My Diablo II Thesis I wrote this in response to some of the negative criticism that Diablo II is getting in GameSpys' TitleMatch. I thought some poeple here might like it, so I decide to share it here as well. ------------------------------- - Why Diablo II? - +It is a known fact that -Diablo- one, the first, classic, brought multi-player online roleplaying to the internet. +It's like a fps that doesn't let you get away with popping off the bad guy in one shot. +It's a rpg that not only doesn't force you to decide on east or west, it kicks you out the front door and says 'You figure it out.' +It's an adventure of world shattering cataclysmic proportions, encompassing the eternal struggle between good and evil. +It's strategic variables make other games look like 1st grade multiplication tables. It has more data tables and complex algorhyths than Stephen Hawkins ever put in a book. +It's graphics were breathtaking for its day, and they're still up to par, it is ludicrous how many tasks it's game engine can handle seamlessly. +It's in a genre by itself. Go ahead pigeon hole it, I dare ya. The strategy, playability, replayability, enjoyment factor.. everything about the game is in a league of it's own. If you need your fix bad enough and have enough money, you an go to Ebay or a hundred online shops and buy items, characters, even whole acounts! Legal and illegal, or should I say legitimate and illegitimate. My god it's a cult classic, in it's hay-day there were close to a million people playing it online at any given time, whoops i forgot mmorpg. The concept of which wouldn't even EXIST if it weren't for Diablo II. Blizzard broke the mold when they made this one, hell in an online gaming sense they produced one of the wonders of the world. +This is bar none the most complex, feature rich, repeatably entertaining game known to man. Pardon me, it's not a game, it's an experience. How many people do you know that tried it just once? None. It's the most addictive time consumeing conglomeration ever thought up. You can call it enchanted, enlightened or cursed, but there it is.. whatever it is.. the right mojo, the right essence or the right pungence.. Diablo II has got -IT- in spades. +What Blizzard did with 1.10 is give the Diablo II community the items they craved. 90% of the new items have very similar attributes to those illegal items from 1.09 that were deleted off the servers. To compensate for these items, they had to raise the bar in certain areas, effectively making the game more challenging. Personally, that's perfectly fine with me, I play the game for the challenge, and take great pride when I've finally built a character that can overcome 'The Horde'. +Diablo II offers a higher quotient of fun than any other game in existence. The possibilities are infinite. The fact that you are able to play the game for THOUSANDS of hours without having done everything that there is to do testifies to that. If battle.net were to release a table of hours played per account or cd-key, I wouldn't be surprised to find that there are people who have played Diablo II for more total hours than some games have been played by everyone who ever bought the game. - On Clicking - Diablo II is NOT a click-fest. I just counted the hotkeys in Diablo II, there are 53. Thats just over half the keyboard on a 104 key keyboard. 'nuff said. Just for the record, and FYI for any DII players who DON'T know this, you don't have to click you're mouse 6 times a second to attack something. As long as you've get the gear to brush off the blows, you can click lock the critter till its dead. What's even funner though, is if you have some cold damage in your attack, and you one-hit kill it for like twice its damage, it'll explode into a bunch of fragments, lol. Yeah it's sadistic, but I never tire of knocking critters into next week, lol. - On Emotional Investment - I would say that as Diablo II has a ludicrously higher number of goals to be accomplished. Therefore, you have a much larger chance of finding yourself emotionally invested in the game. These could range from the utter devastation you feel after having your elite, level 87, fully rigged sorceress die in hardcore, to spending over an hour waging an epic battle with Diablo, Baal or the elusive and highly prized Diablo Clone. Perhaps you have just traded for a godly item after a long bartering session, and din't think you would ever see one, let alone own one. The adrenaline rush, and the dopamine high after you've finally defeated them for the first time is akin to ..ahem 'doing it' for the first time. Some people say better. The fact that you have personally hand crafted this character until he/she was finally able to accomplish these tasks simply makes it sweeter by levels. - On variety in Diablo II - There are hundreds of levels in Diablo II, and that includes dozens and dozens of side areas that you never have to enter, or can take advantage of and go exploring in. With my vast experience in Diablo II, I don't think -I- have even had an exuse to visit all of them. If you wish, all of the quests except a few are easily bypassed, and those are the quests required to get to the next level. You would spend weeks completeing all of the quests, and following the games storyline, or with the help of a high level character clear the entire game and have access to ALL of its hundreds of areas in ten minutes flat. Any and all of the infinite possibilities in between are yours to decide upon. If you don't like the storyline, or want more role playing, problem solving or NPC interaction, download one of the hundreds of mods for the game, problem solved. Things as simple final damage on your character are compounded by resists, damage caps, action speed, skill modifiers, on weapon and off weapn damage modifiers, combining skills, attributes which have a chance to work.. the list goes on and on, and this is one simple aspect of game play. A few of the basic formulae are understood, but the majority of what is known was proven through thousands of hours of testing. online damage 'calculators' are usually simply referencing tables where every possible combination of weapons, modifiers and skills have been tried for any given situation. Occasionally, this lends to an easy equation, and once in a while a MIT caliber mathematicians pool together and come up with something akin to the algorhyth for determining Druids' Fury skill damage over time. That particular equation was cracked, however, the algabraic expression takes up nearly 5 lines on an 80 column page. Defining its root and sub-expressions takes a small softcover book, and understanding it is.. well.. better left to those with iq's higher than most tests compute to. All that to understand one very simple aspect, in theory, of the game. - On Diablo II's User Base - I personally observed, in it's hay-day Diablo II saw numbers of online players crowding VERY close to ONE MILLION people on battle.net at the same time. the time of day was defined by whether or not there 700,000, 500,000 or 900,000 people online at any given point. As recently as a year ago, those numbers bounced around 350,000. Blizzard destroyed the online metropolis of Diablo II by ignoreing online hacking and server lag. I would imagine that since Diablo II was not a pay per play game, and battle.net was free to join once you bought the game, they were hard pressed to support it financially. However now that those issues have been fixed, people are taking the game back off the shelf and Diablo II's online community is growing. It has been said that this is one of the hallmarks of a truely great game, and the growing numbers of people playing Diablo II on battle.net certainly place Diablo II in that bracket. Referring to the game as only enjoyable when your bored or tired is rediculous in the extreme. Dozens of people in this forum alone, for and against the game, have said that they have spent hundreds and thousands of hours playing Diablo II. Each. You have obviously never played Player versus player, spent weeks building a chacter only to discovery that your stat / skill placements have rendered it useless in the late game, or enjoyed any of the other dozens of aspects of the game other than 'hacking up monsters'. - What Genre is Diablo II - why is it so hard to classify it's genre?? I did some research, go out and look around the games sites, they all say something along the lines of third person / adventure or action / rpg. Not only do they disagree about which particular genre it belongs in, they are unable to pin it down to even a handfull of them. The number of merits such as user base, play time, infinite item generation and emotional depth in / for and of this game testify to it's groundbreaking number of aspects, if nothing else. - On Diablo II's attack Forms - Char. type / base attacks / skill attack modifiers / total Amazon ~20 ~4 ~80 Assassin ~20 ~15 ~300 Barbarian ~12 ~10 ~120 Druid ~16 ~4 ~64 Necromancer ~10 ~10 ~100 Paladin ~11 ~12 ~132 Sorceress ~50 ~3 ~150 So we are sitting at around 946 base attack types, thats before throwing in hireables, summonables and minions; one handed, two handed, ranged and castable; or different weapon types. All said I am going to guestimate that there are around 4000 different base attack types in Diablo II. In addition the mechanics of how your to hit ratio, chance to block, attack rating, resists, leech, attack speed, faster hit recovery and various other factors all play a factor in how well your character reacts in battle. In this sense Diablo II is far superior and more traditional to the concept of an RPG then even some of the TSR products. It is CERTAINLY by far the most advanced, and the gameplay of Diablo II PvP is generations ahead of some game where you click back forth and sideways like pac-man trying to aviod one of the maze monsters. - Things to do in Diablo II besides 'hack up monsters'. Hunt items, trade online, build hundreds of character types, join clans, go solo, play hardcore, develop REAL relationships with other online players, player verus player, hunt the diablo clone, help solve different aspects of the game, develop your gaming skills, help other players, seek help from other players, join online communities, compete in tournaments.. The list goes on and on. Diablo II offers an infinite number of experiences that other games just can't compete with. As far as the strategy involved in Diablo II, it is so complex that entire online communities are devoted to trying to figure it out. The complexities of strategy in Diablo II are truely overwhelming, where as in other games, notably strategy and first person shooters, there is a finite amount of strategy involved which can be summed up, and once understood, mastered. The same cannot presently be said about Diablo II. Thousands of hours of play are devoted to testing theories so that information can be pooled and learned from. As a backup, you could go to diabloii.net and read the hundreds of articles submitted by users on why THEY think that Diablo II is the greatest game ever invented. I think that the game means different things to different people, and that is probably the main point. Most games can offer good graphics -or- excellent gameplay engines -or- incredible cinematics -or- stimulating gameplay. Diablo II offers so many things to so many people on so many levels, it truely is a wonder to behold. As I mentioned earlier, there are hundreds of mods available for Diablo II which do include other aspects of gaming such as better roleplaying, problem solving and etc. Also, Diablo II is not limited to battle.net, there are a myriad of different ways to network with other people. There are even private servers being run which you can connect to to play various Diablo II Mods with other people. There are still numerous merits to the game other than logging into battle.net. Of course battle.net is one helluva bonus. Not at all, many people spend their time killing high level bosses to level their character, which is also an excelent way to get those high level items, with or without magic find gear. You could simply pick a charater build (such as most player vs. player builds) which doesnt need to go higher then level 80ish. This brings up an entirely different type of character, PvP. PvP characters, are out of necessity built entirely different than the sorts that run around killing monsters. There is great prestige in having a character and the skill to make a name for yourself in the PvP community. As far as gossip goes it can get quite interesting if you take the effort.. gossip with Cain after you have rescued Anya, he's a dirty old coot!! There is a knack to gambling, depending on what you want to gamble for (it is still gambling) you want to be between level 84 and 90 and you have the potential to gamble up the godliest rares that can be found in the game. If you actually get a Unique, It's dumb luck, you're looking for truly godly rare items. For the record, people have beaten the game.. naked. Of course this is a challenge which takes great skill, and quite a bit of patience. Of course you need to start out with one of the melee classes to develop the power to be able to knock out monsters later in the game with your bare fists. There is even a guy attempting to run a naked sorceress though hardcore. He's documenting it on the diabloii.net website, and it makes for good reading. Only a fool would argue against the replay value of Diablo II. I've spent thousands of hours playing it. Nothing compares. Softcore to practice and run into the face of death like a madman, or hardcore for 'if you die, you're DONE' consequences. 7 distinct character classes, combined with 30 different skills in each class that you build on as your character grows, providing innumerable play styles in each class. Then you can choose the type of mercenary you'd like to hire to go into battle with you, or choose one of the classes that command legions of their own to go into battle and conquer your foes. Innumerable, hundreds of thousands of items with just as many different attributes to be found on each one which you can find or trade for, then you can combine or upgrade or HAND CRAFT to outfit your warrior for battle. Hundreds of rings and amulets and shield and helms and charms and jewels and belts, gloves and boots. Enough types of body armor and weapons to keep the roman empire happy. Bows and swords and spears and axes and maces. Polearms, deadly daggers, crossbows, javelins, war hammers.. the list goes on and on and on. Lets' not forget about the wands and orbs and staves for those who dealve into the ethereal arts and cast spells. Not to mention the myriad gems and jewels and runes you can collect to enhance the treasures you find and create some truly formidable armament for your chosen to go into battle with. What type of battle? Do you want to slay monsters by the legion, or become a hunter of demons, or the undead, or single handedly SMOKE the games heavy hitting boss monsters? You can go on quests, or fleece the monsters for better items, or join partys and quest together, or party up to build your levels and increase your skills to god like levels. Who do you want to party up with? Out of all the possibilities, can you gather around you and create a truly formidable clan of warriors to go out do battle with. Perhaps you would rather compete in tournaments against other players, outfitting your warrior with different skills and items, and have a backup set of gear hidden in your chest for battling different types of foes. Or perhaps you'd like to go on your own quests, Ironman.. leave town and never go back, live off your will and whatever you can garner from the monsters you slay. But there are hundreds of monsters of varying ability popping up when you least expect it to rip your head off and hand it to you. Are you prepared to do battle with whats around the next corner? But why leave town in the first place when you could spend your time gambling at the vendors, or indulging in the local gossip as the game moves along. But then again who needs those items in the first place when you could throw your sword by the wayside, go out into the wilderness naked and punch the living daylights out of anything that moves, using only your wits and your skills? You could try this on hardcore, where if you die, your DONE. You could try it on hardcore with a friend, you die and you're both done. Or go through with a friend ironman style, living only off of what you find and with each of you watching the others back at all times, because you are all each other has got. Then again perhaps you could set your self up as a vendor on the trade channels and spend your time bartering and building your wealth to become a true merchant with vast wealth and power. Perhaps... Perhaps I could go on like this for hours. Perhaps there is a reason this game and Blizzard are going to win this battle. They've done their time. They are ageing, but there has NEVER been anything with the challenge of Diablo II before or since. I defy you not to get an adrenaline rush and taste fear in the back of your throat when walking into a monsters den knowing that you're ill prepared and that you could very well end up a greasy spot on the ground if you make ONE single mistake. THIS game > all the rest.