Flux’s Decahedron #12: Top Ten Reasons D1 Was Better Than D2

While everyone reading this is a Diablo II fan (And if not, um… you get lost on the way to more goat porn or what?) quite a few of us were big fans of Diablo I as well.  And while Diablo II added hundreds of new features, all new characters, tons of new items, changed most of the game mechanics, etc, there are still those of us with a soft spot in our hearts for Diablo the First.

I had the idea for a column that would list the best and worst changes from D1 to D2 some time ago, and then a month ago I asked for readers of my 10th column to send in their best/worst changes between the two games.  Over fifty of you did just that, and using the suggestions as a memory refresher I’ve gone over the hundreds of comments and whittled it down to list of the Top Ten Was Diablo was better than Diablo II.  Well okay, the Top Twelve Ways, with Eight Honorable Mentions.  Math is hard.

As you could probably guess, my next column, in two weeks, will be the counterpart to this one, and list the Top Ten (or so) Ways Diablo II is Better Than Diablo I.  There will be some overlap between these columns, as a lot of changes can be seen as good or bad, depending on your perspective.  A bunch of the Honorable Mentions in this column actually present both sides of the issue, or explain why it’s worse or better, and why it has to be the way it is.

Send in your feedback on this column as usual, and you can also comment on the flip side of this article, if you prefer something as it is in D2.

The Top Ways Diablo Was Better Than Diablo

#12: Special Scroll/Staff Charges-only Spells

These still exist in D2, but only in the form of ID and TP scrolls/tomes, and those are just annoying. Pointless, there’s no reason they shouldn’t just be learnable and cast from memory for some mana, as they were in D1. (This was a common complaint, but didn’t warrant its own entry.)

They were very cool in D1 though, adding special effects you couldn’t get otherwise.  Apocalypse, Infravision, Nova, Resurrect, and probably some others I’m forgetting.  It was nice to have special skills that you couldn’t just learn.  This exists in D2 also, with charges on items and also the % chance to cast stuff, but somehow it seems less exciting, probably since they are all just skills you see other characters using.  Rather than something special you have to go out of your way to use.

#11: Mana/Life Leech

This is a debatable one, and it might well turn up on the Best Changes list next column as well.  One of the most common complaints about D2 is that it’s too easy.  There is an entry for that on this list, and leech fits into the “too easy” aspect, but deserves some separate discussion.  Leech was very hard to find in D1. There was no mana leech on anything but weapons, and it was not a stat anyone bothered with, since you could just buy blue potions and nothing used mana but spells; there were no skills to enhance your basic swing/shoot one at a time attacks.  Life leech was more useful, but also very hard to find with it just on weapons, and the almost unfindable Unique Helm of Sprits, which gave 5% leech.  You don’t technically need leech, since you can just drink a potion.  However it’s far more satisfying to stay alive and clear as much as you can without having to go back to town or use potions, and leech enables that.

The problem with it in D2 is that it’s everywhere, on everything. This is integral to the game, since so much of combat is a process of hitting while being hit and taking on numerous targets at the same time (something that was suicidal in D1) but it makes the game so much easier that much of the skill is removed just by having life leech and nice weapon damage. In D2, you can get plenty of leech with jewelry, socket it into your weapons, find it on magical or rare helms (circlets) and of course it’s on dozens of set and unique items of every type.

As I started off with, whether this is good or bad is open to debate, but I think it’s too easy to get at every level, and is one of the main reasons the game is so simple now.

#10: Duping and Hacking

Since there were zero controls on hacking or cheating of any type in D1, you could safely assume that everyone was cheating and using dupes, so you had no expectations of a level playing field.  Public games were totally pointless unless you were trying out some new trainer with a god mode, and most players saw that as a pretty pointless way to play anyway.

So how was that better than the D2 Realms?

Because in D2 we were assured there would not be cheating, that everything would be fair and even, that items would not be duped or hacked, that cheaters would be punished, etc.  Therefore the hacks, cheats, and dupes that now infest the realms are more painful, since we thought at one point we wouldn’t have them. Also, if you want to get a high level Realm character in D2, you must play in big party games, and not many people have 5 or 6 friends who they can trust and play with at any time.  So if you want to level up you must play in games with strangers, and that forces you into contact with cheaters, dupers, hackers, etc, no matter how legit you might be. In D1 you could exp just as well solo as with friends, so you only played together for competition or party fun, and weren’t forced to do it if you didn’t want to. Therefore you could avoid games with cheaters, if you wanted to.  Now you can not, unless you just don’t care about gaining exp.

#9: D1 Had More Interesting NPCs

Several people mentioned Farnham, and of course the most memorable NPC from D1 was Wirt.  Wirt the hated, Wirt the Peg-Legged bastard.  You name it, D1 players called him it. He was loathed.  Despised!  The first time most D1 players saw the new version of Tristram, and Wirt’s corpse, they virtually danced a jig on the little bastard. You wanted his leg more than Bush wants Saddam’s oil.

But oddly enough, we’ve begun to miss him now that he’s gone. Name an NPC you hate in D2?  Exactly, there aren’t any.  Nihlathak is a maybe, but he’s merely annoying when in town; it’s only after he becomes a Corpse Exploding monster that he’s a pain. The others are useful, or ignored.

People miss Farnham also.  He was a useless, melodramatic drunk, but he was amusing in his uselessness. Not to mention Gharbad, though whether he’s an NPC or a monster is open to debate.

I don’t think this is an entirely fair analysis, since there are far more NPCs in D2 (obviously, with 4 and then 5 towns), and almost all of them have some interesting gossips and funny comments about the quests.  They have better quality and variety in their voices now also, and more random greetings. But somehow the general impression of players is that they are boring in D2, in large part due to the much faster pace of the game, where you just don’t feel like you have time to walk around and hear what they have to say.  Especially not on Bnet.

I think that in general the D2 NPCs are well done and interesting and creative.  There just aren’t any that really stand out as especially memorable, which is very hard to do with players comparing them to the D1 NPCs also. We’ve grown jaded, and what once impressed us no longer raises an eyebrow.

#8: D1 Had Cursed Items

Nothing in D2 is bad to equip or use.  Sure there are crappy items, such as the metaphorical “cracked sash”, but they don’t actual lower your stats. There were things in D1 that would basically cripple your character if you identified them while they were equipped (yes you could equip UnIDed things, they just used the base stats until you ID’ed them). And other than that, lots of the interesting uniques had substantial penalties to something or other, making the choice about what to wear much more interesting.

This is just another aspect of “D2 is too easy” when you get right down to it.

#7: D1 Had a Better Manual

The Diablo 1 game manual was one of the best ever produced. Awesome artwork, nice type face, lots of original stories and legends and the single hottest piece of concept art Blizzard has ever come up with (for the Rogue, of course).  There were monster descriptions and pictures, legends of the Horadrim, the story of King Leoric… it was like a really good comic book that came as a bonus with the game.

The D2 manual isn’t bad, and it explains the game quite well, but it has hardly any bonus features, and the design is a lot less interesting.

#6: D1 Had a Monster Counter

In D1 when you first saw monsters you had no idea what type they were, or what their resistances were.  Just their names.  You had to kill some (15 IIRC) to see their name and type, and then at 25 or 30 kills you saw their resistances and immunities.  Plus the game kept a running counter of how many of that type you had killed in a particular play session.  If you did a bunch of games in a row you could get up into the hundreds or thousands, with often over 100 of a given monster type per level. This was cool, for no particular reason.

Blizzard said there would be a monster counter and other statistics in D2 that would be stored on the realm and updated forever, but that was one of the many cool planned features that never made it into the game. (And yes, that is a future column topic.)

It was fun in D1 since you had to memorize what types of resistances monsters had, and when you first got to a new one in a game you might not remember and wonder why your fireballs were sailing right though, or why nothing seemed to be dying to your Chain Lightning. In D2 you always know exactly what a monster is, and though it can be helpful to remember their resistances (which don’t display), so few monsters have decent resistance that you can just ignore it. Almost every elemental attacking character just uses their same main skill or two on everything. Or just plays areas where their main skill will be dominant. *cough cows cough*

#5: D1 Had Better Monsters

This one is debatable, since there are a lot of cool ones in D2, especially with the addition of Shaman and champions and Super Uniques, etc. But for sheer individual monster joy, D1 has it beat.

There is nothing in D2 that can match the Hidden.  It was so easy to be walking happily along in the Catacombs and suddenly you would be hit by an invisible monster, and then before you could move there were 5 or 6 more around you, stun locking you.  No escape. The feeling of helplessness about death in D1 was scary, but added great zest that’s missing from the “you can almost always escape anything unless you lag” D2.

Aside from the Hidden, Acid Spitter Dogs were a terror.  A big pack of those in a tight area and you were just doomed. Stun lock at 50 paces.  The charging Minotaur guys were terrifying if they got a lock on from a distance, plus they could grind you up melee. Storm Chasers with their thrown lightning attacks were vicious, you had to track down teleporting mages galore, there were ranged attackers who ran and didn’t stop in five steps to wait to be killed, and of course… Succubi. Oh yes, they were better in D1. They did actual damage with their rapid fire Bloodstars, not to mention being easier on the eyes and having vastly superior AI. I’ve already discussed them with a Dishonorable Mention in the Best Monsters column, so go check that out if you need a refresher course.

The monster AI was another popular suggestion, since it made things so much harder in D1.  Monsters such as Minotaurs and Balrogs would circle around, staying just out of range, making hitting them with an arrow quite a chore (not that this would matter in D2, what with Strafe, MS, Guided, etc) and others would run around and then suddenly charge in for the attack.  They were much better at swarming you also, and it was dangerous to face more than 3 of them at a time, unlike the majority of D2 skills that are actually better with multiple targets.

It’s also widely-held that the D1 monster death animations and sounds were superior, and I can’t argue with that. Plague Leapers with their death rattle and upside down leg kicking, Hidden with their wet punctured deflations, the glorious Doom Knights going up in a burning plume of smoke from their empty armor, Minotaurs dropping over backwards with an audible thunk… Things in D2 just seem to fall over, for the most part, or maybe go out with a bit of color, but not much individual personality.

Lastly, the total lack of monster variety in D2, especially in Act Five, is a huge drawback.  Having the exact same monsters in the exact same place every single game is just so tiresome.  (And will at last be changing in v1.10.) D1 had a wide variety of monsters in every area, so you never knew if an upcoming level would be easy, or almost impossible.

#4: D1 Shrines Were Better

Frankly, shrines suck in D2.  They are all self-explanatory, hardly any of them do anything cool, and there are so many other better ones you can think of that don’t exist (Faster run/attack shrine, MF shrine, GF shrine, Repair All Shrine, Double HPs/Mana shrine, etc) that it makes the few that are in the game seem even lamer.  The two most clever shrines are Experience ones, which are a great idea, and Fire Shrines, which are scary, but can be a great tool if you use them properly (say on an Act Boss in an eight player game).  And even Fire Shrines are hardly necessary since most characters are so overpowered that they can kill the monsters with ease.

D1 shrines had strange bonuses, sometimes only effecting the other players in the game, sometimes hurting you if you clicked them, and every one of them had a weird, cryptic message that you had to memorize or write down to know what it had just done.  Plus they did awesome stuff.  Enchanted Shrines were mandatory to spend hours hunting up with a Warrior or Rogue if you wanted to get your Fireball up to a substantial level.  Hidden shrines were mandatory to make some very low durability items useable, and the others did weird and interesting things, not just minor bonuses for a few seconds, as they do in D2.

#3: D1 Quests Were Better

This applies mostly to the single player D1 experience, since in D1 MP there were just four quests, the same ones every game.

The SP game was far more interesting though. There were 16 quests, and you would get most of them every game, but some were random and you never knew if you would or would not find them. Lots were optional, but somehow they seemed fun and interesting to do. The same people who complain about the lack of random quests in D2 are often the ones who haven’t been anywhere in Act 3 but the Durance 2 WP in 12 months.  So take this complaint with a grain of salt.

Exactly why the D1 quests seem better (in memory) is unclear. What’s inherently better about the Black Mushroom or Poisoned Water Supply or Magic Rock than say, Khalim’s Brain, or the Horadric Cube, or Bloodraven?  I don’t know, but for whatever reason the D1 quests are still fondly-remembered by most everyone, while they skip all the non-essential D2 quests and mutter about them.

Another factor is that in D2 it’s so much easier to find good gear that the quest rewards or monsters you kill doing the quests aren’t important.  In D1 finding the various bonus items like Arkaine’s Valor and the Amulet of the Blind were really useful, since you needed to wear them. D2 has the essential quest rewards of stats or skills or sockets, but most of them are just of the, “do this to advance to the next area” type, which makes them feel like a chore.

And in conclusion, one word: Gharbad.

#2: D1 Was Harder

After atmosphere (#1), game difficult was the second most common comment. Virtually everyone thinks D2 is much too easy, in comparison to D1. Several of the other entries on this list are aspects of why it’s too easy, but here’s a quick bulleted list.

  • Easy to run away from trouble.
  • Not being worried about stun lock.
  • Slow projectiles are so easy to dodge.
  • Projectiles do such low damage.
  • Super high hps are easily-attained.
  • Resistance is easy with charms and socketing.
  • You hardly even need resistance anyway.
  • No friendly fire to worry about.
  • Far fewer immune monsters.
  • No monster variety; too predictable.
  • Charms make equipment too easy to equip/optimize.
  • Ridiculously overpowered Unique items.

Expect plenty more suggestions come the feedback next column.

#1: D1’s Atmosphere Was Better

This was by far the most suggested bad change, and it would have been my top choice even without any reader input, since it’s something I’ve always missed.  If you ever played the Diablo demo (like me, a lot of people first really got into PC gaming after playing that off of a demo disk in PC Gamer) it was scary!  The introductory cinematic was creepy, very moody with the music, and even the town of Tristram was sort of creepy, with the haunting music. But once you got into the dungeon, after that long, anticipation-building, loading screen, the music and the atmosphere were downright scary. The heartbeat sounding music, the screeches of dying Plague Crawlers, the grunts of zombies.

And then The Butcher.  You’d find his little room, and walk around the outside, nose to the monitor to try and figure if those smears that looked like gory bloody bodies really were gory bloody bodies.  Finally there was nothing left to do but open the door, and…

“Ahh, fresh meat!”

Chop chop!People were literally afraid to play that alone late at night.  Out came this fat, bloody-splattered nightmare wielding a cleaver the size of a baby perambulator, waving it like a baton, and he’s moving just as fast as you are.  Plus he makes really scary noises, and it just relentless; quite eager to chase you to the end of earth. Even the way he hit you, with this vicious chop chop chop arm action.  *shudder*

The Butcher is just the best example of the atmosphere of horror and dread that was so common in D1, and the feeling of danger at all times.  Nothing anywhere in D2 approaches that, and it’s not clear why.  There are bloody and gory places, much of Act 1 looks just like the D1 Cathedral… but someone D2 just isn’t scary.

Honorable Mentions

Yes, this is practically a second top ten.  Sue me.

Magic Find

The main objection to it is that it encourages such a lazy style of play.  Monster running to infinity, something that’s fun at first and a great way to get items, but eventually you get tired of it and want to play “for real” and can’t find anyone to accompany you. This can just as well be blamed on Blizzard making changes to encourage monster running through, by making Act Bosses (especially Meph) and SuperUniques (especially Pindleskin) so easy to reach quickly, and so item-profitable to kill.

Hardly anyone dislikes Magic Find itself; the complaints are all from players who don’t like what it does to the play style.  And yes, I think it’s safe to say this topic will turn up on the Best Changes list next column with a slightly different perspective. *cough*

Skill Trees

Another thing that was often cited as good and bad.  Lots of players love them for the added variety and uniqueness they give each character, at least making them distinct from the other characters.  However, other players miss the spell book method of advancing in spell level.  I think most of the people complaining about skill trees have forgotten how tiring it was with every single character in D1 using the exact same spells, and how 99% of the time Chain Lightning or Fireball was the best answer to a combat situation.

Dungeon Layout

I’m not going to go into much detail on this one, but while the most fun thing initially in D2 was the ability to run into vast open areas (or just to run at all… next column), a lot of players miss the tighter, more dangerous and confined areas of D1.  It’s fun to have larger spaces and more monsters in D2, but at times it feels like there is no pressure or crowding, and that you can just run away from anything.  In D1 you were always conscious of which direction you could retreat in, and which way it was back to the stairs, since you often needed to back way off and string out some attacking pack.

Party Experience

A debatable one.  Much like Magic Find, this is a great innovation that has been greatly misused.  Rushing, party leeching, lvl 10’s in hell cow games, etc. All a consequence of experience sharing enabling characters who can’t kill a damn thing to level up at will.

This was a direct reaction to the annoyances of party play in D1, since there was almost no experience sharing (everyone who hit a monster would get full experience when it died).  But there was no party sharing, no exp bonus in bigger games, etc.  Bliz made it easier to share and gave an incentive to party… and lots of players think they made it much too easy to share, which enabled the leeching.  Bliz can never please all of the people all of the time.

Game Saving

Another topic that could go either way.  It was nice to have a real game saving option in D1, so you could save anywhere, stop at any time, and pick up again later. The downside was if you forgot to save for a while and died, you had no “restart in town” option in single player.  You could only start a new game or restart your saved one, which might force you to redo 3 or 4 levels next game, if you didn’t want to lose an hour of experience or item finds.

One of the main complaints about D2 by the reviewers when it was first out was the lack of a game save option.  However once you get used to leveling up and exploring new areas and figure how waypoint work, they are actually a much better option, overall. Which is why this topic can go either way.


While elixirs were great in D1, something to buy and boost your stats to levels you had to raise them to, eventually, they would pretty clearly be an unbalancing disaster in D2, with no hard caps on any stats.  And I don’t think I even need to mention duping here, do I?

No Friendly Fire in D2

This one is included in the “too easy” entry, and it was something that made D1 much more of a challenge, especially to play in a group, but it also made random deaths that you could never see coming (due to lag, usually) a constant occurrence if anyone had a ranged attack. Which wasn’t much fun.

Also, seeing how skills work and ranged attacks and AoE skills are in D2, it’s obvious that any sort of friendly fire would make party play completely impossible for almost all characters.  So you really can’t even compare the two games on this topic, unless you are proposing radically altering how many of the most popular skills in D2 function.

Purchasing Mana Potions

This is a very debatable one, since it wasn’t that you could buy mana potions in D1, it was that you had to, and in vast quantities.  A spell-caster (Sorcerer or often a Rogue) had no choice but to drink oceans of blue potions, and go back to town all the time, whenever they were out of them, since there was no way to regenerate mana at all.

This was nice for leveling up, if you could afford the mana potion cost, but it was also tedious to have to buy more constantly.  The usual technique was to entirely fill your belt and inventory with Full Blue Potions (there were only 2 qualities in D1) and go down and start firing away. As you used up potions you would have to drop them and pick them up to put them in your belt (quicker than drag and click) and usually you’d use them up at about the same rate you were finding stuff to pick up, and could just put it in the cleared out space as you went.

This did put a greater premium on accuracy and skill with your spell-casting (as opposed to the virtually aimless Static, Nova, Orb, Hydra, Firewall, etc you see in D2 today), but that was more due to the game being difficult, and not just to you worrying about the portal to town and the long walk over to Adria.


Feedback for this column is odd for two reasons.

For one thing, since I got many of the ideas for this column and the next one from reader suggestions when I asked for them a month ago, a lot of the feedback mails are basically repeats of mails I got 3 or 4 weeks back, through no fault of the emailers.

Secondly, since the next column is sort of a counter point to this one, much of the normal feedback I would post is going to be covered in the next column.  And since it would be pointless to just repeat myself in feedback and column, I have mostly picked emails for this feedback that aren’t saying things the next column was already going to cover.  Even with that, you’ll probably enjoy Flux’s Decahedron #13 more if you read it before this feedback to #12.

One point I should have made clear was that I was referring to D1 vs. D2X.  I didn’t really think about it in advance, but I wasn’t counting Hellfire changes at all, since that’s not a real Blizzard Expansion, but one they were sort of forced to collaborate with Sierra on.  So people who wrote in to say that Apocalypse and Lightning Wall and such were in books were correct, but not in D1, just in Hellfire, which I wasn’t including.

Blizzard doesn’t give Hellfire any love and though they worked on it some, they were mostly working on D2, and stopped a number of things from being in Hellfire since they wanted them to be new in D2.  If you want an idea of Blizzard’s feelings about Hellfire, feel free to look around http://www.blizzard.com and find all the Hellfire references.  Good luck, because there aren’t any.

And I was comparing D2X to D1, since pretty much everyone upgraded to D2X, and plays it now, unless they got sick of it and went back to D2C. I guess I could have gotten more technical and mentioned when things came into the game, in which patch or in the expansion, but I can hardly remember at this point, so I just went with v1.09.  I figure that’s what almost all of the readers are most familiar with anyway.

Furthermore, this column was not about things that aren’t good in D2, or play balance issues, etc, except when they directly contrasted to how they were in D1.  A few of those type of things got in as Honorable Mention items, but this column was about what’s good or better in D1, not about what’s not so good in D2.

One thing that surprised me about this column were the amount of mails from people who absolutely loved it to death.  There are at least two dozen mails just like the three I’m about to quote. 

Here’s {SquidgY}:

What a splendid article, kudos. I couldn’t help but reminisce about the good old Diablo I days… of course I’d rather you put mana steal down in its own category for that really ruined D2 compared to D1 where the steal was so low that my mage only used it as last-resort out of all mana… I would like to point out a few things.

And also, I’d like to say I can still remember the great ‘glliittha’ (…) sound the Horned Demons made when you hit them… and those damned acid spitters! You reminded me of how horrible they were. Thanks a bunch for the read Flux.


What a great article. I agree with you 100% on how people just want to level up instead of play the game how it is meant to be played. Personally myself and two other friends play quite frequently together and have a fair amount of characters. We have a couple of characters that we’ve been playing with lately that we keep “pure”. By this I mean we are playing the game going through the acts and we only use the items that we find. Nothing is “imported” in. It is quite enjoyable and much more challenging too.

You know what? There has never been a column from you with which I could agree more. You’ve got all the things that made Diablo 1 great and already hinted at what’s better in Diablo 2, and I believe there won’t be much disagreeing there either. One thing I’d like to add: The Rogue looks so much better in Diablo 1, especially in chain or plate, why the hell were Blizz so lazy that they couldn’t even keep those basic three apperances for her mercenary life in Diablo 2 ? And while it *is* OT for the column, why didn’t they use the mage’s graphics for the act 3 mercenary and let him use staves?


True! all too TRUE!!!!

I almost wept at the sight of that list, and that #1 was also my choice for the biggest drawback in d2… I recently started playing d2 again, I simply REFUSE, to even THINK about level 99… I start a class, party play it through hell and optimize its skills/eq, test it for fun… rip it for items and start a new class..


I’d like to thank you for writing another great column… it made me feel super-nostalgic towards the classic game. I was especially fond of your thoughts that D1 had better monsters… in my opinion, it surely does. In fact, those acid-spitting dogs were my most feared enemy in D1, what with their rapid-fire acid-horking-long-range death, smacking your warrior right in the face with a loogie the size of a melon. Plus, once you finally killed them, their corpses were poisoned, meaning you couldn’t walk on them (unless you wanted to take damage.) Being surrounded by these puppies was a pain, since killing them meant walking over a giant pile of acidic goo just to get back to town (and sometimes dying on the way.) In D2, all we have are these “Corpulent” things which are big, slow, die in two hits, and only puke at you once every twelve games or so.


I don’t think I need to say anything more than, Best Article Ever Anywhere. That sums it up, but I want to say more, points 12-1 are perfect. Diablo II never scared me, I never felt like the world’s true savior, you never got that alone claustrophobic feeling. Hell felt like Hell in Diablo 1, not like the bombed-out shell that was Germany after World War II as in DII.  I remember fondly how Blue Items weren’t laughed at when they were dropped, they were snatched up greedily since you were looking for the Godly Plate of the Whale, or the King’s Anything of Might or Haste or something similar. Do you have a fan club that sends you monetary donations regularly? If not I will create it, this article was seriously that great.


Flux, this is the dodecahedroniest of all the dodecahedrons. I LOVED this column and it’s so right on. Gharbad owned, the Butcher was downright scary and gory, the music was so much moodier. I love the cats music, that’s the most atmospheric music I’ve ever heard in a game. It’s not ironic that the only music in D2 I really like are the D1 throwbacks “the remixed Tristram music, sounding sad and forlorn as you kill through the remnants of the town you spent so long in) and the music in the act 3 dungeons (where nobody goes, but has the D1 dungeons music mixed in.) Of course the harem/palace music is pretty cool, but that’s about it.

The only creepy thing in D2 for me was the first time I got to the Worldstone Keep…I’m zealing along, and I stopped to rearrange some inv. Open the cube and the inv, sitting there, and all of a sudden come’s Baal’s laugh, my merc’s death scream, and I watch my orb drop to half. I was sitting in a dark room at night and I practically jumped out of my chair. The problem is D1 had this all over, everywhere, all the time.

This column obviously hit a really strong nerve for a lot of readers, I suppose the ones who have been bored with Diablo II for a long time, and think back very fondly, and perhaps somewhat unrealistically(?) on Diablo. It will be interesting to see what sort of reaction the next column gets, when I talk about everything that’s so much better in D2.

Plus everyone says I only post the flames, so there, a bunch of non-flames.  And just to get the sweet taste out of your mouth, here’s the only real flame I got about this article.

All i really want to say is that you clearly dont put any time into the columns that you write. Everything you say is f**king pointless in your most recent column.. Do you think anyone really f**king cares if there is life leach available everywhere? DO you think everyone really cares if Diablo Calssic had a better manual. Well i dont really care what you think because hundereds of thousands of people are still on the diablo 2 servers 24/7 so the game obviously is fine. If Diablo Classic is soooOooOOo much better, than everyone would be on that server….so just shut the f**k up and stop writing columns…and by the way, you only think life/mana leach is everywhere because you play softcore like a * pussy, come visit us in hardcore and tell me mana leach is easy to get ok? One more thing. You can get to a high level by your, once again, in Hardcore. Most people get to level 99 by themselves by leveling in act5 ancients tunnels and baal runs…SO go shove your head further up your ass because i think that even if u were to pull it out you would still be too stupid to figure out that Diablo 2 LOD is an incredible game that has captured the hearts of millions of formerly devoted Diablo Classic fans.

Good bye,
Treovr Brooks /m *dead!celebsuck

I’ll be waiting for you in hardcore.

There are a few key things you want to include a good flame.

  • You need to sound utterly irrationally and clueless, and obsessed by things no normal human would give a second thought to.
  • You should exercise the worst imaginable grammar and punctuation (misspelling your own name, for instance).
  • You should try to have no idea what you are saying, and make completely erroneous assumptions about the person you are flaming. (For example mailing someone known as an exclusively Hardcore player about how they are a pussy since they don’t play Hardcore.)
  • You should try to include as many junior high level insults as possible, and lots of naughty words (which I’ve bleeped in quoting him).

All in all, Trevor here, um, I mean Treovr, has crafted a nearly flawless flame.  And by far the funniest letter of the week.

Moving on to more important matters, I did make a few mistakes, mostly due to my flawed memories of D1.  The main thing was when I said there was no experience sharing in D1. There isn’t, at least not like it is in D2 (no leeching, party bonus, exp bonus for bigger games, etc), but in D1 everyone who hit a given monster got the full experience for it when it died.  I have changed the Honorable Mention on this topic a bit, in light of email corrections.

I initially posted that there was no mana leech in D1, just life leech, and I only remembered it being on a couple of uniques, mostly the Helm of Sprits.  As several readers pointed out, there was life and mana leech on weapons, though I don’t remember them ever being a priority for anyone to obtain, oddly enough.  Other than Ironman play, I guess.  I changed the mention in the column right after it went life, so most of you probably never saw that at all.

And I did my usual thing of calling “Tristram” “Travincal” or vice versa.  It’s Freudian or something, and I usually notice it, but sometimes the fingers outpace the proof reading.  So no, Wirt is not found in Act Three, if anyone was unable to figure out what I meant.

From this point down we’ve got just a bunch of general email comments on this or that.  Read on.

Gharbad had some fans.  Tim for one.

You menitioned the Butcher, and his Cleaver… but no goats! No Gharbad the Weak, on the NPC list! What are you doing man! The way you’d go up to him “Something for you I am maaaaking!” And then the way he’d try to kill you…. Coolest character ever.

I liked him, and he got a mention in #9 and #3 on this list.  Just not his own entire entry.  He also got mad props in a past column, #4 Goatmen on that column.

A lot of people wrote in to agree that D2 is much too easy, and many of them remembered the nastier aspects of D1 with fondness, especially the difficulty in gathering your items up after you got killed by a monster and they sprayed everywhere.  Nick:

I also wish they would bring back the Die and loose all your stuff. thats what mad d1 soo much harder than d2. Being a sorc And getting stun locked by hiddens then having to fight them off with your fists to try and grab some of your * back. D2 is just too weak now. If they brought that back the hacked items would slowly die away. Every now and again you do die by monsters and you just cant get it back and that the whole joy of d1 admiting defeat then starting agian trying to get better.

The quest items and mysterious tomes in D1 were very fondly-remembered as well.  Marcan says:

Personnally, the thing I miss the most from D1 is all the books you would find at levels 4, 8, 12, the one for the halls of the blind, the chamber of bone… They were really cool as they seemed to be written sometimes by the remaining Horadrim before (quasi) extinguishment or sometimes by corrupted monsters that were loyal to the prime evils. As I was young and didn’t understand much of english, I never fully analyzed their content but they seemed better than ?you would have to find soldiers in the Frigid Highlands…?, but Blizzard has put one of those books in D2: the countess quest started with a book hidden behind some bricks. I believed those books would be a trademark for Diablo and that they had to return in D2, but since the murky atmosphere wasn’t their priority anymore, they couldn’t have done more than do remind us how great it was in good ol’ D1 times…

A couple of readers took issue with my comments that to achieve a high level in D2 you have to party and leech.  ST said:

Now to be quick and concise You do not have to be in a large group to gain exp. You just have to be in a large group if you want to do it quickly. Level 99’s top the ladder, and that is the way the Bnet gods want it, but all four of my level 80-82 guys did it solo. I doubt I will ever hit level 99 with any of them, as the game is too easy in the beginning, and thus way too easy when you are level 80 and can just put a paperweight on the attack button while you go to the bathroom, but at least I got to 80 without all the exp leech crap.

Which is true, but I didn’t say you had to party, I said you had to play in a big game, and the fastest way to level was to party and leech.  I have a 96 HC Bowazon that has never done a single single cow run or bloody run in my memory.  She went from 80 to 96 gaining probably 95% of her exp doing solo Baal runs in big games, while everyone else was doing Bloody, and then Cows once they became the favorite speed game ploy.  You can gain exp nearly as fast as the people leeching in cows if you go solo in a big game and kill quickly. But you still have to be in a big game.  Playing in solo games or even with 2 or 3 people the exp gain is so much slower.

Also, 80 or 82 are not what I’d consider high level.  I find that it’s quite easy to get to 79 or 80, and that around there is when it starts to slow down, depending on the character and how you are playing him/her.  You need 3.5b for lvl 99, and you have to get to lvl 84 just to get to 1b, which is not even 1/3 of the way to 99.  Much less than 1/3, given the exp penalties that get heavier as you level up, especially past 90 and then 95.

I would consider “high level” in D2 to be 90+, and even that isn’t high level if you just do endless cow runs.  You will gain steadily forever, no matter how you play, if you’re just there and in the party.  As the vast majority of lvl 95+ chars on the realms can testify.

It’s funny how many things you get both points of view on.  Most people loved D2 for the added complexity and things to do.  Not Stephane.

When I first got diablo 2, I thought how much cooler it was then the original version, but now, since I played diablo 1, I am thinking that diablo 2 was made for kids compared to diablo 1 which seemed much more for adults. Just reading those books that appeared on every 4 levels in diablo 1 was scary. And all the atmosphere was just creepy, and it has much more gore it seems. Not to mention the snow witches that were just too much for a 12 years old kid.

And it was simpler and for me that is a plus. Diablo 2 has just too much gadgets and types of items that seem usefull and you want to keep to trade them but eventually you end up owning 3 accounts with all 6 chars on them as mules jam packed with kind of good items that you end up wasting your entire day trying to trade, switching from one char to the other. Of course that was not necessary, I could have just sold them, but the game lets you act this way. And the variety of items, as much fun as it may seem at first, is just annoying after a while.

There were a number of people who disagreed with something or other, but most of them just said something that’s going to be in the next column, so I’m not quoting many of them.  Here is Mouse Wiz with some comments on item running and relative game difficulty.

Monster running was worse in D1 than in D2X… *cough* Laz runs *cough* with 3 magic succubi (superuniques, you did mention those were new to D2, which they weren’t) whose names I can’t remember in the same place… I spent more time Laz running in D1 than Meph running in D2X…..and it was only CL/FB 80% of the time =p Silly triple immunes needed stone curse/sword bashing 20% of the time at least o_O

Finally, is spamming nova all over the cows really harder than spamming FB all through Hell/Hell….D1 was much harder for combat chars, but I think that an Arty mage could clear Hell/Hell with the same relative ease that a sorc can do cows now.

I see his point, but I don’t agree.  Yeah, everyone did Laz runs, for him and the two SuperUnique Succubi, but you had to go down through lvl 13, and 14 to get there (not that that was hard with teleport and the small levels), then find which quarter of 15 Laz’s room was in, and he could be hard and slow to kill if the level spawned with say Soul Burners all around the area.  Monster running was not a big part of D2 at all, initially.  It changed in a patch once Bliz put in the super size drops on Act Bosses, and that’s when/why Meph became the basis of the D2 economy.  Plus people learned to bag the SuperUniques so quickly and easily.  Pindleskin being 5 seconds from town, for instance.

Pat makes a good point about why the D2 quests feel like such a waste of time. He quotes me in the first paragraph:

“What’s inherently better about the Black Mushroom or Poisoned Water Supply or Magic Rock than say, Khalim’s Brain, or the Horadric Cube, or Bloodraven?”

Well the main thing that’s better is that you encounter the quests while in play and they are a natural part of the game. In D2, they’re horrible tricks to try to make you go everywhere you don’t want to be. Thank God for the Durance 2 WP.

D2 created the “rush” mentality. D1 had no rush. There was nowhere to rush to. If you hit Diablo too early, you were toast. You explored every part of the dungeon because it was in your best interest. In D2 it’s in your best interest to skip as much as possible so that you can hit the Ancients at lvl 20, 40, 60.

It’s a minor complaint, but now that I think about it, a valid one.  This is from Greg.

My number one all time complaint with D2 is the font. Not all the characters, mind you, just one – capitol “I.”  In game, “I” looks like “l.” This subtle but annoying change has ruined my naming scheme since my very first character. The perfect name like “IeatPASTE” butchered into “leatPASTE.” Everyone I encountered thought I was a “733t H4xor.” The concept of leet speak is disturbing as it is, but not being able to include a real capitol “I” and having to settle for “l” is downright depressing.

A lot of readers agreed with my comments on D1’s atmosphere being far creepier than D2’s, and several had their own ideas why D1 seemed so much more dangerous and difficult. Here’s Andrew.

In Diablo 2 getting pecked at a few times by a fallen is just a nuisance. The traps are a joke for damage, and yes the missile attacks were ignorable.

In Diablo 1 however, the enemies did considerable damage, there were less of them at a time, and the traps were dangerous.

Having a gazillion monsters to kill in Diablo 2 makes you feel powerful. You can kill hordes of baddies, without much trouble.

In Diablo 1, there being less, but stronger monsters makes you feel not as strong. A few zombies near you is actually something that you’ll have to do something aobut. None of this click click your dead, click click now your dead… and so on. You have to back up, attack one, back up some more finish the first off, back around another so you don’t have three on you at once, and so on. And also, remember being a level 2 or 3 sorcerer, and tripping a trap? You loose like half your life.

Being weaker makes you more worried of whats ahead, worried that after the loading screen, and the fade in, ther might be a small volley of arrows coming from the far wall.

Something I didn’t mention about the monsters in D1 were the Black Deaths (which were actually bright yellow) and their nasty habit of taking off a hit point permanently when they hit you. And this actually mattered in D1, before hps charms and BO and unlimited vitality, etc.  Most characters had in the 200-300 hps range, so losing any was a big deal.  Several readers mentioned the Black Deaths, and I did remember them, they were patched out after a few months, and I didn’t think they were all that great.  Nasty, yeah, but not my favorite thing.  Anyway, here’s AzzCrackerHC with a representative email.

Did you know the yellow zombies (I think they were called Black Deaths and are in the catacombs?.level 5 and 6 come to mind) PERMANENTLY delete a hit point from your character? Everyone I’ve ever mentioned that too (in D2) doesn’t believe me. I learned about it from DiabloSaver program. In fact, since I didn’t believe it, I took one of my characters down to the zombie ?. waited for him to hit me?. and VOILA hit points went from 200/200 to 199/199. When I left the game and came back?..THEY WERE STILL 199/199. In theory, a 1000 hit point Warrior that takes 999 hits from a yellow zombie would have 1/1 hit points to do battle with HELL Diablo.

Thanks to everyone who wrote in, and a lot of good comments weren’t posted here since they were about things I was already planning on putting into Column #13, and I didn’t want to make the feedback redundant.  It will be interesting to compare the feedback from the next one to this one, just to see if we get both sides of the coin on a lot of issues.

Flux?s Decahedron was written by Flux during 2002-2004, and hosted by Diabloii.net. These irreverent, often rude ?Top 10? columns tweaked every aspect of the game and community, pioneered the humorous ?Top 10? listing of game features during the eternal v1.09 patch era, were excessively long, and incorporated extensive reader feedback. They may or may not return for Diablo III. The opinions expressed in these columns are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Diii.net.

Tagged As: | Categories: Diablo 1, Other Games, Retired Columns


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