Diablo II

From Academic Kids

Diablo II

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The Diablo II box, still available in stores.

Release July 2000
Platforms Microsoft Windows, Mac OS
Developer Blizzard North
Publisher Blizzard Entertainment
Genre Role Playing Game (RPG)
Expansion Diablo II: Lord of Destruction
Influences Diablo, Rogue, Conan the Barbarian, Warhammer 40,000
Gameplay Lone or group combat against the forces of Hell.
Official site Blizzard - Diablo 2 (http://www.blizzard.com/diablo2/)


Diablo II, sequel to the popular Diablo, is an action-oriented adventure with role-playing game elements in a hack and slash style. It was released for both Microsoft Windows, and Mac OS in 2000 by Blizzard Entertainment. It was developed by Blizzard North.

By 2001 (with the Lord of Destruction expansion pack), it had become one of the most popular on-line games ever, due to free access to Battle.net. Diablo II may be played as a single player game, multi-player via a LAN or serverless TCP/IP, or multi-player via Battle.net.

Contents

Overview

Diablo II allows the player to choose between five different characters; Necromancer (male), Amazon (female), Barbarian (male), Sorceress (female) and Paladin (male). Each character has different strengths and weaknesses.

The Diablo II: Lord of Destruction expansion adds two new classes: the Druid (male) and Assassin (female).

The Diablo II storyline is played through four acts, five with Lord of Destruction. Each act follows a predetermined path with preselected quests, although the maps themselves are randomly generated. Each act culminates with the destruction of a boss type monster.

In addition to the four/five acts there are also three difficulty levels: Normal, Nightmare and Hell. On the second and third, monsters deal more damage and are generally harder to defeat. However, advanced equipment (exceptional and elite items) is available only in the higher difficulty levels. Completion of the game on one difficulty levels allows progression to the next.


Story

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Tyrael, an angel seen near Chaos Sanctuary

The story of Diablo II takes place soon after the end of the original Diablo. At the end of Diablo, Diablo, the Lord of Terror, was defeated. The hero then takes Diablo's soul stone (a device that is used to bind the soul of any demon or angel) and puts it into his own body, hoping to contain his soul for all eternity. However, the hero is rapidly corrupted by Diablo and quickly begins to lose control. Before long, Diablo is more in control than the hero. In the opening scene of Diablo II, Marius, the narrator of the story, witnesses the hero (known as the Dark Wanderer) totally lose control, unleashing the demons of hell upon a tavern. He is compelled to follow the Wanderer for reasons he himself does not understand. The player plays a character in the wake of the destruction, following the Dark Wanderer, hoping to halt him. The rest of the story is revealed through the four acts, as the player eventually confronts Diablo and his two brothers, Baal and Mephisto.

Character Classes

Paladin

The Paladin is a warrior fighting for all that is good. To reflect this, the Paladin has combat skills ranging from fanatical attacks to anti-undead spells. His specialty, however, lies in auras that buff himself and his party. These auras, which can enhance personal abilities, lower the enemy's, deal damage, or recover health, add considerable complexity to the class because only one aura can be active at a time. The Paladin also has access to great strength and health and, because the auras do not generally require mana to activate, is not heavily restricted by heavy mana consumption.

Before patch 1.10, a technique known as "flashing" was common. Because the effect of an aura on allies (and enemies) is slightly delayed and because it persists for a few seconds even if switched immediately, a paladin could switch on an enemy-affecting aurua, wait for it to "stick" onto the enemies, and then quickly "flash" to a personal aura. The result would be two simultaneous auras, one augmenting the paladin's abilities and one weakening an enemy's. After 1.10, however, this strategy is no longer viable: auras now either change instantly or with unreliable speed.

The Paladin is the only character able to use his shield as a weapon in a charge attack. The more powerful the shield, the more damage he can deal with it.


Usually seen as one of the weaker characters, with too much emphasis on boosting his allies and too little damage to fend for himself. The class has a staggering number of useless auras, and the anti-undead idea did not work in practice due to the lack of actual undead in the harder areas.

When the game was released, the Conversion + Thorns skill combo was the highway to hell. Conversion is a normal melee attack that has a chance to convert the target to fight for you, and Thorns is an aura that causes anyone who attacks a party member to take a large amount of damage in return. This build cleared the hardest levels with ease, so it came as no surprise that it was weakened in patch 1.03. Unfortunately, nothing else in his skill trees was quite as good, and the class slipped into obscurity.

Enter Blessed Hammer, originally a dinky and hard to aim magical attack, until it was discovered that the damage-boosting auras erroneously affected Blessed Hammer as well. This resulted in the infamous hammerdin, an odd caster build capable of killing any normal monster in the game in a single hit.

Patch 1.07 and the expansion pack hit the class hard. The hammerdin was greatly weakened and the advent of immunities and the global 50% physical resistance put all builds incapable of dealing elemental damage, including most paladin builds, at a major disadvantage. The paladin was again reduced to a mere novelty class.

Patch 1.10, the sorely delayed legendary fix-all patch, introduced items with built-in auras, a further insult to the paladin class. On the bright side, the global physical resistance was gone and the game difficulty had been upped enough to make some of the defensive auras useful. The newly implemented skill synergies allowed players to boost their Blessed Hammer damage to enormous heights, and the spell now ignored resistances of undead and demon class enemies. The hammerdin lived again, as powerful as before.

The paladin's skill set is very creatively designed, but most build options are somewhat weak in the face of Blessed Hammer and physical immune monsters tend to be a problem for melee-based builds.

Sorceress

The Sorceress focuses on ranged elemental spells in three areas: cold, lightning, and fire. Her cold-based spells are generally the weakest, but have the benefit of chilling affected enemies (slowing them down) or freezing them (stopping them completely). Moreover, any chilled or frozen enemies may shatter instead of leaving a corpse. (A corpse can be used by some enemies as an attack or can be revived by other enemies to fight again.) Lightning spells tend to have long range and are more "utility" or defensive. Their damage is widely variable. Fire is explosive and relies on hard-hitting spells.

The strong points of Sorceress are powerful damaging spells and mobility, which is valuable in multiplayer games. The weak points are strength and defense. Sorceresses that specialize in ice skills may have difficulty forming parties online, as the necromancer, barbarian, paladin, and druid classes all have skills that rely on intact corpses for some useful effect.


Prior to the expansion pack, the sorceress was fairly weak. Her spells were lacking in damage, due to the fact that once they were at maximum skill level, nothing else could be done to increase their damage. Most sorceress builds had serious mana issues, prompting them to maximize Warmth to increase their mana regeneration rate, which took valuable skill points away from their direct damage skills. Their one saving grace was the spell Static Field, which causes 25% damage to all enemies within its radius and was considered overpowered by even sorceress players themselves.

The announced implementation of timers on some of the more graphics intensive spells, elemental immunities, the weakening of Static Field and the introduction of the Blood Mana monster curse that reflected spell damage to the caster for the expansion pack caused a storm on the Diablo II forums.

Until the expansion pack was actually released and the full effects of the greatly increased spell damage at high levels and the proliferance of skill level bonus items in the expansion were understood. The damage a perfectly built sorceress could put out was enormous, enough to kill any monster in two seconds at most. The layout of the Bloody Foothills level made Firewall the spell of choice to drop monsters like flies. When the attention shifted to the Cow Level as the main hunting ground, sorceress players adjusted and used the area effect Nova spell with as many faster cast rate items as possible. A sorceress killing a herd of twenty cows by casting four Nova spells per second was a sight to behold.

When patch 1.10 arrived, the Cow Level and the Nova spell rapidly became a thing of the past. The new skill synergies enabled specific sorceress builds to invest skill points into other skills to boost the damage of their main attack skills. The class as it stands is still very powerful, but no longer overpowered and the skill set is very counter-intuitive due to the seemingly random synergy bonuses. Weakish low level skills such as Fireball can become immensely powerful after synergies, while some of the higher level skills have no synergies or bad synergies and are ignored.

The sorceress does not have a complicated or interesting skill set. Players typically pick one or two main skills and max them. The few defensive skills on offer, such as Chilling Armor and Energy Shield, are either laughably useless, bugged or a combination of both. This makes her a perfect beginner's character.

Amazon

The Amazon is an "active skill"-oriented fighter. While the Barbarian relies on brute strength and weapon skills, and the Paladin on auras and other special abilities, many of the Amazon's abilities require far more attention. Her skills are oriented around personal (generally passive) protective abilities, the use of a bow and arrow (whose abilities are linked with the elements of fire and ice), as well as the spear and javelin (whose abilities are linked with the elements of lightning and poison). Many consider patch 1.10 to have made the Amazon a much more difficult class to play, especially in the higher difficulty levels.

The Amazon is most similar to the Rogue of Diablo: both are primarily associated with bows and crossbows, and both are middle points between pure strength and pure magic. The Amazon is different in that she can also use javalins and spears adeptly.


When the game was released, she was the weakest character. The infamous bow bug resulted in sub-par bow damage, her elemental arrows were bugged and did not apply bow damage at all, her lightning and poison javelin skills were among the most underpowered skills in the game, spears were very slow to attack with and magical javelins did not exist. Her defensive skills, Dodge, Avoid and Evade were notorious for causing characters to end up in endless dodge-lock when attacked by multiple enemies.

Patch 1.03 fixed the bow bug, but the class was still not very useful. Until patch 1.07 and the expansion pack.

The expansion pack introduced some immensely powerful unique bows and crossbows. The legendary Buriza-do Kyanon unique ballista and Windforce unique hydra bow were not only the best bows, but also the best weapons in the game. Amazons with Multiple Shot and either bow were on top of the world, especially in the Cow Level, the once-secret level that offered enormous amounts of experience and items for very little risk. For the javelin users, the badly overpowered Titan's Revenge featured high damage and just about every modifier a javazon could possibly want.

The long-awaited patch 1.10 finally fixed the elemental arrows to work properly and introduced some even more powerful runeword bows, but the increased game difficulty more than made up for it. While still a strong class, amazons are no longer heinously overpowered.

The amazon's skill set is an odd batch. On paper, she appears to be a melee-ranged hybrid class. In practice, she does not have the defenses to stand toe to toe with enemies to use her melee skills effectively, spears are still among the worst weapons in the game and her lightning spear skills are marred by bugs, reducing her to a ranged attacker exclusively. She is also very item dependent in general and bow dependent in particular, making her a character for the richer players and not very novice friendly despite her simple skill tree.

Barbarian

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Diablo II logo

The Barbarian is by far the most powerful melee fighting character on a pound-per-pound basis. His skills are divided into various weapon masteries, warcries, and combat skills. The masteries are purely passive and allow the Barbarian to specialize in different types of melee weapons and to gain natural speed and resistances. His warcries are essentially spells that enhance his and his party's ability in combat, or reduce the ability of the enemy. Warcries differ from the aurus of the paladin in that they are single-use and impermanent. The barbarian's combat skills are attacks that maximize brute force, his greatest asset.


This character was the damage powerhouse in the early history of Diablo II. The Whirlwind skill, a mad spinning charge, was highly overpowered in the first release of the game, and was reduced in damage in patch 1.03, made dependent on weapon speed in 1.07 and it is still one of the best melee skills in the game. With damage to spare, very high natural life and the life-increasing Battle Orders spell, a well-built barbarian in 1.00 to 1.06 was almost indestructible and was the main power-leveling character.

Until the expansion arrived and the hammer came down. The global 50% physical resistance was aimed specifically at barbarians to cut them down to size, physical immune monsters were a major problem and forced all barbarians to get the magic damage Berserk skill as a matter of fact, the critical life steal and mana steal item properties were weakened in several ways and amazons were capable of doing more damage than any barbarian, at range, to an entire screen of monsters at once. Still, barbarians were one of the stronger classes in the game, yielding only to amazons and sorceresses.

With the arrival of 1.10, the global physical resistance was removed, but the greatly increased difficulty made melee combat tricky to say the least, not to mention certain bugged monsters that can kill a character in one hit. The class did not really benefit from the new skill synergies, and the new and powerful unique and runeword items that were supposed to make up for it are notoriously hard to find or make. Barbarians are weaker than ever, and they are still among the more powerful classes in the game.

Necromancer

The necromancer is a magician like the sorceress, but in a different way. Whereas the sorceress relies on elemental damage, the necromancer is more subtle. He does possess direct damage in the form of poison and bone-based spells, but his most specialized abilities are curses and summons. His curses are similar to a paladin's enemy-affecting auras, but they are more powerful and limited in duration, range, and effect. His summoning abilities allow the necromancer to raise skeletons, a variety of golems, abd even former enemies.


The necromancer has always been an unbalanced character, due to its reliance on corpses and percentage damage effects. Prior to 1.03, the morbidly hilarious Corpse Explosion spell was the best skill in the game. When one monster went down, all one had to do was cast Amplify Damage on the pack and blow up the corpse, killing all other monsters in one blast. The radius of Corpse Explosion was reduced in 1.03, encouraging necromancers to look at other skill options. Revive, which raises a dead monster to fight for you, and Iron Maiden, a damage-reflecting curse, were a powerful combo similar to the Conversion + Thorns paladin build, and the life stealing Blood Golem interacted with Iron Maiden, causing it to gain life when it was attacked and rendering it essentially immune to normal attacks.

The release of the expansion was the end of the necromancer as we knew it. Monsters had so much life that Revive and Iron Maiden failed to do any significant damage, revived monsters no longer scaled up with number of players in the game, physical immunes were a roadblock, the Blood Golem bug was fixed, summoning spells in general were far too weak to be more than a distraction and necromancers were forced to use the direct damage spell Bone Spirit exclusively to get anywhere in Hell difficulty, Bone Spirit being one of the worst direct damage spells in the game.

When 1.10 was released, the necromancer was reborn. Summoned skeleton warriors are the most powerful minions in the game and can clear Hell difficulty on their own with a little helping of Amplify Damage, which now removes physical immunity. Dim Vision, which blinds monsters and renders them harmless, is the perfect survival skill. All in all, the skelliemancer is the best class for new players and players without good items, and still one of the best classes for rich players.

Druid

This is a Diablo II: Lord of Destruction character class not available in the original Diablo II.

The druid could be best described as a "nature" version of the necromancer. Instead of raising the dead, he calls forth wolves, crows, and bears to fight by his side. Instead of poison and bone spells, he has a slate of elemental and other nature-based spells (sort of like a toned-down sorceress, including spells such as volcano and cyclone). However, the druids unique ability is shapeshifting, allowing him to assume various animal forms. He has a number of skills that enhances this ability and provide him with different attacks while using it. However, he can't use his nature-based spells (excepting armageddon) while in werewolf or werebear form.


In the expansion beta, Werebear was the way to go. A high level werebear was almost indestructible. This was quickly fixed before the beta ended, and since then the werebear has never been useful again. A similar fate befell the Hurricane skill, which summons a whirlwind that chills and damages nearby enemies.

When the expansion was released, the druid was by far the worst class in the game. His elemental spells were very hard to use, most were on a long skill timer, and all of them did about one fifth the damage they should have done. Armageddon, the only skill in the game that required all other skills on the same tab as prerequisites, rained down meteors on random spots around the druid, missing more often than not and doing a very low amount of damage, making it the subject of many cruel jokes by other classes. Only Werewolf based druids stood any chance in Hell difficulty, and even a werewolf was greatly underpowered compared to any other class.

To put things into perspective, it should be noted that the high level skill Spirit of Barbs, a minion with a damage-reflecting aura, reflected less damage at skill level 20 than the paladin's low level Thorns aura at skill level 1, and Armageddon did less damage at skill level 20 than a sorceress' Meteor spell at skill level 6 with no Fire Mastery.

Nevertheless, the druid was a fun novelty class and respected as such. Molten Boulder, a giant flaming bowling ball, is one of the most hilarious skills in the history of computer gaming, not to mention the sight of a Poison Creeper, a sentient snake-like vine, sprouting up behind an enemy, stabbing him with its thorns and diving back underground before he can react.

In 1.10, the new skill synergies added copious amounts of damage to the elemental tree, making the elemental druid a viable build. While still not tremendously useful due to the inherent difficulties in aiming and the long skill timers, the class can now at least survive in Hell difficulty.

Assassin

This is a Diablo II: Lord of Destruction character class not available in the original Diablo II.

The Assassin is primarily a melee class, but she is more subtle than the barbarian and the paladin and does not rely on brute strength. The assassin introduces a very different style of play into Diablo II. Her abilities include shadow disciplines, traps, and martial arts. Her shadow disciplines consist of amazon-style passives and barbarian-style masteries, along with a few spells such as Mind Blast which confuse the enemy. Traps are a new way of attacking enemies; she can lay five at a time, and once laid, they fire (or activate) a given number of times at nearby enemies before dissipating. Martial arts provide a new style of attacking enemies; they introduce the concept of "charges." Each of her martial arts attacks, instead of producing an immediate effect, adds a "charge" to her. These charges last as long as the assassin is in combat; she can hold up to three of a given attack type, and she can potentially have three charges of every attack active simultaneously. She then needs to perform a "finishing move" , at which point all the charges release. Depending on how many charges were built up for an ability, the "finishing move" effect changes. "Phoenix Strike" for example, releases a meteor with only one charge, a chain of lightning with two charges, and a chaotic blast of ice with three charges.


One of the harder characters to play, the melee assassin requires lots of button pushing to fight effectively, which is why she is one of the least liked characters in the game. Prior to patch 1.10, melee style was also the only way to fly. Her trap skills, devices planted anywhere on the screen to shoot fire or lightning at the enemy, did neglegible damage, and her shadow tab contains mostly support skills. Her weapon of choice, claws, were on the low end of the damage scale, forcing her to rely on elemental melee skills alone. Nevertheless, despite her low life, she was one of the safest classes to play thanks to Mind Blast, which stuns or converts an area of enemies, rendering them essentially harmless.

Patch 1.10 greatly improved the traps tab with some of the best synergies in the game, but also rendered melee combat close to impossible in Hell difficulty, causing both trees to swap places in terms of usefulness. Lightning Sentry with synergies is one of the most powerful spells of any character in the game, and Mind Blast is still as useful as ever. Patch 1.10 is much harder than the previous patches, but the assassin has access to the Cloak of Shadows skill which blinds the enemies and causes them to stand there and do nothing. In short, the trapsin is one of the best characters in the game for new players and those without good equipment.

New Game Concepts

There are several new game concepts introduced in Diablo II absent in its predecessor.

Socketed Items

While Diablo provided for almost no item customization, Diablo II improves in this area considerably. All weapons can be socketed with gems that convey additional abilities. In Diablo II: Lord of Destruction, runes are introduced to further improve in this area, allowing players to create pseudo-unique items by arranging the runes to form "runewords".

Rare Items

These are more rare than the regular magic items, and can contain more magic modifiers but are not necessarily better. Rare item names are displayed in yellow text.

Set Items

Set items all form part of a small collection, or set. When some or all of the items in a certain collection are equipped by a certain character they become more powerful. For example, a character wearing all the items in "Milabrega's Set", will be rewarded with bonuses in addition to those provided by each of the items . These bonuses are not available with only one item of a set or a variety of different sets.

With the Diablo II: Lord of Destruction expansion, there are a total of 15 normal item sets and 15 exceptional/clite item sets. Each set contains from 2 to 6 items.

The Horadric Cube

One interesting new component "Horadric Cube". This is an in-game artifact, attained in Act II, that can transmute items into other items. For example, 3 partial rejuvenation potions may be combined to produce a full rejuvenation potion. WithDiablo II: Lord of Destruction, the Horadric Cube can endow items with random properties not found on items dropped by monsters.

The Cube occupies four units of inventory space in a 2 unit by 2 unit configuration, but it can to hold 12 units of items in a space measuring three units wide by four units tall. As such, it behaves much like a tesseract, storing 2 dimensional objects in 3 dimensions.

Hirelings (Mercenaries)

Diablo II allows the player to hire mercenaries in the towns of Act I, II, III. Different mercenaries are available in each encampment. In Act I, a Rogue hireling (as in the original Diablo) is available. In Act II, a spear-wielding mercenary is available. In the Act III, one of three elemental mages can be hired. In Diablo II, mercenaries cannot be equipped with items and do not follow the character from act to act.

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A runeword named Enigma

Diablo II: Lord of Destruction expanded on this concept. Hirelings persist for as long as they are wanted, and they can be ressurected for a fee that varies with their level. They can be equipped with weapons, healed, and they also become stronger with experience. Moreover, there were many improvements to hirelings in general to make them more viable as actual help. The second act hirelings, for example, previously notorious for dying quickly, have many extra abilities (including auras). In addition, the fifth act offers hirable barbarians that can use Barbarian-specific gear, although they can only use the skills Stun and Bash from the Barbarian's skill tree.

Runewords

Runewords are a combination of specific runes that inserted into a socketed item to make a new, more powerful item. They must be in a specific order.


The Secret Cow Level

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Diablo 2 screenshot of the Secret Cow Level

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, if you clicked on it a certain number of times, was reported to open a portal to a secret level. The rumor was a hoax, but the legend was born, and player after player asked Blizzard about how to access the level.

In Hellfire, the only official expansion to the original Diablo, it was possible to change a parameter in a specific .ini file 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 quell the rumor, Blizzard included a cheat (that automatically won the game) in Starcraft that read "There is no secret cow level".

The level was included in Diablo II, however. 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 combine Wirt's Leg with a Tome of Town Portal in the Horadric Cube. This will open a portal to the secret level.

Patch 1.10

Long thought to be a myth or an aborted attempt, Patch 1.10 was announced to the world in May 2002, and was finally released to the public on October 28, 2003. This patch adds several new features and items into the game.

Ladder Characters: The patch introduces a new type of characters called "Ladder Characters". Only Ladder Characters are ranked on the ladder (lists of the top 1000 characters on a realm in different categories), and these characters are can only join games created by other ladder characters. This effectively creates a distinct economy for these characters free from the existing economy where any item in the game is available.

Ladder seasons are also introduced where ladder characters play together for a season. The standard season length is still unknown. When a ladder season ends, the ladder characters are converted to non-ladder characters. To continue playing in the new ladder season, players will have to create new characters, thus restarting the economy.

Ladder-only Features: The patch also includes items and cube recipes that are ladder-only. These can be found in game types except non-ladder Battle.net games. This restriction was added to compensate for increased monster difficulty in ladder games, and also because overall difficulty was further increased as the players have no longer access to their non-ladder items to help. When a ladder season ends the ladder-only items found will be moved to the non-ladder realm with the characters and will be quite valuable.

Rust Storm: Blizzard also implemented a new system for identifying and deleting illegal items on the realms. The system was dubbed "rust storm" because hacked items are "rusted" and removed from the realms. When Blizzard is made aware of a new hacked or bugged item, they can simply update the rust storm filters and the item will be deleted from the entire realm. The feature was intended to help keep the economy stable and free from items that give players an unfair advantage.

Leeching and Rushing: A popular playing style in the pre-1.10 realms was to "rush" a character, meaning that the player would have a friend of much higher level (the "rusher") quickly play through the game for them, completing the needed quests and skipping the others, while the friend of lower level (the "rushee") tagged along at a safe distance. This allowed the rushed player to bypass much of the long areas of the game that are time consuming to complete. The player would then "leech experience" (i.e., gain through no effort of their own) from higher level characters to gain levels before continuing. Leeching experience was most commonly done in the Secret Cow Level, since this level could be created repeatedly as long as the Cow King was not killed by the game maker, and because the level had the highest density of monsters, providing a fairly large amount of experience per unit time spent when the game had the maximum number of players. With 1.10 these tactics were made much more time consuming and more difficult because the amount of experience a player receives from being partied is based on the proximity to the actual fighting and the difference between player levels. This was meant to encourage players to play the game the way Blizzard designed it, in truly cooperative games. However, the player community found variant methods to leech (namely the so-called Baal runs and Pit runs), which, albeit slower than the "Cow runs", are still well beyond the intended leveling speed.

Diablo II screenshot
Enlarge
Diablo II screenshot

Skill Synergies: With Patch 1.10, Blizzard introduced a feature called "Synergies" (before 1.10, seen in the Druid's and Necromancer's summoning skills). Synergies allow skills to gain bonuses depending on the skill levels of other, related skills. This enables the player to build a more varied character while still attaining the efficiency and power of a specialised build (the so-called "cookie-cutter" variants). The downside to synergies is that many pre-1.10 characters were made essentially useless because the popular ways to allocate skills before 1.10 results in extremely low damage characters after 1.10.

The World Event: Patch 1.10 also introduced the world event. This is a server-wide event that, when in effect, replaces the next spawned super unique monster by a Diablo Clone that is much tougher than the regular Diablo act boss monster, but also drops the much sought after unique Annihilus charm. This charm is dropped only in the Diablo II: Lord of Destruction expansion. The event is allegedly tied to the selling of "The Stone of Jordan" (or "SoJ"), a very popular ring that was/is, as such, very extensively duplicated. The objective seems to have been the removal of excess SoJs from the game.

The general player opinion of Patch 1.10 is mixed. Some players celebrated the new cheat-free environment, while others were aggrieved that their characters were affected retroactively by new features, drastically altering their efficiency and often forcing them to start over.

It is probable that patch 1.10 will be the last major patch released for Diablo II (except for possible critical bug fix patches, like the Mac OS specific patch 1.10b), as many former Diablo II designers have now left Blizzard to form the new company Flagship Studios. A minor utility, the a Mac OS X native installer (The Diablo II/Mac CD can only be install from Mac OS 9/Classic), was released after patch 1.10.

Diablo II on Battle.net

The Diablo II section of Battle.net consists of a global online community made up of tens of thousands of people who connect to six primary realms across the globe: two in the United States (East and West), one in Europe, and three in Asia. Each realm is comprised of several servers, and allows for two different method sof connecting: there is the closed realm, where all character data is stored on the battle.net servers, and there is the open realm where all player date is stored on the player's computer. There are generally many more cheats on the open realm because character data can be altered locally.

Players can create unlimited accounts with a maximum of eight characters per account, though only one character can be played at a time. Up to eight players are allowed in each "game", each of which is basically identical to single-player Diablo 2 worlds, except that other players may join. As there are different games for different purposes, there are different channels for players to enter and use to chat. From dueling channels to trading channels, players can meet up with others to talk, arrange duels, trade, etc. Characters can only be played within a game.

Game Styles

Players can create characters to play in "softcore", "hardcore", "softcore ladder", or "hardcore ladder" modes. Softcore characters can be resurrected when killed, while hardcore characters are permenantly destroyed. Ladder characters are ranked on the ladder, and may not interact with non-ladder characters as of patch 1.10.

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