Flux’s Decahedron #9: The Ten Best Bugs in Diablo II

Bugs! Turn on the light and they skitter back underneath the fridge, dragging twinkies along like marauding Vikings claiming the plumpest farm girls in the land.

But this isn’t a column about those types of bugs.  This is about bugs in Diablo II, v1.09 (and some earlier ones, too).  No, not the ones you stomp after Duriel dies either.  Game play bugs, bad bugs, errors in the code, that sort of thing.  This week’s list is being posted now, just before v1.10 (with any luck) since you just know I’ll have to to a top 10 bugs in v1.10 list at some point.

I am undecided whether this is a best or worst list.  It sort of depends on your perspective, and how much humor you can find in errors and screw ups and their effects upon the players who much try to surmount them.  You might look at this as a list of the Top Ten Most Memorable, or Top Ten Nastiest bugs. After all, one man’s bug is another man’s amusing feature.  As the #1 on this list attests.

I think we can dispense with a disclaimer this week.  Famous last words, probably.

The Top Ten Bugs in D2/D2X

#10: Blessed Hammer + Concentration
Similar to Guided Arrow + Piercing, this bug, which most thought was a feature, dominated the way a character was played in D2.  This bug made the Hammerdin, and it being fixed ruined him in D2X. (Though I can guarantee you I’ll get emails disputing this assertion.)

According to Blizzard, Concentration (which was the Paladin aura in D2C, before Fanaticism was so turned up) was not supposed to boost Blessed Hammer at all.  Or maybe boost it a little bit, but not all that much.  They didn’t seem to have their story exactly set in stone.  In any event, Conc provided an enormous boost to BH, which was a bug.  Conc also provided a huge boost to other ranged attacks, causing the actual damage to be something like 4x the listed damage, making a Paladin a Bowazon’s best friend.  BH was supposed to be magical damage and not work at all with Conc, but not only did it work, it got a far bigger than displayed bonus.  Once people caught on to this the Hammerdin went from being an unseen and unplayed character to being one of the best fast speed killers in the game.  If the Cow Level had been re-playable back in D2C, Hammerdins would have ruled the ladders.  As it was they ruled the open areas in parts of Act Four, and sobbed like schoolgirls caught out in the rain in places like the Maggot Lair.

#9: Piercing Guided Arrows
This bug came in v1.08, and was supposed to be fixed in a quick server side patch.  It wasn’t, and now with v1.09 having been the current version for over a year and a half, most players have grown totally accustomed to this very beneficial bug, and will no doubt be shocked and horrified if Bliz finally manages to fix it in v1.10.  In short, Guided Arrow is not supposed to Pierce.  Not at all.  0%.  It now does, and if you have one of the “always pierces” bows/xbows, such as a Buriza, (almost) every single Guided Arrow you fire will hit your target at least twice, and possibly up to four times.

The thing that really boosts this bug is that Guided Arrow always hits, so instead of a normal shot that might hit 75% of the time, depending on the monster, your Clvl,  and your AR, you’re firing Guided Arrows that have enhanced damage, always hit at least once and usually hit at least twice, and are 100% accurate.  This, coupled with the huge damage bows in D2X, have totally changed the way Bowazons are played, and made them far more effective than they should be in duels.

Prior to the Guided Piercing bug, Strafe, often stacked with Immolation or Freezing Arrow, was the boss killer.  You needed a lot of AR to hit accurately, and it was very hard to play with a slow firing bow, since bosses would take forever to kill.  Guided Arrow was a fun and useful skill, but only for picking off stray monsters, or killing a shaman behind a pack of his warriors, or shooting around corners.  But it was support, and required skill to know when to use it, and when to use Strafe and Multishot.  With Guided Piercing it’s no longer necessary that you know what you are doing to play a Bowazon effectively.  Many players simply stand in one spot and shoot MS until there are only a few monsters left, then switch to Guided to pick off the rest or kill the boss.

It will be interesting to see how Bowazons change in v1.10.  Will everyone go back to the future, with Strafe again the best boss killer? Or will Burizons everywhere bitch and whine, and keep standing there using Guided, wondering why nothing dies in 3 shots any more?

#8: Items That Can’t be Found
There have always been errors in the game code that cause various items to not be findable.  For months of D2C it was impossible to ever find three exceptional items: Holy Water Sprinklers, War Clubs, or Lances.  The Lance was the big one, since Spearazons could never get their biggest damage weapon, and that was back when anything with Jab was super fast, since it ignored weapon speed. But more than Spearazons, spear barbs were the ones to really be revolutionized by Lances, once they began dropping.  The spear class of weapons is very unbalanced, with pikes/lances doing vastly more damage than any other type, so not having the top spear dropping crippled the whole weapon class, comparatively speaking.

Lances were like free beer to the Baba hordes. They did more damage than Martel de Fers, had lower requirements, and much greater range when using Whirlwind.  Lots of players back then just refused to play WW lancebarbs, out of disgust at how ridiculously overpowered and easy they were. (Much like FireWall Sasas in v1.08 D2X, and Burizons in v1.09 D2X.) Blizzard eventually factored weapon speed into WW effectiveness, as well as nerfing WW’s damage for about the third time, and adding in physical immunes in D2X, all of which make the plain WW barb less effective.

Currently every type of item can be dropped, but several are impossible to gamble due to errors in the game code.  You can’t ever gamble any elite belts now, of any type or quality, nor can you gamble an elite bardiche (Ogre Axe) or Great Sword (Colossal Sword).  Not that this is a real major handicap, but then again no one really missed them when Holy Water Sprinklers couldn’t drop either.

#7: Packet Sniffer Gambling Hack
A “packet sniffer” is a hack program that views all of the data being sent to you from the server or the other machines in your game, and gives you information from that.  Most of the packets are stuff you see in the game such as object location, hit points, skills being used, equipment, etc.  However there are also ones that aren’t displayed, and viewing those can be a useful way to cheat.  If cheating can be termed “useful”.  Maphack is a type of packet sniffer, or perhaps a packet decoder, if you want to be slightly less inaccurate.

The packet sniffer that was most famous though was one that went big in D2C for some time, back when it was easy to gamble uniques. At the time, as soon as the NPC gambling display loaded, the game determined which items were magical, rare, set, and unique, and sent that information along to the user’s client.  That’s you.  With a little packet sniffing, it was possible to see which items were unique without spending a dime.  Most uniques were worthless, but since this was back in the “unique rings/amulets in order” days, you could hold a Naglering and Manald Heal and know for sure that if a unique ring came up, it would be an SoJ.  You could try to gamble it honestly, but it was easier and cheaper to just keep reloading the gambling window until your packet sniffer told you the ring was unique. Until Blizzard fixed how gambling worked, “unscrupulous” (don’t you love how Bliz always calls them that?) players gambled dozens of SoJs a day.

This old school cheating sounds so primitive, in these days of duped Windforces and Iths and white rings, but at the time it seemed quite an economy-ruining scam.  It was back when we still had hope for the promised “cheat free realms” if you can imagine our youthful naivety.

#6: The “n-1” bug
Another annoying little pest, the “n-1” bug, pronounced “N minus one” was around for most of D2C, before finally being fixed in v1.08.  This bug prevented the highest possible value in a ranged modifier from generating.  For instance, Merciless was said to have 81-100%.  But you would only ever find 81-99%; 100% was not possible due to the n-1 bug.  This was a minor annoyance for the most part, I mean who cares about 1% less in the long run.  But it also kept a few mods from ever dropping at all, ones that only had one value possible, and were therefore impossible for the buggy game code to generate.

Once this was fixed everyone got all excited at possibly getting perfect items at last.  Of course then D2X came out, and no one cared about Rares anymore anyway.

#5: Thief
When D2 was released, Lord de Seis, one of Diablo’s seal bosses, had a special property that no other monster in the game could boast.  He was a goddamned dirty thief! Nasty hobbitses!  They have taken our preciousss!  *cough*

Anyway, de Seis was a thief, and when one of his spells hit you, such as Bone Spirit, one potion would pop out of your belt and fall to the floor.  This was pretty damn nifty, though you’d hardly realize it at the time.  Only after the fight would you wonder why you had so few potions left, and there were so many on the ground.  And this was back in the 8-slot belt days, before you could get 12 or 16 with bigger belts, so losing 3 or 4 of them in a fierce battle was quite an inconvenience.

Unfortunately Thief was bugged, since any time he hit a character whose belt was inaccessible (such as a Barb while in mid-WW or Leap Attack, or a Pally in mid-Charge) the character would be crashed out of the game.  So Blizzard fixed that bug right?  *laughter*

No, they just removed Thief entirely, since fixing it would have been, like, work. Look for the Blizzard marriage counselor game coming soon, where everyone just gets divorced.

#4: Star-shaped Area of Effect
For quite some time in Diablo II, all area of effect skills (such as Auras, Static Field, etc) worked in a weird, four-pointed star shape, rather than anything approaching a circle or oval, as they were supposed to.  This was invisible to the naked eye, since you couldn’t see where the aura or other such skill was, other than by its effect on other players or monsters. Eventually players began to notice this, since sometimes monsters would be right next to you and not turning blue from Frost Nova, or dying from Static Field, while ones all the way to the edge of the screen, in another direction, were.  Players learned to compensate for this by lining up their character so the star points were aimed in the direction they were moving, which was actually sort of a bonus, since you could hit stuff much farther away than the listed radius should have allowed.

This bug was fixed in D2 v1.04, and it was a simple fix; Blizzard just had to substitute a more appropriate formula for how the area of effect skills were created, one that made them closer to round. Math is hard.

#3: Afterlife
This curious bug was very common in early D2, before eventually being fixed in v1.05.  It was called “afterlife” since what happened was you died while leeching or gaining back health, and for some reason you would die, falling dead, but still see your character standing there, naked, next to your corpse.  Apparently if you gained some health just an instant after you died it would fill your ball, but you’d still be dead.  This happened a lot to Necromancers with Blood Golems.

The annoying thing was that you were stuck there like a ghost. You couldn’t click your body, you didn’t exist to monsters or other players, and you couldn’t move, other than to turn in circles.  You could cast spells, but only the one you had selected when you died.  The funniest was when a Necromancer died with Corpse Explosion selected, and they could keep blowing up any corpses on the screen an infinite number of times.  While stuck in the afterlife, you couldn’t even restart in town, since you weren’t really dead on your end; the “Hit ESC to restart in town” option would not appear.  You had to exit the game, and join/create a new one to recover your loot.

This bug was so common that we had an entire page in our Bug Bytes section devoted to it.  This bug also hit Hardcore characters, though it was uncommon there, since they didn’t die as often and were usually trying to exit the game in a hurry when they did.  But occasionally someone playing HC would get this, and then be able to stare helplessly at their corpse, weeping at the bitter and cruel chance that had brought them to this fate. Talk about adding insult to injury.

#2: Enhanced Damage on Bows
This one is ridiculous, but some of the blame has to go to players as well, for not noticing something that should have been overwhelmingly obvious, at least in hind sight.  I didn’t play any bowazons while this bug was around, so that’s my excuse for not catching on. This bug lasted through the D2 beta, and for many months after release before enough players finally noticed it and Bliz made the fix.

The bug was such that any bow with +% enhanced damage modifiers had no effect, and just added 1 to the maximum damage. So you’d have a 20-50 Kings gothic bow with 100% enhanced damage that displayed as 40-100 damage, and it would actually do 20-51 damage.  Or a perfect Kings/Merciless rare, +200% damage (not that you could, due to the n-1 bug), that was actually doing +2 max damage.  You’d think that players would have figured out pretty quickly that they were doing something like 1/3 their listed damage, but everyone just figured they were missing a lot, or the monsters were healing faster than they were used to.  Apparently. Modifiers with +min or +max damage did work, it was just the % ones that didn’t, and this was only on bows/xbows.  Not on any other type of item. (Remember, there were no magical throwing items then, so possibly it was all projectiles.)

Eventually when there were enough suspicions of this, some players looked for and found errors in the code, proving this was indeed a bug, and not just a mass delusion. Once Blizzard fixed this, Bowazons instantly became far more popular, and MultiShot became the best skill, largely replacing the Strafe that had been needed to kill anything previously.  Immolation and Freezing arrow also became less popular, since with physical damage so greatly increased you didn’t need to rely on the Bowazons low-damage elemental skills.  Plus the joy of not needing like 18% mana steal to keep up your skills was like the scales falling from your eyes.

And yes, all this is hard to imagine in these, Buriza or bigger, Might-merc, 40/15 in the armor, D2X days.  We used to use rare bows, and we’d make new characters and rush them up to Clvl 29 (or 34, but no higher than 48) just to get the normal and nightmare imbues, hoping and praying for a gothic bow with something near 150 max damage. We even used to gamble belts all day, hoping to get one with +cold damage, since there was no other way to add it besides getting lucky on your rare weapon mods, or wearing a few unique items.

And then we’d go walk our dinosaurs.  For ten miles.  In the snow.  Uphill both ways.

#1: Merc-Eating Corpulents
I’m calling this the best bug ever, since it still cracks me up whenever I remember it.

The bug involved Corpulents.  Those big ant-eater looking things in Act Four.  They wander around and snorfle up corpses, and then spit this pink, dripping thing at you a few seconds later.  Pretty cool monster, cool enough that I gave them #3 on a past top ten list.  The bug was that for a while in early D2X, they could eat monster corpses, dead tortured souls, and also dead mercs.  The funny part with them eating your merc was that if they did, that was that.  No more merc.  Tyrael couldn’t resurrect them, no one could resurrect them.  You could try to catch the gooey corpse that the Corpulent hacked out, but that wouldn’t help either.

I always pictured some horrified Amazon, picking through this pile of ooze, trying to find the Iceblink her merc had been wearing just a moment before.

When this bug was understood, there were even some brief “feature vs. bug” debates, with players who didn’t much bother with mercs most often taking the “feature” side, and snickering at the horrifed merc-less “bug” proponents.  Characters who didn’t bother with mercs would often hire ones and take them to Act Four, let them get killed, and then laugh hysterically as Corpulents wandered around, snorfing up dead monsters and getting closer and closer to the stricken merc.  Until finally… gulp.

Better were players who had a merc die, and then would panic and either leave the game instantly, TP to town and run for Tyrael in a mad lather, or try desperately to guard their merc’s corpse with their own life.

(As numerous emailers reminded me, mercs in D2 could not travel between acts of don equipment.  This was an early D2X bug, not D2C as I initially said. It’s all a blur at this point.)

Honorable Mention Bugs

100% Critical Strike Masteries: All Barb weapon masteries and the Assassin Claw Mastery have been 100% Critical Strike pretty much forever.  This, despite the Barb’s being known to be bugged, being set to be fixed in the last dozen patches, and even having some meaningless diminishing returns % critical strike display added in D2X. This has never been fixed. If it ever is, it will be interesting to see everyone wonder why their Barbs are suddenly so much weaker.

ITD Everything Eth: The Eth Rune granting -25% Target Defense, which is bugged and results in the target having negative defense, which makes Eth essentially an “Ignores Target Defense”.  Plus not only does this make the #5 rune do what #31 is supposed to do, Eth is even better! Since it works on monsters, but also bosses, champions, etc, which ITD does not work on.  Plus there’s the little matter of it working on other players in PvP, totally removing the whole point of defense and AR in dueling. This has never been fixed.

Evade Lock:  Often when running, an Amazon with points in Evade would suddenly stop and start twitching like a fly-covered horse.  This was bad most of the time, and disastrous when running from something really damaging that hit every frame, such as Diablo PLBoD. It was mostly fixed in D2X.

Invisible MSLE bolts: Often if a Lightning Enchanted monster is really spraying out the bolts, especially one with Multishot, and especially if some Amazon has used Slow Missile, the bolts will turn invisible once enough of them are on the screen.  Nothing like moving patches of invisible instant death to brighten your Hardcore day.  Yes, it reminds me of my first wife.

Fury/Zeal/Fend and the Whiffs: These three multi-hit skills have had major problems with desynch pretty much forever, and if you miss the first hit, either by lacking AR or swinging at a monster that you see, but that the game knows is not in range yet, your character will continue swinging at nothing for the rest of this attack, hitting nothing.  This bug made Zeal pretty much unusuable with more than a few points in it back in D2C.  It has been largely fixed for Zeal and Fury, though Fend is still pretty buggy, probably due to the greater potential range and number of stabs.

Amazon/Valk Crash: One of the most annoying bugs ever went on during D2C for quite some time.  I never heard an explanation for why it occurred, and it was eventually fixed, but some characters would crash out of the game instantly any time they got near enough to an Amazon that the Amazon’s Valkyrie loaded on their mini-map.  It only happened to some people, but for them it happened every time.

Islands in the River of Flame: A common find, these bad map tiles allowed characters to stand on them, and even monsters to spawn there, out in the flames.  You’d often see maggots or even Obsidian Knights out there, free kills for characters with ranged attacks, taunting annoyances for others. There are bad tiles in many other areas of the game, and people are forever sending us shots of their Sorceress standing out in the blackness beside some dungeon level.  Probably the best example of this was the huge flat nothing land you’d sometimes be able to teleport over to in the Flayer Jungle.  These were cute, but not really bad or good, hence they get an honorable mention only. That and I didn’t remember them until after I posted the top 10 and I didn’t want to go back and redo too much.  But if I didn’t think of them until then, that’s just another sign they weren’t that good a bug.  Right?


First of all, let’s all have a laugh at Flux for still, after almost 5 years working on a Blizzard gaming site, not knowing better than to anticipate a patch being released soon.  Never ever ever plan on a patch being out before it is.  Blizzard hears that sort of thing, and delays it another week just to piss you off.  So yes, my mentioning that I wanted to get the best bugs of pre-v1.10 out before the patch was the reason it’s not out yet.  Sorry.

But I’m sure it will be out by my next column! (Now I have to release “special edition” columns until June, like Blizzard does.)

This column generated a ton of feedback; about 115 mails.  Of those, only 35 or 40 were actually about the feedback to column #8, from people who knew what a 12 sided object was called. Or should I say a three-dimensional object with 12 planar faces? Yes, it’s complicated. Here’s Dan.  He knows more than you do, but he gives lessons for free.

You asserted:

> Firstly, a decahedron has 10 sides
No, a decahedron is a three-dimensional shape; it has ten plane faces. A decagon is two-dimensional, and has ten sides.

> If there is a word for a 12-sided object, I don’t know it. But I’ll
> bet some AD&D player will
It’s a “dodecagon”. A dodecahedron is the 3D version with 12 plane faces.

So know you know, although I’m fairly certain your life hasn’t been significantly enlightened. My only consolation is that I’m not an AD&D player.

Bonus points to Maeglin who sent in a link to this page, which has charts and graphs and diagrams and math and stuff.  Sean has some other, rather intimidating, column suggestions:

Flux’s Icosahedron (twenty-sided) or Flux’s Hexecontahedron (sixty-sided). 

Incidentally, I didn’t mean the AD&D thing in reference to the geek-o-meter, which I mentioned at the beginning of the feedback, and which apparently stuck in the minds of a lot of readers. I used to play D&D myself, and there’s certainly no way someone who spends much of their time working on a gaming website could possibly be considered a geek, now is there? *cough*

I put in the D&D mention since 12-sided dice are part of the game, and what other reference could anyone think up for something 12-sided? It’s not like you see that shape in everyday life all that often.

Aside from the two or three dozen “dodecahedron” mails, there were a ton commenting on the bugs I had listed, lots from people who only started playing with D2X, and didn’t know about or remember any/many of the early D2C bugs I listed.

There were, as expected, corrections to my memories on several things.  The biggest one was the merc-eating Corpulent bug, which I had recalled as being way back in D2C, somehow forgetting that improved mercs were one of the biggest features of D2X.  In D2C you couldn’t even take them between acts, much less resurrect them or dress them up like Malibu Barbies.  The merc-eating Corpulent bug was in early D2X, not D2C, and I put in a mention of that by the bug description after about a dozen people mailed on it in the first few hours, most of them not quite remembering how mercs worked in early D2C, but most pretty sure it wasn’t how I had it described.

A couple of people mentioned that Corpulents used to sometimes eat corpses that had been shattered (died while frozen) and were completely gone.  That was a funny sight, the big snuffler lumping along and stopping to gobble up… nothing at all.  Then spitting it at you.

Some others also mentioned that the Afterlife bug still exists, but just in one location. Jeremy:

The #3 bug you listed (Afterlife) still exists in at least one portion of the game. If you and another player are fighting the ancients, and you are able to complete the quest the afterlife bug can still occur. If you get killed but don’t press escape to return to town (so you are still looking down on the arreat summit) and the other player kills the ancients, all of a sudden you are standing back on the summit right in front of your body, but unable to pick it up, take a town portal, or anything else.

If you do this Hardcore, you will get the level bonus and your spirit will appear as a higher level in Bnet chat… though you’ll still be dead.  You can also get a title while dead, if you croak while in a party that’s fighting Baal (or Diablo in D2C) and don’t leave the game before he’s dead.  I’m not sure if this is a bug or not, but it’s interesting.

Caspar remembers other item types that couldn’t drop, at one time or another.

well, just wanted to point out that there where more nondropping items then the ones mentioned, blades/stilletos, grim helms, tomb wands also didnt drop, feels like im forgetting one now tho

There were also a number of mails mentioning hacks, such as the Matrix hack (and others like it) which produce those lovely, well-balanced Ith weapons.  I may do a 10 Worst Hacks list at some point, but this wasn’t it, so I stuck purely to actual game bugs, not stuff that can be created with packet flooding and 3rd party programs.

The bulk of the remaining emails were from people promoting their favorite bugs, or asking how I couldn’t have mentioned _______. I added a couple of things to the Honorable Mention list right after I posted the column, but didn’t want to cheat my way out of everything, so here are a bunch that I should have listed, but didn’t.

The biggest was the Bonewall Farming bug, which at least 1.5 dozen people emailed about.

Somebody forgot the necro’s bone wall bug! 😮

Grab your garden variety necro, go to hell diff (for best results!), go outside town, summon about 100 bonewalls and run back into town (or else far away from them). Wait a few mins and the bonewalls no longer seemed to be ‘registered’ to the player? You’d run back, watch all the bonewalls collapse simultaneously and suddenly you’d see… FREE ITAMZ!!! :] And there was a pattern to what would drop too. Some spots would give you Ancient Armour/Ornate Plates *All The Time*, some spots would give you wands, etc, etc.

If only this bug still remained, if people were asking for free gear, you could just tell them to go get a necro :]

Love your columns, keep it up! 

I’m amazed that I forgot it, especially since a “strategy” article I wrote about it was how man/most people first heard of the trick.  You can see the article here, it discusses how the bug worked in more detail than I can remember at this point. This would surely have made the top ten if I’d thought of it in time.

Another one I couldn’t believe I forgot was the Korean drop ………………………. bug. It would have earned an honorable mention, just for being so stupid. What was the bug? For a while, anyone with a non-Korean version of the game could drop anyone using a Korean versions just by typing about 100 dots/periods in a row.  This worked in games as well as chat.  Jake reminds us of the fun.

What I consider the worst by far was the anti-korean (…) bug. I forget if it was in several of the realms or just uswest, but for the few months it was going it was chaos. You would be playing with a large group, many of which were korean and had the korean version. Some jerk would come into the game fill his chat with periods (….) and all the koreans would lag out, every time. So you would get guys jumping from game to game crashing koreans, and you would have koreans either leave immediatly when a non korean would come in game or instantly go hostile. I almost quit after a few weeks of that.

This is the sort of bug that non-programmers find simply astounding.  It seems so idiotic and borderline unimaginable that something so routine and simple could cause one version of the game to crash, but not other versions.  Programmers just nod and remember other totally inexplicable bugs of the same type that they pulled their hair out trying to solve in programs they wrote.

This sort of thing is why I’m not a programmer.

Remember the perpetual Whirlwind? I didn’t, but Keith did.

One of my “favorite” bugs was the whirlwind-monster-chase. Basically you’d be stuck in a whirlwind chasing a monster until you hit him, at which point you’d be surrounded by 50 other monsters and could do hardly anything about it. or how about the belt unaccessable if you got interupted in a WW (even worse if you run out of mana and can’t WW again to get rid of the lock on your belt)

I remember one of my first times playing a Barbarian I was in the first area of Act Four, nervously using WW, and happened to click once on a Stalker.  Another bug was that those guys used to fly off at about Warp 7 when they were very low and went into flee mode.  I’m talking faster than you can shoot an arrow; they would just vanish.  Well, I was WW’ing after one of those, and it vanished, but I kept on going.  And going.  And going. Across the entire level, somehow missing all of the open pits and statues and such that would have stopped me, covering at least 15 or 20 screens, and hitting probably 50 monsters.  I was playing Hardcore too, and panicking the whole time, but of course I couldn’t stop, and I couldn’t drink any potions, not that I needed to since I kept hitting stuff and leeching full.  I recall being afraid to just Alt+F4 the game since back then the belief was that if you disconnected, you’d stand where you were until 10 or 15 seconds elapsed before you vanished from the game.  I did live through the endless WW, though it took a few years off of my life at the time.

Shame such fun stuff is fixed over time, eh?

Several people mentioned the druid skill bug, where if a Druid in fur form has +13 to his fur skill, he’ll crash out any player on his screen when he transforms.  This has been fixed, for the moment, so that whatever +skills you have, the skill always counts as +12.

The other popular Druid skill bug to mention was that neither his Oak Sage of Wolverine Spirits gain any bonus past Slvl 20. In theory neither does the Sprit of Barbs, but since no one has ever actually used it, this is unconfirmed.

Stanimir checked in with a whole pile of bugs, and some cool programmer speak. Plus he said nice things about me, which is a good way to get posted.

Just to flatter you: I believe that “Decahedron” is among the best work ever commited to a game. Deep, fresh, funny, really makes me happy reading it!

I have a point to mention: “n-1 bug” is called “off-by-1” in general (among programmers). It is very common, and almost every system will contain it, somehow.

Plus some ~very~ good honourable mentions would be (in this order):

* Bug on swapping weapons in close combat (esp. jab-to-arrow): loosing any ability to move/fire/hit. Practical death for HC, unless you quit immediately.
* Runewords on weapon swapping bug.
* 4FHR small charms listed as 5. (hmm seems like “off-by-1” again but most probably it’s not)
* 8 screens range of guided arrow adds very well to GA bug. i.e. Invisible GA+Pierce=Amazon ownz [:)] the most overpowered/bugged skill.

Cheers. Keep the good work, best luck w/ your *next* wife.

I can’t believe I forgot to mention the weapon switching thing, since that was really common for a while, and used to bedevil my barbarian when he was trying to switch to dual ali babas for the last hit when MF’ing.  If you didn’t get to enjoy that bug, it would happen if you got hit just as you were switching weapons, and for about five minutes your character would be unable to touch anything in the game.  You could cast spells and town portals, but you couldn’t go through them, or pick anything up.  You could take damage though, and the only way to fix it was to exit a game, or stand around in the dungeon until you got resynched, which seemed to be whenever Bnet next saved your character state.

A couple of times doing Meph I got plunked like this, my merc killed him, he dropped something I wanted, and I had to wait around until I could pick up the loot.  It was usually best to fill that time messaging anyone on your friends list to try and get someone to come and pick up the item you wanted so you didn’t have to wait.

Addition information I had forgotten about the old no-enhanced damage bow/xbow bug, from Etienne.

A small detail concerning the Bow bug : back then, mostly all amazons used Strafe as a main skill, and Strafe was bugged the other way around. Strafe added a % to your total listed damage (including Dex), and not just to your weapon damage unlike most damage-enhancing skills. This explains two things in a sort of chicken and egg way : why most people and guides listed Strafe as the most important bowazon skill, and why people failed to notice the bow bug earlier.

In other words, Strafe was bugged to do far more damage than listed, so it partially canceled out the bugged/lacking bow damage.  These were both fixed at about the same time, which is why Multishot suddenly became such a godly skill.

Another one that I forgot and would have put in as honorable mention.  The moonwalk bug.  As described by Vince, and about a dozen other people.

Admittedly, pretty harmless, but the fact that it took several patches for them to get rid of it (almost as long as it took them to fix the afterlife bug), it should garner mention. It was that bug where when you were hit with a knockback attack, you actually started facing the wrong way when running/walking. Pretty interesting though, and considering how much 80’s nostalgia is making a comeback…

This happened to all characters, but most often to Paladins when they were using Charge. It happened to charging monsters as well sometimes in D2X, mostly ones of the Pindleskin class.

One that I considered mentioning, but left off since it’s a bug created by a hack fix was mentioned by several people. Jackpot, for one.

Flux, something to add is the curent, “talk to cain if u don’t have soulstone” that relied on the packet error which scattered soulstones across act 4 and you could break each one at hell forge and reap the gems (or runes).

This one probably deserved a mention just for the absurdity.  Hackers had figured a way to flood by somehow adapting the “Cain will give you infinite soulstones” thing to work anywhere in the game. So Blizzard fixes it by… making your game crash if you ever get a soulstone from Cain.  Elegant. Of course in typical Blizzard company policy, they don’t admit they’ve done this, or tell people to be sure they take the soulstone that Mephisto drops, if they’d like to do the Hellforge quest.  As emailers often ask, “Why does Bliz post about 5 minute scheduled maintenance periods on Asia 3, but never talk about major in-game hacks and bugs?”  Good question.

One bug that I’m forever sad I missed was how Magic Find worked in v1.08 D2X. I got the game the day it came out, of course, and played some, but like the rest of the Dii.net site staff I was so busy updating content and posting news that I hardly got to play any, much less get into doing heavy MF’ing that early on.  The fun thing about v1.08 was there were no MF diminishing returns. You had 700% MF, you were getting 7x the Uniques.  Bling bling. And if you had a high enough total, every single item that dropped would be green or gold. As bar12 remembers.

You forgot the brief period of time when if you had enough mf% (can’t remember the amount but was close to 1000%) then any item that could drop as unique or set would drop as unique or set.

Tragically, this was only on the realms, since MF didn’t work at all in single player D2X until v1.09. So you can’t go relive those days in your offline pursuits.  At least not unless you know how to make your own mod, and it’s really no fun when you can just cheat to get the items.

Another one I forgot, from Brent.

One rather short lived bug that I thought was quite interesting was the +1 skills angelic halo amulet (I think that caused it just after D2X came out). Anyway, this was the bug that left the +1 skills bonus after removing the amulet. So players were known to put on/take off this amulet 100 times or so ending up 100+ points in a skill. Think Charged Bolt looks good at 25 points? Try 100. Luckily, this was major enough Blizzard fixed it quickly.

This worked by every time you took off and put back on the item, it would give you a +1 to all skills set bonus.  Cumulatively. So click that amulet on and off 100 times, and you’ve got +100 to all skills.  This has actually turned up several times over the course of the game; the Angelic Set one was just the most recent.  It worked back in D2C a couple of times, though I don’t remember which items caused it.

Sean remembers a bug few others did.

The Enchant bug where if sometimes if the char left the game or for what ever reason (hence bug) the char would drop from the game and the char would disappear from the chars account for anywhere up to 2 hours. (You could usually get it back by trying to create a new char.)

Another good one, reminder courtesy of Duy-Khang.

I also think the Zod bug should probably be on the list somewhere, or at least an honorable mention; I mean, what could be worse than getting the rarest rune in the game (you know, back in the days when dupes didn’t prevail…) and having it break your beautiful ethereal elite uniques such as Baranar’s Star or Messerschmidt’s Reaver?

People mail all the time asking if this is still broken, as it says on the Ethereal Page, and I never know what to say.  We hear from people all the time with 0 durability ethereal uniques crying over their wasted item/Zod, and then we hear from others who have a new indestructible ethereal Arkaine’s Valor.  So sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t.  Russian item roulette.

Several other readers remembered the Iron Maiden/Blood Golem bug, where all damage dealt by the Iron Maiden curse was counted as damage taken by the Blood Golem, which made his healing flow to himself and the Necromancer almost infinite.  Which made Blood Golems pretty much immortal when being attacked by anything with Iron Maiden in effect.

Another old one, remembered by Zarkano. This bug would make immortal monsters if you killed them with a knock back hit, usually Charge.

A bug I remember fondly was the Paladin’s Charge Attack bug in D2C.

I used to create ‘immortal’ Abyss Lords and Oblivion Knights in the Chaos Sanc at times by charging them until their life points were zero. Not only did they not die, but they suddenly couldn’t be killed either by most of the usual attacks. Only things I can recall that could kill them were the Thorns aura if high enough level and the Fist of Heavens. I would purposely created a few of them when I was feeling somewhat twisted just to watch other players get eaten by them.

One last mega quote, from Manarina, who lists enough Sorceress bugs to fill out a full column just for one character.

  Old day bugs already fixed:
* Sorceress’ Hydra did not work with Fire Mastery. That made the skill almost useless in D2C (except for scouting, maybe), since most A4 monsters have high Fire Resists.
* Sorceress’ Frozen Orb did not do any damage at all when it passed through a target or obstacle, even if it still displayed the graphics of the shards hitting. This required some aiming, and no one aimed Orbs in a monsters’ face, but to explode at their side. That actually added a bit more of challenge/strategy to Sorceress gameplay, but was “fixed”. Blizzard could change 1.10 Orb to work somewhat like that: whatever the Orb hits, it explodes releasing the 16 final shards, not passing through it… would make the skill more balanced.
* Sorceress’ Thunder Storm bolts used to miss a lot, specially if the monster was moving (usually it was, towards your demise). Hopefully this was fixed.
* Sorceress’ Enchant used to crash players that left games while the spell was active. And since the duration is very long, waiting for it to wear off was a pain!
* Sorceress’ projectile spells like Fire Ball and Glacial Spike could pierce if the Sorceress had equipped items with the Pierce property. It was so funny to fake Bowazons’ Freezing Arrows!

Today’s bugs:
* Sorceress’ Static Field can still reduce some enemies’ life below 33% and 50% caps in Nightmare and Hell difficulties. That is obvious when fighting Diablo and he can be “staticked” to near zero life – happens a lot to me.
* Sorceress’ Fire Ball causes Lightning Enchanted bosses to release invisible bolts. A danger in HC mode!
* A Sorceress can cast spells like Hydra, Blaze or Meteor, go town and hostile the party. The spells will turn against the party, unlike Assassin’s traps that are disabled once she enters a TP. Should be the same to a Sorceress, but doesn’t happen, allowing the PK frenzy in HC that Sorceresses drive today. A shame to my favorite class. *sigh* =/
* Sorceress’ Enchant depends on the receiver Fire Mastery, rendering the skill more worthless than it seems.
* Level 30 Sorceress/Necro Skill bonuses still can’t appear on Staves/Wands in Classic D2 (example: a +3 Frozen Orb Staff can’t spawn). Was fixed in the expansion, but in classic, the bug is another reason for a Sorceress NOT to use a Staff, but a Weapon + Shield combo.

I hope to have helped! BTW, my favorite of all your columns was no doubt the Best/Worst chars! I laughed A LOT reading it. Eheh.

PLEASE, keep up the nice job. And keep the kiddies from understanding your humour, their replies also make my fun. ^_^

A few general comments. Here’s Tarek.

lol a blizzard made game what else

Here’s Wayfaring.

Thanks for the trip down memory lane! What a twisty, exciting, heart breaking, victorious, frustrating adventure it has been since grabbing that initial D2C box off the store shelf. Keep up the great work!

Eric has some kind words for the creators of the game that we all like well enough to still be reading/writing about over a year and a half since the expansion was released.

Even bigger than the biggest bug is the fact that there are still gameplay horrors that are alive and well despite the fact that they have been well known for a year or more. That in essence makes Blizzard a big Roach Motel where game programmers happily frolcik in Warcraft land while Kurast continues to crumble. It doesn’t take Bob Villa to know that when the house is falling apart, it needs to be fixed posthaste to avoid it from being condemned.

And lastly, this is an email about a past column, but it was my favorite one of the entire week, so I thought I’d share it.  We have Andrew to thank for this.


I just read your article. If you haven’t heard about a ~necromancer~, youre pathetic. They have amplify damage and bone spirit. amp is a curse at level 1, bone spirit is at clvl30. and theres ~no~ secret process, they’re a regular character.

He’s commenting on my Oblivion Knight discussion from column #2.  No word from him yet upon reading column #3, with the infamous Necromancer comments. Which probably means he dropped dead in shock upon reading it, if this mail is anything to go by.

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: Retired Columns


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