Diablo 2 Nears Completion as Blizzard Prepares for Final Testing

IRVINE, Calif. – April 28, 2000 – Blizzard today announced plans for Diablo™ II‘s Battle.net® stress test — the final phase of Diablo II beta testing and the company’s largest public beta test to date. Starting Monday morning, hardcore gamers around the world will have the opportunity to register for their chance to be one of up to 100,000 players to be chosen to help stress test Battle.net servers prior to the launch of Diablo II. The beta signup is scheduled for a seven-day period exclusively on ZDNet‘s (NYSE:ZDZ) GameSpot (www.gamespot.com) beginning on Monday, May 1 at 10:00 a.m. PT and ending Sunday, May 7 at 9:00 p.m PT. Applications from around the world will be accepted. Following the registration period, Blizzard will randomly select up to 100,000 testers. Only one submission per person will be accepted, and selected testers will be notified via email within a few days of the sign-up period ending.

Selected testers will receive an access code and a ZDNet GameSpot download location via an additional email when testing begins. Users must have an access code to log onto Battle.net and play the beta. These emails will be sent over a period of days so as to ramp up the number of users participating in the test over Battle.net. The 100MB beta is being exclusively offered for download through ZDNet GameSpot in alliance with Mirror Image, a leading provider of online content distribution and streaming solutions.

The beta, which will only be playable over Battle.net, will include the Barbarian character class and portions of the game’s first act. The purpose of the beta test is to ensure the stability of Battle.net servers worldwide. In preparation for this final phase of beta testing, Blizzard will end the current on-going closed beta test a few days prior to the start of the Battle.net stress test. Participants in the closed beta will automatically be included in the group that is selected to participate in the stress test.

In Diablo II, players return to a dark world plagued by evil forces. After possessing the body of the hero who defeated him, Diablo resumes his nefarious scheme to shackle humanity into unholy slavery by joining forces with the other Prime Evils, Mephisto and Baal. Players face a new series of quests to rid the world of Diablo and his vile brethren forever. When Diablo released in 1997, it was an instant hit among gamers and debuted as the number-one selling game its first month in stores. The game has sold about 2 million copies worldwide and was the number-one selling computer role-playing game in 1997.

Diablo II is being developed by the Blizzard North design team and is expected to release during the first half of this year in Windows® 95/98/2000/NT format. A Macintosh version of the game will be available during the third quarter 2000. The game will be available at most computer and software retail chains worldwide. The game will also be offered directly from Blizzard at (800) 953-SNOW and www.blizzard.com.

Best known for blockbuster hits including the Warcraft ® series, StarCraft™ and Diablo™, Blizzard Entertainment® (www.blizzard.com) is a premier publisher of entertainment software renowned for creating many of the industry’s most critically acclaimed games. Blizzard’s track record includes three consecutive number-one selling games and multiple Game of the Year awards. The company’s free Internet gaming service Battle.net reigns as the largest in the world with millions of unique users.

GameSpot is part of ZDNet (NYSE: ZDZ), which operates the leading Web destination (www.zdnet.com) for people who want to buy, use, and learn about technology, part of a worldwide network of technology-focused sites produced through local operations in 22 countries, on 6 continents, in 14 languages. ZDNet Sites consistently ranks among the top 20 Web properties in unique visitors, and the top 15 among the Media Metrix “At Work” audience. Its technology-interested audience – ranging from consumers to IT professionals – comes more often and spends more time on ZDNet Sites than on any other technology content property, a testament to its enormous depth and breadth of original, fresh content and services. ZDNet’s headquarters are in San Francisco.

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