Diablo 2: from the game to the legend until its resurrection

Who I am
Alejandra Rangel
Author and references

When we are in the car we use signals to understand where we are on the road, where our route will take us and where we started from. Someone has decided how and where to insert the signals necessary to guide us, based on international studies and conventions of the highest level; imagine now a world where there are no definite roads but where everyone - and we mean everyone - knows exactly where they are going, where they come from and can indicate by heart the turns, the climbs and the descents. Then try to think that that world has no physical roads but lives in the memory and thoughts of people who have never seen each other.. Here, after all this you will have in mind a fragment of what the world videogame panorama is, studded with more or less known successes and failures. What is almost magical can be summed up in the way in which all those people - who repeat it, do not know each other, probably do not even speak the same language and are not even the same age - manage to put those signs, those "milestones" , at the same place; Diablo 2 is one of those milestones, a solid and essential work that has marked a road, a way towards something unexplored but that everyone was waiting for. How Blizzard did to create a title that still today, after more than twenty years, is viewed with respect and awe is easy to say: it took a risk, it decided to set the bar higher, aware of the fact that it could have fallen ruinously on the ground. The Dark Wanderer is about to return in Diablo 2 Resurrected.

Wayfarer and Narrator

In the first chapter of Diablo, our hero faces the evil demon and defeats him by descending deep into the underworld, a descent that undoubtedly quotes Dante's epic in the domains of Lucifer. Once the absolute evil has been defeated, the protagonist of the story imprisons Diablo's soul in the Soul Stone and to prevent it from ever being found he inserts it into his body, convinced that he can keep it. Unfortunately, as Frodo well knows, evil slowly corrupts you and in fact, as happened to the little Hobbit of the Shire, misled by the Ring of Power, the protagonist of the game is subjugated by Diablo who in the guise of the Dark Wanderer begins a journey to fully regain his powers, all taking with him a man called Inarius, narrator of Diablo 2. The player will therefore have to chase the two travelers and to do so he will just have to proceed in different regions of the world of Sanctuarium. In the course of the adventure, the user on duty would therefore have found himself in the role of a hero of his choice between Barbarian, Enchantress, Amazon, Paladin and Necromancer (yes, in Diablo 2 it was not possible to change the gender of the protagonists, they were nameless but the gender always remained the same) to fulfill his destiny next to Deckard Cain, Sanctuary historian and spiritual guide of the protagonist (a character who remembers a lot Gandalf of The Lord of the Rings).

Construction of a myth

How is it possible that a title with such a mundane storyline accompanied by an action and not purely RPG style of play has caused such a sensation? Well, the answer is in the details (like the devil!), Diablo 2 proposed itself as the best product of its time in terms of aesthetics ... and beyond. The protagonist was introduced to an inventory system that forced him to choose what to take with him and what to leave on the ground, physically. It was a "hardcore" title in the sense that once you have chosen certain skills placed in a well-defined tree, these could not be changed (which in the modern era is certainly out of use to the point that, objectively, in Diablo 3 our barbarian can change roles at any time, passing from tank to melee damage up to pure support). For example, if we chose to play a sorceress dedicated to ice magic, it was unlikely that at level twenty we would have chosen "wall of fire" as an ability; this involved a certain foresight in terms of gameplay, as well as a well-defined role in a four-player team, another innovation for the time, a party shared by four members able to cooperate and explore the surrounding game world together. Of course, online it was a nice "far west", in the sense that there were no pre-defined loot and, basically, who first clicked on the object, first got it.

But now let's talk about another important element of the Blizzard creature, death: the joy and pain of every gamer. Well, in Diablo 2 death as well as a tremendous waste of time represented a real "economic" damage as Death took half of its treasure, famong other things, causing us to lose all equipment, unless the player returned to their corpse and recovered the lost loot. If the player had died before reaching their lifeless body, they would have ended up with the brutal loss of all equipment. Each playful feature of the production was then expanded thanks to the advent of DLC (which at the time was called Expansion) Lords of Destruction, which included several in-game innovations: two new classes, new explorable areas and several new modes such as the Hellfire Quest that allowed the protagonist to reach an area where the same bosses of the past were present, Diablo and his brothers in version " uber ”, or drastically enhanced but at the same time suppliers of tremendously powerful objects, once defeated. We must not forget how the title was full of secrets and easter-egg; one of them was the level of the Cows, which can be opened through the use of the Horadrim Cube coupled with other objects inserted inside it (this gem became a true legend among the players, with many who doubted its very existence: remember that the Internet does not it was as populated with information as it is today and many details and curiosities reached the general public only through the printed newsstands).

The rebirth

How can you think that such a well-created and structured title can be improved? Do you really need a rebirth of Diablo 2? In reality, improving it is easy to say: with the knowledge that Blizzard has acquired over the last twenty years, also thanks to the experiments done with Diablo 3, we expect a net improvement in terms of the score of the characteristics and a streamlining of the game under the playful profile, perhaps in relation to the identification tomes or the Portals for the city trip. Small reference also to the aesthetic improvement that is a must and logical given the power of PCs and modern consoles; after all, we must not forget that the title will be cross-platform and can be played anywhere.

Yes, a rebirth is needed because like the world of cinema which today seems to live on remakes and reboots, a title like Diablo 2 Resurrected serves the younger audience to understand the "origins" of this great media and serves adults to become kids once again: keep in mind that it was often used to bring four PCs into a room and play Diablo 2 not online but locally, today it sounds almost dystopian but in 2001/2002 it happened that for a whole weekend you would find yourself sleeping on the sofas of your lucky friend on duty who had enough space to accommodate everyone and play for ten to fifteen hours straight. Returning to Tristram and Lut Gholein will be a mystical experience for those who have lived it in the past (like myself) while doing it today for new players will be a truly unique discovery. 

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