipping between their prey.

Wizard

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The Wizard has extreme magic used for both offense and defense. They can wield fire, lightning, ice and wind to kill their enemies, both a single target and raining the elements on large groups of enemies all at once. They have a group of invaluable defensive spells that do anything from freezing targets, protecting themself with diamond skin, slowing time within an area and teleporting from danger. To top off all of the spells already mentioned, they also have the ability to channel arcane power for a time and release it when they find themself in a tight spot.

Witch Doctor

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Witch Doctors have a unique tribal look to them compared to the other classes. Having the ability to summon pets ranging from zombies, bats, fetishes, spiders and one of the most entertaining for me is a giant from that tries eating enemies. To make this class more almost comical, aside for summoning a mass of pets, you can also make a wall of zombies to grab your enemy, transform them into chickens or just confuse them making them run in fear of you so much that its possible they start attacking their allies. They also have the ability to cast clouds of destructive magic made up of disease, fire and locusts or go as far as sacrificing their own pets to take out groups of minions with the bony shrapnel. I will personally be taking this role and laughing when PvP is either brought in or messing around with my friends. It might not be the strongest or a perfect character for that role, but I’m not a stickler on needing to just be the best, laughing is fun at times also.

Blizzard is also hosting release events all over the world for this game. If you happen to live in Irvine, California, you are in the city of the only event being hosted in the States. Speak Geeky to Me will be at this event, with our talented staff, at the Great Wheel Court of the Irvine Spectrum Mall giving you full coverage. The event is running from 8PM to 12AM, ending with the the release of the game. Gamers will be able to meet and get signatures from the development team of Diablo III. There will be themed contests and prizes, people dressed up as characters from the game, and some never before seen gameplay footage. There are many prizes but one of the biggest being a laser-etched desktop PC from Intel. There will also be the opportunity to purchase the Diablo III Alabaster-White Collector’s edition which contains the following: a full version of Diablo III, 4GB soulstone jump drive (contains full version of Diablo II and Diablo II: Lord of Destruction), Diablo skull base, Diablo III aesthetic artifacts, World of Warcraft Fetish Shaman pet, StarCraft II Battle.net portraits, Blu-ray/DVD set of behind the scenes material of Diablo III, 208-page book of Diablo III art, and the Diablo III soundtrack

If you are going to be at the release event, make sure you say hi to our CEO, Michael Rodriguez, and if you are all downloaded and installed I hope to see you playing tonight as soon as everyone manages to get logged in.