Diablo 3 release dated for May 15th

The much-awaited wait for Diablo 3 will soon be over, as Blizzard announced today that the next chapter in its action role-playing series will be released on May 15, 2012.

Starting today, fans will be able to purchase Diablo 3 at retailers throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe, South Korea, Southeast Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and the regions of Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau.  In addition, gamers in the regions above as well as in Mexico, Argentina, Chile, and Brazil will be able to purchase Diablo 3 digitally via Blizzard's Battle.net.

Blizzard also began global digital pre-orders for Diablo 3 today.  Head over to the official Diablo 3 website to reserve your digital copy.

"After many years of hard work by our development team and months of beta testing by hundreds of thousands of dedicated players around the world, we're now in the homestretch," said Mike Morhaime, CEO and co-founder of Blizzard Entertainment. "We look forward to putting the final polish on Diablo III over the next two months and delivering the ultimate action-RPG experience to gamers worldwide starting on May 15."

Diablo 3 will be available for $59.99 for both Windows PC and Mac.

A special alabaster-white Collector's Edition, sold exclusively in retail stores at a suggested retail price of $99.99 USD, will include the full game on DVD-ROM, a behind-the-scenes Blu-ray/DVD two-disc set, the Diablo III soundtrack CD, a 208-page Art of Diablo III book, and a 4 GB USB soulstone (including full versions of Diablo II and Diablo II: Lord of Destruction) and corresponding Diablo skull base, as well as exclusive in-game content for Diablo III, World of Warcraft, and StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty.

Those interested in getting Diablo 3 for free may want to sign up for the World of Warcraft Annual Pass program, which will no longer be available on May 1st.  Through this promotion, with a 1-year commitment to World of Warcraft, you will receive a free digital copy of Diablo III as well as an exclusive World of Warcraft in-game mount and access to upcoming WoW expansion, Mists of Pandaria beta.

Those following Diablo 3 news may already be aware that the game will launch without PvP arena combat as it wasn't meeting the company's expectations.  Rather than delay the game, Blizzard has plans to continue working on the feature and will release it later as a free patch.

"In Diablo III, you take on the role of one of five heroic characters — barbarian, witch doctor, wizard, monk, or demon hunter — and engage in pulse-pounding combat with endless legions of evil. As you undertake an epic quest to rid Sanctuary from the corrupting forces of the Burning Hells, you will explore diverse and perilous settings, grow in experience and ability, acquire artifacts of incredible power, and meet key characters who'll join you in battle or aid them in other ways."

For more information on Diablo III, please visit the official website.