After my recent disappointing experience with a brand new role playing game, I decided to bury my sorrows in a new “Diablo II” character. As I started my new Amazon, I realized something extraordinary. “Diablo II” was released 11 years ago, and its expansion nearly 10. How does a game that is a decade old have that much staying power? “Diablo II” set the bar for dungeon crawler games, and has been hacked, patched and remade dozens of times over, but has withstood the test of time.
“Diablo II” comes with five characters: Amazon, Necromancer, Barbarian, Sorceress and Paladin. If you splurge and pick up the expansion “Lord of Destruction,” you gain two additional characters: Assassin and Druid. Each character class comes with three different skill trees that allow you to specialize in certain types of attacks. I worked on an Amazon that specialized in lightning-based javelin attacks. That way, I could do both decent melee and ranged attacks.
An important aspect of “Diablo II” is the way the game map is set up. A majority of the map layouts are randomized each time you start the game. What this means is that when you load your saved game and start in the base camp, the exit to the outside world may be located on a different side of the camp. The outside world is randomly scrambled based upon the system clock on your computer, and the only way to get the same map setup multiple times is to manipulate your computer’s time settings. The map changing coupled with the numerous different ways to play your character make multiple plays-through a must, even though the quests themselves don’t change. There are three game settings, and as you complete one you unlock the next. Each new level from normal, nightmare and hell, has more difficult enemies to test your skills against, and new rewards.
The other major selling point of “Diablo II” is the ability to play multiplayer games over both a local network, and over the free battle.net service run by Blizzard. “Diablo II” is a fun game to play solo, but the multiplayer experience is what makes it shine. Some character abilities are built for group play, be it the Paladin’s beneficial auras or the Barbarian’s battle shouts. As more players join your online or local game, the enemies scale to become more difficult to defeat.
“Diablo II” has been around for a little over a decade, and is still on store shelves today. This game still has an active player base in the millions, and has in recent years even made bestseller lists. You can pick up this title and its expansion together for $20 in a nifty battle chest that also includes a strategy guide for new players. If you want to waste a weekend, or even start a new hobby, give this game a shot.