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Preview: Diablo II - Lord of Destruction 108

A lot of people ask me what I do in my free time, and the answer is simple: video games. Recently I was able to get my hands on the beta version of Diablo 2: Lord of Destruction, and here's my first impressions of it. There's some spoilers in here, but not many. I really can't spoil that much anyway, since you can't beat the expansion without defeating Baal, which is kinda assumed since he's the only prime evil left after defeating Diablo. Who didn't see that one coming?

Before I begin, I need to give a special thanks to Doug McCreary from Blizzard Entertainment, who was able to enroll a bunch of us here at Slashdot in the beta program. When was the last time John Carmack mailed CowboyNeal a beta? Never, I say. Doug McCreary is clearly a god among men.

What's New

A lot! Blizzard has followed in the tradition of Brood War, an expansion set that dramatically changed Starcraft gameplay, with an expansion set that will dramatically change the gameplay of Diablo 2. I can't even list all the new items, features, and changes in this space, but I can at least outline the major ones.

Engine Enhancements

First off, the game now has the option of running at 800x600 instead of 640x480. This really doesn't add much besides an increased field of view, but I preferred the new resolution over the old. An added bonus is that the new stat/skill buttons get moved onto the bottom toolbar when in 800x600, so they don't interfere with your vision when you are saving points.

Next up, there's a new minimap which will display in the corner of the screen rather than take up the entire screen and force one to look through it. I got used to looking through my map to see my character fight, but I never liked it.

Some of the engine changes are less noticeable: Shift+right mouse click on a potion in a store will completely fill your belt with that potion type. Shift+right mouse click on a scroll will completely fill the corresponding tome with that scroll type, and the blacksmith in each town now features a "Repair All" button which repairs all items that are equipped. All of these features save a lot of time when making a quick run through town.

Mercenaries/Hirelings have been totally revamped to make them worthwhile. I remember receiving a hireling for completing a quest only to have him die as soon as I leave town. Whatever the hireling's name, I used to always refer to mine as "Redshirt of the Away Team," since my party always seemed to come home one member short. Now, the hirelings are stronger, and one has the option to supply them with healing potions and manipulate their inventory. Instead of just selling that last suit of armor, now you can improve your mercenary's defenses with it. After receiving a rogue mercenary in Act 1, she stayed alive until halfway through Act 2, even surviving (and helping immensely) in the battle against Andariel at the end of Act 1.

Another great new feature is weapon switching. One is allowed to equip two items in each hand, and switch back and forth with a hot key. I liked to equip a bow or missile weapon in the second slot for those times when I could see the enemy but not be able to reach them and attack with a melee weapon. This new feature will also be great for barbarians to switch weapons quickly while wading through monsters. I can also think of uses for my necromancer, like quickly equipping a wand with a skill point bonus to a certain spell before casting the spell.

New Character Classes

In addition to the five character classes that shipped with the original, the expansion pack includes two more classes, to give even more choices when starting a character. Some of the skills of the original five classes have been tweaked to better balance the classes, and it will be interesting to see where these classes fit with respect to fighting style, player vs. player, and so on.

Assassin

The assassin focuses on martial arts, shadow disciplines, and traps. Some of the assassin's skills allow her to summon duplicates of herself, lay traps for unsuspecting enemies, and use power-up moves and finishing moves that increase the damage inflicted, add magic damage to an attack, or increase her attack rating.

The assassin is the only class that can wield claws, and the shadow disciplines tab contains skills that increase the assassin's proficiency with claw class weapons and let her use two claws to block, instead of carrying a shield. Also, as the name indicates, she has plenty of ass.

Druid

The druid was my character class of choice for playing through the game, because of his ability to shapeshift into a bear and maul his opponents, which has been a lifelong dream of mine, and since I probably won't be acquiring lycanthropy as a skill anytime soon in real life, D2 now provides me with the next best thing.

The druid has a unique combination of skills which lets him play several different ways. He can summon minions ala the necromancer, undertake elemental attacks not entirely unlike the sorceress', and shapeshift into either a werewolf or werebear. Some of the druid's skills are only available to him when he is in shapeshifted form, making his character as complex as the necromancer, and very rewarding to play.

New Items

The new items are probably going to change gameplay the most. Since the original four acts have no new quests or monsters, what makes them different in the expansion is all the new items dropped by monsters. I'd guess that there are now twice as many types of items to find as there were in the original version.

Socketable items and gems were almost worthless once past normal difficulty in the original, but they've been revamped to make them a large part of gameplay. Items that were not previously socketable, like bone shields and suits of armor, can now sport up to 6 sockets. Many magic, set, and rare items also come with sockets, so when one finds that super cool rare helm, it's still tweakable by adding a gem, jewel, or rune. In short, sockets and gems don't suck anymore.

Runes? What's that? Well, runes are a new socketable item similar to gems except that equipping multiple runes in the correct order will unlock even more magic modifiers on the item they are inserted into.

The expansion set also introduces charms. Charms have magic properties similar to rings and amulets, except they can't be equipped. Instead, they just need be kept in one's inventory to get the magic bonuses they carry. Instead of hunting around for an item with fastest hit recovery, one can throw a charm with the same modifier into the backpack.

Finally, new class-specific item types have been introduced, such as orbs for the sorceress, animal heads for the druid, and shields for the paladin. These items are only usable by the class they are intended for, and usually have some sort of skill point bonus as well as magic properties. This means that even if my druid can't use that great eagle orb I found, it will still have enough modifiers on it to make it sell well when I get back to town.

New Act

This was by far the most anticipated part of the expansion set for me, since it means all my old characters will have new quests to complete. Act 5 takes place in the Barbarian highlands north of Tristram and the Rogue Encampment. It introduces several new NPCs, including the first blacksmith in Diablo 2 who looks like a real blacksmith. I'm all for political correctness, but there's no way the women blacksmith in Acts 1 and 2 are gonna be able to hammer steel day in and out. The smiths in Acts 3 and 4 aren't much better, with Halbu acting like he's trying to get up enough courage to ask the paladin out on a date. Act 5 also features 6 new quests, and some of the best graphics in the game. Even in the wasteland regions of the new act, it's easy to tell that the level of detail was turned up a notch. The randomly-generated terrain seems hardly random, and there's all kinds of new tilesets to fight in, including ice caverns, mountaintops, and portals back into Hell if you didn't get enough of the River of Flame in Act 4.

At the beginning of Act 5, the town of Harrogath is under siege by a tribe of demons, and the town's NPCs enlist the player to help end the siege. It does seem kind of odd that an entire village of barbarians wouldn't be able to fend off demons, and that my druid was the much needed aid that turned the battle around, but I don't play this game for the plot.

The hirelings in Act 5 are barbarians, and when my druid reached Harrogath, he was able to hire barbarians that were at a higher level than he was. Combined with the new ability to heal hirelings and manipulate their inventory, they make for an excellent investment. It was a bit odd, however, to have the barbarians that needed rescuing in the previous quest suddenly come to fight by your side. I had to think for a moment before I was sure I wanted to hire one. When my barbarian was level 30, he kicked ass, took names, and gave Charsi the ride of her life, yet these level 30 barbarians were able to be captured by demons. The same demons who were easily defeated by my level 28 druid. No real barbarian is going to sit by while some pansy master of the woodlands saves him.

The quest rewards in Act 5 show off some of the new items, such as runes, and one quest even lets one personalize an item of his/her choice by having the character's name prepended to it.

What's Good

I liked all of the new features, and really can't wait for the game to ship, so I can start importing my old characters and equipping them with all the new items. The new, higher resolution and the new minimap are easily my favorite new features. Also, I like the increased stash space, which is twice what it was before, so that it's easier to save more items, especially all the new items that can go into sockets.

Of course, the gameplay is still on for me. It was the gameplay that addicted me to Diablo 2 when it shipped last July, and a few new tweaks made that good gameplay even better.

What's Bad

Not much. I still have a list of dislikes but my list of dislikes is much shorter than the original Diablo 2. An issue that has plagued every version of Diablo starting with the original Diablo is that the font they use makes the fives look like sixes. Has no one else noticed?!? I know it's just the font. But fix it already. I'm tired of squinting to see if I'm level 56 or 66. I'm tired of the people advertising that their weapon does 160% more damage to undead, and I'm tired of seeing items advertised on ebay that claim that they reduce poison length by 26%.

Filling up your belt with potions after you die still sucks. They've added shortcuts to buying potions and scrolls, and it seems that something could be done with the belt once you've retrieved your corpse and just want to get back up to fighting speed again.

In a couple places, I really needed to suspend disbelief in order to continue the plot, but it's not like the plot was stellar in the original either. More important than the plot to me is kicking a few monsters' asses, which I got to do.

Conclusions

If you liked Diablo 2 the first time around, you are probably gonna like the expansion. People who blew off Diablo 2 last summer are gonna blow off the expansion set, since the enhancements are geared more for the person who will log some serious time into the game, rather than the casual player. Some of the engine enhancements almost feel like they are bugfixes rather than new features. If Blizzard wanted to do a noble deed, they could backport the new features not dependent on Act 5 or the new items, so that the existing Diablo 2 players could enjoy what a year of feedback and tweaking since the original has produced. Regardless, I'm sold on it. I've already pre-ordered two copies. Two copies? Yes, two copies. Make note, game companies: Including CowboyNeal in your beta programs will increase your sales, so long as your game does not suck.

Preview Part 2: Electric Boogaloo

After hearing about my plans to review the Diablo 2 expansion, my good friend Sam Zenpus also wrote up an excellent account of his experiences playing with the assassin. It follows below.


When I heard there was a Diablo2 expansion coming out with a new act, two new classes, and other new features, I couldn't wait. Much of my day for the past year has been spent having tea with Deckard and talking to Fara about the incredibly strong female blacksmith union that has infiltrated the land. I was most interested in playing the assassin; the barbarian was my favorite class -- no running from evil, and most importantly I didn't have to map out all eight hotkeys. I also have an aversion to playing female characters. What about Joan of Arc or Athena? you might say. I guess I've watched too much anime and the little school girl who turns out to be a demon alien cyborg with a mega-cannon arm has gotten the better of me.

Imagine my chagrin when I loaded the beta and discovered that the assassin is both a female character and has one of the most complicated hotkey configurations of any class.

My worries turned out to be unfounded as the assassin proved to be extremely versatile and a heck of a lot of fun. One-on-one, there probably isn't a better class. Her martial arts skills are deadly effective in combat, and a couple of charged-up finishing moves can destroy the hardest of foes. The trap skills are very effective at taking out large groups of creatures or creating a relatively safe area to run back to. The assassin also has a set of miscellaneous psychic skills that range from increasing your speed to converting opponents.

The expansion has fixed or changed some features for the better: You now have more hotkeys to use, gems seem to be worth something and you can tell exactly what bonus you will get before placing them into socketed items. There are runes and jewels that work just like powerful gems. A much increased inventory size and map that fits into the left hand corner of your screen round out the changes I like in the expansion.

The only complaint I have is they made the game much harder and allow you to collect items that increase your abilities by an incredible amount, thus creating a bloated equilibrium. I know people who need a mule to carry all the charms, jewels, runes and magic faces they have. It seems the most powerful characters in the expansion will look more like walking trinket shops than heroes.

If you like Diablo2, you will like the expansion. The added classes and Act make it seem new again and the improvements to existing features really round out the game. So start giving plasma or collecting cans, because when this one comes out you need to have it. I suggest you play the assassin; she's a dirty girl.

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Preview: Diablo II - Lord of Destruction

Comments Filter:
  • You are so right about the whole addiction factor. I really liked the game to begin with, but it quickly got boring. Just more of the same. Click as fast as you can. It's worse than a shooter. At least in Q3 there's skill and reflexes involved. I think I advanced my CTS onset another few years just from the constant repetitive clicking in D2. I don't know why I played D2 so much (I actually finished all three levels with 1 class, 3 other classes all finished 2). I knew the game sucked, I knew it was just a waste of time, yet I kept coming back to play more. I think I'm in the achiever category.

    In any case, D2 has almost 0 replay value, it really sucks when you have to restart your character because of shitty skill choices early on, but at least you could fly through previously played maps in no time, getting just as many points as the first time (if not more cause you're less likely to die).

  • I thought all the evils were total pussies, even in Hell. The hardest one is the first one (I would say), just because you don't really have a very good chance to equip yourself that early on. As for the others, I'd even say some of the smaller bosses were tougher, and Diablo was really pathetic (just make sure your fire resistance is up to snuff), and the items he dropped were a total writeoff, I mean, I was wearing way better stuff already (and not even buying it).
  • Nope...you don't have two necks - but it could be possible to put more than one amulet on at a time.

    As far as the twenty rings - please don't let my wife know about that idea - I'd be broke. :)
  • because Lucifer is a english work, the other three are from ancient languages, or at least based on them

    Err, "Lucifer" is Latin. It means "light bringer". The name was sometimes applied to the "morning star" (Venus, when seen in the morning, as opposed to the "evening star", same planet in the evening).

    The cute part about this is, in the end of Revelations, the arisen Jesus says "I am the morning star", which could be reasonably translated into Latin as saying "I am Lucifer."

    [Things that make you go "hmmm"...]

    --

  • brrrraaaaaiiiinnnnssssssssssss!!!!
    (sorry, couldn't resist)
    --
  • But did Blizzard remember the Nam-Shub of Enki? And will "goo goo ga choo" on a sword add a 25% chance of an enemy turning into a walrus when struck?

    Heh! If only I had moderator points.....

  • Point of fact:

    Diablo is always listed, from the first of Diablo I, as the youngest of the Prime Evils.
  • It reminds me more of playing Gauntlet. If you think of the game as an RPG, it sucks. That's why for the longest time, I thought poorly of the game. Then I downloaded the demo, and realized that the simplicity is what makes it. At least, for me.
  • So did they nerf all the other characters abilities, or did they make her better--or does she still suck?

    Since no one else seems to want to actually answer your question - she still sucks. Probably more now than before.

    First off, spell timers. No more spamming meteor or firewall. Or blizzard and frozen orb. Cast one, then wait a few seconds. Most of the sorc beta testers have said that they now never get close to running out of mana, since they can't cast fast enough to get low.

    Second, immune monsters. On hell dificulty, around 75% of all monster types are immune to at least one type of magic. So you need to specialize in at least 2 trees to have a chance, or go heavy in cold mastery to pierce the immunity. And, of course, sometimes boss monsters get to be triple immune. Have fun.

    Third, they've totally changed blocking. To get maximun block out of your shield, you need to add 2.5 skill points to dex every level up. Otherwise, it soon drops to almost nothing. Don't feel like pumping dex? Then don't plan on blocking anything.

    And, of course, they still haven't fixed lighting and chain lightning - you still get locked through the whole casting.

    They did increase the damage on a lot of skills, and fixed the fire mastery/hydra bug, but it doesn't make up for the increased killing power given to the other classes. All the reports I've read indicate that it's possible to survive, if you have a merc to tank for you, but, overall, the sorc is the only character that will have a really dificult time in the expansion.

    G0del

    P.S. That's assuming, of course, that you don't take advantage of the conviction/static bug. With the right paladin helping, the sorc kills faster than any character, ever. But I'm pretty sure Blizzard will fix that before the game ships.

  • Huh? They've always had lighting effects for other cards through D3D. They just said it ran better on 3DFX cards, but I can't tell a difference between my radeon and my wife's voodoo3. The effects look identical.

    G0del

  • I got a barb like that..

    I play it a few minutes, then give all the mana/rejuv. potions to my Sorc.. :o)

    It's also fun to meet a new Sorc and give them craploads of mana - the reaction is fun..

    FWIW, I do this because I _HATE_ the fact that you can't buy mana potions.. My level 35 sorc continually runs out, even with warmth at level 18 and a helm with two perfect skulls..

    Blizzard may be able to say "you can't buy it" - but they can't stop me from giving it away :o)
  • Flamebait?!?

    I'll mark down my karma bonus on this post, because it truly is flamebait. ;) But the initial post was a valid privacy concern and my response to it.

    What, is it okay to boycott RIAA and MPAA, but wrong to boycott Blizzard because 'they make kewl games'? Movie and music producers are the spawn of evil when they screw the public, but game producers can do no wrong? Or is there a cult of personality around CmdrTaco (who I admit is a neat guy) such that anyone whose opinion differs from his must be a destructive troll?

    Come on, Slashdot. I wouldn't still be here if I didn't have some faith that as a group we acted with some logic.
  • With a bit of elbow grease, you can play DiabloII under WINE, with quite adequate performance. Can't use battle.net though- only single-player. You also have to download a game crack, since the CD authentication doesn't work properly. Yes, I bought a legal copy.
  • Heh heh... Ain't that somethin'? I get modded down as Offtopic while two people who agree with my points are marked Interesting and Informative.

    Not that I'm complaining. It's just karma after all. Just funny...
  • I loved diablo I, even with rampant cheeting. Today, I only have windows in VMware, and then, only for Office. I guarantee I'll buy a copy of diablo / starcraft etc. if blizzard would let loki port it.
  • Not *one* female blacksmith. *Three* of the four blacksmiths in D2 are female, and I'm not sure about the fifth one in the expansion. So either 75% of the blacksmiths in Sanctuary are female or the female ones tend to attract trouble ;)

    Freud must be spinning right now.
    ------------------------

  • It's not common for people to have a few mule characters, whose sole purpose is to store and hold items.

    Blizzard hopes that if they double the stash size then half of the mule characters are removed.
  • How amusing! When after many years of playing these games I finally complain, the game designers beat me to it.

    When I wrote this, I was thinking of the Ultima series and Myth and many fantasy books. I have not played Diablo (as you might have guessed) and the lead-in left me with an 'oh no, not again' sense.

    Thanks for the correction.

  • I suppose any game could be simplified to this point and mocked. I don't claim to see any more to the game than you, but apparently the game as you see it is pretty addictive. Blizzard has made a lot of money, and others have wasted a lot of time trying to level up and get to fighting the bigger monsters. I'd bet that many people reached the end and then deleted it, but many more reached the end, then reached the end on the other two difficulties, then reached the end of all the hardcore difficulties, then tried to challenge themselves by crippling their characters in some way, then... The thing is, they took a rather short, linear game, and squeezed so much fun (to them) out of it. Blizzard is certainly doing SOMETHING right...
  • Curse you for ruining my enjoyment of the game

    The devil made him do it.

    "Everything you know is wrong. (And stupid.)"
  • Um, actually, the lesser evils were detailed in the first Diablo, but mainly in the manual. Nothing new in Diablo II.

    -----------------------

  • >Ethereal items (so I hear) are items that cannot
    >be repaired, but kick butt.
    They really aren't that cool. All they give you is 50% more (for armor that's defense, for weapons, damage). I used an ethereal superior buckler for awhile, but didn't find that it gave me any noticible increase in defense over the regular one.


    ---GEEK CODE---
    Ver: 3.12
    GCS/S d- s++: a-- C++++ UBCL+++ P+ L++
    W+++ PS+ Y+ R+ b+++ h+(++) r++ y+
  • try doing a search on slashdot on diablo [slashdot.org]. There have been *lots* of stories on diabloII, especially regarding upcoming releases and betas.
  • I'll buy the Throne of Bhaal expansion back for BG2 instead,

    D2 is enjoyable if you can play multiplayer cooperative on a fast LAN.

    On the other hand, Baldur's Gate sucks on a LAN. Even a fast LAN. (Never mind that Baldur's Gate has a teenage storyline or took zillions of hours to play because you'd repeatedly get killed by kobolds. How boring.)

  • What, there's a spoiler guide for NetHack? I always just read through the source code to see what would work and what wouldn't.

    I do have to admit, though, that I had to find out the hard way that you couldn't "wish" for the Amulet of Yendor ;)

  • Ahh, sounds like you have a ditch-digging job! Your hoity-toity attitude towards entertainment reveals your true calling.

    Some of us that actually use our brains during the day really do prefer some mindless entertainment now and then. After a week's worth of databases, high-performance computing, and PhD research, do I want to watch Shakespeare or play Myst? No, of course not. I'll take the next mindless action movie or computer game on the market.

  • Generally true, but keep in mind that Baal, the Lord of Hatred, is *the* prime evil. Diablo is younger and less powerful.

    The cinematic between Acts II & III has Baal calling Diablo his younger brother, if you want proof.
  • Waaah. Aside from the fact that other people may have had more success with a character, who cares if the characters aren't equal at the same levels. Ignoring the role of the player behind the character, the game is a psuedo-rpg, which simulates some environment. All men are not created equal nor are all character classes, nor should they be. Otherwise what's the point of playing different characters?
  • Hmm, I don't know why this got +4 insightful :

    | But some of these changes seem like they'll
    | change the game for the worse

    | Also, the weapon switch hotkey thing. In terms
    | of realism, the old way didn't really take long
    | enough (you try unstrapping a shield from your
    | arm and drawing a longsword and see how long it
    | takes). Now you can switch instantly?

    I think you misunderstand the point of a game. A game is designed to let the player have fun. Realism can be good, but not when it interfers with having fun. If you want realism, then what are you doing playing Diablo ? How many Demons did you killed on your way into work this morning ?

    | And while I love the fact that sockets/gems
    | will actually be useful, I don't like the fact
    | that I'll be told exactly what a gem will do
    | before I socket it. I pay enough attention to
    | numbers already.

    OK, so don't read the info it gives you - just randomly plug in assorted items into the sockets, and if you get a crap item, then you can just throw it away, and spend a couple of weeks trying to find another one to try again. If that's your idea of fun then go for it!
  • | > I think you misunderstand the point of a
    | > game.
    |
    | I doubt you actually think that.

    Of course not, it's just hyperbole :-)

    | I'm not saying I like playing around with the
    | interface rather than playing the game. What I
    | like is the fact that in Diablo I/II I'm taking
    | a risk by equipping a long bow when enemies can
    | just rush me and beat the hell out of me while
    | I'm switching weapons. I think that risk makes
    | the game more fun.

    Yeah, but would you ever really actually do that ?

    The process of switching weapons is so labourious that you'd rarely do it - for example, if you're playing an archer, it would be impossible to pick off distant foes as they race towards you, and then switch to a melee weapon when they get too close.

    The only time you'd switch is when you found a new weapon that you'd want to try, or if you know there's some nasties 'round the corner' that you want to take care of with a different weapon - a situation when you know you're going to be uninterrupted.

    Having the ability to switch weapons without lots of time consuming teadious fiddly mouse stuff opens up more varied ways of playing - variety is good - it stops the game from getting tired so quickly.
  • 1) Cool game
    2) Ultra-Cool game
    3) Have nothing better to do
    4) Can't, running Linux, and no Windoze available
    5) CowboyNeal

  • It really sucks when you have to restart your character because of shitty skill choices early on,

    That's why I started hex editing my character files to redistribute skill points. I might consider it cheating to give myself more skill points, but I don't consider it cheating to remove a point from one skill and add it to another instead.

  • Diablo is a fun game... to a point. I have to say I absolutely hate the fact that for all the money Blizzard is reaping on sales they are jerks in that they are unwilling to add more server capacity to the realms. Over 7,000 games running on any given realm and the game is completely unplayable regardless of your connection type. I don't think I'll buy the expansion until they improve the service.

  • Nope, and the silliest thing about the whole "you can't remove gems" idea is that the Diablo 2 manual states the reason you can find these items with empty sockets lying around is because thieves stole and then dumped them after taking the gems out!
  • >Diabloii.net has nothing on another site which
    >is a far more preeminent location for D2
    >information and knowledge. However, I'm very
    >wary of unleashing the slashdot effect on it.

    FYI, this site is lurkerlounge.com [lurkerlounge.com] . A very useful reference, and the forums are fairly interesting as well.

    --Sam L-L
  • Disclaimer: I have not played the beta.

    > And, of course, sometimes boss monsters get to be triple immune.

    That would be a very rare occurence, and (asumming you're not in a party, in which case you would probably have a necro/barb/pally/amazon to help you) you could just start a new multiplayer game to get a reroll of the boss properties. Annoying yes, but not an insurmountable obstacle.

    > Third, they've totally changed blocking. To get maximun block out of your shield, you need to add 2.5 skill points to dex every level up. Otherwise, it soon drops to almost nothing. Don't feel like pumping dex? Then don't plan on blocking anything.

    So the old blocking was much better? Should you be able to block 74% (sigon's + twitchthroe) of all physical attacks just because you have the strength to equip a tower shield? Oh, puh-leeze! What I think Blizzard should have done is used the difference between your level and monster level to compute the new blocking percentages. Now they just use your level which leads to the absurd situation that you actually become worse at blocking when you gain levels. Now, that's absurd, but blocking was waaaaay too powerful in CD2. Anyway, defense has become much more useful now (i.e. defense is actually taken into account when walking/running).

    > [...] but, overall, the sorc is the only character that will have a really dificult time in the expansion.

    I don't know about you, but I enjoy a difficult game. Where's the fun in playing a barb who mows down everything in his path without any effort? Blizzard promised us a more difficult game, and that is what we shall have. Yay!

  • In game saves?

    That was the most annoying crap. I went through once and stopped playing.

    Oh yeah; how do I import my Barbarian into The SIMS?
    ---
  • I didn't like the quality of battlenet play in the original, in the second one it was improved, but still wasn't up to what I really wanted, which was a LITTLE more MMPORPG. hopefully this is the direction Blizzard intends to go in for Diablo 3. I can only pray. What ever happened to that animation based Warcraft game that was planned after Warcraft 2? I have a preview of it on CD somewhere but I dont' think Blizzard ever actually made it.
  • Nope...you don't have two necks - but it could be possible to put more than one amulet on at a time

    Gosh. People are suggesting the ability to wear 10 rings and several necklaces, the expansion pack gives you even more socketable jewelry...

    Are you sure one of the new character classes isn't Mr. T?
  • The sorceress in particular needs to have special attention paid to her skill tree. Her abilities are really unbalanced; focusing on just a few of them makes her much better than balancing out the points across several skills.

    Devolver
  • It may have been around prior to 1984, but it's part of the title to the awesome movie Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo (starring Ice-T... hahahahahah).

    Au contraire, mon frere... The real star of B2:EB was none other than the totally awesome, if not tubular, Lucinda Dickey [imdb.com], who featured in Ninja III: The Domination (an amusing enough subtitle which my local paper made even better by corrupting it to "The Denomination"), which featured one of the most cringeworthy cinematic moments of a decade which was chock full of 'em. Picture this: there's this chick that is in danger of being possessed by an evil dead ninja's glowing sword. To ward off the seductive mind control of this lambent phallic object, she turns on the stereo and starts getting down with her bad self. The sword levitates over to the stereo, and chops it in half! David Lynch couldn't have come up with a plot device like that.

  • My understanding of the double stash side comes from some Blizzard promotional literature. The green "unique" set of items now get additional powers if you have more than one of the same set. One of the primary reasons for increasing the stash size was to allow you to save these items on the off-chance you can find another in the same set.
  • Yeah, I figured you did extreme sports like mountain climbing and parachuting.

    You play video games???!! That's so strange! Really boggles the mind!

    Well, I see how you maintain your perfect physique.

    -vm
  • One thing I would like to know is if they added lighting effects (ala D3D) for other cards other than 3DFX. Especially since 3DFX is gone now.

  • Realism? I think there are far many more things to complain about than weapon switch hotkeys in D2 if you want to talk about realism. :) In any case, some of this is due to gameplay and making games *gasp* fun and somewhat easier on the gamer. I hardly got D2 for the intricate puzzles and mind boggling plot. That's the problem with many of today's games and why I stopped playing Black and White after 2 weeks (ok it was nonstop playing, but hey :). The novelty wore off and I just wanted to be able to drop in, play a few minutes here and there, and still feel satisfied.
  • Maybe you aren't playing her right - my Sorceress usually takes out all of her opponents in short order. She's certainly more powerful than the Amazon - and she can still fight to recover her body on those rare occasions that she is actually killed.
  • Do you understand the Ultima plot? The Avatar is from Earth, not Britannia, and only ends up in Britannia when all shit breaks loose. When on Earth, he doesn't do much except watch TV (have you seen the Ultima 6 intro?).
  • I think this is the one thing the comments skipped over...

    I've been playing the beta of the XP since Fedex dropped it into my eager little hands, and I've noticed one thing..

    The 'Evils' now are. Really.

    Diablo in Act4/Normal was pretty much a walk in the park compared to some of the hordes released when you opened the 'seals'.

    But now, he's totally over the top. He casts way more spells and is way more resistant to attack. It took three people at least a dozen tries to off him. Diablo is actually tough now! Mephisto is a little harder, and Baal isnt that bad, but man, Diablo is TOUGH. At least until you get some Uber Characters 'slumming'
  • a swing type of attack for the barb. its just so funny how he cant swipe multiple bad guys surrounding him with a single swing. dont you think?
  • The fact that the stash is too small is good - it makes you decide what you really want

    gotta disagree there -- although i do think it's important to discourage hoarding and encourage tough decision making, the stash before really was simply too small, especially with the wide variety of new items in the expansion. heck, even in the original, the stash size made it virtually IMPOSSIBLE to collect a full set of Set Items.

  • So, you can quite happily turn into bear, fight the undead and heal thyself...

    But just let one female blacksmith show her face and you are having problems suspending reality?

    I'm sure Freud would comment, but he's dead and that's probably for the best.
  • Interesting... Never heard that before, always thought it was a relatively new word.... Learn something new every day...
  • Mephisto(mephistopheles) and Diablo dies in Diablo II, and Lucifer doesn't quite fit in. Perhaps because Lucifer is a english work, the other three are from ancient languages, or at least based on them... Besides, in Diablo I, they say the Three prime evils, so thats basicly it. Although they do introduce new lesser evils, such as andariel...
  • Íåy, man, say ADoM [www.adom.de]!
  • As long as the game contains spyware you'll never connect again?

    When a company does something that is so blatantly evil such as spyware, why EVER go back to them?

    Just my $.02
  • The rumor that battle.net is unplayable for everybody everywhere is greatly exaggerated. I get LAN-like (well, single player-like) gameplay on my 384/128 DSL.
  • Did anybody check to see if the gems, et al., could be removed from the sockets? That was their biggest blunder, from a gameplay point of view.

  • People don't play Diablo II for realism. Is there anything - anything - even closely realistic in the Diablo series?

    <sarcasm>
    Oh ya, I'm the devil. Pretty much the most scheming evil entity of all existance. Uh oh! The heroes are going to attempt to slay me! Maybe I should send a few of my monsters out at a time to try and vanquish them......
    You know instead of sending out all several thousand of them at once.
    That would be just too easy. Heck, I might even have a chance at winning! Me, the devil, winning! Can you believe that!? </sarcasm>

  • I love playing magic users, but the sorceress made me want to change. In D2, characters of equal level just kicked her ass. It didn't make any sense.

    So did they nerf all the other characters abilities, or did they make her better--or does she still suck?

  • Yes...but you would think that when I show up to fix things, Lord British would go - "Oh...it's you. Here...take this sword and armor and this and that. Have fun".
  • I know an actual real live female blacksmith.
    She doesn't look like she has huge muscles because women don't gain bulk with strength the way men do. But she sure can hammer out horseshoes all day, and wrestle horses at need!
  • Did they fix the Barbarian Skill bug? That's why I quit playing in the first place. It's a real pisser when you work a character up and then his skills don't work.
  • >Also, the weapon switch hotkey thing. In terms of
    >realism, the old way didn't really take long enough
    >(you try unstrapping a shield from your arm and
    >drawing a longsword and see how long it takes). Now
    >you can switch instantly?

    Actually, I'll take you up on the offer. I do medieval reinactment, and I can drop my shield and draw a longsword, in, oh, let's say 2 seconds tops? It's not that tough. However, to make it realisitic, the current weapon, if one handed might be 'resheathed'. But any shield or 2H weapon in your hands should be dropped to the ground as you draw the new weapon if you are in the heat of combat.

    But that's not very niec from a playability point of view.
  • > I think you misunderstand the point of a game.

    I doubt you actually think that.

    I'm not saying I like playing around with the interface rather than playing the game. What I like is the fact that in Diablo I/II I'm taking a risk by equipping a long bow when enemies can just rush me and beat the hell out of me while I'm switching weapons. I think that risk makes the game more fun.
  • The links on the page you cite are broken...try this:

    http://www.pennmush.org/~jomr/v1n1/bartle.html
  • shift click on the potions that are left in your inventory after you die. they reload into the belt automatically.
  • His name is "Ensign Toast".
  • Yep, you're just brainwashed :)

    That might usually be the case, but all of the Sierra companies (ie. Vivendi Universal Interactive - which includes Blizzard, Dynamix, Sierra et al) run extensive beta programs on the games they release. I was on the You Don't Know Jack: 5th Dementia program.

    Just hang out on the mailing lists and message boards to get the hook up.

    :)

    Si
  • Let me be more plain.

    I already have Diablo II. Currently I'm at v1.04.

    I will not connect to Battle.net to get v1.06, the spyware version.

    I will not buy the expansion.

    I will be very cautious in buying anything from Blizzard in the future. Specifically, I'll wait until it's out for a while and look for reports of hidden spyware features.

    But I will continue to play Diablo II v1.04 on my computer, until such time as I choose to delete it. Occassionally it's still fun, when I'm in the mood to just kill things. But as a single-player game, it's playability isn't going to last forever, and eventually I'll uninstall it.

    Are you saying I'm a hypocrite because I'm not uninstalling it right now? They already have my money for this part of the game; deleting it after buying it wouldn't make a very effective protest. :)
  • It may have been around prior to 1984, but it's part of the title to the awesome movie Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo [imdb.com] (starring Ice-T... hahahahahah).

  • > Richard Bartle is credited with characterizing RPG players into 4 categories: Explorer, Socializer, Achiever, and Killer.

    Ah the landmark, Hearts, Clubs, Spades, Diamonds paper. The Journal of MUD Research has been renamed "Journal of Virtual Environments"
    i.e.
    http://www.pennmush.org/~jomr/v1n1jove.html [pennmush.org]

    > Killers can go hostile and attack anyone
    This is the BIGGEST problem I have with Diablo 2. I *don't* want to PvP, yet some jerk goes hostile in town, then finds me outside of town and attack me *without* my consent! WTF? Why don't *BOTH* people have to agree to a duel??!!

    That and "character classes" turned me off. (Diablo 2 is a stripped down EQ, and I *can* see the fun in that) but I'd rather have a skill-based-profession style of game play.

    > Enjoy D2 if that's your bag
    I agree: "Play whatever floats your boat." ;-)

    I'll probably pick up the expansion just to check it out, but I don't see myself spending hours and hours fighting monsters just to get that "phat l00t"
  • > In terms of realism, the old way didn't really take long enough (you try unstrapping a shield from your arm and drawing a longsword and see how long it takes)

    Speaking as a game programmer, most games are meant to be FUN first. Realism comes SECOND (Hard-code simulations have the order swapped, obviously.) Rarely do you achieve both simultanously.
  • > The links on the page you cite are broken...

    Aye, I already found the correct link, and emailed the web master.

    Thx anyways.

  • Official site -- Diablo II: Lord of Destruction [blizzard.com].

    IGN Review of DII LOD [ign.com]. Very good review, plenty o' screenshots.

    The Japanese point of view [impress.co.jp] on Diablo II: Lord of Destruction.
  • what do you mean that it is spyware?
  • fyi... your adsl pipe is weak and inferior ;) I have 1.1M sdsl service and on any given thursday/friday/saturday/sunday the gameplay on battlenet ranges pings from 30 to 10,000. From what I can see the desynch of games and player gets unplayable at 7,000 games. Log on and see more than that running and your dsl will not save you.It is not a rumor it is the hard cold truth. I've had people comeover to play on bnet frustrated because their dialup made gameplay unplayable only to discover the joys of battlenet are not bandwidth related from an end user point of view.

  • Between those comments and about the assasins looks... HELLO! Earth to MALES! You want to be liked by women, stop alienating them by treating them like something to be oggled! WE HAVE BRAINS! Kria
  • The fact that the stash is too small is good - it makes you decide what you really want, and makes collecting a full set of items more difficult (provided you don't buy from others).

    Some of the changes in the game really do benefit from a larger stash. Ethereal items (so I hear) are items that cannot be repaired, but kick butt.

    So, sure, you want to keep the kick butt item around, but you don't want to use it all the time, perhaps only against bosses. Keeping it in storage for those special times is nice. A larger stash lets you keep it, instead of just selling it.

  • Nah, for those who don't know already, here is everything you really need to know about Diablo I, II, and the expansion:

    It is a game where you scroll around clicking on things. You don't have to click on them particularilly fast or skillfully, because they come at you fairly slowly most of the time. Just take your time and click on them. Sometimes you need to scroll away from them to avoid being overwhelmed, but then you just go back and start clicking again. Do this until they die or you die. If you die, come back and get your stuff, then go back to clicking on things. If they die, take the stuff they drop. Over time, your character gains equipment, skills, and abilities, which create the illusion that you are getting better. However, to advance deeper into the game you need to click on more powerful things, so the difficulty level never really changes very much. The story takes about a week to get through, and is pretty cool, but once you are done with that there is nothing left to do but go through the entire story over again, this time with prettier-looking equipment and clicking on monsters that are "harder" to kill. In the end, you will really like it if you like looking at the eye candy of very small cartoon people moving through a cartoon dungeon killing very small cartoon monsters. Once the thrill of seeing the neat cartoons wears off, it is one of the most boring fucking games in the entire universe. Once you reach that conclusion, you will delete it from your system, and go back to playing "Lemmings" or something.

  • Good question! While it's impossible to deny D2's popularity, I find it to be quite 'lowest common denominator' (sorry Taco). I agree with the psychological appeal somebody mentioned earlier. You are constantly rewarded with small improvements to your character (levels, equipment) but ultimately it is point and click, nothing more. There is no creativity or abstract thinking required. It's the video game equivalent of watching T.V.
  • What you consider hysteria (quite fairly, I guess) I'd consider extremely good PR. Blizard has always always done an exceptional job marketing their products. More power to'em.

    If they were marketing crap games that'd be something entirely different, but their products are consistantly high quality, even if a lottle over-hyped. The expansion pack looks good. It's definately going on my list.

    --
  • Yes, I know what the fsckin' site is. I've been reading the LL since before it was called that.

    The very reason I didn't put the LL link up MYSELF is because I didn't want to be responsible for my friends getting slashdotted, you witless fuck. I mean, honestly, where is your brain?

    -Kasreyn

  • I was able to play this for a bit at E3 and I must say it was pretty impressive... not as good as Warcraft III was, but I am definately looking forward to this expansion.
  • Have you not seen the sequel to Breakin', Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo? The film portrayed a group of motivated break dancing youths trying to raise money to save their community center. While some might say you missed the single most fascinating film produced by Hollywood in the year 1984, they would of course be wrong.
      • you try unstrapping a shield from your arm and drawing a longsword and see how long it takes

    Uh, shields aren't strapped to the arm. With a kite shield, you generally put your arm through a loose strap and grip another strap, but it's about 2 seconds to shed a kite, and another 3 seconds to whip a hand-n-a-half out. It's armour that takes silly amounts of time to put on and take off.

    • Speaking as a game programmer, most games are meant to be FUN

    Speaking as a games programmer and a steel weapon reenactor, I agree completely. Real heavy armour combat is hot, sweaty and bloomin' tiring. Diablo's energy bar is a nice start, but if you're talking realism, the next thing you need to add is a temperature gauge. ;)

  • I really only enjoyed playing DII over battle.net and hope that this could make the money I spent for DII alittle bit more worth it, but it also means that the Battle.net realms will just be even more filled then ever...lag-o-rific.
  • "Electric Boogaloo"... Would somebody please explain this joke to me -- I've seen it before, but how did it get started? Isn't that from the Wild Orchid sequil or something?
  • by Sabalon ( 1684 ) on Wednesday May 23, 2001 @09:59AM (#203361)
    Two things you said:
    Double stash size? The fact that the stash is too small is good
    In terms of realism,


    These town folk are falling all over themselves, begging you save them from this and that. I would think that they would be able to provide you as much storage room as you need while you are doing quests for them.

    This is the problem I had with all the Ultima games. You are the Avatar - hero of the realm...yet you start off with a t-shirt, pointy stick and no skills. Go figure.

    One enhancement that would have been nice, that DarkStone had, was the ability to wear a ring on each finger, and two amulets. Yeah...you get a bit more powerful and don't have to make choices, but afterall you do have 10 fingers.
  • by Keith Russell ( 4440 ) on Wednesday May 23, 2001 @09:41AM (#203362) Journal
    Repair All, 800x600: Amen, brother!

    Larger Stash: If there weren't whole new classes of inventory items, particularly charms, you're right that it makes the game easier. But the stash was just right in the base D2, meaning it was too small by one column. (At least, for me it was.) There's so much more stuff in D2:LOD, they needed to make the stash a little bigger. For me, I'll bet it will still be too small by one column. Besides, the stash stays in town. AFAIK, the Horadric Cube hasn't grown, and I think that's a very good thing, since it is, in essence, a portable stash. It's instant accessability trumps any attempts to make it bigger. It's balanced as is.

    Weapon-switch hotkeys: It would be nice if its speed was dictated by your class, level, and/or choice of weapons. With a small shield, you could leave it on your bow arm while using a bow. Only a barbarian or paladin could pull that off with a tower shield. Of course, I have very little experience with medieval weapons, myself. :-)

    Gems: The nature of the gem's effect is inherent in it's composition: Ruby = Fire, Sapphire = Cold, Dilithium = "Einstein's a putz", etc. And the quality of a gem implies its power. Within the story, it's all anecdotal. A warrior puts a topaz in his sword, and lightning shoots from it. As for the actual numbers, well, this is a role-playing game. It all reduces to a formula with a random variable. Blame E. Gary Gygax.

    Runes: Great idea. But did Blizzard remember the Nam-Shub of Enki? And will "goo goo ga choo" on a sword add a 25% chance of an enemy turning into a walrus when struck?

    We're not scare-mongering/This is really happening - Radiohead
  • by daniell ( 78495 ) on Wednesday May 23, 2001 @09:27AM (#203363) Homepage
    People are often saying how original and fun diablo is/was. Well. I've got only one thing to say about their design process. They took a look at what makes games like nethack [nethack.org] addictive to the groups that play it, and extended it to appeal to more people with graphics and network play, while seriously removing a large quantity of the specific extra features that make nethack interesting (like praying, offering, searching, encountering your own ghost, geting an artifact like excalibur by dipping your long sword into a fountain... etc. They just watered down the crack so its more palletable

    -Daniel

  • by Mtgman ( 195502 ) on Wednesday May 23, 2001 @08:57AM (#203364)
    I really can't spoil that much anyway, since you can't beat the expansion without defeating Baal, which is kinda assumed since he's the only prime evil left after defeating Diablo. Who didn't see that one coming?

    GAAAH I didn't see that coming(sob) I thought they might introduce new evils, maybe Mephistopheles, maybe Lucifer, but Baal! I'm completely gobsmacked. Curse you for ruining my enjoyment of the game before I even get to play it! Curse you I say. You know, I was(note the past tense) a staunch CowboyNeal voter. Now I've had it, I'm never voting CowboyNeal again(sob). I've been betrayed!

    Steven

  • Yup. In a similar vein, why is sealing horrible monsters, spirits, and gods so much more popular than just destroying them?

    I used to think that this was just because they wanted to get a cheap way into a sequel, but after a decade, I've come to believe that it's really a manifestation of the problem of evil, and freedom of choice.

    Unless you restrict every awareness from the freedom to choose evil, people can still choose it. Evil forces like to get together to organize their evilness together, so the best way to put evil off for a while is to disperse it, so that it can't organize. You'll need security measures to keep the pieces from coming back together. But as we all should know, there is no lock that does not have a key, and everything can be done (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Every poison has an antidote, every thesis an antithesis). It's just a matter of how long it is before its undone.

    Thus we see things like, "The great evil was sealed away for 10,000 years, until one century..." In Harry Potter, Dumbledore tells Harry, "Well, we can't destroy Voldemort, but if we're rather clever about it, we can delay his return to power. And then when he comes back strong, we can delay him some more. If we're lucky, we can delay him forever."

    It's basically a manifestation of our free will.

  • by Kasreyn ( 233624 ) on Wednesday May 23, 2001 @10:47AM (#203366) Homepage
    Diabloii.net has nothing on another site which is a far more preeminent location for D2 information and knowledge. However, I'm very wary of unleashing the slashdot effect on it.

    Note: All of the D2x testing discoveries I'm about to reveal were made by an excellent (and I do mean badass AWESOME) D2 player who goes by "Sirian". This guy is not only trustworthy (at least to my mind), due to his many months of accurately reporting D2 bugs, but also took a hardcore Firebolt only sorceress to Countess (defeated Nightmare diff). He's currently a beta tester for D2X. I'm not trying to take credit for his discoveries. I just want them to be aired without his server getting slammed by the slashdot effect. (and no, for those wondering, I am not him)

    D2X is good in some ways, but it has some MAJOR, SERIOUS BUGS. Major and most serious bug: You can KILL ANY MONSTER IN THE GAME IN ONE SHOT. Yep. The Paladin's Conviction aura has been changed in how it reduces monster resists (ie., it's a lot stronger), and it has the ability to reduce resists by, like, -300%. The sort of damage a Blizzard does to enemies who are reduced that far is something you have to see to believe. But most importantly, Static Field can now kill. With that sort of resistance penalty to the monsters, SF's damage scales up to 100%. Zap, dead. He killed any non boss monster with one shot of Conviction/SF. Diablo took like 3 SF hits. This needs to be fixed pronto.

    Also:

    Duriel is now immune to cold. Biiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiig mistake, Blizzard. I agree with Sirian, fix this NOW. This is going to SCREW OVER many character types trying to face the big bug. With immunity to cold he can not now be chilled, except by (I've heard) Holy Freeze. This means not even fastest run will let you avoid his charge.

    Finally, many spells have been changed, though Sirian mostly plays (and tested) Sorceresses. Hydra has been pumped amazingly despite the new timer. Meteor is weaker but still usable, however, Hydra is going to be the undisputed king of the fire tree.

    Again, I really would link to those sites, but those guys are my friends and they don't deserve their servers (self hosting) getting crushed under the weight of goatse.cx trolls. I guess that means no one will believe what I've said without any proof. Oh, well.

    I just wanted to dispel the illusion that D2X is all sweetness and light. It is a MUCH different, and in some ways harder, though extremely buggy at the moment, game. Anyone interested in preordering it should keep an eye on these bugs as they decide whether to buy. Blizzard in the past has gotten away regularly with shipping seriously buggy games (coughDiabloOnecough), and then refuses to patch or fix them unless you just hound them.

    -Kasreyn
  • by Rogerborg ( 306625 ) on Wednesday May 23, 2001 @10:28AM (#203367) Homepage
    • With a small shield, you could leave it on your bow arm while using a bow. Only a barbarian or paladin could pull that off with a tower shield. Of course, I have very little experience with medieval weapons, myself. :-)

    I do. ;) Nice idea, but it doesn't work in practice. Shields are gripped by the hand, not held by being strapped to the arm (on kites, you generally put your arm through a strap, but it's not holding it in place). You can get a buckler off your belt in about 3 seconds, or unsling a bossed round shield from your back in around 6 second or a strapped kite from your back in around 8 seconds. Putting on a long mail hauberk takes upwards of 30 seconds (much more if it gets caught in your hair or turns under itself), as does taking it off (and involves you bending on all fours with your arse in the air and doing a very undignified "tinny shimmy"). Field plate armour takes three minutes or more and often requires help. Full plate armour is five minutes+ and a helpful friend.

    I'm not anal about the insta-equip in games (if I wanted to do it in real time I'd do it for real), but I'd love to see a game that actually placed inventory items on your avatar as well as equipped ones. Try hauling a spare kite shield, mail hauberk and broad axe around and you'll soon see why. Porters are de rigour for any self respecting hero. ;)

  • by Toddarooski ( 12363 ) on Wednesday May 23, 2001 @10:23AM (#203368)
    If memory serves me right (it's been a while), I was most annoyed with the fact that you couldn't remove gems after you socketed them, which got to be pretty annoying. (Find a socketed item. Add some gems. Find a better gem. Then go find another socketed item and start over from scratch because you can't replace one of your weaker gems with the newer one.)

    Does Blizzard allow you to swap in new gems in the expansion?

  • by DiningPhilosopher ( 17036 ) on Wednesday May 23, 2001 @08:52AM (#203369)

    Okay, some of these changes are great. "Repair All" should have been there fron the beginning, and two resolutions are better than one.

    But some of these changes seem like they'll change the game for the worse. Double stash size? The fact that the stash is too small is good - it makes you decide what you really want, and makes collecting a full set of items more difficult (provided you don't buy from others).

    Also, the weapon switch hotkey thing. In terms of realism, the old way didn't really take long enough (you try unstrapping a shield from your arm and drawing a longsword and see how long it takes). Now you can switch instantly?

    And while I love the fact that sockets/gems will actually be useful, I don't like the fact that I'll be told exactly what a gem will do before I socket it. I pay enough attention to numbers already.
  • When is a game considered "nerd enough" to be posted on /.??

    When CmdrTaco likes it.

    If you don't like that, you can go somewhere else. Slashdot is his news site (well sort of) and he can report what he wants. I think one of the things that makes Slashdot interesting is the strange variety of stuff that gets reported due to the fact that its run by a couple of guys posting stories about what they like most.

  • Is is just me?

    Does anyone else find it strange that after defeating the big bad evil overlord (who clearly did not read the manual [eviloverlord.com] detailing that position) and scattering his forces across creation, some minor figure always somehow manages to assemble a much more impressive force for the sequel (and yet still not read that manual)? I mean, its not like giant armies of darkness are easy to assemble - hell knows I've tried.

  • by MattW ( 97290 ) <matt@ender.com> on Wednesday May 23, 2001 @09:06AM (#203372) Homepage
    When I finally quit playing the original d2, I had to ask myself: why did I play it so long, when I just HATED it?

    Obviously, it all comes down to player types. Richard Bartle is credited with characterizing RPG players into 4 categories: Explorer, Socializer, Achiever, and Killer. Supposedly, this was published in the Journal of Mud Research [brandeis.edu], but I wasn't able to find it. In any event, I realized I'm an 'achiever' in the games context. Even when playing a PK mud, I didn't kill because I was a Killer, I killed because that was a large part of the game and I wanted to "win". Diablo 2 is psychologically seductive to almost all types of players:

    Killers can go hostile and attack anyone

    Socializers have both a chat context and global in-game chatting

    Achievers have titles, including hardcore, levels, and equipment to seek after

    Explorers get some because the world is new every time

    So, Diablo 2 clever caters to anyone with an interest in RPGs by having something for all player types -- but their system of equipment makes the achiever an absolute addict. There's ALWAYS another piece of equipment waiting to be had better than what you have. And, sadly, unlike a game of skill like, say, Quake 3, there isn't a great deal of real gain to be had from repeat play, other than equipment gathering. Admittedly, if you were a true groundbreaker, you came up with a playing style that was unique (say, the Tweaker Sorceress or the Hammerdin), but after a gentle early learning curve, most people were eq-dependant.

    So, is the game actually FUN? I played it a ton, but if fun is enjoyment, then I couldn't say it was. I wanted to enjoy it but I was too frusted with all those things about D2 that have become terrible jokes:

    Grotesque amounts of lag (on a T1, I should add)

    Utterly stupid PvP (who hits who first?)

    Totally imbalanced character classes

    Lame Multiplay (95% of people want to solo in 8-player games, and 80% of them want to do it on the River of Flame, all at once, and barbarians can steal kills, etc)

    On top of all this, the "realms" were subject utterly to cheating of the first order. Since I myself spent _hours_ showing support people how to 'dupe' with one of the methods (there were at least 4 different 'duping' bugs, if not more, over the course of the game), I can attest to the fact that they don't take it seriously, thus scrapping the d2 "economy", for better or for worse.

    For all these reasons, and more, I've steeled myself against buying the expansion. I don't imagine the major gameplay problems have been improved. I'll buy the Throne of Bhaal [gamespy.com] expansion back for BG2 instead, and bide my time waiting on Neverwinter Nights [bioware.com], which may well end up becoming the most popular online RPG ever, given that PLAYERs will be able to build, run, and link their worlds, and create new content with an incredibly rich toolkit. Back to the four player classes, I can already see most of them very much enjoying it.

    Enjoy D2 if that's your bag, I don't begrudge anyone their game. But D2 has gone down in my book as excellent psychology attached to a very poor game, and despite being one of those people who would spend hundreds of dollars on some of my favorite games because I enjoy them so much, I'm not going to reward Blizzard with another $35.

  • by dashmaul ( 108555 ) on Wednesday May 23, 2001 @08:48AM (#203373)
    Check out diabloii.net [diabloii.net]
    That site has tons of reviews and more.

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