Diablo II is an action-RPG by Blizzard Entertainment, released in 2000 for the PC. It is the sequel to 1997’s Diablo, once again taking place in the fantasy world of Sanctuary. The game found great critical and commercial success – in the year of its release, it was named by the Guinness Book of World Records as the fastest-selling computer game ever. Even to this day, the game is well-populated on Battle.net and the announcement of a third title in the franchise in 2008 led to another significant increase in sales.
The story picks up at a point not too long after the defeat of Diablo in the first game. The hero emerged from the labyrinth under the town of Tristram having defeated Diablo and carrying his Soulstone in his head, in order to contain Diablo’s dark spirit. We are told by Deckard Cain that while the town celebrated the defeat of Diablo and the return of peace to the town, the hero struggled with the evil spirit within until finally it overcame him. Having become the human embodiment of Diablo, set out to find his brothers, the Prime Evils Mephisto and Baal, in order to free them and attempt to retake Sanctuary.
The plot is relayed via a sequence of cutscenes that take place between each of the four major acts of the game. The game opens with a figure in a robe walking into what appears to be a prison or sanitarium in order to speak to a crazed and emaciated man by the name of Marius. Marius recognizes the man as Tyrael and recounts his ordeals at the hands of the fallen hero carrying the soul of Diablo, whom he refers to as the Wanderer. He starts by explaining that he met the Wanderer in a tavern where the evil within had caused the Wanderer to let loose hellspawn and lay waste to the place, burning it to the ground. After seeing this (and ostensibly being one of the few still left alive), he for reasons unknown to himself follows the Wanderer on his journey. The first Act follows this as we begin following the Wanderer east, finding Deckard Cain and eventually defeating Andariel, one of the lesser evils, before following the Wanderer to the desert city of Lut Gholein.
Marius recounts what has happened: the Wanderer, who now is almost completely consumed by Diablo, is here to release the spirit of Baal, who has been trapped in the body of a Horadrim priest named Tal Rasha. As the player we arrive shortly after, only to realize that the Wanderer has already left for the deep desert. After a series of quests the player arrives at the tomb of Tal Rasha, only to discover the Archangel Tyrael trapped, Baal and the Wanderer gone and Duriel, another lesser Evil lying in wait. Marius explains that Tyrael attempted to thwart the Wanderer’s designs, only to be overcome by both of them. Tyrael manages to pass Marius Baal’s Soulstone and tells him to go to through a portal to Hell located in Kurast, in order to destroy the Soulstone and destroy Baal once and for all. At this point, the player is informed that he must travel east to Kurast, in order to defeat the Wanderer who is now trying to release Diablo’s brother Mephisto.
Upon arrival in Kurast, the entire city has been overcome by the jungle, which is explained by the evil that prevails in the city. A series of quests that entail fighting through the city leads us to Mephisto, who is dispatched and whose’ Soulstone is in the player’s possession. Marius then explains that he was unable to go through the portal and ran away, ending up in the sanitarium we now find him in. Tyrael then explains that the player must travel to Hell to dispatch Diablo and destroy Mephisto’s Soulstone.
After the defeat of Diablo, a final cutscene reveals that the person Marius has been talking to is indeed not Tyrael but Baal, who has been speaking to him in order to ascertain the location of his own Soulstone. Marius turns over the Soulstone and Baal reveals himself, leaving Marius to cry out in terror, establishing the premise for the expansion pack Lord of Destruction.
Act I: Andariel
Andariel is a female demon that is found on the fourth level of the Catacombs underneath the Rogues’ Monastery. Andariel must be defeated in order to complete the final quest in Act 1. Her main attacks are a poison bolt and a poison nova that slowly decrease the players HP. Despite being born from the pits of hell, she is weak to fire.
Act II: Duriel
Duriel is a bug-like creature that can be found in Tal Rasha’s tomb. Upon entering his lair, the player can escape only via town portal, or once the fight is over. Duriel has extremely powerful melee attacks that can freeze players, and possesses an aura that slows other characters in range. Defeating Duriel allows the player to proceed to the next act.
Act III: Mephisto
Mephisto, brother of Diablo and Baal, resides in the third level of “The Durance of Hate”. Although the Durance maps were expanded in a patch update, it is still relatively simple to find one’s way to Mephisto, making him one of the most popular bosses to fight in Diablo. In addition, he has the highest drop rate for rare items out of all the bosses. Mephisto’s offense includes a lightning attack and an ice ball, and releases poison clouds up close when taking melee damage.
Act IV: Diablo
Arguably the toughest boss in the game. The eponymous boss uses fire-based attacks, the most deadly of which is his so-called “Red Lightning Hose”, which deals both physical and lightning damage. His defense rating is one of the highest amongst the bosses, second only to Duriel. In addition, his high resistance to fire make him a tough opponent. Most players prefer to face Diablo in groups of three or more rather than fighting him on their own. Diablo appears in the game after the five seals in the Chaos Sanctuary are opened. Diablo is the youngest of the three Prime Evil brothers.
As in Diablo, the player controls his or her protagonist from an isometric view, mainly using the mouse, although several functions such as skills and potions can be hot-keyed for faster access. The game’s key features are randomly generated environments and monsters, as well as an enormous amount of collectible gear to gather.
Upon finishing the game on normal difficulty, players may opt to replay the game in Nightmare mode, retaining all character statistics and equipment as well as the option to switch back to a lower difficulty at any point. After beating the game on Nightmare, players can then take on Hell difficulty. Higher difficulty settings result in much stronger enemies and harsher penalties for dying as well as other handicaps, but in return nets the player more experience gained for each defeated enemy, and increases the chance of finding more powerful items.
The game starts in the Rogue encampment, which is surrounded by hilly terrain. The story will also bring players through a desert landscape, a marsh-like area, a jungle, and finally Hell itself. In the original Diablo, almost exclusively set in the same underground dungeon, with new levels going one step deeper into the dungeon. In Diablo II this kind of descent into dungeons is still prevalent, but exploration of the overworld is a much bigger part of the game.
Completion of the game on the standard difficulty settings will also unlock the option for a hardcore mode. Unlike regular characters who are resurrected in their home base upon defeat, the death of a hardcore character will result in an immediate game over. To incorporate this mechanic, the save system was changed to only allow for a ‘save and quit’ option. For game types other than closed Battle.net play, it is however possible to back up saved characters.
Diablo II features five playable character classes, each of which offers three unique skill trees and a total of 30 skills to allow for a high degree of character customization. With all characters, certain skills will sync with others, offering damage bonuses, so the general technique is to build a character based around a certain group of skills, rather than distributing points evenly.
A powerful female warrior from the Twin Seas, the Amazon’s highly developed reflexes and dexterity give her extraordinary proficiency with javelins and spears. Many of her skills revolve around enchanting her attacks with elemental effects, although she may also opt to improve her agility to easily dodge enemy attacks. Thanks to these defensive capabilities, she can also use a bow and arrow or a crossbow to attack enemies from a distance.
Common Amazon builds that have emerged among players include “Javazon,” which prioritizes the lightning javelin skills, and “Bowzon,” where the focus is on the bow skill tree. Both builds are extremely effective in dealing with large mobs of enemies.
See Amazon for more details.
A member of the Priests of Rathma, this master of the dark arts is capable of summoning the dead to fight alongside him, using the remains of fallen foes. Once gathered a group of loyal minions, the Necromancer can then sit back and watch them fight, occasionally supporting his allies with curse spells that weaken enemies for a short time. When he is on his own, he has access to powerful poison and bone spells, which often damage multiple targets.
Common builds are: Summoner, where the focus is on using skeletons and golems and keeping one’s distance; and poison/bonemancer, which is more suited for skilled players.
More detailed information about the Necromancer can be found on the Necromancer page here.
The Barbarian tribes from Mount Arreat are the toughest warriors in all of Sanctuary and their weathered skin is rumored to be strong as a suit of armor. His strength allows the Barbarian to wield any weapon with ease and skill, resulting in unique attack patterns like the almighty whirlwind or powerful leap-attacks. With his warcries, he is able to fill his enemies with fear and doubt, greatly weakening their attacks while his allies profit.
Common builds are: Whirlwind (WW) Barbs, where the focus is on his whirlwind attack; and Berserkers, where the Berserk skill is maxed. All Barbarian builds emphasize the warcry skills, as the buffs they provide are a must on higher difficulties.
More detailed information about the Barbarian can be found on the Barbarian page here.
A mysterious beauty from the mages clan of Zann Esu, the most powerful magic-users in Sanctuary. While fragile in direct encounters, the Sorceress can wield powerful elemental attacks, allowing her to call forth lightning, incinerating her opponents with fire or instantly freezing them in icy prisons. To defend herself, she may channel any harm to her magical essence and she’s capable of both telekinesis to pick up objects from afar and an amazing teleportation spell.
There are many builds for Sorceresses: Orb Sorc, where the emphasis is on frozen bolt and frozen orb; Meteor Sorc, where fireball and meteor skills are maxed out; and Chain Lightning (CL) Sorc, where lightning skills are maxed. Sorceresses encounter trouble on higher difficulties because monster elemental resistances become a lot stronger. On Hell difficulty, unlucky players will come across enemies that are completely immune to elemental attacks.
More detailed information about the Sorceress can be found on the Sorceress page here.
The righteous Knights of Westmarch and warriors of light, eager to vanquish the evils of the world. His weapon strikes with justice while his holy shield protects him and his faith engulfs the Paladin in a heavenly aura, protecting not only himself, but also any allies near him. However, he is most famous for his ability to cast incredibly powerful blessed hammers that start spinning around him, knocking out any evil soul in their path.
Common paladin builds are: Hammerdins, where the player focuses on his magic hammer skill; and Smiters, where the paladin enchants his shield to crush monsters. Both builds are often called “Cookie Cutter”, in the sense that they have little trouble dealing with any monster or boss on higher difficulties.
More detailed information about the Paladin can be found on the Paladin page here.
Much of the success of the original Diablo has been attributed to its engaging multi-player component and the second game expands on that success. Players can team up in games of up to eight players over either LAN or Blizzard’s free online platform Battle.net. LAN and Open Battle.net allow players to use their single-player characters for multi-player sessions, keeping all stats and items earned during these sessions. Closed Battle.net on the other hand saves all user characters on Blizzard’s server (as a measure against cheating) and characters not used over a period of 90 days expire (although in the most recent patch, 1.11b, the player can now restore these characters as long as the name has not been retaken.
Cooperative play is encouraged through additional experience awarded for playing in a party and many character skills such as the Paladin’s auras are designed to benefit party members to allow for more efficient play. The game also allows for player versus player interaction, although characters have to be in a home base to toggle hostile modes to give weaker players who don’t want to be harassed a chance to evacuate the area or leave the game.
The release of patch 1.10 introduced (among other significant changes) a new ladder system which would be seasonal from that point forth. At the creation of a new character, the player can choose to make a ladder character who would only be able to play with other ladder characters and may be displayed in the chat room’s ladder window (listing the top 1000 players of the realm or the top 200 of each class.) At the end of each ladder season, ladder characters would be migrated to non-ladder status and a new season begins with all participants starting from scratch.
Secret Cow Level
The Secret Cow Level is an Easter Egg originating from a rumor about the first Diablo. The game’s town area featured a group of cow which, when clicked on, would utter ‘moo’ sounds. Supposedly, clicking the cows in a specific order would open a portal to a secret level. Although the rumor was a complete hoax (with Blizzard even incorporating the phrase “There is no cow level” into a cheat for their real-time strategy game StarCraft), they decided to add this Easter Egg into the game.
In order to open the Secret Cow Level, the character needs to have defeated Diablo (or Baal in the expansion) on the current difficulty setting. By combining the items Wirt’s Leg (found in the ruined city of Tristram) and a Tome of Town Portal in the Horadric Cube, he or she can then create a portal to a hidden area called the Moo Moo Farm which is populated only by masses of hell bovine armed with giant polearms. The Cow King, a unique boss monster in the area, can usually be found near the remains of a large barn. Killing the Cow King will prevent the character from opening another portal on that difficulty. It is still possible to enter the level in multi-player if someone else has opened the portal.
Just like in the first game, the original music for Diablo II was composed by Matt Uelmen.
|Track No.||Song Title||Running Time|
|17||Roger and Me||01.03|
- Processor: 233 MHz Pentium
- RAM Memory: 32 MB
- Hard Drive: 650MB on HDD
- DirectX: Direct X compatible video card
Mac OS 8.1
- G3 processor
- 64 MB RAM plus virtual memory
- 650MB on HDD
- 4X CD-ROM
- 256 color display at 640×480
Currently, Diablo is on patch 1.13. The patch was delayed due to an exploit experienced in Blizzard’s sister title, WarCraft 3 in which custom maps can be loaded with malware and distributed via a custom map. The Diablo “legacy” team had to swap out from working on 1.13 and help fix this major exploit. This has caused an uproar in the Diablo 2 community because a ladder reset was announced for before the 1.13 patch was to be released. Blizzard made the announcement because the patch was “imminent” but they were blind-sided by the WarCraft 3 issue.
The new 1.13 patch was originally scheduled to hit the Public Testing Realm in mid 2009, according to a post made by Bashiok, a community manager for Blizzard. The patch was to have included an increase in stash size and other changes as suggested by players on the official Diablo 2 forums. The increased stash size ultimately never materialized, however.
In the latest posts by Bashiok, he states:
The Diablo II 1.13 patch is on temporary hold while we investigate potential impact on the Battle.net service. As we moved closer to launching the patch concerns grew that an increase in the player stash size (a feature in the patch) could compromise the Diablo II Battle.net service. The hardware and configuration could potentially not handle the increased stash size gracefully under heavy load. […]
The decision on whether or not to include the enlarged stash size has been slightly delayed. As mentioned previously it would require some additional weeks of development and would remove one of the most requested features were we unable to include it. If it were to be included the concern is that it could render Diablo II unplayable, and repairing the issue after the fact would draw heavily on development resources. Which is also something we obviously want to avoid.
We hope to be able to reach a conclusion and decision soon on the future of the 1.13 patch, and we’ll keep you updated as it develops.
On March 23, 2010, patch 1.13 finally went live on the closed Battle.net servers. It added some long-awaited features such as respecs, which are gained once per difficulty level for a maximum of three per character.