15 Years of Diablo: IncGamers Serving the Community


We recently saw the fifteenth anniversary of the Diablo franchise, and join Blizzard in celebrating this series of computer games that have shown such amazing lasting power, and have carved out such an important place in many of our lives.  More than just the video games though, it’s the Diablo Community that’s had such an impact on so many of us, none more-so than the team here at Diablo: IncGamers who in February passed an important milestone celebrating its 15 year anniversary.

It’s been more than ten years since the last title in the Diablo series was released, but DiabloWikiDiablo II remains a hugely-popular game, in no small part due to the large fan base that continues to play it together, fight to the death through it, and engage in conversation and debate about it, while anticipation steadily builds for Diablo III.

We’ve been here, serving as an anchor of the Diablo community, for nearly as long as the games themselves have existed, and as we gear up for Diablo III, we’re more engaged with the community and busier than ever. It’s been a long road to this point though, so let’s take a quick stroll down it, back to the early days. Read on to find out how it all began for Diablo: IncGamers and take a trip down memory lane. Pictures, videos and competition all inside…

In the beginning…

The Reality-X videogame cafe

The Reality-X videogame cafe

Diablo IncGamers was founded in February 1997 under the unwieldy name of, diablo.reality-x.co.uk. Why the strange URL? In 1994 site founders Elly Davis and Paul Younger had embarked on a new venture, setting up the world’s first dedicated videogaming café, a place where like-minded gamers could go to play what were some of the first LAN titles together. Internet gaming at that point had yet to catch-on and with Elly and Paul both being mad gamers it was an exciting venture into the unknown.

The Reality-X videogame cafe

The Reality-X videogame cafe

That early venture had its fits and starts, and as the Internet grew in popularity, the concept of creating websites devoted to particular video game titles became a realistic idea. Elly was one of the first into that field, and by 1996 she was getting to grips with HTML and working on small projects for the gaming café.  She created various early sites, but her interest was truly piqued by an upcoming title by the name of Diablo. When Blizzard released the game in late 1996, the café visitors were soon waiting in line for their chance to play the revolutionary RPG. Intrigued by the game’s features and design, Elly began to document the items, monsters, shrines, and other key aspects of the game, and compiled that information into a rudimentary website, intending it purely for the use of the players inside the cafe. At that time the site was hosted on a very small server inside the café’s office on a 64K leased line. Yes, you read that right, 64K!

Elly continued to update the website, and during the early months of 1997, an increasing number of Internet visitors began viewing the Diablo pages. These were the very early days of the Internet, long before Google, but early search engines and word of mouth via gaming discussion forums and newsgroup conversations were making the site known as a resource for Diablo players. Elly began to work more and more on the site and eventually one keen reader caught her attention. Flux was knowledgeable about Diablo and Hellfire and very eager for Diablo II, and despite initially knowing nothing about running a website, he was soon learning on the job and assisting in the day-to-day operations of the growing community resource.

Elly Working on the Diablo Site in 1997

Shop shut Elly has time to work at night on the Diablo site (1997)

It would be hard for users of modern websites to believe the sorts of technological issues we faced in those early days. Something as simple as forum software that worked through a browser was hi-tech, and Elly used to facilitate community discussions by pasting reader emails into a threaded format! Other site features included a massive collection of reader suggestions for improvements to be made in Diablo II; these were regularly updated on the site, all compiled one at a time from emails, and a massive print out of these were eventually hand-delivered to Max Schaefer.

In 1997 as Elly’s web skills improved, amazing features such as an automated forum appeared on the site, and the Diablo community started to grow. At that point Elly and Flux were intently following all the Diablo 1 news, and as they passed that information on to the appreciative fans, Blizzard began to take notice of the site and the community forming around it.

Both Elly and Rush’s time was now divided between the Diablo community and working with the UK gaming scene on numerous titles. They also organised the UK’s first ever large scale LAN party which was held in Leeds two years in a row with around 400+gamers turning up for three days of gaming madness with every game possible being played, including Diablo. As part of the gaming cafe they also organised special launch events for publishers working on titles such as Half Life, Quake 2 and X-Wing vs Tie Fighter to name a few.

Fusion Lan Parties

The Lan Parties

Machinima founder Hugh Hancock at Launch of Half Life 2

Machinima founder Hugh Hancock at Launch of Half Life 2

Fall asleep at our LAN parties at your peril.

Fall asleep at our LAN parties at your peril.

First Contact

Around that time, Rush was involved with the videogame industry via the Scottish Games Alliance, a Scottish Enterprise funded body to help Scottish Game developers in the global market, these included companies such DMA (now Rockstar), Inner Working and Viz Interactive. Through its auspices, Elly and Rush attended the ECTS in London in September of 1997, and it was there that they first hooked up with the Blizzard North development team and saw Diablo II in person. It was great to finally meet the game creators, and very gratifying to see them happily devote extra time to running a demo for Elly, and to answer long lists of reader questions she’d brought along. Elly remembers being escorted into the closed booth by Blizzard PR who asked a few of the magazines to move aside from the demo machine so Elly could play and ask questions. In those early days, Blizzard PR understood the importance of the community and also as a tool to promote what they hoped was going to be a massive hit sequel.

Rush like a kid in a candy store

Rush like a kid in a candy store at E3 1998

It was also 1997 when Rush and Elly were commissioned to go to Atlanta for  E3 , they were there to assess the state of the multiplayer gaming market for the Scottish Games Alliance, and it’s here they really got a taste of the games industry on a large scale for the first time. ECTS was pretty big but nothing quite like E3.

The Hellfire expansion pack for Diablo 1 was the next title in the series and Elly still remembers when she deleted the entire Hellfire section of the site by accident on the tiny café server. It was 23 December 1997 when disaster struck, so not wanting to disappoint the readers she pieced the site back together from files on her HD working through the night in the unheated Edinburgh café to get the site back online as fast as possible. It was a 32 hour stint working through the night to get things back up and running.

Flux excited at E3 (on the right)

Flux excited at E3 (on the right)

Flux first saw Diablo II in person the first morning of E3, in 1998. He was nervous and excited to see the game and meet the developers, but when he reached the booth he was surprised to discover that the Blizzard North developers were just as eager to meet their fans. Flux and Gaile were warmly-greeted and immediately ushered to demo machines where they could watch the action and speak with developers (not PR people; the actual developers) who were happy to answer anything and everything they had to ask. Flux was shocked too when he found that he’d gone through his entire seven pages of printed out questions by lunchtime.

Welcome to Diabloii.Net

Video of the old DiabloII.Net Website

Video of the old DiabloII.Net Website

DiabloII.Net was born in 1998, as the site got a new domain name and a total makeover. The site design changed dramatically to what many of the long-time readers will remember as the red site with the wooden borders. Web tech had improved quite a lot by 1998, and fancy features such as news scripts and forums made running the site easier, while giving the ever-growing community a much more interactive experience.

Another contributor joined the site around this time, as Gaile Gray, a newsletter writer and huge Blizzard fan from the Seattle area, joined the crew. Her timing was excellent, since in mid-1999 Blizzard North invited Elly, Flux, and Gaile to visit Blizzard North for a private weekend of Diablo II testing. Diabloii.net was the first site (fan or otherwise) so honored, and it wasn’t just a media event, as the Blizzard North developers were very eager for feedback and critiques by knowledgeable outsiders (Visit Report and Blizzard North office tour).

Nom nom nom - Nutriants Optional

Nom nom nom – Nutrients Optional

In those days, Blizzard North enjoyed considerable independence in their operations, and as such, the Diabloii.net crew were in the offices for three days straight, during which they were granted almost full access to the developers and the studio, including the awesomely-stocked kitchen. Only one wing of the studio was off limits, as a secret project was under development. (It was revealed to be Diablo II: Lord of Destruction, just a few months after Diablo 2’s launch.)

Blizzard North continued to show their appreciation of the site, by including the names of Elly, Gaile, and Flux as in-game mercenaries.

Diabloii.Net was always keen to work with the community and as far back as 1999 started taking on hosted sites, the first being the Holy Knights of Westmarch (HKW) guild site which has to be one of the longest running guilds around for the Diablo series. HKW is still going strong today and is still hosted on the Diablo: IncGamers site. Other long-time community features include the Player Suggestions (which began as ideas for Diablo I, and continue in forum form), the largest collection of Diablo fan art online (now curated by HolyKnight3000), Scorch’s Darkness (monster encyclopedia) ran by Scorch, the original Dark Library fan fiction site (now the Fan Fiction Forum), and who can forget the original Diablo 2 trading site (the Marketplace) which helped players trade items legitimately in an eBay style fashion before all trading was moved into the extremely popular trade forums (still going strong).

Marketplace - Diablo 2 Auction Site

The Diablo 2 Auction Site – Marketplace

Holy Knights of Westmarch - Diablo 3 Guild

Holy Knights of Westmarch – Diablo 3 Guild

Darkness - Monster Website run by Scorch

Darkness – Monster Website run by Scorch

The Beast that is Diabloii.Net

Elly soon realized that the site was becoming a bit of a monster and when IGN approached her in 1999 to join the IGN network of game sites she jumped at the chance, IGN were busy building communities and expanding into the community site market. IGN were incredibly supportive of all the work on the site helping Rush with more of the tech side of the web hosting and of course revenue through advertising to help keep the site afloat. Hosting bills were becoming rather large and the site was becoming a real strain on Elly’s pocket.

Joining IGN

Joining IGN

Each year IGN would run videogame website awards for sites that were not only hosted by IGN but other networks too and DiabloII.Net scooped the best fansite award multiple times while the awards were running which was a great reward for the hard work the news crew and forum moderators had put into the site.

When IGN had a bit of a financial shake-up they decided that they would no longer continue to host sites and concentrate on their core business, it was at this point the future of the site became uncertain. The dot.com bubble was bursting and ad revenue was harder to come by. With the site being such an important part of the Diablo community, Elly and Rush decided that it was worth fighting for and Elly put her personal savings into the site hosting to keep the site online and wait for things to pick up in the ad market. 2002/2003 were a tough couple of years for DiabloII.Net.

A site supporter service (Site Pals) was put into place to help generate funds and the community have consistently subscribed to the service since, gaining perks and benefits.  Elly remembers when the service was first put into place, in those austere days, receiving sizeable donations from a number of the Diablo 2 development team which went a long way to keeping the site online.

Riding the dot.com crash storm, the site was still continuing to grow and Elly and Rush decided to go it alone and not look for another network partnership but instead keep everything in-house. Rush had already started up a World of Warcraft section after WoW was announced at ECTS and there was of course the Loadedinc.com main website which was the general gaming news side of things.

Diablo 2 Lord of Destruction

Diablo 2 Lord of Destruction

Things were also changing at Blizzard. We had already seen the release of the Diablo 2 expansion pack DiabloWikiLord of Destruction in 2001. No additional products were announced by Blizzard North, though it was widely-rumoured that Diablo III was under development. The next big news to come from Blizzard North emerged in early-2003, when the gaming world was shocked to learn that the “Big Four,” which included the three founders of Blizzard North and the Diablo franchise, Dave Brevik, Erich Schaefer, and Max Schaefer, plus Diablo executive producer Bill Roper, all left the company. Not long after their departure Flux paid his last official visit to Blizzard North, as one of a handful of testers to get a trial run with Diablo II’s legendary v1.10 patch, thanks to an invite from producer and programmer Peter Hu. (Flux also got a preview of the very early version of Diablo III at that time, though he was never able to speak of it until the game was officially announced in 2008.)

Though Blizzard North remained in operation for a couple of years longer, constant staff losses hobbled production, and the studio was finally shuttered in mid-2005 without ever revealing any additional projects.

Despite the aging Diablo II and a lack of word on Diablo III, DiabloII.Net remained active and the hub of a busy community of gaming fans. With all Blizzard contact moving to Blizzard in Irvine there was definitely a change in mood on how Blizzard would interact with their communities. Blizzard had a hit on their hands with WoW and things were starting to tighten up when it came to talking with their fansites and the press. It was time for lock-down.

The Quiet Years

Undeterred with the thought of contact drying up with the developers, Diabloii.Net remained the only community voice of any size during the long, quiet years from 2004-2008. Even without a Diablo III announcement, fans remained hungry for more Diablo and so Diabloii.Net’s task was to keep interest in the franchise alive. Blizzard itself seemed disinterested in the franchise; there was no sign of it at the first BlizzCon in 2005, other than a banner or two featuring cinematic artwork of Baal.

In retrospect it’s easy to see why not; Blizzard North had just been closed under fairly acrimonious terms, and everyone responsible for the creation of the Diablo games had long since departed. Furthermore, Blizzard’s new hit, World of Warcraft, was growing ever more popular and profitable, and requiring all of the company’s resources. As a result, there was essentially nothing about Diablo, either from Blizzard or their PR department, from 2004-2008.

Diablo 2 Forums Remained Active

Diablo 2 Forums Remained Active

Even during these quiet years, Diabloii.net remained an active centre of the die hard community. There were bumps in the road, of course; to this day long time forum members recall “The Great Forum Crash of 2003”, a black day in the site’s history where the forums were simply erased due to a database problem. Rush remembers doing his utmost to bring it all back but ultimately, after many long nights, he succumbed to the fact they were gone forever. The upside was a new forum system was put in place so at least the community had new toys to play with. A black day indeed.

During the slow news years, the Off Topic forum flourished with the community debating all sorts of topics and an “Other Games” forum was also launched while Diablo gamers waited patiently for some sort of reveal. The forums have always been busy and there is even a thread with over 1.2 million posts in it tucked away in the ever-popular single player forum.

In 2006 Elly and Rush formed IncGamers to bring all the sites together, the Diablo, Guild Wars, WoW, Warcraft 3 and StarCraft communities would all come under one single network umbrella. There was a lot of ground to cover for all these games and it was thanks to their extremely pro-active communities, admins and dedicated moderators that the sites flourished.

The Big Day Arrives

Diablo 3 Announced at WWI 2008

Diablo 3 Announced at WWI 2008

After so many years of World of Warcraft as Blizzard’s flagship product, it felt like Diablo 3 might never come. Rumours swirled around BlizzCon 2007, but that show passed without a trace of Diablo. Finally, in mid-2008, Blizzard invited DiabloII.Net to attend the World Wide Invitational in Paris. Rush and Elly headed off with their ears perked, and after hearing numerous rumours during the days before the show, they felt sure now was the time Diablo III was about to be revealed.

Many readers can still recall our news post, the night before the WWI 2008, that Diablo III was to be revealed the next day. This news electrified the community, though it came as something of a shock to the Blizzard PR team, as Rush and Elly found out the next morning when they were approached by a rather irate Blizzard individual who said, loudly, “I am so disappointed!”

Elly explained that the news had only been posted after it had been leaked by a general gaming site, a fact that had eluded the Blizzard PR department since they hadn’t checked other websites.

Though that reveal produced some tense relations, things were smoothed over and relations with Blizzard PR went smooth during 2008 and 2009, as IncGamers was provided with press passes to BlizzCon 2008 and 2009, as well as invites to Blizzard Irvine for various Starcraft and World of Warcraft press events.

Relations with Blizzard took an unexpected turn for the worse in 2010, when a non-native English speaker writing on the network’s Starcraft 2 site referred to a bug in the beta test as “an exploit.” His meaning was more akin to, “a trick,” but the E-word apparently upset some at Blizzard PR dept., though the wording of the post was promptly adjusted when Blizzard PR registered a complaint.

A subsequent news report linking to a website that had posted leaked images of a Starcraft 2 Collector’s Edition lead Blizzard to blackball all Blizzard sites on the network “as punishment for a while”. It also became apparent during conversations with Blizzard that they did not want sites being critical of any aspects of their games.

Subsequent attempts to open up lines of communication with Blizzard PR went nowhere, and given the content and commentary limitations Blizzard was placing on their “official” fansites, Elly, Flux and Rush decided ultimately that IncGamers could better serve the community without any leashes or muzzles from Blizzard PR.

All that said, the staff at IncGamers retains the highest appreciation for Blizzard’s games and we get along very well with all of the developers when we see them at BlizzCon or communicate online. Any disagreements with Blizzard are purely political issues with the PR department, and we do not rule out once again being a member in good-standing of the Blizzard Fansite Program.

The Big Day is Coming

Diablo 3 Box Art Digital Presales

Diablo 3 Box Art

Following the Diablo 3 announcement there was a massive buzz around the site once again.  Old faces started to reappear on the forums and the whole team had found a new vigor and passion for the series. It’s amazing to hear from gamers who were teenagers (or younger) when they first visited the site, who are still big fans, and who are now playing the Diablo games with their own children.

We believe Diablo 3 will ensure the Diablo franchise continues to be the benchmark by which all action RPGs are measured and we’re excited about continuing to provide the community with the best information and resources possible.

The original team also extends a massive thanks to all those involved in contributing to and running parts of the website over the years.  The existing team of forum moderators and those who have come before them who play such a huge role in keeping the forums a friendly, informative and welcoming place for fans to chat – they are the unsung heroes of most online communities.

Finally, thanks to the community.  It’s the community on Diablo: IncGamers that plays such an important part in its 15 year history and we hope through our continued efforts we can carry on right through Diablo 3’s lifespan.

In celebration we will be running competitions next week where each day we will give away a copy of Diablo 3 and other assorted Diablo 2 memorabilia we have collected over the years courtesy of IncGamers.  Keep your eye on the news.

 

 

Comments

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  1. Glad to be a part of staff and community. 🙂

    Here’s to 15 more years!

  2. You guys are awesome!

  3. /brofist
     
    Thanks for everything.

  4. Gratz and Thank you ! Wish you another great 15 years serving the community (and to myself : be part of it) 🙂

  5. Loved reading the site when I was younger and very proud to contribute(even in a small way) to the great legacy

  6. Hoorah!! Great article. Thank you Elly, Rush and Flux, and all others who made IncGamers possible. It’s been a hell of a ride and I look forward to the next 15 years!!!!

  7. hard to belive diablo 3 was annauced 4 years ago 

  8. Congrats on 15 years!!!  I love the site, and have been a fan since the days of Diablo 2.

  9. Only been a reader since Jan 2009, and I have checked daily. (literally, I’m  pretty sure I have not gone a day since then without checking this site.) Keep up the good work!

    • I know, right?

      Last year, while looking at different Diablo news-blogs, I found this site to easily be the most prominent, reliable and honest one.
      It’s second only to my mail in my bookmarks bar, and is checked a couple of times daily.

  10. Grats to guys and girls too 🙂
    Awesome job since many years, i hope for some more. Take care and good luck..

  11. I’ve been coming to this site for 10 years -_-

  12. Quake playing on the computer on the left on the second photo is just awsome.

  13. Didn’t know this site had to much history, it was interesting to read about it.

    Thanks! 

  14. thanks for all the hard work!

  15. Been a reader since around 2000, an active member since 2001! The truly astounding statistic that comes from me, is that dii.net and all it’s later incarnations, is the oldest website I have ever kept getting back to! That’s right, before google, before youtube, before wikipedia and facebook… dii.net will forever live in my heart, and I will start donating money as soon as we can use some other method other than paypal! my visa is ready, for the place I like to call home on the internet 🙂
     
    Thanks for all the hard work throughout the years, guys! =)

  16. Just think 15 years from now we will be celebrating the release of Diablo 4 😈 

  17. Nice, this is what I was asking about in my D3 celebration thread. I didn’t know much about this site, but I’m liking it more and more. Very nice, I rikes it :D.

  18. I come here daily since the announcement in 2008…thank you diablo incgamers staff!

  19. cant believe i have been coming here for so long. not the full 15 more like 13-14 but still wow.  so 15 years gets you zero beta keys to give out? top notch bliz

  20. I’m new around here and already enjoying this place. Shame on Blizz for blacklisting the most dedicated diablo fansite.
     

    • Agreed! Especially over something so trivial. Hasn’t the term been long enough?
      Who at Blizzard thought this decision through? Elly and Flux have been amateur community managers dedicated to the Diablo series since before the job was ever defined. Whoever’s doing the job at Blizzard right now is their junior.

  21. Wow, I am visiting this website since 2 years now and never knew the history of it.

    Big congratulations on the hard work put in those 15 years!! :D:D 

  22. Congratulations and thank you to everyone involved with the site, been a reader and member for longer than it seems possible!

    And a big raspberry to every one at Blizzard. Diablo 3 development has been a fiasco and your treatment of this site is shocking!  

  23. Congrats keep up the good work guys great site

  24. I’ve been here since 2005, and I’m proud to be a part of this fantastic community. I know I’ll be here through 2015 and beyond 😀

  25. I started reading shortly before Diablo 2’s launch, but I rarely ever posted.

    http://imgur.com/CC4iG

    I got the best error message last year when I started caring about Diablo 3: “Your password is 2104 days old and has therefore expired. Please change your password using this page.” That says something about both this website and the Diablo series.

  26. Elly, Rush, Flux. You guys are amazing & the Diablo community would be sadly lacking without. Consider this post a toast to you! *raises a glass*  🙂 x

  27. Thanks for all the great content over the years =) I remember coming here when I just learned about Diablo and was playing the D2 single player for the first time.
    Duriel was slaughtering the barbarian that I had made (Focused on Leap Attack, because that was such an awesome skill!), so I started the dial-up connection and found this site, and learned that I should totally remake my first character! Since then I’ve been coming here for news at least once a month, and since D3’s announcement once a day.
     
    So big ups to all the creators/moderators/Site Pals for keeping this sight the awesome place that it is!

  28. Gratz ppl 😀 I’ve been following this site for many, many years. I think I stumbled upon it when I was playing diablo I (I was blessed with a whopping 10 mbit full duplex internet connection in my student room then ;)). I remember very closely absorbing every bit of knowledge I could get from your website and I still have a burned CD somewhere with all the 500+ screenshots that were released of Dii and analyzed by you lot. I wish you all the best for the next 15 years. Your site still stands out from the crowd. Maybe not from a design perspective (I think it could do with another refresh tbh), but with the depth of your analysis of the news. Where other sites just copy-paste the official info into their own site and host a forum, you add another dimension. Keep up the good work!

  29. Thank you for keeping an awesome site alive. Cheers!

  30. Thanks guys, but every post after the announcement just isn’t exciting….may 15th….may 15th…..may 15th

  31. Congratulations on the 15 years, and thanks for everything !!!

  32. Congratulations from me to. This by far the best diablo fanpage on th net. i really enjoy reading it on a daily basis. Keep on the great work! 

  33. This made me tear up a little. This site has been a huge part of my “online life” since those days of the wooden borders. I even remember trying to emulate that same style back in the day for my own cruddy little website about Japan. 

     Now I’m 27, live in Japan, and still check this site every day.  Thanks so much for all the work we never get to see, and I hope Blizzard PR comes back around for you guys someday. There is no one more deserving in the industry!

    To another ten years!
     

  34. This site has been on my bookmarks bar since I first started reading about the d2 beta. That was a long time ago, and this site has consistently been the best source of Diablo info ever since then. Keep up the good work. Congrats on reaching this milestone and here’s to another solid 15 years!

     

  35. You know, this site really deserves more respect from Blizzard themselves (lol at the AMD K6 poster). Thankyou 🙂 x

  36. I’ve been following this site since the announcement of D3. But I knew the site since 2000.

    Actually I can say that if there wasn’t this site, I wouldn’t follow D3’s development as pretty much everyone knows that I hate D3. (People would be surprised to know I’m a kind and nice guy in real life.) I mean I posted that much negativity in here. Still I post here because it has become a routine for me and I’m a Diablo fanboy after all. So, I thank Flux, Rushster, Elly and moderators for that chance and their independent site. Also I want to thank some community members because I see them as parts of this site and I loved all of those heated debates in fact. (it’s funny I called all of them D3 fanboy in one point or another). Leugi, Apocalypse, konfeta, sass, Moonfrost, Nizaris. Lately Azzure. Our thoughts may differ deeply but I don’t doubt their good faith.

  37. Congrats!!! Been following your site for a long time. I had just graduated High School when D1 launched…crazy how the time flies. Keep up the good work and thanks for delivering a great website!

  38. It has been a privilege and honor to be associated with IncGamers these past thirteen (13) years now.  Congratulations Elly, Paul, Rush and everybody else I’ve failed to mention!

    ::: Doffs helm, salutes :::

    Pendraig-HKW
    Commander, Holy Knights of Westmarch   

  39. tldr

    Just kidding, great article!

    little typo near the start (2006 Diablo released) 

  40. Dunno what I would do without this site.  Thanks for keeping it going and for all your hard work.  Always very appreciated from this guy.

  41. Best diablo page. Been visiting since years before D2 release 🙂

  42. thanks for all the good work, as a thanks i just became a paying member for 12 months 😉

  43. For a relative newcomer such as myself, this was a really interesting read. Thanks to everyone, who kept this site alive over the years.

  44. I’ve been a member here for 10 years of those 15 (yes, I do remember “The Great Forum Crash” :p) but with my attention going to WoW and its forums on incgamers.com, I kind of lost track around 2005-2006. I kept lurking and every now and then posting a bit, though. With D3 on the way, wow.incgamers gone for now and this 15th anniversary, it’s like the universe is telling me to come back here. 😀 
    Happy anniversary, guys, thanks for all the fun, and here’s to at least 15 more! Lovely vid of the good old diabloii.net website, by the way, definately brought up some memories! Glad to see I’m not the only one holding back a little tear to the eye, I was afraid it was just me.

  45. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.  The write-up and the photos are excellent, but could never do justice to the many fun times here.  Incgamers can be included in the group of my oldest online friends. I’ve been coming here since 1998 and God willing we will be hashing it out over Diablo IV in 2018.  

    Flux, Elly, Rush, and the newer staff… if you are ever in the DC area, I’m buying the drinks.

  46. What a great read. You guys have shown true dedication and professionalism throughout the years. I’m not much of a poster, but I’ve been lurking here for a long time and remember many of those moments. In fact, this is probably the community/website I have visited the most in the last 10 yrs. Much has changed, but I know where to find good news and good friends. There is a strong sense of commitment and leadership that has emerged out of all the ups/downs throughout the years – and made this place into one of the finest gaming communities on the internet. Let’s hope Blizzard takes note. This is no small achievement folks ! So to the Founders & Staff – Congratulations and here’s to another 15 !    8)

  47. Wish you all happy anniversary the best Diablo community! Keep it like that!

  48. I’m another longtime (since 1998-9) viewer/member/visitor & fan art contributor – this was always the first place I would ever go for any Diablo related news. Reading this article really brought back the memories and reaffirms how great this site is. It is a shame that Blizzard PR has chosen to cut ties here – in my opinion, it’s their loss (and I’m sure many others would agree).

    I enjoy many different games, but I have to say no game has ever sparked my passions more than Diablo/DII, and it’s easy to feel the passion and dedication from the staff of this site. Way back in 2000, I had hoped (fingers crossed!) to get that 1-in-a-1000 beta spot, but when it didn’t happen, I eagerly followed updates/beta diaries posted on diabloii.net. I may not contribute fan art that often (and rarely happen to post in the forums otherwise), but I am glad that this site is still around and remains a vibrant and welcoming online community.
    Thank you Elly, Flux, Rush and all the other staff for sharing this with us!

  49. Your German sister site Diii.de (once D2Network.de) in the year 2000:
     
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uvQWWIvxmTw
     
    This was shown on German TV when Diablo 2 was launched. Congrats for your 15th! ^^


     

  50. Holy shit!  That’s Tie Fighter in the window!

    • Yeh we held the launch party for that. We had the real gold Leader from the original movie come in and play. Needless to say he was crap at it 😉

      • That’s awesome.  Tie Fighter was my first PC game and I still regard it as one of the greatest game I’ve ever played.  It’s such a throw back to see it there.  Thank you guys for that!  Nostalgia bomb +1!

  51. Very cool to see this stuff again.  I have followed this site since it began covering D2 pre-release.  I just looked at your write-up from the 3 day visit, and found this really interesting:
     
    A special “Arena” game mode, designed exclusively for PvP combat, was initially planned for Diablo II. But at this point, the Development Team has decided that it will not be included in the game at this point. There is talk from Blizzard North that they might include it at a later time, possibly in a patch or an expansion pack, if they do one for Diablo II.
    Duelling is not a major part of Diablo II, and PK’ing is going to be very difficult to manage, with how the party system is set up. You have to go to “hostile” to even harm another character, and be in town to go “hostile,” and everyone else in the game receives a warning message when you do, so they’ll always see you coming, and have time to flee, unless they are right next to a town portal or waypoint that you are coming though.
    The PK, even if he is successful, receives virtually no reward for his actions. A token, such as an ear drops, and half of the gold the victim was carrying falls to the ground (the other half vanishes), but no equipment is lost, and the PK can’t even get any evil thrills by guarding the body, since the victim can just start a new game and the corpse will be right there in town when he starts up.
    The point is that recreational PK’ing is almost eliminated in Diablo II. Thus, one of the main reasons to include the Arena – to give people who wanted to fight a place to do it and reduce PKing in games – is no longer as essential. If people want to fight, they have to agree to it, since it’s so easy to avoid combat now. So the need for an Arena is mostly lost if people can and will be duelling in normal games.
    The Arena would have taken much more time to create, to develop the tile sets and programme the mechanics of it, to set up the ladders, to balance for PvP play, etc. And we all agree that Diablo II has taken just about long enough already. There is still the possibility that Blizzard North will add it in later, in a future product.
    See PK’ing and PVP for more on this subject.

    • Who says the D3 devs don’t have a sense of history? They even cancel the same features the D2 devs cancelled!

  52. Proud user of the content here since Diablo I, looking forward to using the resources as we all move into DiabloIII in May. Good Luck and Good Hunting 

  53. Been here since early d2 days, and was a regular poster in the HC forums in the Misfits thread for a while. This site is awesome. Thanks for all the hard work you guys put in! 

  54. Good stuff! Thanks for this site and all that ya’ll do!

  55. Hail!
    Thank you for all the time and the effort that you and yours have put in to the Diablo community! It would not be the same without you!

    Mahl Arannis
    Warrior, Holy Knights of Westmarch 

  56. Been here since day one (ok, not day 1 per-se, but damn close) as a lurker, and think I first registered on the dii.net site around 2001 or so 🙂

    Thanks for always giving us the updates we crave!

    Here’s to the years ahead~
    -AgtJ

  57. Although I only recently re-registered, I’ve been visiting this site since it went live in 1998 pretty much every day. It was great reading the history, especially the really old stuff from before I started visiting – I had no idea you set up a video gaming Cafe Elly! Love the Dungeon Keeper poster in that photo, what a classic 🙂

    Recently I’ve been alternately really impressed and distressed by the content on the site, but all that aside, I’m just glad that after so many years, and such a winding road – you guys are still here doing what you love. Thanks for your amazing commitment to the fans and I hope the next 15 years bring you and the site every success!

  58. I remember first walking into the office of incgamers. There were two giant cardboard “posters” of the Horned Demon and the Knight from Dungeon keeper. Going into the staff room there was a signed XvsT poster. These are two of my faverote games.
    Walking upstairs to rushsters office was a poster for Quake, it’s so funny I will never forget it. It’s a picture of a granny surrounded by her kids holding a pie with the Quake logo on top saying “Quake: It’s good for you.” or something.

    Many many other awesome posters were there, it was just awe.
    After my interview we discussed Lan play of Red Alert and other games… and I’ve been there ever since!

    Including watching Elly play the Rock Band drums 😛
    Later we moved offices and Rush and I looked all over for a key to this little cupboard… inside was the biggest collection of games you’d ever see. It was massive. There was even a sole-survivor box!! BOX!!

    Crazy the history IncGamers has, totally awesome history and one I hope to be apart of and keep helping.
    Bottoms up!
    – Dorj

  59. Thank you so much for everything! I’m visiting from the Holy Knights of Westmarch and I can tell you that we are all honored to be part of this community. Here’s to another 15 years and more! 🙂

  60. Only site I’ve ever visited for D2 news, then D2X and later the horrible agony of a time line that is D3.  Absolutely loved the history write up and I look forward to all the hard work and love that the contributors of this site deliver for us fans to consume.  Oh and RyTEK, I’d like some drinks too….I’m only a mere 5 hours away!  😀

  61. You guys are awesome. Best fansite for anything ever, and yes that includes MuggleNet.

  62. you know i found this site back in 98′ on a old search engine. i started playing diablo when my dad brought it home on its release day, lucky enough to be able to stress test diablo 2, not lucky enough to sit and play a demon hunter yet. but really thank you all for all the twists and turns, even if some how diablo3 fails you guys have made the journey to get here really fun. if by not being a fansite then oh well theres no where else we could have went to see a interview with max schaefer on his vies of the game, and giving us a opinion vs. the other sites “OMG BLIZZ I LOVES YOU” quick responces. thank you guys for all you have done for the diablo community, if it wasent for you there would be no community and probibly no diablo 3 and i wish you guys another 15 years (times 30!!) but lets hope more games in the future and leave the quiet years behind us! 😀 

  63. Amazing write up.
    I first started following Dii.net in ’99 while D2 was in production & since then this has been the only Diablo fansite I’ve frequented.  Heck, other than Blizzard’s site it’s probably the only one I’ve visited more than a couple times ever.  Never needed to go anywhere else.  Also enjoyed your Warcraft 3 & WoW sites back in the day.
    Never knew the early history though! 
    On one hand it does kind of stink that Blizzard decided to get butthurt, but I’d rather you guys operate the way you do than be “yes men” without an objective opinion.  Don’t change.  I like my Diablo news with a good dose of honest opinions, whether it be positive or less than.
    Keep kicking ass, thanks!
     

  64. What can I say! It’s an awesome site and I want to thank everyone who has helped make it what it is and the new people who have recently started to do news,,,welcome

    I’m a huge fan of the Diablo games and this site and I couldn’t imagine one without the other,,,like strawberries and cream.

    There isn’t another community as good as this one. This is my home on the net so please don’t ever ever ever close.

  65. Good guy rush shows a face pic in article. Scumbag elly and flux do not! We wanna see pics of you guys!!!!

    But really from wayyyyy long ago to now, you guys rock out. Love it

  66. Awesome write-up!  That brings up a lot of memories…

  67. Awesome article. Brings back *lots* of memories! I was just thinking about that forum crash the other day and was genuinely unsure if it was all in my mind or not! Haha. Damn, I wish I still had my old account and all of its old posts to read through… now that would be some amazing nostalgia. :D.

    Anyway, thank you to all staff and contributors for all of the years of support you’ve given to the site and what is undoubtedly my favourite gaming franchise ever. Here’s to May 15! 

  68. Congratulations and thank you for meanwhile 15 years.

  69. It’s not often that you get a chance to thank from the bottom of your heart the people and institutions you truly cherish. The diablo.incgamers.com site and community has been a constant presence in my life for so long now that I can’t imagine what I’d do without it. Thanks so much to Flux, Elly, Rush, et al for the hard work, incisive commentary, and undying dedication to this profoundly meaningful franchise. 15 MORE  YEARS! –Yog

  70. Congrats on hitting 15 and here’s to 15 more.
    Good Luck and God Bless Flux, Elly, Rush, etc for all their Hard work.
    😀  

  71. Happy 15th Anniversary. Love this site. 

  72. Big thanks for a site ive been visiting since way back in the d2 days, probably the only site to stick with me during such a long and awsome journey!

  73. congrats, i love this page always the fastest information about the diablo series! 🙂

  74. good job lads! /Wilf

  75. Nice history 🙂 didn’t know Elly is a girl 🙂

  76. Happy 15th anniversary, looking forward to your coverage of Diablo 4 in 15 years’ time :mrgreen:

  77. The best Diablo site in the world! Thank you!

  78. Started visting diabloii.net at the beginning of 2000 and havn’t bothered with other diablo fansites since!
    Thanks for the massive amounts of time and effort you all put into the site!

  79. I really couldn’t imagine all the work that Elly and the others put into this. It’s extraordinary. 🙂

  80. Gratz, be here for 15 more at least:)

  81. Been following the site ever since it was called Diabloii.net 🙂 Always refer people to it as the best site for Diablo related news. Grats on the 15 🙂

  82. great community, cg to you and more years to the future! 

  83. Keep up the great work, and hold Blizzards feet to the fire!

  84. Its been a pleasure to read all the news u provide over the years, tbh i`ve just learned that incgamers.com are the same diabloII.net that i used to read as a child..
    All i can say is keep up the good work, and keep making Us (the community) happy!

  85. This article makes me cry..

  86. Amazing read, thank you for the write-up. I never realized that you guys founded and own incgamers, rather than it being an ign-type host. Thank you for all of your years of hard work and generous webhosting!

  87. Congratulations and thank you for all the hard work, I’ve following the site for over 12 years and you are by far the best Diablo site on the net.

    Great info and great articles (loved Flux’ top 10’s ! – let’s get them back when DIII is out :-)!)

    Thanks again and keep up the great job!

  88. Great story! I wasn’t around quite from the beginning, but I started using Diabloii.net shortly after DII’s release.  Been a great site and I still visit every day!

  89. This is my first post on the site, but this site has been part of my daily checks since before D2 came out – probably spring of 2000. Thanks for providing great analysis and keeping us up-to-date!

  90. I really enjoyed the history you provided on Blizzard and your experiences interacting with Blizzard North.  I want to say job well done on your website and the commitment to stick with it during the “Quiet Years”.  I have been a long-time Diablo player and member of the Holy Knights of Westmarch for a number of years.  Thanks for all that you do!

  91. Sometimes in following this site, I wonder where certain sentiments toward Blizzard I’d deem “harsh” are coming from. I had no idea there was such a difference between how closely sites like this interacted with Blizzard, or maybe just Blizzard North, in the old days and today. Blizzard clearly has a very different attitude and approach to things. Whether it’s for better or worse, I’m not sure. Wild success always has dramatic and unpredictable effects on artists, whether game companies, film directors, musicians, writers…

    Nothing from Blizzard has wow’ed me since Lord of Destruction and Broodwar, and I think it’s hard to say if it’s really that the games are somehow less good, or if it’s just a part of getting older and more experienced. My future kids may find the classic Diablo and Starcraft games unendurable while they play some Diablo 4 iteration that makes me want to puke.

  92. Hey guys – gratz on the 15 years!! Don’t forget there were Glasgow counterpart cafés who were doing the LAN gaming thing back then too. Here’s the the next 15!

  93. This site is the best fan site of any game I’ve played.  I strongly believe that a large portion of why the Diablo series has been successful has to do with the community of people who play it.  Diablo 2 owes part of its longevity to this site because of its role in creating that community. Thanks for all the work you’ve done.

  94. I was just reading the old Diablo II preview from the archives. Take a look at the section marked Arenas for a good laugh. The more things change…

  95. Congrats on the big 15.  Will Blizzard tweet about this to share it?

    • You won’t find that I’m afraid. They’re not permitted to retweet or comment on FB, Twitter or the official site on anything that could direct people to or in any way acknowledge the site, its content or its social networks (including YT).

  96. I’ve been visiting (with almost no comments or forum posts) since about ’99, and the site has been top notch.  Thanks and Congratulations!

  97. With every passing hour, I’m more and more happy to be back! Going to become a Pal again once my Paypal account gets sorted (need to renew my credit card)
    Seconded on the return of Flux’ top 10’s, by the way! 😀

  98. An amazing journey .. may it continue for many years to come!

  99. Great article!

    I love this site and hope it continues to host a great community.

    Now I finally understand why diablo.incgamers.com is never mentioned by PR even though it is definitely the best source of info IMO.

    Thanks for all the hard work!

    Really. 

  100. hey thanks guys. your pod casts had kept me goin at work for a long time.. and a long time to come. Keep it up.  and seeing ur pics ” of what you can see of flux” i would of never guess the voice matched the person. (the same effect of meeting people in a guild on ventrillo then seeing there picture)

    i honestly go to this site before blizzards to get info on diablo 3 lol. i like to be spoon fed my information on a real world level not company jargon. plus the community input lets me know im not the only one feeling this or that way cough cough i wanna loot runes cough. 

    your work will always be appreciated,
    Knightwolf-Loc
     

  101. As some others have said, I think this is the best fansite for any game and it is great to see it still going. I am sure it is bound to explode again after release. 

    I have been visiting since the Diablo 1 days, initially for the list of shrine effects because I was sick of clicking the bad ones 🙂 I soon found the class guides though which opened my eyes to the depth of Diablo.
    I think my best memories were going to the school library during class or lunch to follow the great news coming out of the ’98 D3. I especially appreciated Flux’s detailed play through commentary. Speaking of 64Kb lines our school was running on pretty much the same for 1500 students, it would take like 20-30 minutes to load some of those E3 pages with all the pictures.

    Also a shout out to the single player forum community, I was very active in it during the D2C days.  Also to whoever ran the magic find olympics, that kept me playing for a while longer once my interest in D2 was starting to fade (I still remember finding some shield that would of won most other rounds but only managed to place 8th >_<)

  102. great job! dungeon keeper is all over nostalgic sites, man that game had potential. too bad it never got anywhere^^

  103. Grats on 15 years!!! Keep it up, guys

  104. sweet! cant wait for this game to be out! :mrgreen:  

  105. Awesome Article. Though I think I spotted a large typing mistake. The one where you say that the original Diablo came out in late 2006. Which…is fairly inaccurate. It was December 31st, 1996.
     
    “…When Blizzard released the game in late 2006, the café visitors were soon waiting in line for their chance to play the revolutionary RPG…”
     
    Anyway, I love this website, I’m happy it has lasted this long so that I was able to join it. This place is great fun and houses awesome passionate people for a game we love oh so very much. May this site live on for many years more!! Grats guys!

  106. I wanna play! I just signed up but I’ve been a lurker for some time now. Your site is definitely the primary one I hit for Diablo. Thanks for the quality!

  107. amazing website, happy anniversary 😉
     

  108. First I like to thank for taking my comment. Long time visitor, first time posting. 😉
     

  109. The update on the anniversary giveaway thread identifies this as the thread from which the prizes are being determined from.  Seems like that should be corrected.

  110. Congratulations on all of your success.  Well earned considering the hours and effort you sink into it.

  111. First and foremost, THANK YOU. Thank you for everything, all the hard work, the research, and all the information, and its accuracy.  You are the source.
    Thank you Flux, for the years of work, and your committment to keeping us informed. I have thanked you before many times, and I will thank you, I am sure in the future.
    I seem to remember something about a guy with a Sharpe at a Lan Party, named Flip. I think a *lot* of people at that lan party remember him….
     
     

  112. My wife and I have been Diablo fans since before the first Diablo was released. I’ve been a Blizzard fan since before Warcaft 2 was released. All hail Diablo 3!!!!

  113. Put me down for one copy of D3 for free please.

  114. Amazing, 15 years of godly knowledge, thanks to you guys! 🙂

  115. Good read. Been almost a decade now, and still visiting now and then. 🙂

  116. Great read! I never knew the beginnings of this site and I’ve been a member here for 10 years. For shame, I know!
    Thank you to Flux, Elly, Rush, and all those who make this the best fansite on the planet! 
     
    (ps. please correct the link for the “there is even a thread with over 1.2 million posts in it”. I’d really like to see that thread!)

  117. Keep it up guys and gals! Cheers!!!

  118. Fair interestingly.

  119. Both awesome and a little depressing that its been that long.  96-97 sounds about right.
     
    Hi all
     
    Dutch

    Edit: Is that Andras passed out at the Lan Party with all the crap stacked on his back?

  120. Oh yes, we’re still around! Just waiting for the activation key!

  121. That music from the rogue encampment in the video, wow, is all I have to say. I wish I would have found this site a long time before I did.

  122. Nice memories all last years. Since 2003 here. Thanks.

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