News Diablo II: Resurrected - announced for 2021

prudis

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Publisher Blizzard Entertainment and developer Vicarious Visions announced Diablo II: Resurrected for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC (Battle.net) at BlizzConline 2021. It will launch in 2021 with cross-progression across all platforms.

Diablo II: Resurrected includes a remake of Diablo II and its “Lord of Destruction” expansion. Players will be able to switch between the game’s new graphics and original graphics on the fly with the press of a button.

Diablo II was a pivotal game for Blizzard and millions of players around the world,” said Blizzard Entertainment president J. Allen Brack in a press release. “With Diablo II: Resurrected, we’re excited to bring this classic back to PC and also to consoles—with cross-progression on supported platforms—so that players can relive their memories, or experience Diablo II’s timeless gameplay for the first time, on their platform of choice. With the new high-resolution audio and video in Diablo II: Resurrected, the game is as fun and engrossing today as it was twenty years ago.”



Diablo II: Resurrected is the definitive remastering of Diablo II and its “Lord of Destruction” expansion—two hallmark entries in the company’s genre-defining action role-playing series.

Diablo II was hailed by Time magazine as “arguably the best role-playing game of all time, the best dungeon-crawler of all time and the best PC game of all time.” Diablo II: Resurrected welcomes back veteran heroes and invites a new generation of players to experience the game’s sinfully dark storyline, thrilling loot chase, and visceral hack-and-slash gameplay with modernized visuals that take advantage of the latest gaming hardware.

Diablo II: Resurrected takes the 2D sprite-based classic and brings it into the present with full 3D physically-based rendering, dynamic lighting, revamped animations and spell effects—all stunningly delivered in up to 4K resolution. All 27 minutes of the game’s classic cinematics, chronicling the journey of the mysterious Dark Wanderer, are being remade—shot for shot—from the ground up. The nightmarish sounds of Sanctuary and its memorable soundtrack have also been reinvigorated to support Dolby 7.1 surround sound. By leveling up the game’s audio and visual capabilities, Diablo II: Resurrected will showcase the depth of gameplay and hallmark designs that continue to entertain players around the world to this day.

For those who would prefer a more nostalgic experience, players will be able to freely switch back-and-forth between the modern graphics and the original experience at any time with the press of a button. While Diablo II: Resurrected may look like an all-new game, Diablo II’s signature gameplay and systems are completely intact, quirks and all, adding a few highly requested quality of life improvements, such as a shared stash.

Diablo II: Resurrected features seven highly customizable character classes for players to choose from—the Amazon, Barbarian, Necromancer, Paladin, and Sorceress from the core game, as well as the Assassin and Druid from the included “Lord of Destruction” expansion. Players will be able to make each character their own by selecting skills and talent builds, crafting and socketing items, collecting complete gear sets, acquiring unique arms and armor, assembling Rune Word combinations, and much more.

Diablo II: Resurrected is an all-inclusive package containing a lifetime of adventures. It will take players to the deadly world of Sanctuary, where they will face Diablo, the Lord of Terror, and the forces of Hell through all four thrilling Acts of the original Diablo II campaign. They’ll meet beloved mentor and scholar Deckard Cain, fight alongside the Archangel Tyrael, and encounter other pantheonic characters who have become an indelible part of gaming history. This edition also includes all of the content from the “Lord of Destruction” expansion, with the journey continuing into Act V, where players will brave the dangers of Mount Arreat before facing Baal, the eponymous Lord of Destruction.



 

Phoenix RISING

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I am in. Probably going to sink a minimum of 100 hours into this game.

It will be very interesting to see how the economy works without dupes and bots.

Because honestly, our fond remembrance of Diablo 2 was contingent upon savvy individuals circumventing the piss poor drop rates of the highest tier gear, and the infinite grind of the highest experience levels.

Looking forward to reviving my electric sorceress and my hardcore fleshymancer.

Not looking forward to acquiring the highest tier electric sorc gear which was among the most expensive and rarest in the game.
 

dummmyy

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100% multi-buying this game like I said in the PC thread. I am very very excited about this. I still play this pretty often, and playing the remaster will kick ass. 4k and still having original graphical options is awesome. really, really cannot wait for more info on this one
 

Kuro

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Wonder if console versions (and why not PC?) will have couch co-op like Diablo 3.
 

dummmyy

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Wonder if console versions (and why not PC?) will have couch co-op like Diablo 3.

They said there was going to be 8 player multiplayer but didn't specify if I'm remembering correctly.
 

C-Dub

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Wonder if console versions (and why not PC?) will have couch co-op like Diablo 3.
I read in some interviews that couch co-op is out. The implication is that it was too much work altering the core systems, and since they want all the fancy remastered stuff to live on top of original game logic, going into that ancient code is too much work and too big of a change for a game they're trying to keep faithful to the original.

No complaints here about that. After Warcraft III: Reforged it'd be best if Blizzard didn't mess with the original experience in a meaningful way.

However, it has 8 player co-op, but only with online and LAN, and only on the same platform (i.e. no Switch to PC LAN play is possible, sadly). It would be cool if cross-progression also translated into cross-play, as anyone with half a brain can instantly see the appeal of taking your Switch to a friend's place and getting that LAN experience, but they're calling cross-progression a "planned feature" so I don't even think that's guaranteed yet. I expect one of the platform holders (Sony) to do some fuckery to block this from being as comprehensive as we'd like.
 
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Queen

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no couch co op

Rod Fergusson: We looked at it. I'm a big co-op player. I play Diablo 3 with my two sons all the time in couch co-op - it's our Christmas tradition. And so that was something we really looked at wanting to do with D2. But as we started to get into it, the amount of code and UI we would have to touch to make that work felt like it was going to change a lot. And we were a little bit worried about the kinds of changes we would have to make to make that work seamlessly.

 

Queen

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dont think so but this is for consoles.

consoles are soo barren in the arpg genre with couch co op and frankly most of time no reasons why

torchlight 2 and 3 no couch
warhammer martyr no couch
van helsing no couch

and yet something like divinity original sin pulls it off completey fine and allows players to even been in different locations etc
 
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Madventure

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It looks great, Im hesitantly optimistic about it.

Everything Vicarious Visions has said about trying to preserve the original game while doing some miniscule tweaks etc was basically what I needed to hear for it. Not going to pre-order it still but it's good news overall.

I do have to laugh at a lot of people who seemingly never played it or are so used to newer games wanting to fundamentally change what was D2 with blurting out saying they need to ram in mods etc into the base version of it to modernize it and im just like... Theyve said in interviews it will supposedly have mod support etc, just do that... Make it more accessible to this day and age first while maintaining what it was originally without ruining the base experience

It literally is one of the games that helped define what an ARPG is for all the other ones that followed
 

Gamall Wednesday Ida

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they want all the fancy remastered stuff to live on top of original game logic, going into that ancient code is too much work and too big of a change for a game they're trying to keep faithful to the original.
If this is the case, I wonder to what extent
1° there might be compatibility with the original saves files
2° there might be compatibility with the original mods / save editors.

Certainly it can't be the exact same save format, since they are adding a shared stash, but if they don't change anything beyond that, then adapting PlugY (if still useful) and UDieToo etc should be easy. By the same token, even if they do not provide an option to import old saves, modders will.

I'm looking forward to replaying this, but I do not believe I ever found a single Stone of Jordan or more than a +2 staff. (I played solo only). UDieToo was pretty much essential to keep having new stuff to look forward to past a certain point.
 

C-Dub

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If this is the case, I wonder to what extent
1° there might be compatibility with the original saves files
2° there might be compatibility with the original mods / save editors.

Certainly it can't be the exact same save format, since they are adding a shared stash, but if they don't change anything beyond that, then adapting PlugY (if still useful) and UDieToo etc should be easy. By the same token, even if they do not provide an option to import old saves, modders will.

I'm looking forward to replaying this, but I do not believe I ever found a single Stone of Jordan or more than a +2 staff. (I played solo only). UDieToo was pretty much essential to keep having new stuff to look forward to past a certain point.
I wouldn't be surprised if mod makers had an easy time updating their mods for this new version.

Equally and conversely, I also wouldn't be surprised if mod makers had an absolute nightmare updating their mods for this new version.

Blizzard may also continue to treat modders like shit with horrible Ts & Cs.

And I doubt saves will work. Just got a gut feeling that those have been significantly changed.
 

Gamall Wednesday Ida

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The more I see and hear about this, the more excited I become, despite my very very low expectations from modern Blizzard (after pastel D3 where wizards derive their attack from... swords and clubs + "don't you guys have phones"...)

The company that actually does the remaster, Vicarious Visions (what an apposite name for doing remasters....), seems to have an excellent track record with faithful remasters, the last of which are Tony Hawk and Crash Bandicoot. I haven't played either of those, in any version, so I don't know if they are all that great, but they are well-received at least.

Farther back, they are listed by Wikipedia as the dev. for the XBox version of Jedi Outcast (on that game's page) on equal footing with Raven soft., but I assume that's just the infobox being overeager and they just did the port of Raven's game to XBox. :huhblob:
 
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Phoenix RISING

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The more I see and hear about this, the more excited I become, despite my very very low expectations from modern Blizzard (after pastel D3 where wizards derive their attack from... swords and clubs + "don't you guys have phones"...)

The company that actually does the remaster, Vicarious Visions (what an apposite name for doing remasters....), seems to have an excellent track record with faithful remasters, the last of which are Tony Hawk and Crash Bandicoot. I haven't played either of those, in any version, so I don't know if they are all that great, but they are well-received at least.

Farther back, they are listed by Wikipedia as the dev. for the XBox version of Jedi Outcast (on that game's page) on equal footing with Raven soft., but I assume that's just the infobox being overeager and they just did the port of Raven's game to XBox. :huhblob:
I remember in DII that there was a mercenary who cast spells using a sword. Maybe they went all-in with the wizard design in DIII?


I actually loved the character design of DIII. The aesthetics were distinguished. The problem is, that ****-tier economy revolving around the Auction House because they wanted to regulate the economy, and the World of Warcraft color scheme.


That said, the only mods I'm curious about are maphack and bots, the backbone of DII's economy.

I enjoyed hell rushing ppl just for fun, but it will be less fun especially in Act 2 and Act 3 looking for those specific McGuffins to advance the plot without MH.

And of course, MF runs on Andy, Meph, Baal.
 

Gamall Wednesday Ida

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I remember in DII that there was a mercenary who cast spells using a sword. Maybe they went all-in with the wizard design in DIII?
Kurast mercenaries, yes. They didn't use the sword to cast, though, nor to fight, it was purely cosmetic, which is something that always annoyed me. Apparently they used the mesh for D1's mage, just with different armor. Why not give them a staff instead?

Maybe they went all-in with the wizard design in DIII?
I don't know whether that remark was intended as a bit tongue in cheek; in case it wasn't, what I was referring to was the aggressive streamlining of gameplay and RPG mechanics: if I recall (it's been a while), everybody takes DPS from the same sources (as a sorc.. I mean, wizard, I had a big claymore of something like that, that somehow powered my spells, as could any weapon as "DPS" was the only stat that mattered), cooldowns (how I hate those!), no commitment to builds, automatic stat distrib upon levelling,..

(and the less said about the auction house, the always online bullshit, etc, the better; I didn't even touch the game until they removed the AH and rebalanced things a bit)

I actually loved the character design of DIII. The aesthetics were distinguished. The problem is,... and the World of Warcraft color scheme.
I had trouble paying attention to the designs among all the washed out colours. Everything seemed quite cartoonish to me. And severely lacking in contrast: it's not just the palette itself that was the problem; if I recall most acts or areas had a single dominant color and that was it, the rest of the palette was barely used until the next area. The expansion was better in that regard, though.

Speaking of which, I've seen some footage of Diablo IV, and it does not look as good -- to my eyes -- as that of D2 remastered. The spell effects are lackluster in comparison, the UI elements clutter the screen... Still a marked improvement over D3, though.

That's just graphics, no idea about the mechanics of D4.
 

inky

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You are remembering right. The main source for damage was raw weapon DPS,together with your main stat. So you could be a Wizard, and your best weapon could've been a slow as hell 2-Handed Mace that just had +dps and INT rolls, true.

This made every Rare flavorless and boring because the only thing you were looking for in an item was STR/DEX/INT vitality and Resists. And Uniques were useless because they rarely had a main stat worth caring about and their unique effects were entirely underwhelming. There was no incentive for character build exploration when you could just switch on the fly either. And the rune modifier left little room to specialize in a specific playstyle. Because you couldn't power up abilities, there were clearly some that were much better. Cooldowns was just the cherry on top of the poop sundae, because it rendered most resource gathering/management useless. Suddenly passives and items that gave you extra resource or regen had no value.

One detail most people didn't realize was that at launch (and for the first 2 years until the expansion and the big update released) weapon elemental damage (and poison/arcane) didn't do anything but change the color of the weapon's glow. If you had an ability that say, procced on fire damage, it wouldn't procc on your weapon or your weapon's elemental damage wouldn't add/modify your skills because it was just cosmetic. It also wouldn't be improved by passives that benefited specific types of damage. Just one fewer thing to worry about while building a character, right? Just go for the highest DPS, it doesn't matter if you are a Cold based Wizard and your weapon is a fire dmg imbued wand.

They say this was a bug that took them 2 years! to fix, but later on with the expansion, the new lead kinda confirmed it was just something that they didn't think about at the time, that the weapon elemental damage should do, you know, elemental damage or have status effects. Just a poorly designed RPG from top to bottom.

As far as aesthetics go, they obviously took their cues from WoW on everything from environmental design, to character design, to colour palettes, to shoulder pads. So many shoulder pads. And the story was scooby doo tier with villains constantly taunting you with the lamest one liners: "You will never defeat my minons nephalem!" next cutscene "OK, you defeated my minons, but you will never find my secret spy under your fortress nephalem!" next cutscene OK, you found my spy but it is of no consequence, you will never defeat me! I'm always ahead of you Nephalem!"... just the worst.

The Blacksmith, Jeweler, etc. all had 10 different detailed models for their shops that changed every time you leveled them up. It's a detail you appreciate for a second, before you blast through the levels to get to the crafting recipes you need and forget about it. Like heck, if you worked on the game and made those detail models, you'd have cause to be mad as hell.

All the towns and Mercs had hundreds of lines of backstory (I'm not including the audio books here), even non-marked NPCs had tons of different lines, but none of that was of any consequence to the main story, nothing spawned any side missions or even related to secrets you could find out in the world, and no one is gonna sit there in town listening to half an hour of voice lines when there are no missions or relation to the world. There were about a dozen NPCs that I bet you didn't know had tons of lines of dialogue, like that patron at the first INN who says he made a bet you would die at the hands of the Skeleton King, then follows up a few more times, but I bet most people never knew because they are just there to be backdrops. Wasted resources on meaningless stuff.

tl;dr: Like I always say, Diablo 3 was a game made by people who didn't like Diablo 2 for people who never played Diablo 2.

It did some things right, and it had gigantic production values, but most of the effort was wasted on presentation that felt insignificant to the overall point of the game. People wanted an endgame that they could play for years and they failed to deliver. And for all the talk of "always online", they failed to deliver a true always online experience and pretty much confirmed that always online was DRM and nothing more. In the first 3 years. they just made a game and 1 expansion with a new class. No evolving world, no stream of content, no short term plan, no consistent updates. It was a pitiful attempt at a service game and the worst of both worlds.
...

In any case, I'm way more excited about D2 than D4 at this point and I also feel that it's much more better looking (not tech or animation wise of course), and it keeps that atmosphere they've struggled hard to recreate.

I also don't mind that they seem to be over-correcting in the other direction for Diablo 4 either (at least aesthetics-wise, the gameplay looks decidedly D3, but it's hard to judge from such an early showing). I know that people who liked D3's aesthetics and colour palette will feel that D4 is shunning them (welcome to the club, hey), but honestly, after how many copies D3 sold I bet you the total hours played overall is really insignificant compared to even D2's impact, let alone the genre leader PoE. The pitiful amount of effort they've put into seasons all these years tells me there wasn't much playerbase retention for D3, so I don't think it's a crowd worth chasing. There is always Diablo Immortal.
 
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Gamall Wednesday Ida

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the new lead kinda confirmed it was just something that they didn't think about at the time, that the weapon elemental damage should do, you know, elemental damage or have status effects.
I'd have assumed it was deliberately "streamlined out". That it was a bug, I would believe. That they would simply not think about it, boggles my mind more than a bit.

All the towns and Mercs had hundreds of lines of backstory (I'm not including the audio books here), even non-marked NPCs had tons of different lines, but none of that was of any consequence to the main story, nothing spawned any side missions or even related to secrets you could find out in the world, and no one is gonna sit there in town listening to half an hour of voice lines when there are no missions or relation to the world. There were about a dozen NPCs that I bet you didn't know had tons of lines of dialogue, like that patron at the first INN who says he made a bet you would die at the hands of the Skeleton King, then follows up a few more times, but I bet most people never knew because they are just there to be backdrops. Wasted resources on meaningless stuff.
I know in D2 I was meticulous about getting every voice line possible from everybody. D2 was among my first games, to which I came back every few years, and some musics and sounds and voice lines are graven into my mind, for some reason. Hratli has an... interesting voice, in the French version at least. (And I'm impressed with myself for spelling his name correctly on the first attempt!)

I assume I did the same in D3, but have no memory of there being so many voice lines. Actually I have no idea of what the plot is. :-( Leah, Nephalem, something, Nephalem, met ghosts of D2 heroes at some point.

Having a lot of voice lines building lore and characters is not a bad thing in itself, of course, even if they don't have direct connection to gameplay. I like the Souls style of lore delivery, for instance, though precious little of it translates into quests. If done well, they can greatly add to the depth of a game. But I don't think I gave a fair chance to D3's plot or lore because the gameplay and aesthetics didn't draw me in.

I also recall the game being excessively easy. I only bought it after they removed the auction house and rebalanced, though; from what I recall the difficulty curve was sky-high before that, unless you used the AH to buy decent items, as the drops were tailored to funnel you into it. Or at least that's what I heard back then, and a reason why I waited until that was gone.

D2 was quite hard at times. Duriel probably killed each of my sorcs more often than any boss in Souls or Sekiro. (But less than Soul of Cinders @ SL1, because that was crazy). It didn't help that I always played all-mana Sorcs.

but honestly, after how many copies D3 sold I bet you the total hours played overall is really insignificant compared to even D2's impact, let alone the genre leader PoE. The pitiful amount of effort they've put into seasons all these years tells me there wasn't much playerbase retention for D3, so I don't think it's a crowd worth chasing. There is always Diablo Immortal.
I was under the impression that Diablo 3 sold extremely well. 30 million copies total with RoS according to a quick search. Most of it riding on the enduring popularity of D2, I expect.

It would be interesting to see stats on how many people still play D2 now, 800x600px warts and all, versus how many still play D3. I wouldn't be too surprised to see very close numbers.

Reminds me a bit (assuming my hunch is correct), in a different genre, of Age of Empires 2, still going strong, and reinvigorated by the recent, mostly excellent DE edition. Let's hope this remaster can do the same for D2.
 
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inky

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Man, I could really write a whole book on D3 launch and patch history. It's some of the most mind-boggling set of decisions I've ever seen from a developer.

Yeah, my point about the lines of dialogue was precisely that, not that it's a negative to expand with voiced NPCs (I like that), but that it was executed so badly you didn't want to engage with any of it, so it ended up being wasted resources. I called them meaningless, because while I understand wanting to add some character to the mercs for example, they added nothing to the atmosphere or the world. There are only so many times you want to hear the scoundrel making jokes about his love conquests, The patron at the Inn that I mentioned, had some dumb lines like: "hehe I bet you are going to die in the church!", then when you came back, he would go "oh, you are so badass, I'm never betting against you again!". Just awful attempts at banter that killed the oppressing, gothic atmosphere you'd expect from Diablo.

The difficulty was a sticking point for the first two years. When the game first launched, the first 2 difficulties were nothing special (normal and hell), but the last difficulty (Inferno) was bad in ways it shouldn't have been. I would've appreciated the challenge and god I really tried to do it, but loot being so badly designed meant that in the end, the only way to get upgrades was through the auction house. You were only looking for 3 stats and nothing else. Oh, by the way, unique items were extremely rare in normal and hell, so most people would go through the whole story mode twice without seeing a single one. And when you found one, it didn't have the main stat you needed and most didn't have unique effects at all. 99% of them were worse than rares.

The main problem with it was the ilvl (item level) of the loot. Inferno difficulty started close to your character level 60 already, which was the cap at the time, but items had a hidden item level. Every item you saw in acts 1 and 2 were basically ilvl 55-60, and ilvl 63 items only dropped from Acts 3 and 4... The stat rolls for ilvl 63 items escalated so much in power (because they were the true endgame gear) that they made lower ilvl gear completely irrelevant.
It was the difference between a weapon having 120 STR and having 350 STR. So if you were a melee class in Act 2 getting close to the boss, but dying to fire damage you couldn't max your resist of, or don't have enough DPS to do it, what did you do?

You couldn't put more points in some abilities to power them up or specialize in a certain type of damage to counter monsters because the only stat that mattered was DPS. You couldn't farm the gear in previous sections because that ilvl gear you needed only dropped from the acts ahead of you. Then you go to the Auction House looking for a new sword, yours has 300 DPS and is level 60 already, pretty good right? You check and see lvl 60 swords with 800 DPS being sold by the boatload and you suddenly realize that bashing your head against the difficulty of the game was pointless.
The AH became the only viable way to itemize.

When talking about how balancing Inferno difficulty happened, the lead designer said something along the lines of: "we just made it as hard as we could until internally we could barely beat the game, then we just doubled that difficulty before release". The "we just doubled it" practically became a meme in the D3 community.

According to the designers, they meant for people to take months and months to clear inferno and only using the AH sporadically to finish up their character. That was their endgame proposition, just doing the story portion again in the hardest difficulty and chipping away at it for weeks. Nothing else. They did that because they hated that people in Diablo 2 did boss runs for loot over and over, so none of the bosses had standardized loot tables like they did in D2, instead they meant for you to do whole acts again and leave uniques to the luck of the draw.

Another thing they did was that Health Pools for Rare and Boss monsters were doubled for every member in your party, so teaming up in a multiplayer game became a negative. They actively discouraged it by doing that, as far as I'm concerned (I'm a solo player, and even I thought that was dumb).

Many of the patches in the first couple of months were also aggressively against the flow of the game and the needs of the players. Literally the first one they did was to nerf Attack Speed on weapons and jewelry. Just taking away the little power you had and conversely making entire weapon bases like swords irrelevant (because they were lower DPS weapons compared to something like clubs or Mighty weapons for Barb, but with the added benefit of attack speed, and like we said before DPS is all that mattered). Up until the day that Reaper of Souls released, there wasn't a single viable Barb build that could use a 2H sword because swords in general were irrelevant.

The following patch, they added enrage timers to Bosses and Rare monsters. People were struggling to clear some content with low ilvl gear, so to prevent players from taking on harder challenges and spending literally 20 minutes at a boss slowly chipping away their health so they could make some story progress, they added a mechanic that would make them practically invincible after a few minutes. Enemies would glow red, heal up and do increased damage when the timer was up. The idea was to tell players "don't engage with this content yet, you are not ready" according to the devs. Instead what most players did was get frustrated and spend time in the AH gearing up instead of killing things for drops. This was even worse for Multiplayer, because adding even one person to a party meant that your gear needed to be not twice as good, but four times as good to be able to kill bosses before they hit the enrage timer. DUMB. This killed Hardcore mode btw.

One thing people who still wanted to play multiplayer and get good gear did was to get full sets of magic find gear and go hunting for treasure goblins. People would party up, go to a different spot each where goblins were known to spawn and try to clear the trash enemies around them, then call their friends back, everyone put their magic find gear on (which was much weaker because it probably had fewer good stats on it), and then they would try to kill the goblin before it teleported away (they had so much health to that doing it solo with magic find gear was next to impossible). NGL, it resulted in some hilarious videos of Hardcore mode players dying after the goblin ran away and aggro'd monsters that were obviously to dangerous to kill in magic find gear. People did this for months btw. Literal months.

It says something about a game when people would go through all these lengths and basically not play the game (you know, kill monsters, and do progress), and instead they would sit for hours at a time bored as hell just using waypoints and checking random spots in the map for 1 particular type of monster, one that doesn't fight back, and put on a set of special gear and the end result was much more consistent and profitable than killing bosses for loot. At thing at some point it became about players trying to defeat the game's own bad design, like just outright refusing to play it the way it was designed. Diablo 3 developers just nerfed magic find after that.

God, there are so many more things they did, but overall, the first 2 years of the game were dull as fuck. Very, very few meaningful content patches you could count with the fingers of one had, and every time patch notes were up it was a nerf to something, whether it was movement speed, gold find, items that could drop from containers, etc. Just nerfing whatever alternate ways the community would find to make the game fun or porfitable. I did manage to make some good money on the AH tho, probably around $600, but none of this process involved playing the game, just flipping items. There were some good items every one could use, like Skorn, a high DPS two handed axe whose unique attribute was that it could inflict bleed (wow! so creative). Because one of its guaranteed rolls was a primary stat STR/DEX/INT it meant everyone could use it and had very few wasted stats. Other useful items were Natalya's set pieces for Demon Hunter because as a ranged class it was the best one to farm endgame items. Stormshields with high block chance were in good demand, The first few days each one sold for around $50.


tl;dr:

So how did they fix all of this? They just went the entire opposite way with the expansion. Made the game extremely easy, and made unique and set items incredibly overpowered with unique effects and set bonuses that no rare item could touch. Most D3 builds today are based around whole sets of unique or set items and Rares are relegated to 1 or 2 fill spots at most, when in Diablo 2 it's the complete opposite. Rifts and Bounties was a good addition, but compared to something like the Atlas system in Path of Exile it's nothing special.

The whole balance went away from them in a spectacular fashion. You start at level 1 with a 3 DPS weapon, collecting 1 gold at a time, 15 minutes later you have a 12k DPS weapon, dropping stacks of 5k gold. By endgame you have literally billions of gold to spend and abilities do 1200% weapon damage with 550k DPS.

Yeah, you are right, Diablo 3 did monster numbers, that 30 million figure was before the expansion iirc, just a beast, but it's a textbook example of how you can still fuck up so much goodwill with boneheaded decisions and poor design. A lot of games from that era, or even before that era still manage to pull numbers from design alone. Heck, Valve is a textbook example of a developer who couldn't care less about most of their games, and Left 4 Dead 2 probably still has better average concurrent numbers in the past 5 years than Diablo 3. You just have to not fuck it up.
 
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Gamall Wednesday Ida

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Man, I could really write a whole book on D3 launch and patch history.
I believe that. (btw: You are roughly 6+ pages in already :whistle: ). Thank you for taking the time.

According to the designers, they meant for people to take months and months to clear inferno and only using the AH sporadically
...
he idea was to tell players "don't engage with this content yet, you are not ready" according to the devs. Instead what most players did was get frustrated and spend time in the AH gearing up instead of killing things for drops
...
The AH became the only viable way to itemize.
I know we are talking about the devs who didn't think of having elemental weapon damage do elemental stuff, and Hanlon's razor may cut deep here, but... the frustration and recourse to the AH are both entirely predictable; at least if you're human, and have ever played a game. Any game.

Blizz' took a hefty chunk of each AH transaction, did it not? According to a quick search, the fees were 1$ or 15% depending on type, and another 15% if you wanted to get real money back. You worded things very neutrally: "according to the devs...". I don't know about you, but certainly as an distant observer back then, and reading you now, I never believed for an instant that they meant for the AH to be used "sporadically", and would not touch the game with a ten-foot pole until they excised it.

A game with a real money economy is not really a game, in my book. On that topic:
I did manage to make some good money on the AH tho, probably around $600
Good for you, I guess. Is that why you kept playing? Given your degree of knowledge and obvious investment in this, I assume you played for a long, long time. Yet reading you, it does not sound like it was very fun. Or are we just focusing on the negative here, and for all the boneheadedness (if you believe that's all it was) and/or predatory practices (which is how I'm inclined to interpret the decisions surrounding the AH), there were some engaging aspects that kept you coming back?

Cheers, and, depending on timezones, good night.

edit: corrected numbers about the AH fees.
 
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Yeah, it was one fee to put the money into your Blizzard wallet, and double to get it through to paypal.

I speak generally, because I don't remember specifics of who said what frankly. Jay Wilson was the lead developer and the most infamous face of the game, so I attribute most of the blunders to him.

I agree with you on the Auction House btw, the Diablo 2 real money market was big enough that they wanted it for themselves so it was controversial and very expected from the beginning. But, if anything, it's just another failure of design because like you point out, even if I believed their claims that they didn't balance the game around the Auction House during development, the fact that they didn't could also be seen as a big mistake which allowed for players to have such huge jumps in power and sidestep so much of the content. A more thoroughly designed real money market would've been better interwoven with the flow of the game. In the end, the AH was entirely too disruptive precisely because they got too greedy with it.

As for why I kept playing, well, it was several things. At first, it was my regular game with a group of irl friends and well, you find the fun just goofing around for an hour or two at night. And back then, once you spent full price on a game you didn't own you want to get some value out of it I guess, so no shame in admitting that I didn't want to feel like I wasted my money on a game I didn't like that much.

I also have a bit of an addictive personality. Loot games generally grab me better and are one of my favorite genres and I can play them for months. Playing the Auction House was interesting because it's not many games where you can do that, you know, and at the time I felt that people rushed to the novelty of buying and selling with real money that they didn't quite know how to price things. Finding a good item listed for $10 (or even better, for gold) and then flipping it around for twice that amount was nice, and I could take that money and put it towards other games at the time. But like everything else in D3, it got old fast.

But yes, I'm focusing mostly on the strong negatives. To a degree, I did enjoy it until Path of Exile and Marvel Heroes replaced it and my irl friends got bored. Everyone already talk about it, so no surprise, I do think the combat is weighty, and the animations and sound effects make for a compelling brawler when you are mowing down hordes of monsters. Once you kind of get over the more deliberate, slow pace of games like Diablo 2, D3 wasn't entirely terrible. It was a terrible sequel, and not at all what I wanted, but its also not a genre that's overflowing with big releases either.

And hey, thanks for reading my ramblings, lol. Let's hope D2R delivers. It's about time.
 

Gamall Wednesday Ida

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In the end, the AH was entirely too disruptive precisely because they got too greedy with it.
"Unbridled greed by people out of touch with what made the originals so endearing" pretty much sums up (my perception of) D3/Immortal-era Blizzard.

Which is why everything to do with the remaster surprises me so much. It does not seem to be a vector for MTX, and the devs say all the right things about being faithful to the original, and tout all the right features (toggle to the original graphics, opt-in QoL, etc). It seems quite the respectful, comprehensive, expensive remaster, not at all the minimal effort.

Even supposing the devs in the interview are literally Belial, Lord of Lies (who apparently was in D3 but I don't remember much about that), at least they know all the right things to lie about, which means somebody high up at Blizzard, whatever their motivations, actually understands the D2 fanbase. That is a huge improvement; I don't think Mr "do you guys not have phones?", or the team behind that, had a single solitary clue.

If they are not going for a cash grab, then they are going for a good-will grab (at the very least to entice the anti-D3 crowd to give D4 a chance; perhaps even with longer-term thinking) and it seems they know the path to getting it. And have walked a large part of it, given how close to completion the remaster seems.

That makes me quite optimistic about the end result. And, if D2R sells well... maybe it will have a positive impact on other projects.

Was there a reorg or leadership change at Activision Blizzard that might support the idea of some higher-ups suddenly getting a clue, maybe a year or two ago?
 
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Phoenix RISING

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Kurast mercenaries, yes. They didn't use the sword to cast, though, nor to fight, it was purely cosmetic, which is something that always annoyed me. Apparently they used the mesh for D1's mage, just with different armor. Why not give them a staff instead?


I don't know whether that remark was intended as a bit tongue in cheek; in case it wasn't, what I was referring to was the aggressive streamlining of gameplay and RPG mechanics: if I recall (it's been a while), everybody takes DPS from the same sources (as a sorc.. I mean, wizard, I had a big claymore of something like that, that somehow powered my spells, as could any weapon as "DPS" was the only stat that mattered), cooldowns (how I hate those!), no commitment to builds, automatic stat distrib upon levelling,..

(and the less said about the auction house, the always online bullshit, etc, the better; I didn't even touch the game until they removed the AH and rebalanced things a bit)


I had trouble paying attention to the designs among all the washed out colours. Everything seemed quite cartoonish to me. And severely lacking in contrast: it's not just the palette itself that was the problem; if I recall most acts or areas had a single dominant color and that was it, the rest of the palette was barely used until the next area. The expansion was better in that regard, though.

Speaking of which, I've seen some footage of Diablo IV, and it does not look as good -- to my eyes -- as that of D2 remastered. The spell effects are lackluster in comparison, the UI elements clutter the screen... Still a marked improvement over D3, though.

That's just graphics, no idea about the mechanics of D4.
Yeah, I was not trying to be tounge in cheek. I didn't remember if the Kurast mercs used their swords or not.

And wow, how did I not realize that the Diablo sorcerer was a POC???

And I agree with you. I hated the streamlining of mechanics.

I disliked the art direction in general. The Dark D3 pixel shader mod extended my playtime on that game significantly.

I strictly like character designs though. The costumes, outfits, especially how your gear aesthetics are more complex based upon your character level, so you look like a novice, experienced, expert. I don't remember if there was a toggle so you could switch between them or not. Some items, the mid-tier looked better than top-tier.

Of course, Unique items are best! I hope they lean more into it.
They say this was a bug that took them 2 years! to fix, but later on with the expansion, the new lead kinda confirmed it was just something that they didn't think about at the time, that the weapon elemental damage should do, you know, elemental damage or have status effects. Just a poorly designed RPG from top to bottom.
WOWOWOWOWOW!!!! This is just Acti/Blizz slipping this under the rug hoping nobody would notice.

How dirty!


All the towns and Mercs had hundreds of lines of backstory (I'm not including the audio books here), even non-marked NPCs had tons of different lines, but none of that was of any consequence to the main story, nothing spawned any side missions or even related to secrets you could find out in the world, and no one is gonna sit there in town listening to half an hour of voice lines when there are no missions or relation to the world. There were about a dozen NPCs that I bet you didn't know had tons of lines of dialogue, like that patron at the first INN who says he made a bet you would die at the hands of the Skeleton King, then follows up a few more times, but I bet most people never knew because they are just there to be backdrops. Wasted resources on meaningless stuff.
I literally stopped caring when I realized no quest would come from these stories. Or maybe it was an achievement?

ANd I listened to a few for a long time, too.

tl;dr: Like I always say, Diablo 3 was a game made by people who didn't like Diablo 2 for people who never played Diablo 2.
I think Diablo 3 just got ACTIVISION'd.

Also, the designers of D2 were geniuses. Similar problem we have with RTS genre today, that nobody is able to replicate what C&C did. Or Homeworld. Or Age of Empires. They just keep remastering over and over.

There is always Diablo Immortal.
Not without my Witch Doctor, there isn't.
I also recall the game being excessively easy. I only bought it after they removed the auction house and rebalanced, though; from what I recall the difficulty curve was sky-high before that, unless you used the AH to buy decent items, as the drops were tailored to funnel you into it. Or at least that's what I heard back then, and a reason why I waited until that was gone.
Launch game was balanced around the AH. Loot SUCKED, and that's before everyone realized main stat + damage > everything. Or this elemental bug which I never knew about until TODAY!

Like, nothing interesting would ever drop, because they expected ppl to use the AH.

D2 was quite hard at times. Duriel probably killed each of my sorcs more often than any boss in Souls or Sekiro. (But less than Soul of Cinders @ SL1, because that was crazy). It didn't help that I always played all-mana Sorcs.
Yeah, Duriel was a boss encounter where you have to drop a TP IMMEDIATELY or you would be taking a long walk, lol.
 
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When talking about how balancing Inferno difficulty happened, the lead designer said something along the lines of: "we just made it as hard as we could until internally we could barely beat the game, then we just doubled that difficulty before release". The "we just doubled it" practically became a meme in the D3 community.
I remember this. So bad.

God, there are so many more things they did, but overall, the first 2 years of the game were dull as fuck. Very, very few meaningful content patches you could count with the fingers of one had, and every time patch notes were up it was a nerf to something, whether it was movement speed, gold find, items that could drop from containers, etc. Just nerfing whatever alternate ways the community would find to make the game fun or porfitable. I did manage to make some good money on the AH tho, probably around $600, but none of this process involved playing the game, just flipping items. There were some good items every one could use, like Skorn, a high DPS two handed axe whose unique attribute was that it could inflict bleed (wow! so creative). Because one of its guaranteed rolls was a primary stat STR/DEX/INT it meant everyone could use it and had very few wasted stats. Other useful items were Natalya's set pieces for Demon Hunter because as a ranged class it was the best one to farm endgame items. Stormshields with high block chance were in good demand, The first few days each one sold for around $50.
I also remembered this. I do not remember the meme of them hating D2, but I remember the meme of D3 where ppl described the AH as the actual game.

I definitely agree that D3 was a precursor to GAAS. Nobody, and I mean, not one person, liked the AH.

On the other hand, like I said before, our fond memories of D2 was based upon ways the game was played that the devs did not intend. They tried to correct that with D3 and failed spectacularly.

Has there been another franchise where the devs intentionally sabotaged community efforts to make the game better?
"Unbridled greed by people out of touch with what made the originals so endearing" pretty much sums up (my perception of) D3/Immortal-era Blizzard.

Which is why everything to do with the remaster surprises me so much. It does not seem to be a vector for MTX, and the devs say all the right things about being faithful to the original, and tout all the right features (toggle to the original graphics, opt-in QoL, etc). It seems quite the respectful, comprehensive, expensive remaster, not at all the minimal effort.

Even supposing the devs in the interview are literally Belial, Lord of Lies (who apparently was in D3 but I don't remember much about that), at least they know all the right things to lie about, which means somebody high up at Blizzard, whatever their motivations, actually understands the D2 fanbase. That is a huge improvement; I don't think Mr "do you guys not have phones?", or the team behind that, had a single solitary clue.

If they are not going for a cash grab, then they are going for a good-will grab (at the very least to entice the anti-D3 crowd to give D4 a chance; perhaps even with longer-term thinking) and it seems they know the path to getting it. And have walked a large part of it, given how close to completion the remaster seems.

That makes me quite optimistic about the end result. And, if D2R sells well... maybe it will have a positive impact on other projects.

Was there a reorg or leadership change at Activision Blizzard that might support the idea of some higher-ups suddenly getting a clue, maybe a year or two ago?
I agree that the D2 remaster is very expensive marketing for D4. And I'm willing to be seduced.

Belial was the A2 boss in D3.

Yes, we know all the bosses of D2 by heart. Can't even remember all the bosses in D3. That's how much of a colossal failure it was.
 
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One of my favorite Diablo 3 nerf stories was around one of the least used Barbarian skills (it's mostly Barb anecdotes as that was my main class). Melee classes were really struggling, Whirlwind wasn't viable during the first months because it was hard to keep resource generation going and, well it did little damage and going into the middle of Rare packs with affixes like Jailer (root in place) Desecrator/Plagued (pool of high fire/poison damage on the ground) Arcane (pink lazers of death) Invulnerable (lol) meant certain death.

I was mostly stick and move builds with Rend or Revenge, stuff like that. There was this ability, I don't remember the name, it was a weapon or a chain throw, which had a rune modifier that once thrown you could charm a normal monster to fight for you for a few seconds. Now, it was mostly useless because 99% of the monsters did moderate damage by themselves, their danger was in numbers because of their big HP pools and stacking attacks on you, and you couldn't use it on the really dangerous Rare monsters, just normals... but there was this one monster, a big fat dude with two maces that did a kind of clap attack with a small AoE for massive damage. Even "tank" classes got 1 shot or close to 1 shot from one of those claps, but because they were slow moving it wasn't really a balance issue, it was one of those things you learned to avoid or jump out of. You could get unlucky or get rooted/frozen in place and be unable to avoid it, but that was true for everything else.

So, people started using the chain throw on those enemies. Just to be perfectly clear, this wasn't efficient to farm or game breaking at all. You couldn't direct monsters to attack specific places or take them with you into boss rooms. You couldn't tell them when to attack, they just found the closest target and did their attack, then it went into an invisible cooldown, then maybe you got a second attack before the charm wore off (your charm ability also had a long cooldown, so you couldn't just go using it on every monster in an area). But it was kind of fun to see the ridiculous amount of damage turned on enemies for once. If you got lucky and got it just right, you might've actually got away with killing something good.

Of course once the ability got a bit of traction on reddit and streaming platforms, they nerfed it and no one ever used it again. They actually nerfed the damage from the Big Dude, and now you could stand and tank claps all day and it did less damage than basic zombie attacks, so if you think about it, they actually made the game worse TWICE with a single nerf. They removed the challenge of facing that dangerous enemy, and killed one tool in your class's arsenal forever.

Just LOL.