Diablo 2: Cakewalk of Destruction

I bought Diablo 2 when it first came out. I played through Act I with my brother and then we both put it down and I never played it again. Recently a couple of my non-gamer friends said they wanted to see what all the hubbub was about with computer gaming, so I started up a Diablo 2: LOD game with around six people (gamers and non-gamers). I figured it’s a great, easy, newbie-friendly introduction to gaming that doesn’t require a power rig to run. All well and good.

We’re approaching the end of Act I, and I’ll tell you what leaps off the monitor and punches me in the face: this game is a fucking cakewalk. Maybe it’s because we have six people playing (although the manual says the monsters scale up). But we just tear through everything with no effort at all. There’s no need for coordination, covering each other, or even staying in a group. We rip through everything as if it’s made of tissue-paper. And I don’t mean that new strong kind.

I have a secondary character that I use to group with folks who have missed a session or two and fallen behind. He’s a druid, with about half his points in summoning and half in shapeshifting. At level 10, I stopped using shapeshifting at all (although I still put half my points in it). It’s just not worth the bother of keying up the spell–with my regular equipment and my menagerie of summoned creatures (2 crows, 2 wolves, and an oak spirit, plus that freebie mercenary you get), I can cruise through everything the game throws at me. I occasionally use a health potion when fighting one of the quest final boss monsters. Other than that, I just count on level-ups and visiting town when my backpack is full of magic loot to keep my health topped off.

What is up with this? It’s particularly bizarre because the game has no difficulty selection (until you finish the whole thing, I guess). Maybe because of that they erred on the side of making the game too easy, but as far as I’m concerned, they erred way on the side of too easy. As my large group approaches the end of Act I, without using any tactics at all and sometimes wandering completely off from one another, we have had a total of five deaths, almost all of them right at the beginning of the game.

Do other people have the same experience? Is there any way to make the game more difficult other than artificially limiting myself by not using all my abilities? Does it get harder later on? Is this game so amazingly popular just because it’s super-easy and makes everyone feel like an ass-kicker? Because I have to confess, it’s beginning to wear a tad thin for me just because it’s so easy. But I know it’s like one of the most popular multiplayer games evar. What up?

I can’t speak to LoD, but diablo 2 itself gets harder in the later acts, Act 1 first round is a cakewalk – at level 10 you’re basically still in the friendly newbie padded section of the game. It also gets much harder after you defeat diablo the first time (nightmare), and much harder still after you defeat him the second time(hell). I believe once you’ve done it once, you can start at that level from the beginning in local games, could be wrong though, it has been a long time.

Even that gets too easy after a while. That’s why I switched to playing hardcore. Try playing at Hell level in hardcore, then tell me its too easy :)

Maybe it’s because we have six people playing (although the manual says the monsters scale up). But we just tear through everything with no effort at all. There’s no need for coordination, covering each other, or even staying in a group. We rip through everything as if it’s made of tissue-paper. And I don’t mean that new strong kind.

You should try Planetside. It really offers some of the things you’re looking for. And Max Pounders are just as tough at level 10 as they are at level 1. :P

Thats one of my biggest problems with it as well, although supposedly it gets harder in the ‘Nightmare’ and ‘Hell’ difficulty levels. Honestly out of the dozen or two characters ive started only a couple have seen the other side of level 30.

One nice side to this however is that its almost impossible to create a dead end character. Ok, my Magic Arrow Amazon didn’t work too well, (nor did 9/10 of my Paladin builds) but otherwise almost all the skills can be used successfully. OTOH, only a few combinations are viable in the ‘late’ game past Normal difficulty, a huge lodestone because it meant to make a char successful and able to last players would end up saving a huge chuck of their skills points until they hit 30. Honestly just the thought of the 20-30 hours of spool-up time until i can ‘really’ begin to play makes me hate to even think about playing D2.

Generally however the game isn’t hard at all. One important thing to do is use the /players X command, which increases monster HP and gives you more exp per kill (as if there were more players). And wait till Nightmare i guess.

Nightmare and Hell difficulties are where it’s at. You’ll find some of the quests in Normal difficulty to be challenging, but the game becomes much more enjoyable once you get up to NM and Hell.

The game’s “difficulty” at higher levels comes mostly from one-hit deaths – exploding stygian doll bosses in an eight player game (ouch), bravery in the face of a Lightning Enchanted Multiple Shots boss, a lack of elemental resistances at the Chaos Sanctuary, that sort of thing.

The fact that TP scrolls are nearly free ensures that there’s never anything like “dungeon attrition” going on. Low on health potions? Fire up a TP, sell loot, buy potions, goto 10.

I still want a t-shirt that says “Lightning Enchanted Multiple Shots”. Bring fear into the hearts of many. :D

The 1.10 patch will make the game a lot harder in hell difficulty but I don’t think it will change much in normal. If you don’t want to feel entirely safe in normal I would suggest playing hardcore. In a LAN game you won’t have any lag problems, so if you die you only have yourself (or your team) to blame.

Don’t you have to beat the game at least once to be able to play Hardcore?

Don’t you have to beat the game at least once to be able to play Hardcore?[/quote]

Yes. The option becoms available after you beat the game the first time with a character.

The other thing you will find is while a summoned pet druid or necro does well during most stages of the game when they hit a serious boss they are going to get their asses kicked because their pets are going to die quickly. Trust me there is nothing cakewalk about trying to use summoned creatures against Diablo.

– Xaroc

Fighting Diablo on Hell mode has ALWAYS - without fail - devolved into me dying, returning to town and stocking up on any potions I could shove in my inventory, warping back to Diablo’s chamber, making a desperate dash for my corpse, getting in maybe one or two more hits, dying, returning to town and stocking up on any potions I could shove in my inventory, warping back to Diablo’s chamber, making a desperate dash for my corpse, getting in maybe one or two more hits, dying, returning to town and stocking up on any potions I could shove in my inventory, warping back to Diablo’s chamber, making a desperate dash for my corpse, getting in maybe one or two more hits, dying, returning to town and stocking up on any potions I could shove in my inventory, warping back to Diablo’s chamber, making a desperate dash for my corpse, getting in maybe one or two more hits, dying, returning to town and stocking up on any potions I could shove in my inventory, warping back to Diablo’s chamber, making a desperate dash for my corpse, getting in maybe one or two more hits, dying, and so on for about five hours.

But yeah, Act I on Normal difficulty is a cakewalk. Andariel might take you out if you’re not careful about her poison attacks, and that’s about the only part that should provide any challenge at all.

with the new 1.10 patch the game is alot harder. Normal mode still is easy, but once you hit nightmare mode, the game is much more difficult now. Me and my friend went through it fairly well, but he conceded that the game has been made alot harder. expect to die alot, expecially if you are a hand to hand fighter. The game now forces you to have all around good resists, which often can’t be had without sacrificing defense. Look at it this way, my lvl 72 paladin has a defense of 4100-4600 depending on his shield, and i died just trying to get to baal. the game is hard now. and hell mode is something else entirely. trust me, its fun and hard l8er. You and your friends should be able to slog though normal really quickly, then get to the good stuff.

Thanks for all the replies. Since half the group is non-gamers, I don’t think I’m going to get a lot of takers for the “Well, after we play through the entire game once, then we can play it again and it will be funner!” plan. But how do I do the “Players X” thing? A slash command when I start the game (e.g., “Diablo2.exe /players 10” or is there an in-game console or something?

I believe you just use the in game talk command and type “players 8” without the quotes.

– Xaroc

i believe there’s no slash prefacing the ‘players’ command in 1.09, and the player who’s hosting the game just needs to type “players x” (where is is less than 9) in the chat box.

unfortunately there’s no instant feedback, so you’ll have to go whack a few monsters to be sure it’s working.

Yeah, a necro needs big golem mastery and a good iron maiden score to beat Diablo. Just keep making new golems and cursing Diablo. Run away when you run out of mana potions. Return ASAP. Repeat. Luckily he rarely ever leaves his center arena.

I was playing the beta, but typing “/players 3” in the chat mode (by hitting enter) brought up a message like “Foozle has set players to 3”.

Now that I think about it, I would hope they would let people set players to 15 or 20, to allow for a good challenge in an 8-player normal game.

from diabloii.net

July 24, 2003

The popular Players X command has been improved in v1.10, with an in-game acknowledgment added. The actual command has also changed, to “/players #”; you must type the slash before it, just like other commands such as “/fps”. When you successfully enter the Players X command, a text message appears: “Players set to #.” Monster hit points, experience awarded, and # of items dropped all scale up with more players in the game; see a table of the changes here.

The change to make the game give some sort of acknowledgment of the increased or decreased players setting was a long-awaited change, and is much appreciated. In v1.10 your minions don’t scale up by the players in the game, which removes one of the easiest players X exploits, but that’s probably for the best. Previously players would set it to Players 8, cast their Valk or Golems or Wolves or whatever, and then lower it back to whatever Players X they were playing on. Thus creating a nearly immortal minion. You must work to keep your minions alive in v1.10.

I’ll defend myself by saying Rywill should be playing 1.10s anyway :)