Diablo 1 Analyzed

Gaming blog Significant Bits charted a full play through of DiabloWikiDiablo 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.

Diablo 1 titleRight 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 DiabloWikiwarriors don’t do much DiabloWikispellbook shopping or mana potion buying, the results for those fields reflect the class differently than would a DiabloWikiRogue or DiabloWikiSorcerer. 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.

Tagged As: | Categories: Diablo 1, Fan Stuff


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  1. D1 was neat, but it was not nearly as interesting as D2.

    The same analysis of D2 would yield far different, and better results.

  2. Diablo 2 might have been better in terms of gameplay and scope, but Diablo 1 remains superior in the story, music, sound and atmosphere department to me. This was a very interesting article.

  3. I believe you meant warrior. Barbarians were introduced with the expansion made by sierra

  4. omg roflcopter and such … !!!

    because i didn't feel like playing D3 or BF4, last night i started playin D1 again HA!
    it's so awesome and 20th century!
    currently level 4 catacombs.

    what a coincidence that you're coming up with a D1 article 😉

  5. "The Warrior was never above taking a sip from a blood fountain to restore his health. Perhaps that’s why things didn’t go that well for him in the end."

    Classic 😀

  6. "Diablo’s entire world, and most specifically its items, were not just randomly generated. The algorithms for creating them were heavily gated, pruning possibilities at each step. While this might sound limiting, it made for a more coherent world with its own atmosphere and ruleset. Instead of finding a “Longsword +1?, the player would receive the “King’s Sword of Haste,” a mighty weapon that — true to its name — increased swing speed and granted a few other bonuses. The item would stay equipped for hours on end, imbuing it with a sense of importance, and conjure images of a long gone dynasty and its skilled blacksmiths. It’d be natural for the player to form an attachment to the weapon, and its “specialness” would only get accentuated by the lack of any bows or shields with the same prefix and suffix. The presence of fixed items and quest would only add credence to the sword’s legacy, blurring the lines between scripted and generated content, and bring forth a tinge of longing and regret when something better came along."

    -I think D3 is getting closer, but there's still a ways to go. 🙂

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