Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Diablo Franchise

Diablo Released 1996
Blizzard, one of the most successful video entertainment software developer and publishers in the industry, is notorious for releasing extremely popular video game titles that are worthy of historical recognition. They are responsible for creating titles such as Warcraft III, World of Warcraft, Starcraft, and finally Diablo. In this entry, I will be focusing mainly on the Diablo franchise due to its third installment releasing next week. Being one of the most anticipated titles in computer game history, it has already been crowned the most pre sale profits of any game Blizzard has released.

Diablo II Released 2000
The Diablo franchise has won many awards and set many records. It won "Game of the Year" by Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences two years and still going strong. One of the few franchises that even come close to Blizzard's success is Activision's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare selling 6.5 million copies in the United States and the United Kingdom. Blizzard has announced that they expect to sell over five million copies within just a year of release.
So what is so special about this game that created one of the most successful titles in its genre? Innovative? Not so fast. There were other ARPG (Action role playing game) that were released before Diablo such as Ultima VIII and sometimes that were deemed "Diablo clones" such as Titan Quest. One thing that Blizzard is infamous for doing is their impeccable timing. The Diablo franchise was released during a period of time where the internet was readily becoming more accessible by the public. The digital era at this point is rapidly building the infrastructure for the coming future generation of digitized media. I can remember playing the game back in circa 1998, playing on a desktop more primitive than my current HTC smartphone, with dial up 56k internet connection. As painful as it may sound, this game was the pinnacle of my computer gaming passion. It was the stepping stone to many other games that I have experienced such as World of Warcraft and Warcraft III.  Being labeled as a sub-genre of MMORPG's (Massively Multi-player Online Role Playing Game) Diablo also succeeded in creating a game that catered to different types of gamers.  Whether an individual is casual, or a dedicated over achiever, the game can be played at the player's personal pace. This is important because MMO's are often tied to high commitment, high reward style gaming. In order to progress through the game, the player had to devote a large portion of their lives which for many, did not seem appealing. Diablo's "Battle-Net" system for joining and creating games was a different approach from simply logging onto one gigantic server where one could often feel overwhelmed. And for people who did not like socializing with other players, the game created NPC (Non-player Characters) that will help  the player on his quest to progress through the game.
The Diablo franchise now with only five days until the next installment after a long ten year down time with many (and I mean many with no exaggeration) delays will be released. The nostalgic video game that  that made such an important impact on my childhood will finally rein once again.

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