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Error message mars release of ‘Diablo III’

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It's been 12 years since Blizzard last released an installment of its popular Diablo franchise, but judging by the enormous demand that today's release of Diablo III is seeing, it might as well have been yesterday.

The game unlocked at midnight Tuesday. Despite the late hour, however, players quickly overwhelmed the game's servers, extending the pain of people who have been waiting to wear out their index fingers on the clickfest.

Diablo III launched in multiple territories, which caused the Battle.net servers (required to authenticate the game before owners can play it) to buckle. That resulted in a dreaded "Error 37" message, forcing players to log in again, a stalling tactic to make the queue more orderly.

"Please note that due to a high volume of traffic, login and character creation may be slower than normal," said a message posted to the Battle.net forums. "If you're unable to login to the game or create characters, please wait and try again. We've temporarily taken our Battle.net websites offline and launched more servers to accommodate for the traffic. We hope to resolve these issues as soon as possible and appreciate your patience."

[Related: Five things to know about Diablo III]

Players, not too surprisingly, were pretty vocal in their frustration. "Error 37" quickly became a top trending topic on Twitter.

The server crunch is a familiar event for players of hotly anticipated massively multiplayer games. Blizzard's World of Warcraft had similar problems when it launched, as too many people tried to play at once. The problems usually resolve themselves within a day or two as the obsession over the new game fades a bit.

And given the demand for Diablo III, Blizzard actually warned people in advance this problem might occur. Pre-orders for the game set a new record for the company, coming in at 2 million.

Development on the game started in 2001, but the company was never happy with what it saw. Diablo III actually went through three quiet revisions, but it wasn't until June of 2008 that Blizzard officially confirmed the game was in development. Players had to wait another three years before the public beta opened up.

Blizzard certainly took its time to ensure it was happy with the game. Director Jay Wilson told Gamasutra recently that the last two years of development have been "polish mode" with a focus on getting the little things right. (Most games are lucky to get a few months to polish.)

Aside from the log-in issues, though, players seem pretty happy with the game. One person, in fact, claims to have already beaten Diablo III in just over 12 hours.

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