Diablo 1 and 2 Set a High Standard

Today’s post is going to be a little short as I’m extremely busy right now, so bear with me.

With Diablo III’s release date being announced today, I figured now is as good a time as any to look at the prestigious series. Diablo was a game created by Blizzard in 1996. It was a dark fantasy dungeon crawler, and its amazing success led to Diablo 2, which was made in 2000. It has been twelve years since the last instalment and Blizzard is getting ready to relaunch the series this May. This isn’t strange like it would be for most series. Blizzard is notorious for it’s long development times, and reluctance to simply mill out titles the way that most game companies do. For example, Star Craft is one of the most popular real-time strategy  series ever made, and there are only two games in the series, and one expansion. The good news for fans is that, while it takes forever for Blizzard to actually release a game, the quality of the games Blizzard makes are about as high as they can be. So today, let’s look at the standard set for Diablo 3 by its predecessors.

It’s like the first game, but two more.
Diablo 1 is one of those extremely influential games. Pretty much every third-person dungeon crawler made since 1996 has owed Diablo quite a bit. The game single handedly popularized the click fest style game. Diablo allowed you to play as a Warrior, Sorcerer, or Rogue. You may be familiar with this kind of character selection, as an embarrassing amount of western RPGs haven’t evolved since then. Look at the Dragon Age series for example, Warrior, Sorcerer, and Rogue. They are the standards for western RPGs, and Diablo certainly didn’t invent this trope, but it certainly helped to popularize it. 
Go my blurry Warrior! Shoot Leoric or I’ll click you into a wall for hours.
Diablo’s gameplay ideas were truly unique at the time. Every new game that you started would change the configuration of the dungeon, meaning that no two games would be alike. On top of this, certain quests would only be available for certain games. In one game you may have to face off against the infamous Butcher, and in another you may be up against the undead King Leoric. Combined with this was a huge slew of randomly generated weapons and armour with effects based on a simple prefix and suffix system. While simple, this system made Diablo a game about collecting a vast amount of loot and has become the cornerstone of the series.
Trust me, this guy is far more intimidating in person.
Of course, most great games are backed with a strong story. Diablo doesn’t really have a narrative, but the sheer amount of lore packed into the game is astounding. The manual that came with the game took the lore very seriously and greatly expanded the knowledge of the world. The dark environments, together with the dark narrative of demons flooding into a small hamlet, certainly helped solidify Diablo in the minds on the players. Like Silent Hill 2, Diablo thrives on its rich and dark environments, which help to set the tone of the game far more than the narrative does.
When so many naked blue men surround you, you’re in for a party.
Not long (Compared to the wait for Diablo 3) after Diablo, Blizzard released Diablo 2. The second game was a true innovation in the series and is one of the greatest games ever made. The gameplay stayed very similar, it remained a click fest, but it went so much further in every single regard than Diablo went. Winning countless awards, and spawning an expansion pack created by Blizzard (No, Hellfire doesn’t count), Diablo 2 is one of those games that you can find on many a top ten list of best games. This is the major characteristic of the game. It did everything so much better than the original that it blew gamers out of the water. Skill trees, five act storyline, hugely varied dungeons, many character classes, Diablo 2 was truly a triumph. They did sacrifice a lot of the dark depressing atmosphere, which has led to a lot of gamers preferring the first game, but, for the most part, Diablo 2 is the superior game.
He will murder the crap out of you and you’ll like it, damnit!
The major increase of quality has actually put Diablo 3 in a pretty precarious position. Gamers might expect Blizzard to reinvent the wheel for the third time, which would be a pretty daunting task. Even the further brightening up of the visuals led to a huge amount of fan outrage. The long wait between Diablo 2 and 3 doesn’t help matters much, as many gamers feel entitled to a much better game because of it. Let’s face facts, if any company is going to be releasing an excellent game, it will be Blizzard. However, Blizzard has been playing it safe more recently, and fans desiring major innovation may be left behind.
Put some damn clothes on you damn hippies!
Diablo 1 made a significant difference in the video game world. It practically fathered the point and click dungeon crawler, and spawned an endless amount of games that adopted its loot-centric gameplay. The extent that Diablo 2 improved upon the original is amazing by any standard. It took the principal of bigger is better and went way further than most games would even dream of. Diablo 3 has a lot to live up to, and it will be interesting to see if it can meet the lofty expectations of fans.
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