Sunday, 20 June 2010


If you follow me on Twitter (and personally, you do, because how the hell would you know of my blog if you didn't), you'll know that I had been playing Diablo recently.

Diablo is a dungeon crawling RPG created by Blizzard Entertainment, the company now famous for World of Warcraft.

Deep beneath the small town called Tristram, the Lord of Terror, Diablo, is awakening. With all hell breaking loose, it is your job to search throughout the labyrinth and destroy Diablo.

There are three classes to choose from. The warrior, the mage and the rogue. Apart from maybe the rogue, each class is self-explanatory. The warrior has high strength, and low magic, the mage has high magic and low strength, and the rogue is more or less a jack of all trades, thriving in dexterity. Furthermore, each class has a unique innate ability. The warrior can repair equipment, albeit lowering the max durability value, the mage can recharge staves, also lowering the max amount of chages, and the rogue can detect and disarm trapped doors and chests.

There are 16 floors in the labyrinth. The first four floors consist of the cathedral which is the entrance to the labyrinth. The architecture loosely resembles that of a cathedral or church I guess. There are many shrines which can potentially boost your base stats. Many of the monster found here are of the undead variety, with some minor imps thrown about.

Floors 5-8 are the catacombs beneath the cathedral levels. There are many rooms with ancient tomes in these floors which can provide you with spell books. The monsters are still predominantly undead, but more and more lesser demons can spawn here as you go deeper. Some of these foes can be invisible right until they materialize right in front of you.

9-12 are the subterranean caves. Lava flows freely here, which can be both an advantage or a disadvantage, provided archers a way to shoot down enemies on the other side of the rivers, but also letting ranged demons attack you from afar as well. The foes here are much different from the previous areas. Large lava demons can hurl balls of magma at you. Other smaller demons will spit globs of acid that will remain on the floor for a short period, causing continuing damage if you stray too long.

Finally, the deepest parts of the labyrinth reside in Hell itself! Expect the fiercest demons and hellspawn in these dark recesses. Most notable are the succubi, with their magic that can drain your life and replenish their own.

Much of the story of Diablo II is learned through the various quests, and talking with the villagers of Tristram. Furthermore, there are tomes in the labyrinth that will tell of backstory of the world of Sanctuary. Also, throughout the various quests you can learn more about the villagers themselves. Like how Wirt lost his leg to the demon called the Butcher, or what caused Farnham to sink further and further into a drunken stupor, and finally the true identity of Cain himself.

There are four basic stats. Strength, Magic, Dexterity and Vitality. Strength increases your damage value, and allows you to equip heavier armors or weapons. Magic allows you to learn more powerful magics, and furthering you skill in already known spells. Magic also increases you mana pool, alowing you to cast more spells. Dexterity ups your hit rate, and can increase you damage and defense values, as well as increase your block rate should you use a shield. Dexterity is required to equip more powerful bows. Vitality increases you life, allowing you to take more damage from foes.

Every time your character levels up, you gain Life and Mana, as well as 5 stat points in which to put into whatever stat you desire. However each cap has a max value per stat. In addition to leveling up, you may find shrines inthe labyrinth that can be used to enhance your stats. Be warned however that some shines will add points to one stat, but take away points to another. Further, starting in the Caves, monster may drop Elixirs that will add 1 stat to whatever stat the Elixir is of. These Elixirs can eventually be bought at the merchants in town for high prices.

Unfortunately, there is very little to no music in the game. The only real music is the memorable Tristram village theme. In the dungeons its mostly just ambient music. Regardless what music there is does fit the theme of the game.

All the villages are fully voice acted and have very memorable voices. From Griswold's Scottish-like accent to Adria's sing-song voices. And the classic voice of Cain, which sounds like Sean Connery. The player characters are also voice acted, although to a lesser extant.

All in all, Diablo is a solid game, and worthy of its sequel. And with a third game in the making, its lived it legacy and will continue on for times to come. Diablo itself may not be as popular as it once was, but that doesn't mean it's obsolete. Diablo's sequel, the aptly named Diablo II is still growing strong over the years. If you've ever played Diablo II and never played Diablo, I suggest checking it out to see how the series starts. And if you've never played either, now is as good a time as any.