Blizzplanet Review: Diablo II: Resurrected

Diablo II: Resurrected was originally announced on February 19 at the BlizzConline 2021 event. Fans didn’t have to wait years to get their hands on this remaster. In fact, technical alpha started on April 8, followed by an early access Beta test on August 13; and while the game launch was far from perfect, I can say this is the best Blizzard game remaster by far.

StarCraft: Remastered was pretty good, but Diablo II: Resurrected adds beautiful, detailed modern 3D graphics and special effects to the game. Even character reflection on water, great shadows and textures, very detailed props and things that weren’t as evident in the sprite version of Diablo II… like decapitated or tortured people. Vicarious Visions / Blizzard put the “M” back into the Mature-rated label in glossy and bloody 3D.

Day One: Disconnections

The launch was marred by disconnections, or not able to login at all (in some cases). Next day, server stability was ironed out and I got disconnected about twice — probably due to a bug with accidentally spamming opening multiple Scroll of Portals when I pressed the wrong button. Over a week later, I have a random disconnection problem, but not often. It is common for new game launches, but the issues have been resolved much faster than usual.

Blizzplanet Review: Diablo II: Resurrected

Diablo II is the action roleplaying game that set the standard for similar games for the past couple of decades.

I can’t remember playing so much Diablo II. Since launch, I have sometimes played over 10 hours per day. I could go through the storyline fast, by skipping areas; but the completionist in me has to clear all monsters, and click every single treasure chest, bone pile, and jars I encounter in my path. Time just flies, and before I know it, I have been glued several hours to the game.

So far, I have played a Zeal Paladin, a Blizzard/Blaze Sorcerer, and a Summon Necromancer that I intend to respec to Poison Nova at a later time. Started a Barbarian on the side, and plan to test a Bow Amazon later.

Played all four classes up to Duriel, killing him successfully without dying. I can’t say the same 20 years ago, when the inexperienced me died multiple times to Duriel.

I went a bit further with the Sorceress and defeated Diablo without dying. I simply killed him just using Blaze, Frost armor and Blizzard. It was so satisfying to kill Diablo after so many years. The only difference is that now it was on my terms, with far more knowledge about the game than I did back then.

The best part about defeating Diablo was how fluid the gameplay experience feels like with an Xbox controller on my Windows 10 PC — versus 20 years ago with a keyboard and mouse. Vicarious Visions and Blizzard Entertainment deserve praise for adding controller support and a separate controller UI. I haven’t had this much fun playing Diablo II.

(This is the Xbox Controller I am playing with)

I have never owned an Xbox or PlayStation console. So I am not used to controllers beyond the Atari, Super Nintendo, Sega, and GameCube 64 I owned years ago.

I purchased an Xbox controller for PC some time ago that I rarely use. I tested it for Diablo II technical alpha and beta; and fell in love with this new way of playing Diablo II. So that’s how I played after the D2R launch, and I don’t think I am going back to keyboard and mouse ever again.

Switching between the PC and Console UI is very straightforward. Simply press any button in your Xbox controller, and the UI switches to Console UI. Press your mouse button or any Keyboard key, and it switches to PC UI.

Below you can view some of the close ups on detailed models and textures in Diablo II: Resurrected. You can press “F” to zoom in and out, or you can hold the “F” button down and scroll your mouse scroll button up and down to control your zoom.

What I would like Post-Launch

The best Quality of Life feature in Diablo II: Resurrected has to be the Shared Stash. I can place gear there for my other class characters, and when I login with other characters, I open the Shared Stash and move the class-specific items to the Personal Stash. One thing I would like to see is the ability to purchase extra Shared or Personal Tabs. This is where Blizzard can add microtransactions and shine. If you ever played Anima ARPG, you know that you can purchase extra Stash tabs for $0.99 cents each. I wouldn’t mind paying an extra premium per tab.

I created 7 characters. One per Class. However, as I play each class separately, I find loot that only other class can use. Insane upgrades. Some of those classes are still at level 1, which means this good gear my Sorceress looted can’t be used by the Barbarian for a long while until I manage time to level him up. At that rate, my Shared Stash is going to get very cluttered multiplying that same scenario to each of the other 6 classes.

Adding optional MTX extra stashes, can translate in game longevity. Less time moving gear around and trashing good gear to place new ones there. Better gear management. Hopefully, Blizzard is listening to the feedback. Diablo II: Resurrected doesn’t need to be just a remaster. It can be monetized in ways that make sense.

I can see why the D2R team is considering item stacking. So many gems, jewels and runes drop in this game, I can fill an entire tab, and more keep dropping each day. Stacking this type of items will make the gameplay experience so much appealing. I will rather spend my time hacking and slashing through hundreds of demons, than spend most of my time opening the inventory to discard items; or being forced to town portal to move stuff to the stash. So big props to Vicarious/Blizzard for considering these Quality of Life changes.

There is still so much that can be done to enhance Diablo II; but what I would really want to see is the possibility of new Acts, and new in-game events that expand the story.

With Diablo Immortal in the horizon, there is still 5 years of the timeline that can be filled via Diablo II: Resurrected expansions and DLC content. Maybe even introduce stories in D2R that could later show up in future Diablo Immortal expansions; and later come up in Diablo IV. Continuum between all three games.

Sadly there are no plans for expansions; but there was a pre-launch interview where Rob Gallerani said to GamesBeat

GamesBeat: Is new content on the table, like an Act VI? Is that a possibility?

Gallerani: I will never deny it. It’s not on the table right now. But it’s not off the table either. Like I said, we’re focused on getting that authentic, nostalgic experience right. Even smaller things, like retuning how the blizzard works, or maybe making a build that’s not a Hammerdin, new runewords, new items, those are all really exciting things, but we want to make sure we stick the landing first. As long as the community says, “Yeah, you did good,” then we can have the next discussion.

Nothing official, of course; but Gallerani knocked me senseless with that response; and I can’t wait to see what the D2R team has in store for us as they continue to support this 20+ year old game restored for modern systems.

NIGHTMARE MODE

A few days after I wrote the article above, I have now reached Act IV in Nightmare difficulty at level 49 with a Blizzard/Blaze Sorceress.

I think this is the farthest I ever accomplished before stopping to play Diablo II nearly 20 years ago. Back then, I couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t survive and how to get better gear in order to move forward.

Back then there was mostly one website to figure things out, but it was mostly a forum. So things weren’t exactly well-organized.

In the Diablo II: Lord of Destruction era (2001), there was no YouTube. YouTube launched in 2005, and probably large videos couldn’t be uploaded back then.

Wikipedia launched in 2001, but I doubt there was a dedicated D2 wiki in that time. Reddit didn’t exist until 2005, but the first /r/diablo and /r/ diablo2 were created in 2008 and 2009.

Nowadays, everyone jumping on Diablo II: Resurrected have tons of resources to go learn builds, runewords, what items to use for runewords, where to loot runes and specific items, and every day you will learn something new.

We have MrLlamaSC in YouTube, Rhykker, and many other Diablo content creators to go check out the latest builds, and gear setups.

Or we have Maxroll.gg with articles by some of the top Diablo II players.

Or d2runewizard.com to keep track of the runes we own. The site shows you what runewords you can create with the runes you have in your inventory or stash. That’s pretty good.

Or diablo2.io to also help you with runewords, and gear.

Today, there is no better time to play Diablo II: Resurrected with so many resources to learn the game mechanics and to plan your character and mercenary’s path to becoming more powerful for Nightmare and Hell difficulty.

Within just a few days, I am not far from reaching Hell difficulty, thanks to these resources and hours of research.

Diablo II: Resurrected still needs some work to fix some crashes, but it is a very fun game to play. It is very time-consuming and addictive keeping you immersed for many hours on a daily basis; and after some time investment, it is very rewarding due to the RNG and other decision-making factors. Exactly what many gamers expect from a video game in 2021 and beyond.

You can bookmark my Diablo II: Resurrected YouTube Playlist for all the Quest Videos, and upcoming content.

BLIZZARD/BLAZE SORCERESS BUILD

This is the guide I am using for my Blizzard Sorceress, but I added Blaze as an experiment. It has drove me almost to the end of Nightmare difficulty. I logged out when I reached Pandemonium.

The build (except for the Blaze part) was inspired from a Blizzard Sorceress build I found at Maxroll.gg, but I strayed a bit from it. Enjoy!

The weapon runeword I used early at level 19 is LEAF (read the Leaf article). As you progress, you can try to get staffs with better damage, and simply add the two runes: Tir Ral. These drop from The Countess in the Forgotten Tower.

Below in this video, I killed Duriel in Nightmare difficulty only casting Blaze, Teleport and Blizzard. No mercenary.

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