Gaming blog Significant Bits charted a full play through of Diablo I, taking around eight hours to complete all 16 levels with a Warrior, and recorded all of the results for time, items dropped, monster types, etc. The data is presented in a variety of charts and graphs which gives an interesting short form summary of the rewards and pace of the game.
Right off the bat it’s obvious that the amount of time required for each map climbed steadily, but still varied noticeably from floor to floor. The major differences were caused by the static maps, but even without these there was enough variation to prevent the experience from feeling wholly homogenized. The shortest map clocked in at 7.5 minutes and the longest at 31 minutes, with the average coming in at 19.4 minutes. However, it’s also worth noting that the variations were in part due to my Warrior refusing to use the teleport spell (making backtracking more time consuming in some layouts) and combat difficulty (needing to spend time kiting enemies and running away to recharge health and mana).
The amount of trips required to fully explore each floor was more consistent, but this is more indicative of the loot-hauling than anything else. Having played a sturdy character with a focus on health-regeneration, retreating to Tristram in order to recuperate wasn’t an issue until the very end of the game. Instead, the trips were a direct result of inventory limitations and my determination to collect every spawned item. The relative consistency of the amount of trips indicates that despite unique layouts, monster populations, treasure chest distributions, etc., each floor produced a similar number of items throughout the game. In total, the smallest amount of trips to clear a floor was 1 and the largest 5, with the average coming in at 3.1.
Finally, much like the amount of trips, the experience progression was fairly consistent. On average, 1.3 levels were gained for every dungeon floor. This is noteworthy as none of the statistical progression in Diablo involves randomness. Each level-up grants 5 points that the player can distribute among 4 attributes, and each character class has a specific starting and maximum number for each attribute. This results in all the uniqueness of a character build coming exclusively from items — via equipment and spells — thereby putting further emphasis on loot-drops.
Note that the author only played the
barbarian warrior, which I think is the slowest/weakest of the original 3 classes when starting from scratch. And since warriors don’t do much spellbook shopping or mana potion buying, the results for those fields reflect the class differently than would a Rogue or Sorcerer. Maybe next time for the other two, and a grand cross-class comparison! Which would prove nothing to no one!
Unfortunately for our resident D3 critics, there’s nothing comparing D1 to D2 or D3, so the piece is just an analysis of how Diablo 1 works and what makes it fun (or not). The lengthy article has a lot more detail than the quote or these pics, so check it out for the full story.