Blizzard! Give me my life back!!! The original Diablo was (and still is) the single most long lasting game on my hard drive. It may not be the first game installed, but it will be there. When I first caught wind of Diablo 2’s up and coming release, I knew that I would be in for some trouble. If Blizzard could possibly expand Diablo, create more characters, items, monsters, plus offer up even more features that I wanted, but did not know at the time, I knew I was in for the long haul.
I must admit, when Diablo 2 was first release, I was disappointed for about five minutes. The graphics looked like they came straight from 1996. I quickly got over the 640×480 “accelerated” isometric view and got deep into hacking and slashing. What two things compel me to continue day after day, monster after monster? The hope that the next item that drops will be the “super duper death wand of kick ass” and to gain more experience points than the hardcore forum scrubbing gamer. I do not care if I kill 1000 skeletons, as long as I never know what the hell they are going to drop! This is the case here. Diablo 2 expanded on Diablo’s items by a ton. Immeasurable if you really ask me. With Socketed items, Magic items, Set Items, and Unique items rounding out the list, I must say Diablo 2 always keeps me guessing. Another great feature that I did not even know that I wanted is the “show items” button. In Diablo, if an item drops, you have to sweep the mouse back and forth rapidly to “see” what fell on the ground. Now, after hitting “show items,” all the text appears on the screen, including different colors for the different types of items. Oh, heaven has found me. Anyway, if “Hell-fire” would have added on that feature to Diablo, I would still be playing it!
Battle.net is another draw. Secure dedicated servers and a ladder that has a (slim) chance of climbing offers more fun than any one should be able to experience. Battle.net is what bit me with the insane bug. I knew that this was worse than crack. Unfortunately, due to my pathetic analog connection, I was unable to justify struggling at 96k (56k x 2 modems) just to have a glitch and die, losing hours of “hard earned” experience points. That did not stop me, though.
I liked the secure server idea due to the large amounts of cheating on the single player side. I do not use cheats of any sort to raise my characters up to high value, just a good mouse, and a lot of time. Nevertheless, providing proof of such a fact is, without a doubt, difficult. Regardless, I decided that the best course of action was to forget Battle.net for now and play a LAN game where there is no lag. More than a year later, the game lives on.
Diablo 2 offers many features that I wanted and needed in a hack and slash style RPG, but there still were a few more things that I would have changed. The graphics were too low, the item sets were invalid after the amount of time needed to find them, and the “storage” space was minuscule.
EAX support is available in a limited capacity. While traveling through dungeons, everything has an echo to it. This is okay, though, because that is really all it needs in a fast-paced game such as this. I have yet to walk up to a door and think to myself, “gosh, I wish I could hear the monsters breathing in there to know how many there is.” I just barge in and eat dust or kick ass! Still, the wonderful “ding” of a ring or amulet is a great sound… and modeled so well!
Music and cut scenes from Blizzard have always been top notch and Diablo 2 is no exception. With Diablo’s extremely limited install option (3 MB) everything ran off of the CD. At that time, it was very annoying to have your CD drive spin down just to spin back up to access that new item/monster/texture. I “done got smart” one day and kept the music to a reasonable level and found myself humming Diablo tunes months later. Diablo 2’s music is environmentally sound, varied, and worthwhile, even if you do not opt for a full install.
New, ground breaking game play, this is not. Diablo 2 game play has been around for, well, since Diablo! Isometric, tile based, simple to use interface, customizable hot keys are excellent, but innovation would be completely
3D modeled with an adjustable camera view (even Diablo you could “zoom” in 2X) that was not in place with this version, but the real-time lighting effects keep the innovation meter at a reasonable level.
Technically speaking, Diablo 2 never crashed. Patch upon patch would come and a different bug introduced, but never was it unstable. Hell, Diablo ran on many of my different hardware configurations and installed on Win 95, 98, 98SE, NT, 2k, Me and XP!!! Diablo 2 is no exception to the quality that Blizzard puts out. Having a game that crashes after 15 minutes is a lame excuse, but a bug that “so and so happens on Tuesday with this hardware
and you are wearing a Led Zeppelin T-Shirt, you visit the desktop” is not something that I would call easy to Beta test.
Repeatedly, I find myself looking toward myand saying, “you know, this combo of characters may work out better.” She lets out a big sigh and off we go to start again, slashing our way to kill the big guy we all know as Diablo.