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The game is set in the fictional world of Sanctuary, centred around the town of Tristram in the Kingdom of Khanduras. The protagonist is a lone hero who takes upon himself to find what is causing distress in the town's cathedral and is taken upon a journey that brings him down into the deep caves beneath the cathedral, all the way into Hell to combat Diablo, the Lord of Terror.
An official expansion pack, entitled Diablo: Hellfire, was released in 24 November 1997 (1998 in PAL territories) by Sierra On-Line (developed by Synergistic Software). However, because it was not created by Blizzard Entertainment, the entire game is considered to be retconned out from the lore of the game world.
|Game [ ]|
|Designer(s):||Erich Schaefer, David Brevik, Max Schaefer, Eric Sexton, Kenneth Williams|
|Release date(s):||Windows PC|
|Platform(s):||PC / Mac / PlayStation|
|System requirements:||Windows PC|
Windows 95, 60 MHz Pentium, 8 MB RAM (16 MB for multiplayer), SVGA-compatible graphics card, 2X CD-ROM drive
Power Macintosh, 8 MB RAM with virtual memory, System 7.5 or higher, 2X CD-ROM drive
|Rating(s):||15+ to 16+|
Diablo is probably the most well-known example of the action-RPG subgenre. It's arguably the first game that successfully combined the classic RPG genre with action gameplay and has a very short learning curve. This general "action-inspired RPG" concept has inspired a plethora of other games, sometimes derogatorily called "Diablo clones".
Players choose character classes, level up from gaining experience, assign attributes, learn spells and manage various attributes in the game just like in a classical RPG, but does so in real time, unlike older and more unknown variants of the RPG genre. all commands in the game can be used with only a mouse, but a keyboard can also be used to enhance gameplay with shortcuts, and quick changing of active spells.
Gameplay is structured around a monster-filled dungeon located near the town of Tristram. In town there is no risk of monsters appearing and in multiplayer, no PvP combat can occur. Players may rest, buy items, gather quest intel and repair equipment. There are sixteen levels of the dungeon, divided into four areas. Each area has a different appearance, architecture, light level, monster mix, and musical soundtrack. The first level of each of these areas has an additional exit leading back up to the town of Tristram. In single player, these entrances are blocked until the character opens them from the dungeon side, and the entrance is available for two-way travel from then on. In multiplayer, the entrances to town all start in their "open" position, but with a level requirement to access them from town.
Diablo is highly re-playable due to its randomly generated level layouts, monsters, and items. In addition, in single-player mode there are only three core quests as the rest of them are drawn from several pools, making it impossible to complete every quest in one playthrough of the game. Either way, only the last two quests are compulsory. Given this arrangement, no two playthroughs of the game are ever exactly alike.
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The three character classes of Diablo are the Warrior, Rogue, and Sorcerer. Each character, following typical role-playing conventions, has his or her own particular traits. The Warrior possesses physical strength, the Rogue has high dexterity, and the Sorcerer is oriented towards magic.
- Warrior: The Warrior is a powerful melee fighter, master of weapons of war and capable of enduring more damage than the other classes. They range from Barbarians of the northern highlands to noble Paladins.
- Rogue: The Rogues are the best archers in the world of Sanctuary. They can have a higher level of magic than Warriors, although not nearly as high as Sorcerers. The Rogues belong to a group called the Sisterhood of the Sightless Eye.
- Sorcerer: A powerful master of the arcane arts, the Sorcerer is able to achieve the greatest heights of magic, so that he doesn't have need of physical weapons. Sorcerers belong to the Vizjerei mage clan, and have come to Tristram seeking long-lost tomes of magic knowledge under the cathedral.
Diablo differs in the use of spells with the classes in such a way that all classes can use all spells. The requirement of spells is a uniformed statistical number in the character attributes and the same applies to both armour and weapons. However, each class has unique limitations on their maximum physical stats, and they have different animation speeds for physical melee combat, firing bows or using spells. Each class also different amounts of life and mana per experience level. Each class also has a unique skill: Warriors can repair items (although not as well as the village blacksmith, Griswold), Rogues can disarm traps, and Sorcerers can recharge magical staves that have a certain amount of spell charges on them.
The four character attributes are Strength, Magic, Dexterity and Vitality, which directly affect the characters' combat statistics and how powerful he or she is.
Every time the character levels up, the player can distribute points among the four base attributes to permanently increase them. They may also be modified by elixirs and magical shrines encountered in the game. Various magical items increase character attributes while these items are being used. No class is limited from using "metal armour" or other such specifics like in classical RPGs, but are instead dependant on "minimum requirements" for stats on the items themselves.
A similar principle to use items apply to spells for all classes. Spells are learned from tomes found in the game, where they add them to their spellbooks. Spells can later be cast repeatedly, as long as the character has enough mana to do it. Spells improve when the character learns the same tome again, increasing the spell's level in the spellbook. Each time a higher level version of the spell is learned, the minimum Magic requirement to learn the next level increase. Different spells, and different levels of the same spell, require varying amounts of mana to be cast.
Monsters and Items
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Monsters in the 16 levels of Diablo become progressively tougher and stronger the further down the player climbs. When the player kills a monster, it may randomly drop an item or gold and the more of the same type of monster a player kills, the more details will be displayed about the monster (such as health, resistances or immunities. Enemies are divided in three groups: Animals, Demons, and Undead. Group determines which weapons the enemy takes more or less damage from.
Items are sold by vendors, randomly dropped by monsters, found inside chests or barrels or sometimes lying on the floor. There are several types of items. Gold is the currency used to buy goods and services from the vendors and gold itself takes up space in the inventory - one slot per 5000 gold.
Consumables are items that are destroyed when used, and include life and mana potions, elixirs to increase base attributes, scrolls to cast spells and to learn spells permanently. The player has eight slots representing a belt which can contain only consumables of 1x1 slot size. These slots are numbered, and pressing the corresponding hotkey will use the associated consumable.
A special kind of items are quest items, which come in many varieties. Some of them activate a quest when picked up or found, while others must be carried along or used to interact with the environment, and yet others are given as special rewards for completing quests.
Any character can use any piece of equipment so long as they meet its statistical requirements (Strength, Dexterity, and Magic). Weapons and protective gear have durability values that decrease with use, but can be restored through several means. If durability reaches zero, the item is destroyed permanently. Staves are two-handed weapons used primarily for the spell charges they contain, which can be recharged. Each charge allows one casting of the spell contained within the staff.
Affixes and Quality
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Diablo helped popularize the "affix" system of random attributes on items. Magical items in Diablo have an idiosyncratic naming system; a particular enchantment bonus will be either a suffix or prefix. For example, the "Godly" prefix, appearing only on armor, adds greatly to armor class. An item with this ability would appear as "Godly (itemname)". Magical items can have both a prefix and a suffix; however, certain systemic limitations within the game mechanism prevent some prefixes and suffixes from appearing together on the same item. Different equipment types draw from different pools of affixes; some affixes are never available on certain types of equipment.
Equippable items can have various modifiers, and break down into three major classes: normal items (items that have no special attributes and are most abundant), magic items (that can have up to one prefix and one suffix) and unique items (very rare and powerful, and may have up to six magic bonuses). Magic and unique items must be identified before their modifications become known.
The game supports several types of multiplayer gameplay. It can be played over LAN using IPX, direct connection with the use of a modem or a serial cable and the most prominent way is to play over Battle.net.
Diablo was never designed to prevent hacks and cheats like later Blizzard games and as a result, many characters online have been altered in various ways by common third-party programs known as trainers. It is difficult to play a fair online game of Diablo in public games, as hacks and duplicated items are common. The use of trainers (which modify memory locations while the game is running in order to cheat) is fairly common and character editors are often used to give incredible statistics to even newly made characters. Additionally, there are a number of glitches which allow exploits such as .
The story of Diablo is based on an eternal war between the High Heavens and the Burning Hells. The Prime Evil known as the Lord of Terror (Diablo, one of three) is awakened from his Soulstone prison underneath the town of Tristram, and brings terror to the populace.
As the player explores the labyrinth underneath Tristram Cathedral, the character learns more about the conflict, and about the Prime Evils. The player also learns that the hero is there to avenge his family who were killed by Diablo.
Before the events of the game, Azmodan and Belial with many other Lesser Evils takes control of the Burning Hells and banishes the Prime Evils into the world in an event known as the Dark Exile. The archangel Tyrael gathers together mortal heroes to create the Horadrim to fight and imprison the Prime Evils in Soulstones. Mephisto is captured in Kehjistan and imprisoned under a Zakarum temple in what will eventually become Kurast, Baal captured in the Anaroch desert, near Lut Gholein. Tal Rasha, the leader of the Horadrim, sacrifices himself to capture Baal in a damaged Soulstone. Diablo is captured by a group of Horadrim monks led by Jered Cain in Khanduras and his Soulstone is buried in a cave near the river Talsande and a Horadric monastery with a network of catacombs is built over the burial spot.
The prison of the Soulstone weakened over the centuries and when the northern lord Leoric (retconned to eastern lord) comes to Tristram and calls himself king, Diablo tries to possess him. King Leroic withstands the attempt, but is driven mad in the process, starting war with the neighbouring kingdom of Westmarch and kills anyone who opposes him. When his trusted advisor Archbishop Lazarus kidnaps Leoric's son to be possessed by Diablo instead, Leoric loses his last vestments of sanity.
Lachdanan, captain of King Leoric's army, returns from the disastrous war and is forced to kill Leoric. Leoric curses Lachdanan and his followers with his dying breath. Not long afterward, Lachdanan and the king's guards are attacked by Leoric, resurrected as the Skeleton King, as they attempt to bury him.
Under the premise of finding the missing prince, Lazarus led Tristram townsfolk into the labyrinth, to be slain by a demon called the .
The game begins shortly after. The player descends through the levels into Hell. On the way the player kills Archbishop Lazarus, the Skeleton King and eventually defeating Diablo's mortal form, leaving him trapped in a soulstone. The hero's character pierces his/her own head with the soulstone, attempting to contain the demon and bring him to the sages of the East.
In Diablo II it's ironically revealed that this is what Diablo had planned, as the hero would be a better host than the prince. Diablo II continues the story, with Diablo having possessed the hero who killed him. Canonically, the character class that defeated Diablo was the Warrior.
Versions and expansion pack
Several versions of Diablo I have been released.
Diablo normally requires the original CD to play, however also included on the disk is a shareware version of the software that can be played without the CD called "Diablo Spawn". This version of the game can be used to join multiplayer games hosted by someone with the "Full" install, but is not playable in single-player mode.
In 1998, a PlayStation version of Diablo was published by Electronic Arts. The game lacked online play, but featured a two-player cooperative mode. It also featured an option to learn the story through a narrator without having to find the books in the game. This version was infamous because of its need for 10 blocks free on a PlayStation memory card; the standard size of memory cards for the platform was 15 blocks.
The only official expansion pack made for Diablo was Diablo: Hellfire in 1997. The expansion was produced by Sierra Entertainment rather than an in-house Blizzard North development team. The multiplayer feature of the expansion pack was disabled with version 1.01. The added content included two additional dungeon segments located within a new side storyline, several new unique items and magical item properties, new spells, and a fourth class, the . There were also two possibly unfinished "test" classes (the and ) and two quests which could be accessed only through a configuration file modification.
The original game was later re-released alongside Hellfire in a 1998 bundle, called Diablo + Hellfire. 1998's Blizzard's Game of the Year Collection contained copies of Diablo, StarCraft and WarCraft II. The Blizzard Anthology (2000) contained Diablo, StarCraft, StarCraft: Brood War and WarCraft II: Battle.net Edition. The Diablo Gift Pack (2000) contained Diablo and Diablo II, but no expansions. The Diablo: Battle Chest (2001) contained Diablo, Diablo II and Diablo II's expansion, Diablo II: Lord of Destruction.
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