The release date of Diablo II has been the subject of great speculation in recent weeks as the result of delays in starting the beta test. After discussing the time needed to fully play-balance, polish, beta test and debug the game, we feel that it is important to let the gaming community know that we do not expect to release Diablo II before the end of the year.
Diablo II is the most ambitious project we have undertaken to date. The game is many times larger than the original with a much more complex system of character development. Additionally, we have redesigned the Battle.net architecture using a client-server network to prevent cheating and to expand the multiplayer component. With the release of Diablo II, Battle.net will be a true global network with servers in Europe and Asia to support players around the world.
While we appreciate that Diablo II is highly anticipated by many gamers, we also know that gamers have come to expect a high level of quality from Blizzard products. We have worked hard for many years building this trust, and, as we have promised before, will not take development shortcuts at the expense of disappointing our customers.
The game is now slated for a worldwide release in early 2000. We plan to start beta testing before the year’s end with a limited beta test of 1,000 players. We then will conduct an open beta program to stress test our new Battle.net servers. We will keep you updated on the game’s progress once the beta test gets underway.
Over the years, we have been praised by the industry for taking our time with games and never losing focus on the attention to detail we pay to every aspect of our titles. As the team continues to work extraordinary hours to deliver the best experience possible, we hope that this tradition of support continues.