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E3: Report on Blizzard Titles, Release Dates
8:47 AM | Michael Yanovich | Comment on this story

Prominently located in the South Hall of the LA Convention Center, Blizzard's buzz is incredibly strong at this year's E3 convention. And the crowds are gathering for good reason. Well, two good reasons: the Diablo II Expansion Lord of Destruction and Warcraft III.


Here's the dirt:


The Diablo II Expansion will be released (drum roll, please) at the end of June. And for those worried that the Mac release will lag behind the PC, worry no more. The expansion is being released as a hybrid CD!


Our inside man Beau also went on the record to adamantly assure us that only a planet-destroying earthquake or a global tidal wave would delay the timely release. So sharpen your slashing skills, the release is a mere 6-weeks away.


Some of the new features are incredibly cool. For instance, the size of your stash has doubled, giving you the much-needed room to store all the new magical items that are being added.


Also, your character can now have two sets of weapons at the ready. That means set one could consist of a sword in one hand and a shield in the other, and set two could be a bow. Switching between the two on the fly is as easy as pressing a single keystroke, giving you near-instant access to melee or ranged weapons, or any other combination your greedy little heart desires.


Rogues have also been beefed up. No longer are these mere bullet-magnets (arrow magnets?) to buy you a few hit points of life. Rogues can now be equipped (by you) with just about any weapon and armor you choose to give them, allowing them to live longer and become much more useful. The demo we saw had a level 40 rogue that did a solid 50-100 points of damage with every arrow she unleashed. These sidekicks are worth keeping around for a while now!


New magical items include runes and charms (similar to gems, but with more variations and powers), as well as class-specific weapons and armor. Blizzard is designing the game to encourage online cooperation. Trade your druid-only mask for a friend's necromancer wand, for example. All the races will have equipment useful only to them.


The new spells, creatures and attacks we were shown were all stunningly executed. And yes, we were able to watch the demo in the new 800x600 resolution. When the screen was switched back to the original 640x480, the difference was astounding. Be prepared for high system requirements in the new video mode, but if your system can handle it, you will be a very happy camper indeed.


And now on to WC III. Not much has changed since the preview IMG posted two months ago, but the game has obviously progressed tremendously. More of the graphics are complete, particle effects have been added to the water (though waterfalls haven't been implemented yet), and the mouse-scroll button now zooms the camera into the action.


The big news is a confirmation from the last meeting: If the Mac version does not ship on the same day as the PC version does, then we won't have to wait more than another week or two, tops. Yes, they are aiming for a near-simultaneous release, and so far they are right on schedule. I can attest to the fact that the Mac department is just down the hall from the PC area in their main building, so it seems Blizzard's exciting new policy of releasing the Mac and PC versions at almost the same time is here to stay. No more 6 month delays (as there was during Starcraft's release) if all goes well. Watch for more Blizzard updates and images from the show floor!

Blizzard Entertainment
Preview: Warcraft III
Blizzard Entertainment (add to watch list)
Diablo II: Lord of Destruction (add to watch list)


 

Other Mac Games News for Friday, May 18, 2001

Omni to Show OS X Games at WWDC3:53 PM
E3: Firsthand Report on Myth III: The Wolf Age3:40 PM
E3: MacCentral on Apple at the Expo2:30 PM
E3: Glimpse of Stronghold2:10 PM
E3: Hardware Roundup From the Show Floor12:04 PM
IMG at E3, Day Two11:46 AM
E3: MOO3 Mac Dev Update, Promo Materials11:25 AM
E3: New Unreal II Images, Previews10:25 AM
Apple Lays Out WWDC Game Track10:09 AM
Cro-Mag Rally Updates for OS X9:49 AM
E3: Saitek, Logitech Unleash Flood of Controllers9:30 AM
E3: Bungie Fanfest Reports, Q&A8:57 AM
• E3: Report on Blizzard Titles, Release Dates8:47 AM
E3: World War II Online Update, June 6 Release8:35 AM
E3: Warcraft III Trailer, Movies8:31 AM
 
View all of the Mac games news for Friday, May 18, 2001 on one page

Mac Games News for Thursday, May 17, 2001

E3: Return to Castle Wolfenstein Site Launched4:19 PM
MacGamer Previews Civilization III4:19 PM
E3: New Myth III Images Revealed [Update]3:24 PM
E3: Images From The Expo, Part One3:06 PM
E3: Disney Unveils Mac-Friendly Lineup2:39 PM
E3: Tentative MacSoft Release Dates1:29 PM
Blizzard Patches Diablo, Warcraft II BNE1:07 PM
E3: Civilization III Sneak Preview, More From MacSoft12:54 PM
Vortex NG Updated to 1.0.3, Fixes Bugs12:24 PM
Classic Gaming Updates for OS X11:37 AM
Westlake To Port Deus Ex to PS210:58 AM
E3: Star Wars Jedi Outcast: Jedi Knight II10:33 AM
E3: More Max Payne Movies, Images10:13 AM
Shadowbane Reveals Guild Halls10:02 AM
E3: Unreal II Preview and Interview9:58 AM
IMG Heads to E39:44 AM
Sound Blaster Update on UT, Deus Ex9:31 AM
Rune Multiplayer/Patch News9:27 AM
Westlake Lines Up the Releases9:25 AM
MacCentral Visits MacPlay8:52 AM
 
View all of the Mac games news for Thursday, May 17, 2001 on one page


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