Diablo II, sequel to the popular game Diablo, is a dark fantasy-themed Action role-playing game in a hack and slash or "dungeon roaming" style. It was released for both Microsoft Windows and Mac OS in 2000 by Blizzard Entertainment. Diablo II was developed by Blizzard North.
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By April 2001, Diablo II had become one of the most popular online games ever. Major factors that contributed to Diablo II's success include what fans found to be addictive hack and slash gameplay and free access to Battle.net. Diablo II may be played as a single player game, multi-player via a LAN, or multi-player via Battle.net, with the latter being the most popular. It has also become one of the top thirty best selling computer games ever. Including Diablo II, the Diablo series has sold 17 million copies.
The game was conceptualized and designed by Stieg Hedlund, with Blizzard North founders David Brevik, Max and Eric Shaefer acting as project heads for the other disciplines. The main production roles were handled by Matthew Householder and Bill Roper.
An expansion to Diablo II, Diablo II: Lord of Destruction, was released in 2001. Diablo III was released in 2012.
The player assumes the role of a hero, fighting monsters while traversing over land and dungeons. The storyline of Diablo II is played through four acts. Each act follows a predetermined path with preselected quests, although some quests are optional. Each act culminates with the destruction of a boss monster, upon which the player proceeds to the next act. Battle is conducted in real-time, using an isometric oblique top-down viewpoint. Players fight monsters to level their character up and gain better items.
Diablo II places heavy emphasis on combat, and randomly generates many monster properties, level layouts and item drops. Most of the maps themselves are randomly generated. In single player mode, the map is randomly generated but locks the setting thereafter; in multi-player mode, it resets every time the dungeon is restarted.
Diablo II allows the player to choose between five different character classes: Necromancer, Amazon, Barbarian, Sorceress and Paladin. Each character has different strengths and weaknesses and sets of skills to choose from.
In addition to the four acts there are also three difficulty levels: Normal, Nightmare, and Hell. A character must complete these difficulty levels in order; only once a character completes Normal difficulty can that character play at Nightmare difficulty, and similarly for Hell difficulty. Each difficulty is a greater challenge than the last, with such features as increased creature difficulty, experience penalties upon death, and other challenges. A character retains all abilities, equipment, etc, between difficulties, and may return to earlier difficulties at any time. Upon completion of the game in Normal difficulty, a player may create a hardcore character. While for normal players the game doesn't end when they die, the game ends when a hardcore character is killed.
Diablo II also has a number of other features that enhance game play. The player has the option of hiring one of several computer controlled mercenaries, that follow the player and attack nearby enemies. On occasion, the player might find a rare, valuable item, or one that is part of a set that becomes more powerful when the entire set is collected. Items can be customized using sockets and gems, or transmuted into different items using the Horadric Cube.
Unlike Diablo I, where the monsters all stay dead once killed, and their corpses remain where they fell all throughout the game, if you save-and-exit and return to the game, all of the killed creatures have respawned. Even the boss monsters that you killed for the quest will have respawned as well.
This will turn out to be rather frustrating for any player who is a completist. The up-side, however, is the newly-respawned monster still drops loot, and can keep earning you loads of riches.
The Amazon is an active skill oriented fighter. Her skills are oriented around personal protective abilities, the use of a bow and arrow, as well as the spear and javelin.
The Amazon is most similar to the Rogue of Diablo: both are primarily associated with bows, and both make equal use of strength and magic. The Amazon is different in that she can also use javelins and spears adeptly. The class is loosely based on Amazons of mythology.
The Barbarian is a powerful melee oriented character in Diablo 2, and the only character capable of dual-wielding. His skills are divided into various weapon masteries, war cries, and combat skills. The masteries are purely passive and allow the Barbarian to specialize in different types of weapons and to gain natural speed and resistances. His war cries can enhance his and his party's abilities in combat, reduce the enemy's abilities, frighten the enemy into fleeing and even cause considerable damage to them. The Barbarian's combat skills are attacks that maximize brute force, his greatest asset.
The Barbarian was originally conceptualized for Hellfire, the original Diablo "expansion" made by Sierra Entertainment. The character was not implemented in the final version but was included as a hidden class in Patch 1.01 for Hellfire. The character had the same appearance and speech as the Warrior but had altered statistics and a different abilities.
The Barbarian, despite being a strictly melee character, can be very effective. In Hell mode the natural resistance for all characters drop and the Barbarian is the only class that can passively increase his resistance through a skill.
The Sorceress focuses on ranged elemental spells in three areas: ice, lightning and fire. Her ice spells can chill or even completely freeze affected enemies, but do less damage than lightning or fire. Lightning spells can do both very high and very low damage, whereas fire spells deal more consistent damage.
The spell Teleport essentially defines the Sorceress, allowing much faster mobility than any other character. The strong point of the Sorceress is powerful damaging spells and casting speed; her weakness is her relatively low hit points and defense, demanding that the player pay close attention to keep her out of the fray.
Sorceresses are, according to the storyline, rebellious women who have wrested the secrets of magic use from the male-dominated magus clans of the East.
The Necromancer is a spell-caster who relies on summoning spirits of the dead to aid him in his work. His skills are split into curses, summoning, poison and bone spells. The summoning skills allow him to revive various skeletons, golems and any normal monster killed. However, it is to be noted that with the exception of golems, all of the necromancer's summons require existing monster corpses. Poison and bone skills are the necromancer's actual means of straight out damage. Bone skills also hold means for creating obstacles and the such, making for great multi-player support. Curse skills form an integral part of a necromancer's arsenal and greatly alter gameplay for both the caster as well as the target.
The Paladin is a religious warrior fighting for all that is good. To reflect this, the zealous Paladin's combat skills range from fanatical attacks to heavenly thunderbolts. His skills are split into combat skills, defensive auras, and offensive auras, of which, the latter two can enhance personal abilities, lower the amount of damage dealt by enemies, or facilitate health recovery. These auras are helpful in a multi-player game as many of them can be used to upgrade all of the party's stats. Most auras require no mana which makes a Paladin a very economic character as he needs to spend little to nothing on mana recovery. Paladins are highly proficient in the use of a shield, and they may even use their shield as a weapon. He is the best with defensive skills and is also the best choice if the player wishes to weaken enemies without hitting them or casting any spells. Paladin skills are extremely efficient at eliminating the undead.
Unlike the original Diablo, Diablo II was made specifically with online gaming in mind. Several spells multiply their effectiveness if they are cast within a party, and dungeons, although they still exist, were largely replaced by open spaces.
Multi-player is achieved through Blizzard's Battle.net free online service, or via a LAN. Battle.net is divided into "Open" and "Closed" realms. Players may play their single-player characters on open realms; characters in closed realms are stored on Blizzard's servers, as a measure against cheating, where they must be played every ninety days to avoid expiration. Online play is otherwise nearly identical to single-player play. The most notable difference is that online maps are generated randomly, with a new map for every game a player enters. Offline, single player maps are retained in computer memory.
As the game can be played cooperatively, groups of players with specific sets of complementary skills can finish some of the game's climactic battles in a matter of seconds, providing strong incentives for party-oriented character builds. Up to eight players can be in one game; they can either unite as a single party, play as individuals, or form multiple opposing parties. Experience, monsters' hit points, and the amount of items dropped, are increased as more players join a game.
Players are allowed to duel each other with all damage being reduced in player versus player.. The bounty for a successful kill is a portion of the gold and the ear of the defeated player's character.
Patch 1.10 included the option of playing with a ladder character. The ladder system can be reset at various intervals to allow for all players to start fresh with new characters on an equal footing. Ladder seasons have lasted from as short as nine months to over a year. When a ladder season ends the ladder population is transferred to the non-ladder population with all items that player is holding. Certain rare items and rune words are available only within ladder games, although they can be traded for and exchanged on non-ladder after the season has ended.
Up to twenty-two patches have been released for Diablo II. Through the patch history, several exploits and issues have been addressed, as well as major revamps to the game's balance. Not all patches have affected Diablo II directly, as several were designed to address issues in the expansion to the game and had minimal effects on Diablo II. The game is currently in version 1.12a. The exact number of patches is impossible to determine as Battle.net has the capability of making minor server-side patches to address immediate issues.
The story of Diablo II takes place soon after the end of the original Diablo. At the end of Diablo, Diablo, Lord of Terror was defeated by a mortal hero. The hero who slew Diablo (i.e. the Warrior character of the first game) drives the soulstone of Diablo (a magical stone containing the soul of a demon or angel) into his own head in an attempt to contain Diablo in his own body. After this event, the hero is rapidly corrupted by Diablo and loses control of Diablo's soul slowly. In the opening cinematic of Diablo II, Marius, the narrator of the story, witnesses the fallen hero (known only as the Dark Wanderer) totally lose control, unleashing the demons of Hell upon a tavern. Marius is the only survivor (it is implied that rather than just being blind luck, the demons were ignoring him), and he feels compelled to follow the Wanderer for reasons he himself does not understand. The new player character is a different hero following in the wake of the destruction, chasing the Dark Wanderer, hoping to put an end to the demon lord within him. The new hero ultimately catches up to the Wanderer outside the city of Kurast but is unable to stop him. The rest of the story is revealed through the four acts, as the player faces not just the demon lord Diablo, but two new major villains, his equally malevolent brothers, fellow Prime Evils Mephisto, Lord of Hatred and Baal, Lord of Destruction. Diablo is determined to free them from their soulstone incarceration, which was forced upon all three long ago, and from which Diablo managed to break free in the first game. The hero travels through different lands to thwart the forces of The Burning Hells from conquering the world known as Sanctuary.
The story tells about seven "Great evils" (7 is the number of the powers of hell), some of them are slain in Diablo 2, but two, as of Lord of Destruction, have not yet been seen.
A very fast and very aggressive enemy. His pure physical strength can easily overwhelm an unprepared player. He attacks using his large claws, and may also freeze the player, making it even easier for him to quickly dispense of opposition. He is found in the true Tomb of Tal Rasha by placing the Horadric Staff into a pedestal.
- Andariel, the Maiden of Anguish (also known as Demon Queen, slain in D2, act I)
A fairly powerful enemy using mainly poison based attacks. She uses homing poison arrows, poison spray and the weak claws on her back in hand-to-hand battle. She is found in the bottom level of the monastery behind a large set of wooden doors, surrounded by her minions.
- Belial, the Lord of Lies (Has not yet appeared.)
- Azmodan, the Lord of Sin (Has not yet appeared.)
- The "Prime Evils"
- Mephisto, the Lord of Hatred (eldest of three brothers, slain in D2, act III)
He uses several powerful lightning attacks and doesn't have a melee attack. He can be found in his lair in the temple city of Travincal in Kurast by destroying the Compelling Orb that locked him in his lair. You must use a unique flail called Khalim's Will to destroy it, created after finding the relics of Khalim and transmuting them with Khalim's flail in a Horadric Cube. Beware of the many allies and minions he has throughout the Durance of Hate-the Council Members in particular. Maffer Dragonhand is nearly as dangerous as Mephisto himself.
- Diablo, the Lord of Terror (it's Devil in Spanish, slain in D2, act IV)
The Leader of the Three. He uses the fire element. He is a powerful boss, especially in later difficulties. Beware of his flamethrower, which resembles a long red stream of lightning spraying from his mouth, as even characters with good vitality can be killed in one full blast. However this attack is slower than most of his other ones and can be easily avoided. His attacks include: Flamethrower, Fire ring, Fire Passage, Bone Prison (cast on town portals) and a melee attack, in which he will charge quickly toward the player. He appears after activating the five seals and defeating their protectors, the Lord De Seis (Unique Oblivion Knight), Infector of Souls (Unique Venom Lord) and Grand Vizier of Chaos(Unique Doom Caster.)
- Baal, the Lord of Destruction (slain in D2 Expansion: Lord of Destruction, act V)
He is found in the Worldstone Keep. After destroying the five swarms of his minions, he'll walk into the portal to Worldstone Chamber, the battleground. He uses fire strikes and a cold attack, the latter of which causes a severe knock back, as well as freezing. He also summons a copy of himself, capable of using all of his attacks, only adding to the troubles of anyone attempting to slay the Lord of Destruction.
The Dark Wanderer's Speech From Diablo II 1998 E3 TrailerEdit
Many moons have passed since I left the town of Tristram behind me. Since then I've tried to forget the terrors I beheld beneath the cold earth, and the twisted nightmares that have haunted my every waking moment. There’s something dark within me now; I can feel it, driving me towards the East, assuring me that my salvation lies within the ruins of ancient kingdoms. Though I know the way, I know not what perils will arise to hinder my journey, and as I pass through the first gate, I know that the better part of my soul will remain behind… forever.
If a user is to type in 'soundchaosdebug' in the chat window on Battle.net or in single player mode, every sound file in the game is played in a chaotic muddle which lasts until the player reenters the code.
Secret Cow LevelEdit
The "Secret Cow Level" is the result of a running joke from the original Diablo that spawned from an Internet rumor about a cow which appears in the game, seemingly without purpose. Supposedly, if the cow was clicked on a certain number of times, a portal to a secret level would open. The rumor was a hoax, but the legend was born, and player after player asked Blizzard about how to access the level.
In Diablo: Hellfire, the only expansion to the original Diablo (This "expansion" is actually considered an "add-on", since it was not an official release, but instead released by Sierra Entertainment), it was possible to change a parameter in a specific text file (Command.txt), so that the farmer who gives out the "rune bomb" quest was dressed in a cow suit, with appropriate new dialogue ("Moo." "I said Moo!"). This added fuel to the fire. To kill the rumor, Blizzard included a cheat (that automatically won the game) in StarCraft that read "There is no cow level", this being Blizzard's way of officially confirming that there was, in fact, no Cow Level. Among online game enthusiasts, this phrase has become an Internet joke similar to the phrase There Is No Cabal.
On April 1, 1999, a Diablo II Screenshot of the Week featured cows fighting. People wondered if the screenshot was an April Fool's joke or if there really was a Secret Cow Level planned for Diablo II. It turned out that there was a cow level. To access the level, one must kill Diablo (or, in Lord of Destruction, kill Baal), return to Rogue Encampment in Act I within the same difficulty level, and then transmute Wirt's Leg with a Tome of Town Portal in the Horadric Cube. This will open a portal to the secret level (defeating Baal in the difficulty that the player wishes to enter the cow level in is no longer required, as of patch 1.11b. One only needs to be able to access a certain difficulty to enter its cow level). There is an item set named the "Cow King's Leathers" which may only be collected in this secret level. However, when a player kills the Cow King for their first time on a difficulty level, the character used to open the portal becomes unable to reopen the portal to the level on that difficulty level.
There exists a purple chat gem that is only visible when inside of a chat channel. There are many theories about the purpose of this gem. There is, however, no purpose for this gem aside from a meaningless message. The gem toggles between an active and inactive state. When activated, a chat message appears stating, "Gem Activated" and likewise, a message "Gem Deactivated" is shown when it becomes inactive. It can also say "Perfect Gem Activated" but the chances however are very low. It has also been said that it sometimes says "mooooooo"
- This section is no longer a system requirement for the latest retail patch. This is simply for historical purposes.
This section contains facts and trivia relevant to this article
- When the Player visits Diablo II's Tristram, the same music plays that did in Diablo's Tristram.
- Many of the characters, items and places in Diablo II have the same names as prominent figures from the game's development team:
or are anagrams or other manipulates of such names:
- Civerb's Vestments/surname of David and Peter Brevik, spelled backwards (and replacing the 'k' with a 'c');
- Schaefer's Hammer -- from Erich and Max Schaefer;
- Nokozan Relic, a unique amulet. It is an anagram of Karin Colenzo
- The Mahim-Oak Curio is an anagram of Michio Okamura
- Rusthandle/(Mark) Sutherland
- Rixot's Keen/Erik Sexton
- Skewer of Krintiz/Kris Renkewitz
- The Halls of Vaught, an area in act 5 is named after Fredrick Vaught.
- Diablo II also uses the concept of undecidable figures to represent the "Arcane Sanctuary" level, since it is an extradimensional, magical construct of the wizard Horazon. Players are able to walk on a flat surface and find their characters below their starting point, similar to M. C. Escher's woodblock print Waterfall. The algorithm for impossible geometry was not difficult to achieve; instead, the program sees the level as a plane and the visual representations do the work of creating this effect. The level plays with and takes advantage of the limits of isometric projection.
- There are traces of a deleted event/quest in Act II that can still be heard by playing the character speech files. Apparently it involved some kind of invisible, magical barrier that blocked the player from venturing further. The player was then supposed to head back to town. It is unknown why this event never made it to the final release, nor what the background of the 'forcefield' was.
- Diablo II Game Manual, page 3.