Nostalgia Lane: Diablo II

The other day I was thinking about titles that will never arrive on GOG.com — happy 10th birthday, by the way! — and in addition to The Sims franchise, I know we’ll never see anything from Blizzard’s library. That’s a shame, because Diablo II would be a great fit for GOG, especially considering how big this game was for many people back in the early 2000s.

I wasn’t a Diablo II fanatic, but I did put many hours into this action RPG in 2000. The first title largely escaped my notice, but it was hard to ignore the phenomenon that swirled around this hit sequel. Blizzard took what worked from the first game and added a lot more to the sequel — more classes, skill trees, areas, and online functionality.

Compared to StarCraft and Warcraft, Diablo skewed far more to the gothic grimdark than Blizzard’s other games. That gloomy and gory atmosphere added a lot to the unique feel, but Diablo II wouldn’t have been as big of a hit if it wasn’t for that trademark Blizzard polish and the addictive gameplay loop.

Watching loot explode out of enemies was certainly compelling. It always made me feel as though I had won some sort of casino game, over and over again. I’m sure I was never very good at the game — I can’t recall getting further past Act II — but I did have a blast playing it and trying out the different classes. My favorite was the Necromancer (because pets), although I came to severely dislike Diablo II’s rigid talent trees that refused any refunds or respecs. It really discouraged experimentation and sometimes resulted in a botched character that would necessitate a reroll.

Diablo II could have been an entry point into MMOs, now that I look back at it, except that I never did engage in the online mode nor stuck with it past a few months. At the time I was much more in love with RTS and straight-up RPGs, but there was a good stretch when I’d come home and do nothing else than click-click-click my way to victory and loot.

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3 thoughts on “Nostalgia Lane: Diablo II

  1. Yeebo October 8, 2018 / 11:15 am

    Those talent trees killed the game for me. Overall it was way too easy to make a gimpy character,

  2. Tanek October 8, 2018 / 11:23 am

    I was late to the Diablo games, but I did get the box set at some point and played both 1 and 2 on an incredibly underpowered laptop back when I would be the overnight support on-call for work.

    Had Blizzard not gone the always-online route with Diablo 3 I probably would have played that one as well, but instead they drove me over to Torchlight 2.

    “I came to severely dislike Diablo II’s rigid talent trees that refused any refunds or respecs. It really discouraged experimentation and sometimes resulted in a botched character that would necessitate a reroll”

    This is the part I have never really understood in ARPGs. I get that your character choices in a game should matter, but there have to be other ways to accomplish it. I sometimes end up being reluctant to spend any points in a skill tree at all because making the wrong choice can be game over for that character.

    The RP part of an RPG (especially single-player) should be more than just taking a point in str/dex/int or choosing one skill over another. Invest me in the character with actual story choices instead.

  3. Wilhelm Arcturus October 8, 2018 / 12:23 pm

    Well, the real reason it will never go to GoG is because it doesn’t need to. GoG is for games you can’t buy anywhere else and you can still buy a copy of Diablo II or the expansion directly from Blizzard. It is right there in the Blizzard store on their site The game still runs and is still supported. I think you can even enter the key from a CD, if you still have on laying around, and get access to download it without paying.

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