Diablo II Lord of Destruction General Information • Company & Author: Blizzard • Type of game: MMORPG (Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game) • Price: Both the original game and expansion can now be purchased for $19.99 each. • Available for the Mac and PC. Requirements • Single-Player PC System Requirements – Requires the Full Version of Diablo II – Windows® 2000*, ME, XP, 95, 98 or NT 4.0 Service Pack 5 – Pentium® 233 or equivalent – 64 MB RAM – 800MB available hard drive space (in addition to original Diablo II Multiplayer install). – 4X CD-ROM drive – DirectX™ compatible video card Requirements (cont.) • Multiplayer PC System Requirements and Options – Requires the Full Version of Diablo II – 64 MB RAM – 800MB available hard drive space (in addition to original Diablo II Multiplayer install). – 28.8 Kbps or faster modem – Up to 8 Players: Over TCP/IP Network or Battle.net® (Requires low-latency Internet connection with support for 32-bit applications) Requirements (cont.) • Graphics libraries – DirectX, Direct3D, and the Glide API. • Sound card – Anything that supports DirectX. Recommended • Optional 3D acceleration – Glide and Direct 3D compatible card with at least 8MB of video RAM – Realistic perspective mode – Improved transparency effects – Improved lighting/shadowing effects, such as colored lighting, and smoother transitions between light and dark areas – Atmospheric effects – Possibly faster frame-rate Installation • Procedure – Installing Diablo II is simple. There are two necessary CDs for the original program (and another for cut- scene cinema) and one CD for the expansion. Instructions are easy to follow. – The expansion requires the original program to be installed. • Latest Patches / Online Play – Latest patches are automatically downloaded when you connect online. Online play is accessed through the opening menu of the game. Manual • Helpful to understand basic rules of play. • Offers very little in the way of strategy. • Overshadowed by the abundance of in-depth information available and easily accessible online: – Specific values can be found to replace generalized explanations. – Strategy guides can explain nuances of the game that are only implied or completely ignored by the manual. • Patches that have been introduced after the release have rendered some aspects of the manual inaccurate. Storyline • In the first Diablo, you fought your way through scores of demons/monsters in order to defeat Diablo, ruler of hell, who had breached the gap between his and the earthly word, in order to return peace to the land. • In Diablo II, he has once again returned (having possessed the hero of the first game) and has set out to release his two brothers. The game is divided into four acts. – Act 3: Mephisto, one of the brothers. – Act 4: Diablo • In Lord of Destruction, one more act is added to Diablo II. Act 5 finds you chasing down the last brother, Baal. Player Role • Complete quests • Gather equipment • Design character by distributing rewards, gained through experience level and quest bonuses, across various skills and attributes • Compete against others online User Interface • Chat room / Join game screen – Advantages • Various player-controlled channels to congregate with friends. • Easy to learn/use. – Disadvantages • Only given a short list of current games. • Cannot filter list, it does so on its own with recently created games only. • Cannot view current games in another difficulty. User Interface (cont.) • In-game screen – Advantages • Health and mana (constantly checked) are easily visible. • Constant display only blocks view at bottom of screen. – Disadvantages • Screen can become cluttered, and the lack of various perspectives or zoom-in capability can make vision difficult at times. • Maps/allies/messages can clutter the screen sometimes. In town Map making screen clutter worse User Interface (cont.) • Inventory – Easy to understand and use. – Separate windows that may be opened/closed. – Space is limited. • Resource management definitely becomes an issue. • Often “mule” characters are created simply to hold trade goods or reserved items, although transferring the items between your own characters sometimes poses a risk. Inventory Game Play • Choice of 7 different characters – Game experience varies greatly for each. – There is a great degree of control and good number of choices as to the distribution of various skill & attribute bonuses as you gain experience. – Reasonably large number of different character designs for each of these characters. Character Selection Game Play (cont.) • Quests – Various objectives throughout the game, with many very different and worthwhile rewards. – Main goal is usually to destroy a monster or locate something (guarded by monsters). – Nothing in the way of puzzle solving. Game Play (cont.) • Difficulties – Game must be played through three successive difficulty levels (one must be completed to reach another). – Each difficulty provides some changes other than higher monster statistics. • Some monsters gain immunities. • Your resistances to certain elemental/poison/magic attacks are reduced. • Monster combinations and AI/strategies increase. (More intelligent spell-casting, for example.) Game Play (cont.) • Environment – Advantages • Visually stunning – Disadvantages • Not as interactive as it seems could‟ve been possible Game Play (cont.) • Replay value – After finishing all quests on all three difficulty levels, all you can do is continue killing random monsters (or the boss monsters once again). – The true replay value of this game lines in its online community. Game Play (cont.) • Online Community – Parties • Some combinations of characters work better than others (supplement one another). • Some characters have skills that directly affect their party members, enhancing skills/attributes. – Trading • Great way to get good items quickly. • Makes use of items that offer no help to your character design. • Something to do when you‟re tired of questing and dueling. • Often done through web sites, by bids. Game Play (cont.) • Online Community (cont.) – Dueling. • Fighting a user-controlled opponent is a refreshing break from battling monsters. • Different characters designs interact very differently (not the same duel over and over). • Dominant builds often spark other strategies; character designs evolve and new character designs arise. – Problems? • Unfortunately, you do have to deal with real people. real people can always be a problem. Game Play (cont.) • Expansion – New, more powerful weapons added. – Two of the seven characters were only added with the expansion. – New rune items which can be used to enhance items. Proper combinations can have powerful effects outside of the listed bonuses. – Weapon-switching capability – Increased storage size. – Some environmental interaction, but not much. • Specific scenarios, including catapults/towers. Scoring • Single Player – No scoring really exists, other than experience level. • Multiplayer – Scoring is relative and there never an “absolute winner”. – The only in-game ranking is a ladder system that is periodically reset. Players are ranked by experience level, and ladder characters are isolated from non-ladder characters online (no trading). Also, certain items will only spawn in ladder games (though they will not disappear when ladder is reset and “ladder” characters become “non-ladder”). Scoring (cont.) • Multiplayer (cont.) – Many players design characters to duel one another, and some keep track of win/loss records. Sometimes “honor” rules are followed during such duels (no health potions, etc.). – Some character designs are built around repeatedly killing certain bosses quickly, in order to find good items. These characters need to both hold as much magic find bonus equipment as possible and kill the bosses quickly, so the “perfect build” has been the topic of some online debate. Scoring (cont.) • Multiplayer (cont.) – There is a second, “hardcore” ladder system which does not allow characters to respawn. (Once you‟re dead, you‟re dead.) • Some consider this to be a more assessment of skill. • Some people aren‟t willing to risk it simply because of their internet connection / computer performance. Comparisons • Upon its release, Diablo II: Lord of Destruction was the most popular game in its genre. • Since then, it has been outdated by similar games such as World of Warcraft. (note: same company) • There is a still a large online community today, attesting to the strength and staying power of the game. Appropriate Audience • The only factor to be considered here is violence. However, the violence is only seems as real as sprites killing one another can seem, so this is not too bad. Artwork • Fairly impressive for the time the game was released. • Spell-casting is typically the most visually pleasing element of the game. • Sometimes the detail of the artwork on the screen and the amount of change each frame can cause lag online (particularly when multiple characters/monsters are spell-casting!). This is where a good graphics card really pays off. Artwork Artwork Sound and Music • Sounds and music can be very repetitive. • No alternative music choices (other than „off‟). • Although repetitive, sounds can often be informative (hit/miss, tripped a trap, monster destroyed, etc.) Bugs / Patches • Bugs – Bugs have been found and exploited online. – Popular bugs that have been exploited: • Duplicating items • Increased damage (adding/removing buggy items repeatedly) • Map hacks (see everything) • Response – Blizzard has responded by banning CD keys of cheaters (can‟t play online). – Patches have been periodically introduced to fix bugs (whether exploited or not). – Patches have also allowed character classes to become (fairly) balanced over time.
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