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Blizzard Reveals Official Diablo 3 Global Launch Events

Blizzard unsurprisingly plans to kick off Diablo 3 with a bang around the world by hosting launch events on the eve of the game's release.

The company said on Wednesday that on the night of May 14, key retail partners in the U.S., UK, France, Germany, Sweden, Poland, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore, and the region of Taiwan will welcome gamers who want to be among the first to purchase the upcoming PC game. Naturally specific times are up to the retailers who are actually willing to open their doors around midnight.

Here in the States, the official launch event will be hosted by Blizzard and GameStop in the Great Wheel Court of the Irvine Spectrum Mall, located in Irvine, California. The "festivities" will start at 8:00pm PDT on May 14 and include multiple giveaways, entertainment, and contests offering exclusive Diablo 3-themed prizes including laser-etched desktop PCs from Intel. The team will also be on hand to meet with players and to sign physical copies of the game.

Available at launch will be the Standard Edition of Diablo 3 which will have a suggested retail price of $59.99, and the Collector's Edition which will be priced at $99.99. The latter version will include the game along with the following goodies:

* Exclusive aesthetic artifacts for Diablo 3, as well as an exclusive World of Warcraft in-game fetish shaman pet and exclusive StarCraft 2 portraits and army decal
* A behind-the-scenes Blu-ray/DVD two-disc set with over an hour of interviews detailing how the world of Sanctuary came together
* The Art of Diablo 3, a 208-page art book that catalogues numerous pieces of Diablo 3 art, from early concepts to final 3D renderings
* The official Diablo 3 soundtrack CD, containing 24 original pieces from the game
* A 4 GB USB soulstone, preloaded with full versions of Diablo 2 and Diablo 2: Lord of Destruction, and corresponding Diablo skull base

"In addition to the official US launch event, other retail locations around the country will open at midnight to support gamers looking to pick up their copy of the game the moment it goes live," Blizzard said on Wednesday. "Please check with your local retailers for further details."

World of Warcraft junkies wanting to get their hands on Diablo 3 without shelling out an additional $60 can join the more than 1 million players who have already signed up for the World of Warcraft Annual Pass. Through this promotion, with a 1-year commitment to World of Warcraft, players will receive a free digital copy of Diablo 3 -- which they'll be able to start playing immediately on May 15 -- as well as an exclusive World of Warcraft in-game mount and access to the World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria beta test.

This offer will no longer be available as of 12:01 a.m. PDT on May 1, the company said.

Just like StarCraft 2, we expect to see GameStop and other retailers open their doors just before midnight in anticipation of selling all their copes of Diablo 3 at the stroke of midnight, especially the tasty Collector's Edition. As Blizzard stated, check your local favorite retailer for launch details.