Diablo 2 LOD came out and I was ready. I needed a boost of new character classes, items and a completely new level for me to keep on going. Right up to the emanate release of the beta version, Blizzard kept quiet about support for “800×600” resolution. When I first saw the new screen shots, I smiled. Finally, my plea was answered. At that resolution, everything, well, just works! You could see far enough for ranged characters and spell casters, you did not have a “pixilated” view of your main character, and the interface was not as “prominent.”
Even though Diablo 2 LOD adds two new character classes, the Druid and the Assassin, new items and abilities (huge amount) and a brand new area, I have to say that my first thoughts about the “expansion” was that this is the way that Diablo 2 was supposed to be! Everything kind of fit together in the puzzle. The game play ability differences between (a rather short) Normal Act 4 and Nightmare Act 1 was big. Act 5 filled that gap perfectly. Have you ever wondered why? I believe that late in the development cycle, the idea of having all the characters play balanced and the complete complement of items up and functioning well was too much of a task and they cut it short. Blizzard released Diablo 2 for initial reaction, play balance, stability testing of their Battle.net servers and continued to work on the rest of it to be released as a separate product to add additional revenue for funding further development and bandwidth of their free service. Am I mad about this? No, not really, just that I rather felt a little cheated. Was it worth the extra year wait? Without a doubt, yes.
Diablo’s expansion, Hellfire was pathetic, but LOD, coming out of Blizzard themselves, made up for it. The additional items alone were a massive pull! New monsters and different area for high level characters to repeat is even more of a bonus. 800×600, wow, much better. After all, of the patches, Diablo 2 LOD released version was stable and a total blast! There is, however, some areas where I feel that it was dragging and I wanted it to just end. As in Act 3 and those little bastards running around with the big knives, teleporting fire throwers in Act 5 are annoying. Act 5 areas also seem large compared to just about every other section in the rest of the game. Large may not be the proper choice of words. Maybe strung out is better. Sometimes you just want it to end! Really so you can get on to another section to play more! Replay value just jumped. 🙂
At any rate, Diablo 2 LOD is an outstanding addition that should have been in the released version from the get go, but I will get over it. The added features are necessary to have for any Diablo 2 fan that wants to play anything higher than a “Normal” character. Could it have been better? Yup. I would liked to have seen a dedicated server option for LAN based or open games and also a selection bar to pick what kind of connection you have. 100 Mb of bandwidth on a LAN is NOT used very well if the game is “thinking” it is connected via modem to the internet. Warping or jumping of characters bothers me a lot considering the lack of lag time and the available bandwidth. It happened all too often in Diablo and it still happens here. Sometimes, I guess, things never change, until “Diablo 3” comes out in full 3D bump-mapped goodness. 🙂