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Very late thoughts, but starting to appreciate the ingenuity of Diablo 2

chimericchimeric Member Posts: 1,163
I was never a fan of action games, but I remember that without any good RPG choices after the BG/Fallout/Torment crop I played single-player Diablo 2 with relish. I don't know if Blizzard had many new ideas later for Diablo 3, but the second game, I understand now, was not just addictive but brilliant. The fighting itself never did much for me, but the game had so many things: shrines of all kinds - gem shrines, summon monster shrines... It introduced golems made from different items, with their abilities... All those minibosses, too. Resurrecting Fallen shamans. Mercenaries to take along. Very very creative. Almost shamefully trapped in the action genre, asking for a real world to expand in.

There haven't been many games with such concentration of ideas since.

GusindaBelgarathMTH
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Comments

  • jjstraka34jjstraka34 Member Posts: 9,796
    Honestly, even after nearly 2 decades, it's still basically the king of the genre it created. No one has surpassed the combo of classes to choose from, no one has come up with an idea as interesting as Runewords, no one has put forward a better soundtrack. And outside of ASCII based Roguelikes, it also introduced the modern concept of permadeath and Iron Man challenges with Hardcore mode actually being built into the game as an option. There are VERY few PC games as important as Diablo 2. Maybe none.

    BelgarathMTHArdul
  • BelleSorciereBelleSorciere Member Posts: 2,125
    Diablo 2 has had nothing but a positive impact on later action RPGs, even if they haven't matched or surpassed its design.

    I am hoping that Diablo 2 gets a remaster like Starcraft, although I'm not holding my breath.

  • GusindaGusinda Member Posts: 1,808
    Diablo2 (along with BG series and Planescape) has been a permanent install on any rebuild for my PC/Notebooks since I first got them (all modded to match the screen resolutions as they changed of course). Every now and then I play D2 until my thirst is quenched and then move on again. I have recently reinstalled Diablo 1 to try out the HD Mod and found that I still quite enjoy that as well. I have tried a number of clones out there but apart from Torchlight 2, they just can't hold up there end.

    From what I have read, the remaster is definately on the cards, but it is a good idea to not hold your breath as it might take a while...

  • jjstraka34jjstraka34 Member Posts: 9,796
    Gusinda said:

    Diablo2 (along with BG series and Planescape) has been a permanent install on any rebuild for my PC/Notebooks since I first got them (all modded to match the screen resolutions as they changed of course). Every now and then I play D2 until my thirst is quenched and then move on again. I have recently reinstalled Diablo 1 to try out the HD Mod and found that I still quite enjoy that as well. I have tried a number of clones out there but apart from Torchlight 2, they just can't hold up there end.

    From what I have read, the remaster is definately on the cards, but it is a good idea to not hold your breath as it might take a while...

    The problem with most later ARPGs is that there are too many active skills (up to 10 or 12) at any given time. Diablo 2 had far more focused builds, and if you did need to change skills for buffs, etc. it was just a hotkey away before you went back to your main attacks. Point being, a Poison Necro was a totally different experience when compared to a Summoner, and a Lighting Javazon was nothing like one wielding Windforce. Each class has at least 4 or 5 totally viable ways to play the game, and if you multiply that by 7, you are talking some serious variety.

    Torchlight 2 is good, but it's half-baked. Grim Dawn is very good, but plays too slow. Path of Exile is too focused on online trading as the primary focus of the game (Diablo 2 was in it's heyday as well but you never NEEDED to do it). They are all good games. None of them are as good as Diablo 2. Diablo 3 is a completely different animal, and is very good for what it is, but it also has no claim to the greatness of Diablo 2. I mean, D2 stands up there with Baldur's Gate 2, Half-Life, Doom, Portal, and Warcraft 3 as really seminal PC games.

    BelleSorciereArdul
  • O_BruceO_Bruce Member Posts: 2,790
    While I agree that Diablo 2 is a good game, it still has flaws that aren't doing really well nowadays. From very limited inventory, to charms system which makes earlier issue more devastating, to devs' favouritism in regards to some class (paladin), energy being essentially useless, even for sorceresses... You know, issues like that.

    The best thing regarding Diablo 2 is the feeling of character progression, most definitely. Too bad Blizzard doesn't care for this franchise anymore, because currently every Diablo game, while fun to play, will make me question "what's the point of me playing this?" sooner or later.

    JuliusBorisovGod
  • WesboiWesboi Member Posts: 403
    Titan quest is the spiritual successor to Diablo 2. Plus it runs great on all modern platforms and is even available on tablets and mobile. I received a huge new patch a while ago which greatly fixes a lot of the old issues.

    BelgarathMTHGusinda
  • jjstraka34jjstraka34 Member Posts: 9,796
    edited October 2017
    O_Bruce said:

    While I agree that Diablo 2 is a good game, it still has flaws that aren't doing really well nowadays. From very limited inventory, to charms system which makes earlier issue more devastating, to devs' favouritism in regards to some class (paladin), energy being essentially useless, even for sorceresses... You know, issues like that.

    The best thing regarding Diablo 2 is the feeling of character progression, most definitely. Too bad Blizzard doesn't care for this franchise anymore, because currently every Diablo game, while fun to play, will make me question "what's the point of me playing this?" sooner or later.

    I highly, highly recommend the PlugY mod for solo play. It allows unlimited stash space, ladder-only runewords, and the Uber Event and Diablo Clone offline. It has unlimited personal and shared stash, so over time you can turn the entire thing into one massive self-found loot hunt. Plus you can manipulate the monster power with console commands. Do I consider this mod cheating?? Not in the least. The regular inventory is still the same size, so you don't get extra charms. All this does is eliminate the need for muling, which was nothing but utter tedium, and oftentimes required buying entirely new copies of the game to store your gear. If there was one glaring flaw in Diablo 2, it was the stash space (incredibly, it was TWICE as small before Lord of Destruction).

    Gusinda
  • jjstraka34jjstraka34 Member Posts: 9,796
    Wesboi said:

    Titan quest is the spiritual successor to Diablo 2. Plus it runs great on all modern platforms and is even available on tablets and mobile. I received a huge new patch a while ago which greatly fixes a lot of the old issues.

    The anniversary edition, which basically incorporated over a decade of fan patches and balance changes, was given free to anyone who owned the game on Steam or GOG last year. I want to love Titan Quest, but I find it insanely boring and can never get past the middle of Act 2. Grim Dawn uses the same concepts (dual mastery) and engine, but has infinitely more options by way of augmenting and enchanting your gear, and is designed as a total solo experience, with quests, factions, and rep gains (and tons of secrets if you explore the world). If there would be one ARPG that is right on Diablo 2's heels, it's Grim Dawn. The only reason to play Titan Quest would be if you prefer the Greek mythology setting to one of Lovecraftian steampunk. But as far as game design goes, Grim Dawn is Titan Quest on steroids.

    GusindaBelleSorciere
  • WesboiWesboi Member Posts: 403
    Well we can all agree d3 was meh.

    GusindaGod
  • AmmarAmmar Member Posts: 1,211
    I always preferred the first game. The Skill System in D2 made it too easy to produce a weak character and I never liked how you needed to save Skill Points and not use them. Especially before synergies.

    And while it has good replayability, only bring able to use a very small selection of your skills sucked.

    batoorGusindaBelleSorciere
  • batoorbatoor Member Posts: 677
    edited October 2017
    ^I found myself growing into this mindset as well, since I started to appreciate Diablo 1 a lot more over the years. While Diablo 2 was the game that sort of fell out of favor with me, a little at least.

    Years later when I finally tried LoD..I reacted negatively to the massive abundance of magic find items. Is that just me?

    I will always love Marius arc though.

    Diablo 1 epilogue



    First game is almost worth it, just for that scene^^

    Gusinda
  • jjstraka34jjstraka34 Member Posts: 9,796
    edited October 2017
    The first game has some great moments (nothing has ever scared me as much as getting mauled by The Butcher at 10 years old), and it's atmosphere is better, the industrial horror soundtrack by Matt Uleman is suffocating. But if the gameplay in D2 is described as limited, then Diablo 1 is positively anemic. Warriors auto-attack with their weapon, Rogues auto-attack with a bow, and Sorcerers cast spells, though they don't have nearly enough mana to keep up til halfway through the game, at which time they become overpowered. It's basically a template with a really good, creepy soundtrack. Even the class-specific skills were essentially useless. The Warrior could repair gear in the field, but it reduced the overall durability. The Rogue could disarm traps, but there were no traps worth taking the time to disarm. The Sorcerer could recharge his staves (alleviating mana problems) but it would, of course, reduce the total number of possible charges each time.

    The think the coolest thing Diablo 2 did was incorporate the fates of the 3 class heroes in the original. The Rogue became Blood Raven, the Sorcerer became The Summoner, and the Warrior became the Dark Wanderer and vessel for Diablo.

    I mean....Warcraft 1 and 2 were great for their time as well (despite being direct rip-offs of Dune 2), but they are basically demos compared to what Warcraft 3 introduced (and if we want to talk about influential games, Warcraft 3 reinvented the RTS, spawned the entire MOBA genre, and it's engine and lore was used for World of Warcraft). I'd say Blizzard hit 3 historically good home runs: Diablo 2, Starcraft, and Warcraft 3. I'd include WoW (at least through Wrath of the Lich King), but that game no longer exists as it once did.

  • chimericchimeric Member Posts: 1,163
    No-no-no. I just must interfere on behalf of Warcraft 2. It was a fantastic game. Warcraft 3 had some good ideas, but the execution felt uninspired. The "big Japanese sword" issue, heroes... It was bloated. W2 is kind of primitive, but it's just much tighter and more FUN! And to me the same goes for the first Diablo. It didn't have the advanced features and forward thinking of the sequel, but it was dark, scary and hectic. And gothic, genuinely gothic. Hmm. I don't hear that word anymore so much, gothic. But that's what it was. Also, for all the praise I'm ready to heap on Diablo 2, story-wise the world of Sanctuary progressed towards cliche bullshit... In the first Diablo, there was some background, but you basically went down and down the stairs until you reached HELL. Hell was right below! Not in some other dimension, but under the earth! That's visceral, direct, mythological...

  • jjstraka34jjstraka34 Member Posts: 9,796
    chimeric said:

    No-no-no. I just must interfere on behalf of Warcraft 2. It was a fantastic game. Warcraft 3 had some good ideas, but the execution felt uninspired. The "big Japanese sword" issue, heroes... It was bloated. W2 is kind of primitive, but it's just much tighter and more FUN! And to me the same goes for the first Diablo. It didn't have the advanced features and forward thinking of the sequel, but it was dark, scary and hectic. And gothic, genuinely gothic. Hmm. I don't hear that word anymore so much, gothic. But that's what it was. Also, for all the praise I'm ready to heap on Diablo 2, story-wise the world of Sanctuary progressed towards cliche bullshit... In the first Diablo, there was some background, but you basically went down and down the stairs until you reached HELL. Hell was right below! Not in some other dimension, but under the earth! That's visceral, direct, mythological...

    The first Act of Diablo 2 retains the feeling of the first game, then it branches out, because it's a world, not a town. Almost all of the actual dungeons (rather than the overworld) retain it as well. A major criticism some people level at it is that it's too "bright". I guess this is true, but I don't know what the point would have been to make another 30-40 levels of constant descent. The first Diablo was wholly inspired by Rogue. It was originally supposed to be turn-based, and the fact that it ended up the way it did sort of changed history, as I doubt anyone would have cared about it at all if it had turned out turn-based.

    I'd also be more charitable to Diablo 1 if you could still reasonably play it on modern systems as it was at the time. The HD mod works great but it changes the game in drastic ways. There are more enemies, 3 new classes, and reworked class skills. Getting the original to work is possible, but no guarantee.

  • AmmarAmmar Member Posts: 1,211

    The first game has some great moments (nothing has ever scared me as much as getting mauled by The Butcher at 10 years old), and it's atmosphere is better, the industrial horror soundtrack by Matt Uleman is suffocating. But if the gameplay in D2 is described as limited, then Diablo 1 is positively anemic. Warriors auto-attack with their weapon, Rogues auto-attack with a bow, and Sorcerers cast spells, though they don't have nearly enough mana to keep up til halfway through the game, at which time they become overpowered.

    But you usually picked up some spells with the Rogue and Warrior, too. At least for me my spell selection hotkeys were always used. With the Sorcerer, I usually had at least Fireball, Chain Lightning, Mana Shield, Teleport, Flame Wall, Holy Bolt and Guardian ready.

    And Warrior/Rogue usually had at least one attack spell, healing, teleport and maybe some other stuff.

    While in D2 builds usually had 1-2 main actives and a little bit utility. I.e. Sorceress builds were often around one attack spell like Frozen Orb + Armor + Teleport + Static Field.

    In addition, Diablo 1 was slower paced. Both character and enemies were slower, so I think it was more about positioning than D2. D1 also had more chokepoints.

    D2 = fast reflexes, D1 = somewhat fast reflexes + a small bit of tactics.

  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,639
    @jjstraka34 , About Titan Quest, every TQ fan knows that Egypt (Act II) is the easiest, most boring part of the game, where any decently built character is going to start facerolling everything there. But if you can slog on through it as quickly as possible, Asia in Act III has a big difficulty spike, and Hades in Act IV ramps the difficulty exponentially all the way through it. Plus, Hades has some of the most unique and beautiful visual art in any action RPG.

    If you like Diablo style games at all, I think it's worth it to get to and through Hades at least once so you can see it. I think it's a real masterpiece.

    BelleSorciere
  • WesboiWesboi Member Posts: 403
    @BelgarathMTH curious what class u play most in TQ I'm thinking pet master with wolves perhaps?

  • chimericchimeric Member Posts: 1,163
    edited October 2017
    Maybe I should check out Titan Quest. But the last thing I'm going to mention about the first Diablo, one feature that no designers of action games or RPGs dared to reproduce: spell books. Few moments in my game-playing experience were as satisfying as when I clicked on a book stand and a little tome came up in the air, twirled and fell on the ground with a leathery flap. I knew that this book contained some new knowledge, undiscovered power - five pages of spells to fill out, after all! Or perhaps it would improve one of my existing spells, make it stronger, faster... cheaper in mana too, I think. Either way I knew it would be a genuine improvement for my character - one I have fought to obtain myself, one I have literally unearthed under the earth and torn from the clutches of minions. Later developers never dared to make abilities something to be learned out in the world, something random; no, that would imperil player base expectations! They chose skill trees - reliable, predictable, known paths to advancement. A character could get to any point on that tree, given enough time and involvement, which was what designers craved. Get players to stay on all the time, get them to grind.

    Old games woke us up, new games seek to put us to sleep.



    P.S. How about Nox?

    Post edited by chimeric on
    BelgarathMTH
  • BelleSorciereBelleSorciere Member Posts: 2,125
    edited October 2017
    Wesboi said:

    Titan quest is the spiritual successor to Diablo 2. Plus it runs great on all modern platforms and is even available on tablets and mobile. I received a huge new patch a while ago which greatly fixes a lot of the old issues.

    I wish. The mouse cursor doesn't work in 4k resolution. Easily handled by going into windowed mode or turning off UI scaling in Windows and rebooting. It has issues on some modern platforms.

    That said, I still play it and love it, although I still think Diablo 2 is better.

  • BelleSorciereBelleSorciere Member Posts: 2,125
    Wesboi said:

    Well we can all agree d3 was meh.

    Apparently, I'm here to argue with you, darnit.

    Anyway, Diablo 3 was meh, but it got better. The story is still bad but the adventure mode is pretty great.

  • BelleSorciereBelleSorciere Member Posts: 2,125
    chimeric said:

    Later developers never dared to make abilities something to be learned out in the world, something random; no, that would imperil player base expectations! They chose skill trees - reliable, predictable, known paths to advancement.

    Torchlight and Torchlight 2 have learnable spells, although they don't work exactly like Diablo. You can only have a small number equip, and you have to find upgrades (that is, find animate zombie 2 to upgrade from 1 rather than just pick up a second animate zombie scroll).

    BelgarathMTH
  • WesboiWesboi Member Posts: 403
    Best thing about d3 was I made my money back and more from the real money auction house.

    Worst part about modern games is how severely dumbed down they are.

  • O_BruceO_Bruce Member Posts: 2,790


    Anyway, Diablo 3 was meh, but it got better. The story is still bad but the adventure mode is pretty great.

    Just for your information guys, I've done a full list of Diablo games in which story isn't bad:











    BelleSorciere
  • jjstraka34jjstraka34 Member Posts: 9,796
    It is generally true that old games woke us up and new ones but us to sleep (look at the difference between the Thief trilogy and Dishonored or System Shock 2 and Bioshock for examples). The later are still good games, but they don't hold a candle to what came before. However, I would not put Diablo in the dumbed down category. 3, for sure, but I view 3 mostly as an arcade game with alot of RPG elements.

    From 1997 to 2002 some seriously great stuff was put out: Baldur's Gate 1 & 2, Planescape: Torment, Icewind Dale 1 & 2, Fallout 1 & 2, Might and Magic VI and VII, Wizardry 8, Diablo 2, Starcraft, Warcraft 3, Deus Ex, System Shock 2, Thief 1 & 2, Half-Life, Morrowind, and Age of Empires 2. Nothing is ever going to come remotely close to that again.

  • BelleSorciereBelleSorciere Member Posts: 2,125
    O_Bruce said:


    Anyway, Diablo 3 was meh, but it got better. The story is still bad but the adventure mode is pretty great.

    Just for your information guys, I've done a full list of Diablo games in which story isn't bad:











    This is true, but Diablo 3 was esp. bad.

  • jjstraka34jjstraka34 Member Posts: 9,796
    The story in Diablo isn't any great shakes, no. But the way it is PRESENTED through the eyes of Marius in the cut-scenes in Diablo 2 is actually pretty great. And it gets alot better if you cycle through all the NPC dialogue in regards to every quest as well.

    BelleSorciere
  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,639
    Wesboi said:

    @BelgarathMTH curious what class u play most in TQ I'm thinking pet master with wolves perhaps?

    @Wesboi , I've always wanted to play a wolves druid, but the wolves skill tree requires a huge investment of skill points before they're even marginally effective, and they don't scale well for Epic and Legendary, or so I've read. They soak up so many skill points trying to make them work, you don't really have enough points left over to build another mastery or build an effective attack. I don't think Nature mastery is really all that well implemented, except maybe for Heart of Oak and the Plague spell line, and playing a Plague toon doesn't appeal to me much.

    I pretty much always take Dream mastery, because it's so witheringly effective, and works well for both casters and melee characters. I've combined it with Storm and Defense, and I'm thinking about trying a Harbinger some time soon. (Dream plus Warrior).

    In Diablo style rpg's, after a lot of years playing squishy casters, I've changed to where I prefer tougher characters who can go toe to toe in melee. Casters usually require a whole lot of kiting to be successful, because they can't take a hit, and if they get surrounded by a mob, they're usually dead. Doing all that kiting, even with trash mobs, makes my mouse hand get sore. I've gotten some casters into Asia who could pretty much just one click kill everything (like my Ternion Attack character with Spirit mastery), but they started to get into trouble in Hades.

    Of course, in TQ, even melee characters usually can't go toe to toe with the big bosses, and have to kite and use charge attacks to dodge in and out. I guess that's true with Diablo 2 as well, although I haven't spent nearly as much time in D2 as I have in TQ.

  • jjstraka34jjstraka34 Member Posts: 9,796

    Wesboi said:

    @BelgarathMTH curious what class u play most in TQ I'm thinking pet master with wolves perhaps?

    @Wesboi , I've always wanted to play a wolves druid, but the wolves skill tree requires a huge investment of skill points before they're even marginally effective, and they don't scale well for Epic and Legendary, or so I've read. They soak up so many skill points trying to make them work, you don't really have enough points left over to build another mastery or build an effective attack. I don't think Nature mastery is really all that well implemented, except maybe for Heart of Oak and the Plague spell line, and playing a Plague toon doesn't appeal to me much.

    I pretty much always take Dream mastery, because it's so witheringly effective, and works well for both casters and melee characters. I've combined it with Storm and Defense, and I'm thinking about trying a Harbinger some time soon. (Dream plus Warrior).

    In Diablo style rpg's, after a lot of years playing squishy casters, I've changed to where I prefer tougher characters who can go toe to toe in melee. Casters usually require a whole lot of kiting to be successful, because they can't take a hit, and if they get surrounded by a mob, they're usually dead. Doing all that kiting, even with trash mobs, makes my mouse hand get sore. I've gotten some casters into Asia who could pretty much just one click kill everything (like my Ternion Attack character with Spirit mastery), but they started to get into trouble in Hades.

    Of course, in TQ, even melee characters usually can't go toe to toe with the big bosses, and have to kite and use charge attacks to dodge in and out. I guess that's true with Diablo 2 as well, although I haven't spent nearly as much time in D2 as I have in TQ.
    Well, I love ARPGs over most genres, but what you are describing is their biggest flaw (or one of them). There is very little skill involved in them at all. You either have the gear and resistances to take the hits and do the damage, or you don't. If you don't, then you either have to farm a lower-level area, or you kite and chug potions left and right, and in all likelihood also use your town portal (this is clearly often the ONLY way to defeat Duriel in Diablo 2 on Normal if you haven't been farming for gear).

    BelgarathMTH
  • O_BruceO_Bruce Member Posts: 2,790

    The story in Diablo isn't any great shakes, no. But the way it is PRESENTED through the eyes of Marius in the cut-scenes in Diablo 2 is actually pretty great. And it gets alot better if you cycle through all the NPC dialogue in regards to every quest as well.

    The problem with this is that Marius' story is not story of Diablo 2 - but literally his story. It has nothing to do with what you actually are doing in the game (in fact, the only thing that is referenced is that Diablo was ultimately killed) and in many instances it actually clashes with what you find in-game (Tal Rasha's tomb, for example. Not only, unlike actual game, acess to the tomb is bloody easy and doesn't require any horadric artifacts, but the actual game has the tomb sealed shut, which begged a question how the hell Marius was there in the first place). It's about things like that, acts 2 and 3 are the most insulting to human intelligence in this regard.

    Diablo 2 story fall short on it's integrity, while Diablo 3's fails at dialouges and presentation.

  • jjstraka34jjstraka34 Member Posts: 9,796
    O_Bruce said:

    The story in Diablo isn't any great shakes, no. But the way it is PRESENTED through the eyes of Marius in the cut-scenes in Diablo 2 is actually pretty great. And it gets alot better if you cycle through all the NPC dialogue in regards to every quest as well.

    The problem with this is that Marius' story is not story of Diablo 2 - but literally his story. It has nothing to do with what you actually are doing in the game (in fact, the only thing that is referenced is that Diablo was ultimately killed) and in many instances it actually clashes with what you find in-game (Tal Rasha's tomb, for example. Not only, unlike actual game, acess to the tomb is bloody easy and doesn't require any horadric artifacts, but the actual game has the tomb sealed shut, which begged a question how the hell Marius was there in the first place). It's about things like that, acts 2 and 3 are the most insulting to human intelligence in this regard.

    Diablo 2 story fall short on it's integrity, while Diablo 3's fails at dialouges and presentation.
    Well, the first part of Act 3 just sucks in general, as the navigation through the jungle even with the mini-map pulled up is horrendous. Things get back on track once you get to Travincal. Diablo 3's story is just junk, and it really has nothing to do with Magda. It has to do with the Warrior and Dark Wanderer from 1 & 2 being retconned into the lover of Adria and the son of Leoric.

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