So Diablo III was announced last week at the Blizzard Worldwide Invitationals. That leaves one unannounced game unaccounted for ... the Next-Gen MMO. Diablo III is not it according to Rob Pardo during an OnlineWelten video interview.
What would this new Next-Gen MMO game be?
During the Teaser Splash pages days before the Blizzard Worldwide Invitationals, fans started to lose morale and hopes on a Diablo announcement. I quickly posted my personal views supporting that this new game announcement would be a Diablo game.
At this point it is too early to make a prediction on what the Next-Gen MMO is all about, but I have a theory.
If we took Warcraft III and its expansion Frozen Throne as an example, both RTS games and the MMO were in development basically simultaneously, with Warcraft III introducing a lot of new lore. Kalimdor, Northrend and the Night Elves did not exist in previous Warcraft games. So this game served to expand the lore, and set things in motion for the MMO—whose quests match up and start a year after the death of Admiral Proudmoore.
So how does that translates with Diablo III? This is speculation, but Diablo III is naturally adding a lot of new areas that players have never explored. NPCs were hinted to be more talkative of their history. We have the Diablo: The Sin War trilogy adding a lot of new lore into the mix, as well as previous books. The lost city of Ureh from Kingdom of Shadow by Richard A. Knaak appears on the map of Sanctuary—a clue that elements from the novels’ lore are swiftly making its way into the game.
Those who read Diablo: The Sin War Trilogy may have read at page 168 of book three: The Veiled Prophet that Trag’Oul the dragon was stopped by other sentinels such as himself from entering the world of Sanctuary, revealing there were other worlds out there whose fate depends on Sanctuary’s fate.
“The gateway was nearly complete, and then the voices struck him from all directions. You cannot! You cannot! You cannot! At the same time, the gateway disintegrated despite his best efforts to keep it from doing so. Filled with an unaccustomed anger, he confronted the voices. This is my burden! This is my duty! You have no say in this, none of you! There was a moment of silence, and then, together, they responded, But we do ... this goes beyond Sanctuary now. Beyond all of us who stand sentinel.
The dragon grew wary. How so? How can that be?.
Their words struck him as nothing else could. Because the war is coming to Sanctuary, and if you interfere with what the Balance demands, it and all existence may be forfeit.”
They left him, then, all the others who stood guard as he did over their separate worlds, left him with the knowledge that it was his Sanctuary whose imminent fate might decide theirs.—The Veiled Prophet, page 168.
With such a setting in the novel, it is now official that there is more than just the High Heavens, Sanctuary and the Burning Hells ... but more worlds out there as playground for both forces. This quietly sounds like the other worlds Blizzard plans to make accessible in World of Warcraft through the portals found in Outland.
Of course, the same Warcraft III + World of Warcraft formulae applies to the Starcraft franchise, with Starcraft II being in development. Only time may tell what’s brewing at one of Blizzard’s departments heavily guarded by men in black suits.
It is still early to figure out what the new Next-Gen MMO is. However, I can’t help thinking of previous Blizzard history with developing Warcraft III and World of Warcraft simultaneously.