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Default Diablo 2 - Retrospective @ GwJ

August 9th, 2008, 01:03
Gamers with Jobs has a piece on Diablo II as the writer plays it for the first time. He's a little underwhelmed but it might be worth noting the time delay and the fact that he clearly plays a lot of WoW. Here's a sample:
I was quite surprised to find that most of the game consisted of a complex dance between inventory management, entrepreneurial trading of discarded items, and opportunity-cost assessment. Do I keep the Ring of Shiny that gives me a +2 to Mana Regeneration and increases my light radius by +3, or do I equip the Fabulous Steel Ring of Oiled Muscle that adds +45 to my Attack Rating? Decisions, decisions. I knew that I would later find a ring that would do all of the above (likely to a more impressive degree) and imbue me with the ability to fold origami penguins. At that moment, however, it was the most important decision I would ever make.
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August 9th, 2008, 01:03
OK, that article is just AFU. He talks 1997 - D2 came out much later. And it came for Mac as well. Oh well … an idiot in paragraph one doesn't bode well for the rest …

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August 9th, 2008, 02:06
He forgot he has a chest to store unique items for when he might be able to use their attributes in a given situation, oh well.
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August 9th, 2008, 03:40
He's missed out on a lot of things that actually counter his objections(the map overlay can be mini'ed up in the corner, the quest items are always in the same place, it's just the place is on a random map, etc) but I do agree that playing the game with other humans gives it a life and enjoyment that is probably the major deal behind its longevity.

That was actually a pretty funny article. I'm replaying it also atm, and I can see that the nostalgia aspect he mentions is a big factor. Without that, I guess the graphics might look pretty cartoony and rudimentary on the widescreen, and all the game mechanics, while perfectly functional and easy to use, have about the same relationship to today's games as a '57 Chevy to a HUMMER.

Where there's smoke, there's mirrors.
Last edited by magerette; August 9th, 2008 at 06:26.
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August 9th, 2008, 12:31
I tried Diablo II for a while, also years late. I too was a little underwhelmed, but maybe for different reasons. I wasn't used that kind of gameplay at all and I wasn't sure how to play it. Apparently, you're supposed to play it online and that's not seamless with offline.

So right now I'm enjoying Titan Quest. I can actually take my offline character into a multiplayer game. I am aware that this opens up possibilities for cheating and I guess that is one of Diablo's strengths… the competitive ladders and stuff. I realize Titan Quest plays entirely the same as Diablo II (I think), but I enjoy it much more.

The graphics are nice, too.
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August 9th, 2008, 13:03
Originally Posted by Thaurin View Post
I tried Diablo II for a while, also years late. I too was a little underwhelmed, but maybe for different reasons. I wasn't used that kind of gameplay at all and I wasn't sure how to play it. Apparently, you're supposed to play it online and that's not seamless with offline.
Yeah it's measure of protection, so you don't bring a cheated character onto battle.net. If the character is store on their servers, they can constantly check if you're cheating.
You can take a singleplayer into multiplayer in Diablo 2, but only in LAN. Not Battle.net. Which seems very reasonable to me.
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August 9th, 2008, 15:45
It is, but I love how I can do both single- and multi-player in Titan Quest with the same character. I've also mostly played with the same person up until now and I'm pretty sure he isn't cheating.

Of course, I'm just playing Titan Quest as a cooperative game and you need a certain level of trust, anyway. That is, trust that you're just playing the game to have some good honest gaming fun.

I don't follow how cheaters think. Is it for bragging? I mean, there is no PvP, right? Is it just to go, look I'm level 999999999 and I can kill the whole world with just this button! Weird.
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August 9th, 2008, 19:47
Originally Posted by itoqylas View Post
mana generation rings… now that's a new one I never remember those being in d2 (or am I wrong?)



I understand… completely ,

just corious , I wonder how game mechanics are different from today (other than the graphics, ai etc… and the technical things…) than they were around the time around d2… not saying you're wrong or anything, just wondering
That's what I meant—graphics, AI and the technical things. Mostly 3D—the adjustable camera, no isometric perspective, and obligatory graphical splendor—like maybe Icewind Dale compared to NWN2, if that helps you visualize. Interface and inventory have changed a bit as well over the years. I'm not saying any of this has to be bad, but once you're used to all that it's hard to go back and see the older games through the same eyes—especially if you've never played them much before like this reviewer.

And yes, there were always regenerating mana and life items in DII, AFAIK. (The Manald Heal ring is one that comes to mind atm.)

@Thaurin: Titan Quest is a great 'diablo clone', but from what I gather, the level of hacking, cheating and other nonsense on battle.net was too high for the same open set-up. I never played there personally, as I don't understand the cheaters and griefers either. As you say if you don't trust who you're playing with not to be screwing you over, what fun is it?

Where there's smoke, there's mirrors.
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August 10th, 2008, 05:54
Originally Posted by danutz_plusplus View Post
You can take a singleplayer into multiplayer in Diablo 2, but only in LAN. Not Battle.net. Which seems very reasonable to me.
I'm pretty sure you can bring a SP char into Open battle.net. I think it's just Closed battle.net where the char has to be server-side.
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August 10th, 2008, 06:16
Originally Posted by magerette View Post
I'm replaying it also atm, and I can see that the nostalgia aspect he mentions is a big factor. Without that, I guess the graphics might look pretty cartoony and rudimentary on the widescreen.
Well yeah, but that just comes as part of the territory when you play a game that is more than 5 years old (or even younger than that).

I mean, what was he expecting, CryTek?
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August 10th, 2008, 09:53
Originally Posted by chamr View Post
I'm pretty sure you can bring a SP char into Open battle.net. I think it's just Closed battle.net where the char has to be server-side.
Hmm. I think you're right.
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August 10th, 2008, 10:51
What are you guys talking about improved AI? Seriously, think about it again, is there really improved AI?

Who really cares about AI anyway, since you can't see it on screenshots, and whereas you always need pretty graphics, you don't need a better AI if you make such nasty little fake-videos and … well.

Tags: Oblivion fake AI TESIV bashing
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August 10th, 2008, 10:56
I finished D2 when it was new and it was a decent actiongame. Having stats and inventory isn't really enough to call a game a roleplaying game though. S.T.A.L.K.E.R. do not only have inventory and stats, it also have decisions and quests. Is it a roleplaying game or not? It have more rpg features than Diablo have at least.

Diablo is a game ultimately focused on gameplay. Equipment is really treated as powerups, experiencepoints are really points, and skill/speed is like every actiongame the required skill to play it.

One shouldn't assume Diablo can offer anything to one who enjoyed a game like Baldur's Gate or Divine Divinity, even if those games looks the same at a first glance.
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August 10th, 2008, 13:25
Both 3d and 2d have it's advantages. If I am forced to play a game beneath 1600x1200 or the least 1280x1024, I take 2d rather than 3d. 3d at a low resolution simply looks blurry. On the other hand, a 3d game which actually have a high resolution is more crisp and show more detail than a 2d game at low resolution.

On the other hand, a 2d engine simply cannot compete with the experience of running around in the wild 3d landscape of a game like Gothic, but you said you were not interested in immersion.

Both 2d and 3d have advantages and disadvantages with interface. One example of a problem with 2d engines is all doors in the "far end" of each house in games like Fallout, Arcanum and Divine Divinity. They are permanently invisible since you cannot rotate the screen. Some developers solved this by never having doors on that end, meaning streets that only had doors on one side, never on both sides.

On the other hand, a sloppy camera in a 3d game can be just as annoying, when it looks at the wrong way.
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August 10th, 2008, 16:03
As I was speaking about Titan Quest, anyway, I like how they did that. Full 3D but with a fixed camera and stuff that gets in front of your character becomes transparent. It looks great and graphics never get in the way of gameplay. Of course, good 2D can look awesome as well; it's just different (and you can obviously do more in 3D).

Anyway, who cares if Diablo II is a role-playing game or not? And of course one can assume that someone who liked Baldur's Gate may find something in Diablo for him. Maybe I really liked the inventory management and character building in Baldur's Gate. You can find that in Diablo as well. Don't assume that everybody enjoys role-playing games for the same reasons.
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August 11th, 2008, 00:57
Originally Posted by Thaurin View Post
As I was speaking about Titan Quest, anyway, I like how they did that. Full 3D but with a fixed camera and stuff that gets in front of your character becomes transparent. It looks great and graphics never get in the way of gameplay. Of course, good 2D can look awesome as well; it's just different (and you can obviously do more in 3D).

Anyway, who cares if Diablo II is a role-playing game or not? And of course one can assume that someone who liked Baldur's Gate may find something in Diablo for him. Maybe I really liked the inventory management and character building in Baldur's Gate. You can find that in Diablo as well. Don't assume that everybody enjoys role-playing games for the same reasons.
I am rocking Titan Quest as well, and I also enjoy the fixed camera. I find that in games where there is a rotatable view (I'm looking at you, Dungeon Runners), the devs just get lazy and assume you'll adjust the view if some overhanging whatever gets in your way.

Here's the thing: These are ACTION games. I don't want to be fiddling with the camera, I want to be playing the game. Since TQ has a fixed camera, the devs had to make sure the view was always ok from that angle, and also they had to come up with decent tech to invisible-ize (real word I swear) any obstacles between your view and the camera. And so they did.

(My only niggle is that sometimes an enemy can be shooting from under a roof, and while you can select him if you mouse-over, it takes a second to locate him. But all in all, A+)

"bing bing bing" goes the You Win Bell for don't assume everyone enjoys RPGs for the same reasons. I get a kick out of the BG series because it involves kitting out a widely divergent groups of characters with a huge selection of items and killing the hell out of a truly staggering number of innocent 2D sprites. Kill, kill, kill, level up, oooo look a better pair of chain gloves! It's not a crazy coincidence that Diablo is in the same genre.
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August 11th, 2008, 18:47
Oh now you've done it. I've gone and reinstalled Diablo 2 and now I have to play that, too. Damn you, damn you all!!
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August 11th, 2008, 18:48
Join the club. My lvl 34 Ranger is knocking on the doors of Nightmare as we speak.

Where there's smoke, there's mirrors.
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August 11th, 2008, 19:57
I don't even know what that *is*!!
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August 11th, 2008, 20:01
Sorry. Translated that just means I'm replaying the game, have a mid-level character and am about to proceed to the second difficulty level.

Where there's smoke, there's mirrors.
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