Tristram Comparison: D1, D2, and D3

The guys at Danish fansite put together a cool video giving us a Tristram comparison between all three Diablo games. The video focuses on the central well, the building locations, Cain’s rusty cage, Griswold’s shop, Adria’s shack, and more, plus the soundtrack features some of everyone’s favorite Matt Uelmen guitar work.

You wouldn’t know it by looking, but there was some fan debate back in 2000 when Diablo 2 was released, since Tristram was changed around quite a bit from Diablo I. It was cool to see Wirt’s corpse (which initially fountained gold in 50 stacks, in an homage to his D1 avarice) and zombie Griswold, but the complete lack of the cathedral, cemetery, and Adria’s island shack were noted points of contention.

I was able to ask Max Schaefer about that when we visited Bliz North pre-launch, and as best I recall he just gave his big laugh and a shrug. I certainly can’t quote him from memory thirteen years later, but basically he said they hadn’t worried about trying to recreate the level with total fidelity, and had just aimed more at getting the right feel of the burning, ruined town.

Things were more casual back then, to the good of the devs and the non-hate of the fans.

Tagged As: | Categories: Diablo 1, Diablo 2, Fan Stuff


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  1. Wasn’t this posted last year too?

  2. This is pretty old, all it really does is show how shitty the D3 art style is.

    • I think the biggest comparison is the music, or rather the complete lack of anything resembling music in Diablo 3.

      • That was the first thing I noticed, too. God the music was great in D1. It really added to the spookiness.

        • I remember back when there was the whole “the game looks too happy” ordeal. Peope applied filters to make it grittier, to which Jay himself responded that creating a grim environment wasn’t just about applying filters.

          Every single zone of diablo 3 has dense colored fog. The red hue used basically every third zone makes me want to puke.

  3. In the D3 shot someone turned on the blue fog machine. Rave it up poppin’ mollies errday etc.

  4. D3 is the change from gameplay to “graphics”.
    They sacrificed random maps to get a beautiful/idk game…Buff I speake about D3 and my negative side becomes a TITAN…Let me Alt+Tab to XCOM before I start speaking about D3 and “randomizations”….

    • It’s funny you make the argument that they lost randomness for the sake of graphics, using tristram as the example. Tristram as actually gotten more random over the course of these 3 games. D1 – static, d2 – monster and clickable bodies placement, d3 – clickable, monsters, the small event and 2 spawnable mini-dungeons.

      I like how they kept the shake across the river in roughly the same place.

  5. The sanctity of this place has been fouled – 10/10

  6. I remember how excited ? was for D3 when announced. Played d1 and d2 all over, read books again (Zayl the Necro :))and in the end what we got? rmah thats all, this game is just rmah. No epic lore of Diablo Universe,Cain was butterflied to death etc etc. I dont always start flaming post spree on forums but the nostalgia hurts 🙁

  7. The sanctity of this place has been fouled… BOOM BOOM… Instant fear. What a great mood game it was.

    • +1, because simply by writing “BOOM BOOM” you made me recall the first bars of the cathedral soundtrack in total clarity. This deep, menacing drum!

      And how impressive all the other sounds were! Surely I’m not the only one who still has vivid memories of some of them? The dying sounds of the the Fallen, the Goatmen (“Me-he-he!”), the Hidden Ones (“Blorrg!”) really stuck. On the other hand, I cant remember a single sound of D3, though I played that more recently.

  8. I actually like d3’s art style, but It’s completely missing that foreboding doom atmosphere. It’s not necessarily a product of the art, but more simply a failure to add the right elements into the game, music, dialoge, story and map layouts.

    At best d3 becomes an ‘eerie’ adventure with strange happenings, but it never pulls off that same feeling as d1 and d2. You don’t get this tense and deep atmosphere with boding fear. It really does feel like an arcade version of Diablo, where the mood is never too desparing in order to get you to keep putting those quarters in and continue to play.

    The story, dialogue, and even the music are as much factors of this “eerie adventure” feel that the game has. While I like some of the d3 music a lot of it is over the top or just seems out of place and at times you cant even hear it. In trying to make d3 “epic” they really failed to capture the atmosphere the previous games had.

    • While I agree with you, and can’t find many arguments technical-wise to prove the opposite, yet I can’t be sure this is not because I was 16 when I played D2, while I am 28 (not) playing D3.

      • i still get the feeling in diablo2 when i play it now

      • There is definitely a difference in the atmosphere. This could possibly be that the player finishes the painting in their mind when playing D2. The graphics aren’t that detailed so I see it as being far darker than it is in literal form. D3 however, everything is crisp with graphics and you cannot try to see it in a different light. I don’t mind the graphic decision, but the atmosphere is clearly aimed to not be horror, it doesn’t matter how many demons explode.

  9. I miss Diablo 2 so much… So much fucked up with D3.

    • Whwy do you “miss” it? Go play it again…

      For me D3 is quite fine, but I understand when a sequel just doesn’t seem to be right for me.

      Like, the Human Revolution game. It is an outrageous thing to call it a game on the Deus Ex series, it strips everything great to make a cover based shooter.

      But should I ‘miss’ the very first Deus Ex and one of the greatest games ever made? NO, I still play it when I feel I should and shout everywhere I can how great it still is compared to poor envisioned “sequels”. 🙂

  10. It’s interesting how prior to the release of Diablo 3, it seemed like the majority of people were defending its art style. “We don’t want Diablo 2.5” they said. “D3 is as dark as D1 and D2–maybe even darker!”…”Stop whining about D3’s art style, it’s awesome!”

    Where are these people now, I wonder.

    • Too busy playing D3 I suppose, only the haters and whiners come here these days (as you can see in the other comments).

  11. Hey, what a surprise. I come look at the comments and it’s a circlejerk of Diablo 3 hate.

    • So?

      Some people hate and some people love Diablo 3–then there is everything in between. Why does it matter if they voice their opinions on a site that centers around games that take place in the Diablo universe?

      And sometimes one group of people who share a common opinion will outnumber another group of people who share a common opinion. In this case, the comments section seems to be filled with people who dislike Diablo 3.

      Regardless, I don’t see the problem.

  12. Somehow, while the D1 version of Tristram is graphically the most outdated one, it’s still the most atmospheric of the three by far. It’s noteworthy though, that D3-Tristram is lightyears ahead of the very uninspired ‘loose interpretation’ in D2.

  13. “Things were more casual back then, to the good of the devs and the non-hate of the fans.”

    So damn true.

  14. First : I like diablo 3
    Why diablo 3 do not have the same fear atmosphere.
    In diablo 1 and 2:
    – Npcs were terrified
    – Towns felted like they were being siege and almost starving
    – Music , Music, Music!!!!
    – Pcs saw or were told of the atrocities that the next boss had done. By the time we fight them from the first time, we were scared.
    – Bosses looked evil, Real evil (Maghda and Belial lock like clowns).
    – The desert looked like a desert, without water for a long time. (the yellow ground from diablo 3 is like a cartoon).
    – The color scheme was a lot more tone down and darker
    – Dying had consequences even in softcore (as little as they were)
    – Had more blood and more burned things

    • You should look at some details in d3 more close, go to alcarnus or halls of agony. I would just tune down the color contrast and give the blood a higher contrast, here you have some gore. Also i would put some cloak of war.

    • You forgot the awful story-dialogues. Especially Diablo and Azmodan. Their sayings are like they do not even themselves believe what they are trying to convince you. They sound so silly, when they appear here and there through the acts.

  15. the whole game isn’t dark enough – old arguement i know – but instead of gold radius pick up why not have it light radius – and everything else a fog of war…. monstors coem out from the darkness and maybe diffrent char can see diffrent distance by default.

  16. Hmn, it is interesting all these commens about how great and forebooding the “D1 and D2” were.

    Really, D2 was nice and such, but personally, I was terribly upset when it was released. To my tasttes, it had nothing of the suspense and forebooding and careful gameplay and art elements. It was just a over-colored version of D1 with an uncalled for focus on all out action. Oh, and that respawn thing when you re-entered a previously saved *single player* game… “WTF is that???” was my reaction.

    It was so, so strange… Non stop action instead of the slower, very well paced way of playing D1… quite a disappointment to me. In this regard, D3 is simpky the next step (more action, less suspense).

    • The problem is not this direction of D3. Who expected it to be super-tactical and with careful, slower pace? This is not something to blame. The problem is how the game is eventually implemented.
      Atmosphere-wise, how can you delve into the game, with so crappy dialogues (most of them), so bad “acting”, mediocre music, etc.

  17. Well, if we take into account the vid, then D3 Tristram is very similar to D1 Tristram. I didn´t like the way D2 Tristram was made, but I did like it to be all messed up and fight Griswold in it.
    So, my view is that D3 Tristram is very close to D1 Tristram, but D2 Tristram had more feel to it. The D3 version, while being well layed out, is somehow lacking. Maybe it feels small in size. The character is kinda big alongside the buildings. In D1, the buildings were very big. Now the houses and the cathedral look good to me, but the cartoony style made them shrunk I guess.

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