This splash screen, which showed up on June 23rd, is named ice1.jpg. It's only dimly lit, but you can see a rune in the lower left hand corner, behind the ice. Many speculate that this is the Shael rune, from Diablo 2.
This image appeared on June 24th, 2008. The light coming from the center is now much brighter, and you can see an extra rune in the upper right hand corner. Many speculate that this is the Hel rune from Diablo 2.
This image, originally title 04.jpg, appeared in Blizzard's website files on June 23rd, when the master CSS file was called "tundra," perhaps standing for the frozen tundra of Diablo 2: Lord of Destruction. The 04 in the file name is thought to stand for the letter "D" in Diablo.
This image showed up on June 24th. It appears to be another piece of an image that includes the 04.jpg, perhaps some kind of monster. The master CSS file on this day was titled "cavern," perhaps referring to the Drifter's Cavern of Diablo 2: Lord of Destruction. The 15 in the file name is thought to reference the letter "O" in Diablo.
An anonymous tipster sent us this image. He claims to see images of hell in the rune circles behind the ice -- or whatever it is. It's a bit of a stretch, but it's some fun speculation, at least.
Tipster Crak911 believes that he sees Diablo behind the ice, and he sent us this sketch as proof, saying that this exposure makes it easier to see the figure he's outlined.
Here, fellow blogger Natalie Mootz has overlaid a Diablo 3 box mockup on Crak911's sketch, just to see how similar they are.
Here, Natalie overlays Crak911's sketch on the original sketch page. It seems to fit, more or less, but I'm still not sure I see the similarities.
And to complete the trifecta, here, Natalie has overlaid a Diablo 3 box mockup on the original splash page. It sort of fits. It overlaps the runes a bit. It might be a fit, but probably not. We'll probably have to wait until the ice goes away completely to see if Crak911 was on track.
This screen, which goes by the file name ice3.jpg, went live on June 25th. The ice has broken up considerably in the middle, showing nothing, or perhaps the night sky, depending on who you ask. However, you can see a new rune in the bottom left hand corner. This rune apparently looks like a Protoss symbol, according to some.
This is the 3rd piece of the strange purple monster picture to show up in the 232309 folder. This one is called 23.jpg, which, if it follows the pattern of previous pictures, would be a "W." Its master CSS file name is appended to "icy."
This is a possible combination of all the monster pictures as of June 25th, as submitted by tipster Andrew. I'm saying it's a penguin, myself.
WoW Insider reader Warren made this manipulation of the 3rd splash screen to highlight the vapor coming off of the breaking ice. He says it looks a bit like Tyrael's wings. I tend to see a devil's head, perhaps.
Then again, maybe a vapor cloud is just a vapor cloud.
This is some official Blizzard art for the upcoming Worldwide Invitational. As Digg commenter Saikyan pointed out, Diablo's claw and the fire seem to be creating an interesting pattern. Does that look like a 3 to anyone else?
This is the new splash screen for June 26th, entitled ice4.jpg. The ice has chipped away even more, to show more of the night sky. It also appears that the ice flecks and the mist may be coalescing into a face of some sort.
In addition, there is a new rune in the lower right hand corner. This one looks a bit like a model of a solar system at first glance.
Here is yet another piece of the strange purple image, this one appearing on the 26th of June, with the file name 16.jpg. Follow the letter pattern, that makes this a P. In the master CSS file, it appears between 4 and 15, with the word "cold."
Here's the mysterious purple image as it appears to be unfolding after the addition of the June 26th image. I still stand by my purple penguin hypothesis. The latest speculation around the news room is that we could be looking at Powder the Penguin, who will be either the WotLK Collector's Edition pet or the WWI goodie bag pet.
This image was sent to us by tipster Pact. This picture of Diablo from the Diablo 2 box does seem to match up eerily well with the face appearing in the center of the splash screen. The light in Diablo's eyes matches up nearly perfectly with the ice flecks that seem to make the eyes in the splash screen's face.
WoW Insider reader Maia believes that Arthas is the face in the sky in the day 4 splash screen, and sends along this mockup as her proof.
The pentagram theory states that the runes are arranged in the state of a pentagram, thus proving that the announcement will be about Diablo 3.
Here, I've drawn a pentagram of sorts using the fourth splash screen by extrapolating the possible position of a fifth rune, at the circle. It's a bit of a lopsided pentagram, but it does perhaps work. It may be worth noting that the 4th rune appeared in the wrong order to draw a progressive pentagram, although the position still mostly works.
This is the splash screen for june 27th. The two "snow flecks" from the previous day are now most definitely large, glowing eyes, and there appears be eyebrows above them.
In addition, a new rune in the form of a snowflake has appeared at the top of the breaking ice, possibly representing the Death Knight's Frost Rune tree, or simply Blizzard itself as a company. It may also be a Norse bind-rune representing a compass.
In addition, All 5 runes all now lit up and glowing. At this point, it looks like the Pentagram theory bears out still.
Here's the fifth piece of the evil penguin, released on the 27th, with the clawed talons definitely establishing it as a penguin. It's entitled 08.jpg. It is attached to the word "harbinger" in the Master CSS file.
Luckily, we do not have to wait to ponder what this could mean, as the 6th piece was also released tonight.
Here he is, the evil penguin, as expected. However, this time, the file was named 42.jpg. It appears that those who tacked this up to a "Lost" tribute were correct.
Is this a tribute to the TV show by some fans at Blizzard, or a hint at something new for the old Lost Vikings franchise? We'll likely find out at the Worldwide Invitational tomorrow!
Here he is, the completed Evil Penguin. He looks almost vulture-like. He's called a "harbinger" in the Master CSS file, and the files that make up the image are the "Lost numbers" from the hit TV Show. Hopefully, we'll learn more about him at the Worldwide Invitational tomorrow.
In this overlay, you can see how Arthas' eyes match up perfectly with the eyes in the splash screen. It may be that it's the Lich King we're staring at after all.
This splash screen is named ice5andahalf.jpg. You'll notice that the 5 runes are even brighter than before, and there's a new winking smiley face rune in the upper right hand corner. You think Blizzard's having fun yet?
The lines around the eyes are much more pronounced, and there appears to be a mountain or a spire in the lower right corner of the sky now -- Icecrown summit, perhaps?
Yeah, I know, Rickrolling is lame, but this was amusing enough that I had to post it. At this point, I wouldn't put something like this past Blizzard, with the 5andahalf.jpg fake out.
It's official, folks. Diablo 3 is coming.