Diablo II: Lord of Destruction

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Diablo II: Lord of Destruction
Diablo II - Lord of Destruction Coverart.png
Developer(s) Blizzard North
Publisher(s) Sierra Entertainment
Designer(s) Peter Brevik
Composer(s) Matt Uelmen
Series Diablo
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows, Mac OS, Mac OS X
Release date(s)
  • NA June 27, 2001
  • EU June 29, 2001
Genre(s) Action role-playing game[1]
Mode(s) Single player, multiplayer
Distribution CD-ROM

Diablo II: Lord of Destruction (commonly abbreviated LoD) is an expansion pack for the hack and slash action role-playing game Diablo II. Unlike the original Diablo '​s expansion pack, Diablo: Hellfire, it is a first-party expansion developed by Blizzard North.

More than a standard expansion, Lord of Destruction not only added content in the form of two new character classes, new weapons and an addition of a fifth act, but also dramatically revamped the gameplay of the existing Diablo II for solo and especially multiplayer.

Features[edit]

Placing the runes "Jah", "Ith" and "Ber" (in that order) into an armour item with exactly three sockets produces the powerful Rune word "Enigma".

Lord of Destruction adds a number of new features to the core gameplay of Diablo II. These include:

  • Two new character classes: the Assassin and the Druid.
  • A fifth act taking place in and around Mount Arreat in the northern Barbarian Highlands, with an additional act boss, Baal.
  • Many new items, including new weapons and new pieces of armor:
    • 33 different Runes, which can be placed into sockets and provide different bonuses from gems.
      • "Runewords" are specific sequences of runes which grant a specific set of additional bonuses (similar to the preselected bonuses of unique quality items) when socketed into an appropriate item.
    • Hundreds of additional Horadric Cube recipes.
      • "Crafted items" are very similar to rare quality items but they cannot be found in chests or dropped by monsters. They can be created with the Horadric Cube and the right ingredients. They have 3-4 predetermined properties determined by the recipe and up to 4 additional randomly selected from the same pool as rare item properties.
    • "Jewels" gain the same random bonuses that items can. These can be placed into sockets. They have the same effect no matter what the base item is. Unique jewels are "Rainbow Facets" which have different bonuses to a certain element.
    • Ethereal items that are normally more powerful than their standard counterparts, but they have lowered durability and cannot be repaired.
    • Charms that can be kept in the inventory and provide passive bonuses.
    • Class-specific items that can only be used by a certain character, e.g. Claws for an Assassin.
    • Additional unique and set items, including class-specific sets.
  • An expanded stash for storing items—two times the size of the original stash.
  • An alternate weapon/shield/spell setup that can be switched to via a hotkey in gameplay.
  • Hirelings can now follow the player through all the Acts. They can also be equipped with armor and a weapon, can gain their own experience (originally they leveled up with the player), can be healed by potions, and can be resurrected when killed.
  • The game can now be played at 800x600 resolution, up from 640x480.

Story[edit]

After the player successfully ventures into Hell and defeats Diablo in Act IV, upon returning to the Pandemonium Fortress they are met by the Archangel Tyrael with an urgent summon. Tyrael opens a portal to Harrogath, a stronghold on Mount Arreat in the northern Barbarian Highlands. As shown at the end of Act IV, while two of the Prime Evils of Hell, Diablo and Mephisto, have been killed and their Soulstones destroyed at the Hellforge, their surviving brother Baal has impersonated Tyrael and retrieved his own Soulstone from the narrator Marius. Baal has raised an army and attacked Mount Arreat, whose Barbarian inhabitants are tasked with defending the Worldstone.

There are six quests in Act V. The player starts off at the stronghold of Harrogath. There are also ice caverns in the mountains, as well as hellish subterranean pits (reminiscent of Hell in Act IV) for extra monsters and experience. After reaching the summit of Arreat, the player gains access to the Worldstone Keep.

Many of the folk in Harrogath do not initially trust the player character (even if they are playing as the Barbarian class). The player has to slay Shenk the Overseer who is leading the assault in the Bloody Foothills in order to relieve the siege of Harrogath. The player can also rescue the captured Barbarian defenders. Completing these quests gradually helps the town inhabitants warm to the player and they will provide aid or other services.

The player soon discovers that one of Harrogath's councilors or Elders, Nihlathak, has made a deal with Baal to spare Harrogath in return for access to the Worldstone Keep. After rescuing Anya and learning of this betrayal, the player has to find and kill Nihlathak, who is sheltered between his minions in the Halls of Vaught.

Before gaining access to the Worldstone Keep, the player must defeat The Ancients, which are the three Barbarians - Talic the Defender, Madawc the Guardian and Korlic the Protector - guarding the Worldstone who allow only the worthy to pass. After the player succeeds, the Ancients warn that Baal is already into the Keep and has blocked Tyrael's presence.

Finally, the player fights Baal in The Worldstone Chamber, after defeating his pack of minions at the Throne of Destruction. Tyrael appears after Baal is dead, congratulating the player and opening a portal to Destruction's End, the conclusion of the game. As the Worldstone is corrupted by Baal, Tyrael has no choice but to destroy it before its power of Hell takes root.

New classes[edit]

Assassin[edit]

The Assassin relies on a mixture of martial arts skills and the ability to lay active traps. She can also open locked chests without the use of a key.

Her Shadow Disciplines tree contains a mixture of passive bonuses (such as Claw Mastery or Weapon Block) and buffs (such as Burst of Speed or Venom), along with a few spells such as Mind Blast which damage, stun, and confuse the enemy. She also can summon a Shadow Warrior or Shadow Master, which are useful summons that are also capable of dealing significant damage themselves.

The Traps tree provides a few direct attacks, and more importantly, a number of summonable traps. The traps are stationary devices that will attack any hostile target in range a certain number of times before breaking. Traps are either based on fire or lightning, though the Death Sentry trap can explode nearby corpses in addition to shooting bolts of lightning. The blade trap skills are essentially ranged projectiles that cause physical damage.

The Martial Arts tree consists of charge-up skills and finishing moves. Attacking with a charge-up skill increases the number of charges, up to three, then the finishing move releases the charges in a single powerful blow (note that a normal attack also counts as a finishing move). The charge-up skills include attacks like Blades of Ice and Fists of Fire, which add elemental damage to the finishing blow, and also skills like Cobra Strike, which adds life and mana stealing to the finishing attack. The finishing blows are, for the most part, kicks, such as Dragon Talon, which releases a number of kicks in quick succession, and Dragon Flight, which teleports on to a target and kicks them, releasing any charges.

Druid[edit]

The Druid specialises in nature-based magic and shapeshifting, with direct damage spells and a variety of minions. The Druid is voiced by Michael Bell.

The Elemental tree consists of the magic of earth and sky. The 'storm' spells have effects like Cyclone Armor, which protects the Druid from the elements, and Tornado, a vortex of swirling winds that moves somewhat randomly and can deal massive damage. The 'fire' spells are more earthly than the Sorceress's, with spells like Fissure and Volcano. The ultimate Elemental spells are Hurricane and Armageddon; both create a storm that follows the Druid, damaging all that come too close.

The Summoning tree governs the calling of natural allies to the Druid. While the wolves and grizzly the Druid can summon are traditional melee summons, the other summoning spells are a bit different. Ravens do marginal damage, but can blind enemies and cannot be targeted. Ravens disappear after they have attacked a certain number of times. The Druid can summon will-o-the-wisp-like spirits that provide Paladin-like Auras, increasing damage, life, or returning damage back to the attacker (like the Necromancer's Iron Maiden). The Druid also can summon one of three vines. These can poison enemies from below, or consume corpses to replenish the Druid's life or mana.

The Shape-Shifting tree gives the Druid the ability to become an animal himself, with gigantic bonuses to life. The Druid may either become a nimble Werewolf or a large Werebear. Each form has its own special attacks, such as the Werewolf's Feral Rage, which causes the Druid to get faster and faster as he continues to attack enemies, and the Werebear's Maul, which makes the Druid swing harder and harder during attacks. The Werebear is also able to obtain substantially more life and armor than the Werewolf is. It is worth noting that all of the Druid's equipment functions as normal when shifted, if at different speeds, but the druid is virtually unable to cast spells, except for Armageddon and summoning ones.

Music[edit]

The Diablo II: Lord of Destruction score was recorded in Bratislava, Slovakia with the Slovak Radio Philharmonic. Kirk Trevor of the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra conducted the sessions. The music for it was written in September 2000, it was the first time when Matt Uelmen worked with the orchestra. The orchestral session for Slovakia was in January 2001.[2]

The style of the score is modern classical[clarification needed] and experimental,[3] trying to impose with a Wagnerian style.[4]

Music Inspirations[edit]

  • Fortress from Act V of the game, inspired by variety of operatic scores, one of them would be Claude Debussy's Pelléas and Mélisande, with a direct musical reference to a phrase from the middle of "Scene 1: Je ne pourrai" from Act I of Debussy's play.[5]
  • Ice Caves from Act V inspired by fragments of Bernard Herrmann's "Vertigo" and a sequence of Carl Orff's Trionfo di Afrodite.
  • Ancients from Act V contains a direct quote from Richard Wagner's "Tristan and Isolde" Prelude to act one.
  • Siege from Act V is inspired by fragments of "Mars" by Gustav Holst and contains a direct quote from it.[3]

Critical response[edit]

Like its predecessor, Lord of Destruction received very positive reviews. It is listed at Metacritic with an average rating of 87 (with one perfect score from Computer Games Online).[6] It is described at Metacritic as an expansion that "should reinforce the staying power of an already legendary RPG." GameSpot awarded the game an 8.2 out of 10,[7] IGN administered the game an 8.8 out of 10[8] and Gamespy gave the game an 88 out of 100.[9] The game has also won an award for being in the top 50 most important games of all time according to IGN magazine for its online multiplayer.

Within the Diablo 2 community the expansion caused some controversy when Blizzard patched the original game with an update that made Nightmare and Hell difficulties particularly harder than before; some players felt that Blizzard was effectively forcing them to upgrade to the expansion in order to find the items and gain the abilities necessary to deal with the new challenges.[10]

Patch history[edit]

The expansion was released in Summer 2001 as version 1.07, the same version as the beta, but the 1.08 patch was available for download on the same day. In August 2001, 1.09 was released.[11] With the release of 1.09, people that held items from the 1.08 patch had better stats on their items rather than their newer 1.09+ counterparts, such as the Windforce Unique Bow.

Patch 1.10 was released on October 23, 2003. The main change was the introduction of "synergy" bonuses, whereby investing points into one skill would increase the power of a related skill. The difficulty of monsters was increased accordingly, making many previously viable builds almost useless in harder difficulty levels. Many powerful items and runewords were also added. While the most powerful runewords required many extremely rare runes, duplication of these rare runes made high-end runewords far more widely available than they would've otherwise been.[citation needed]

A new "world event" was also added to online play. When enough of the powerful (and hence, widely duplicated) Stone of Jordan rings had been sold back to NPCs on a server, an Uber Diablo or Diablo Clone would appear, dropping a powerful Annihilus charm upon death. It is widely believed that this event was added to remove the widely duped rings from the economy. The patch also introduced the Ladder, officially a competitive mode of Realm play that lets the player record his or her name on a list akin to the "High Score" listing in arcade . Ladder-play introduces a greater challenge to players by increasing enemy AI speeds, so that monsters in Ladder games behave like the more powerful monsters in Non-Ladder games. It also adds new Ladder-exclusive items and runewords.[12] The Ladder is reset periodically, causing all Ladder characters to be converted to normal Non-Ladder characters while retaining all of their progress, items, and gold. Then just after the restart, you have to start on the ladder from scratch, i.e. no ladder characters. This creates a separate, initially 'dupe-free' economy on Ladder, and a fresh and equal start for all Ladder players. It also places Ladder-exclusive items and runewords into the general economy allowing players who were previously not on the Ladder to trade for them. The latest reset took place on November 25th, 2014.[13]

Ladder "Seasons"[edit]

Season 1[edit]

The first of the ladder seasons began with the initial release of Patch 1.10 on October 28, 2003.[14] In order to play and get one's name on the ladder, a player must create a new character from scratch and cannot interact with any characters created before the current patch. Ladder characters also cannot interact with non-ladder characters and vice-versa.[15] This encouraged a lot more cooperative gameplay initially, but as items were duped and servers clogged, gameplay declined over time.[citation needed]

Season 2[edit]

Blizzard performed its first ladder reset on July 7, 2004 with a promotional contest called "When Worlds Collide," as World of Warcraft was scheduled to be released the following year. The contest began for all users playing on an Expansion Realm. The first player to reach level 99 on the ladder on each Realm would be awarded a prize package containing a Blizzard T-Shirt, a signed copy of World of Warcraft Collector's Edition, a toy statue, and a Blizzard North CD Wallet.[16]

The "Rust Storm" program, a process by which duplicate items were deleted, was also implemented.

Season 3 - Patch 1.11[edit]

The second reset of the ladder took place on August 8, 2005,[17] just after patch 1.11 was released, and also introduced the "Warden" anti-cheat system to Diablo 2. Unlike Season 2, Season 3 did not have a contest. Three thousand accounts were also permanently banned for using 3rd-party software to cheat.[18]

Über Tristram[edit]

With patch 1.11 and the third ladder season, Blizzard added a new area called Über Tristram which can only be accessed on Battle.net.[19] Players can gain access to Über Tristram by killing designated monsters and following a series of sub quests. Inside Über Tristram enemies have extremely heightened defense, damage and resistances. Three über bosses, Pandemonium Diablo, Über Baal and Über Mephisto can be found inside Über Tristram.

In order to get to Über Tristram, you must first obtain three keys at Hell difficulty: Key of Terror, Key of Hate, and Key of Destruction. After you combine the three keys in the cube at Harrogath, one of three possible portals open: Matron's Den (where Lilith will drop Diablo's horn), Forgotten Sands (where Über Duriel will drop Baal's eye), and Furnace of Pain (where Über Izual will drop Mephisto's brain). Once you obtain all three organs, combining in the cube at Harrogath will open the portal to Über Tristram.[20]

Season 4[edit]

The third reset took place on June 25, 2007, and was not accompanied by a patch.[21] However, an exploit was discovered that made it possible to go to the Forgotten Sands area of the game by sending a special packet to the server.[citation needed] This consequently allowed non-expansion or classic characters to enter Act 5, provided they had a copy of Diablo 2: Lord of Destruction installed. This method was patched on the server in mid-February 2008, along with a server patch that would end a game if anyone's ping passed a certain threshold.[citation needed] This prevented a common lag-based item duplication method. This generally increased the quality of gameplay, as the number of people attempting to lag the servers to execute the method was greatly reduced. However, this caused many players to drop from games unexpectedly. Even after Blizzard attempted to curtail "duping" with the server-side patch, players have figured out alternative ways to duplicate items.[citation needed] Blizzard has yet to release a patch that stops the practice permanently.

Season 5 - Patch 1.12[edit]

The fourth ladder reset took place on June 17, 2008 with the integration of patch 1.12 into Lord of Destruction. It allows players to play without the game CD if they originally performed a "Full Installation", after copying some files from the disc.[22]

Patch 1.13[edit]

On March 3, 2009, an announcement by a Blizzard employee was posted on the battle.net forum that the company was working on content patch 1.13, and asked for the Diablo community's input.[23] The same employee informed the community that 1.13 is planned to be a major patch, introducing new content, instead of merely fixing bugs.[24]

As of July 20, 2009, the patch was postponed due to a server crashing issue that surfaced from the latest patch on Warcraft 3, another one of Blizzard's major titles. On August 5, 2009, the community was informed that patch work for Diablo would not commence until the issue with Warcraft 3 was resolved.

Almost a full month later (September 2, 2009), the same employee that announced the 1.13 patch enlightened the community with the first positive update since the announcement of the patch, this post contained information about work having commenced once again on Diablo 2 and its patch, also stating that the PTR (Public Test Realm) for this patch would be opened very soon.

On September 30, 2009 the community was then informed that the patch may have restraints due to the new content being included (increased stash size), apparently old servers couldn't handle the updated content and would stress the servers too much. The community was told that as soon as they ran some tests to see how well the servers perform, they would make the decision as to whether or not they could include the updated content.

On October 14, 2009, a little after 7 months since the announcement of the patch, another report was made stating that they still haven't decided whether or not to include the content.[25]

On November 18, 2009, it was decided to leave out the increased stash size in patch 1.13 due to server concerns.[26]

The patch was released on the PTR on December 10, 2009, and featured only some minor updates and minor bug fixes.[27]

In addition, there actually was one game changing feature introduced. Stat and Skill resets. Akara provides 3 initial resets, (one for each difficulty). Afterwards, a Token of Absolution is required. Tokens are inventory items that when Right-Clicked reset your character. Before this, if you made a mistake building your character or were tired of your character, you would have to level a completely new one, and transfer all of the items. This allowed people to test the waters with Purist or Hybrid builds that had unique properties but might not have been the cookie cutter setup for their respective Classes.

To build a Token of Absolution, you must collect the components in Hell Difficulty and then combine them in the Horadric Cube.

Twisted Essence of Suffering (dropped by Andariel and Duriel) Charged Essence of Hatred (dropped by Mephisto) Burning Essence of Terror (dropped by Diablo) Festering Essence of Destruction (dropped by Baal) [28]

It is also worth noting that something known as Gubers was fixed, much to the dismay of players selling and buying Gubers alike. "Gubers" is literally Glitched Uber. The technique was to have two Hammerdins (Blessed Hammer build Paladins) lure Uber Mephisto into a house in the North East corner of the map, from there he would simply raise skeletal minions that the two Hammerdins would kill non-stop for hours while customers would level EXTREMELY rapidly from 1-91, usually within 30~ minutes. After level 91 Guber exp became almost worthless (due to the minions being iLvl 85). Afterwards only killing Diablo or better yet Baal would net any noticeable experience.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "RPG Vault: RPG Vault Focus: Action RPGs". Rpgvault.ign.com. 2008-05-02. Retrieved 2011-05-08. 
  2. ^ Remo, Chris. "Shack News Interview". Shacknews.com. Retrieved 2011-05-08. 
  3. ^ a b Uelmen, Matt. "Battle.net Matt Uelmen Liner Notes". Gamasutra. Retrieved 2009-01-20. 
  4. ^ Flux (2009-03-31). "Diablo III’s Composer Speaks". incgamers.com. 
  5. ^ "Matt Uelmen's Fortress sample of Claude Debussy's Je Ne Pourrai Plus Sortir De Cette Forêt". WhoSampled. Retrieved 2011-05-08. 
  6. ^ "Diablo II: Lord of Destruction at Metacritic". Retrieved 2006-07-28. 
  7. ^ "Diablo II: Lord of Destruction for PC - Diablo II: Lord of Destruction PC Game - Diablo II: Lord of Destruction Computer Game". Gamespot.com. Retrieved 2011-05-08. 
  8. ^ "IGN: Diablo II: Lord of Destruction". Pc.ign.com. Retrieved 2011-05-08. 
  9. ^ GameSpy.com - Reviews: Diablo II: Lord of Destruction
  10. ^ Kasavin, Greg (2001-06-27). "Gamespot Review". Gamespot.com. Retrieved 2011-05-08. 
  11. ^ http://www.lurkerlounge.com/index2.php?option=com_content&do_pdf=1&id=763
  12. ^ "The Arreat Summit - Basics: Character Types". Blizzard Entertainment. Retrieved 2009-07-20. 
  13. ^ http://classic.battle.net/diablo2exp/
  14. ^ "The Diablo II 1.10 Patch Has Arrived!". Blizzard Entertainment. 2003-10-28. Retrieved 2008-05-11. [dead link]
  15. ^ "The Arreat Summit - Basics: Character Types". Blizzard Entertainment. Retrieved 2008-05-11. 
  16. ^ "Season 2 Begin". Blizzard Entertainment. 2008-07-08. Retrieved 2008-05-11. [dead link]
  17. ^ "Diablo 2: A New Season Begins...". Blizzard Entertainment. 2005-08-08. Retrieved 2008-05-11. [dead link]
  18. ^ "Diablo II Accounts Closed". Blizzard Entertainment. 2005-08-11. Retrieved 2008-05-11. 
  19. ^ Cord Kruse (2005-08-02). "Diablo 2 Patch 1.11 Now Live". Inside Mac Games. Retrieved 2008-05-11. 
  20. ^ FrozenHag. "Hellfire harm Quest-Uber Tristram". Retrieved 2010-09-06. 
  21. ^ "The Arreat Summit - News". Blizzard Entertainment. 2008-06-20. Retrieved 2008-05-11. 
  22. ^ Jimmy Thang (2008-06-17). "Diablo II Patches to 1.12". IGN. Retrieved 2008-05-11. 
  23. ^ "Battle.net - English Forums -> Diablo II 1.13 – Tell Us Your #1 Patch Note". Forums.battle.net. Retrieved 2011-05-08. 
  24. ^ "Battle.net - English Forums -> D2 community demands date". Forums.battle.net. 2009-04-30. Retrieved 2011-05-08. 
  25. ^ http://forums.battle.net/thread.html?topicId=16474108701[dead link]
  26. ^ http://forums.battle.net/thread.html?topicId=21043889914[dead link]
  27. ^ "Battle.net - English Forums -> 1.13 PTR is LIVE – Patch Notes & FAQ". Forums.battle.net. Retrieved 2011-05-08. 
  28. ^ Gang Bangin East

External links[edit]