Several fansites and forums have claimed almost in unison that Diablo 3 will be the big announcement to pour out of Blizzard's 2008 World Wide Invitational. This, they say, is from trusted inside sources.
This was after the Blizzard's own vice president of design, Rob Pardo, told GamesIndustry that they in fact had a big announcement to make once the event kick-started in Paris, France:
So you want me to announce the game before our announcement? No offense, but I think there's like 300 people here, and I'll be ripped apart by 8000 people [at the Invitational] if I pre-announce itÂ—but it's going to be really exciting. I think everybody here will be really excited about the announcement.
DiabloII.net, one of the premier fansites of Blizzard's role-playing series, has claimed that an insider source explicitly told them that the "big news" to be announced at the World Wide Invitational was definitely Diablo 3.
This comes after the fact, of course, that the game developer and publisher managed to stun the gaming populace upon requesting the acquisition of the domain Diablo3.com back in early May.
Even before that, Blizzard teased fans with a hint that a certain 50-man development squad, known only as Team 3, was at work on a "really awesome," yet mysterious game. To quote Blizzard's senior vice president, Frank Pearce, "I will totally tell you, it's really awesome." Need we go back to the rumors spawned two years ago?
Starting June 23, Blizzard began displaying a new splash page just before you could enter their main site. It appeared to be simply a portrait of ice. Along with it came a rune imprinted upon the image, which Diablo fans claim could be the Shael rune in Diablo II.
Just a day after, Blizzard's splash page was different, and the scene grew brighter as a crevice cracked open in the center of the ice, leaving the impression of encasement.
A second rune was identified, which many, and even we could confirm, to be exactly the much coveted Hel rune of Diablo 2. We say this, as it is one of the runes required for a useful runeword to boost a Hammer-focused Paladin's powers.
Several other images that appeared to indicate a "purple walrus" surfaced, though the three parts of the four part image were originally found scattered. They were named 04.jpg, 23.jpg, and 15.jpg, which if equated to alphabet positions would create "DWO." Some people say it's "WOD" or "World of Diablo." That or "DOW." We're hesitant to jump to conclusions, however.
Like we stated earlier, only three of four parts were found. The last is still missing, and it means that if the numbers do represent the game's titles, it has at least four letters in the acronym.
Lately, we've come to believe, just as people from Diablofans.com pointed out, that the letters D, O, and W are letters of Dashow's surname. If so, three more letters remain.
Just lately today, the splash page changed yet again. Like the one before it, the picture revealed a much brighter center and added another rune to the portrait. This rune, people say, actually looks much more like a symbol reflecting a Protoss tribe symbol.
More artwork of ice surfaced from where the purple monster pieces came, and we're not sure if the world of Sanctuary is all but frozen. It's likely that this is a preface to the Wrath of the Lich King beta announcement that World of Warcraft players speculate, but runes?
Arthas' Froustmourne is known to be a runesword, though so is Tyrael's crystallic AzureWrath, known in Diablo 2 as the legendary Angelic RuneBlade. Where could we stand?
We'll tell you what: if the concept artwork for the World Wide Invitational is anything but false (shown below), we go the way of the Dark Wanderer.
Sorry WoW grinders, but if true, then what Blizzard's about to unveil this coming June 28-29 is a gaming legacy reborn.
*UPDATE*: We heard that the Battle.net Forums has a new hidden section named D3 General - or at least we're told that it's just been added. Try typing the following address on the URL bar of your browser:
Apparently, you can't view anything under it, as the locator will tell you that the forum is "down." Down, we say, and it isn't a "404 -Page not found" error, either. Try appending any other address at the end of "ForumName=" and you'd get redirected to the main Battle.net Forums page. What does this all mean?
This, dear readers, would certainly clue us in that Diablo 3 is definitely being ramped up, even on Battle.net itself. More updates as we get them.