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Written by  :  phlux (4338)
Written on  :  Mar 11, 2004
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  4.71 Stars4.71 Stars4.71 Stars4.71 Stars4.71 Stars

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There is nothing like D2:LoD v1.10. Nothing at all.

The Good

Note: This review is based on v1.10, which was released in October 2003, after years in the making. v1.10 changed pretty much everything, so it would be pointless to review the old versions.

After three years of playing Diablo II LoD, you can imagine that I don't have many complaints about it. It's easy accessible for any gamer - casual or hardcore - and it's incredible replay value bases on one simple thing built into any human: hunting and collecting. You'll get to hunt down more monsters than you've ever imagined, and what's the point? Yes, leveling up your character (which is now quite difficult since on high levels, you get only about 0.6% of the experience, meaning that you'll take ages to achieve level 99), but most important: collect all the godly items and runes! Build runewords from extremely rare runes to make your character even more godly, get the uber uniques like Tyraels Might (unique armor without any requirements besides of level 85) or Stormlash (unique scourge with really impressive stats) - collect, collect, collect. That's the secret behind D2, it always was. The game itself may be pretty much the same every time you play it, but well, who cares if you can collect stuff? There are hundreds of unique items, and the extremely upgraded rare items which can be even better than uniques (but are even harder to obtain).

Also, 1.10 made the game more fun. All characters' skills now have "synergies" (except for the Amazon, they virtually killed the poor girl and made her unplayable, at least when using bows), making the skills even more powerful (and sometimes too powerful). This means: characters from v1.09 are worth crap, since they are obviously badly skilled now. Skills like Blessed Hammer, Meteor or Bone Spirit were almost laughable in 1.09, but now, they are the best you can use (Blessed Hammer now does over 10k damage per hit with all synergies maximized - and it's pure magical damage hurting ANY enemy, there are almost no resistances against it! Meteor can easily go up to 26k damage... go figure).

There are new items, and a new play mode - the ladder mode, where even more new items are available. Also, you get to upgrade runes (only in ladder mode) up to the infamous ZOD rune, meaning that expensive runewords are not likely obtainable, but at least it's possible at all now. New rune words? Yeah. All powerful, many totally uber - like Enigma, giving you teleport skills regardless of the char you use, or Breath of the Dying, which includes a ZOD but makes everything not only indestructible, but also gives up to 400% damage and extreme weapon speeds. Try this in an ethereal colossus blade or berserker axe ;)

So you see - tons of changes, most of them absolutely great, adding more fun to the already 5 years old game (yes, except for rune words and items, this applies to classic Diablo II too!).

Ah, I forgot the service. Still free, still thousands of gamers online, still reliable - nuff said.

The Bad

Well, since 1.10, it has some imbalances - Sorceress with fire skills and Hammerdin (Paladin with Blessed Hammer skill) are simply too godly, the Barbarian and bow-using Amazons are no longer really powerful. Also, some of the best items were toned down, like the Windforce for example. But if you simply go "by the rules" (and play a Hammerdin ;), you won't have any complaints.

Oh, one thing: Blizzard randomized the monsters in Act 5 and put up some guest monsters from Act 1-4, which is very annoying for almost every character. Also, archer monsters are too strong, and the bosses are still too weak.

The Bottom Line

Well, if you have Diablo II (LoD), get v1.10 if you didn't already - experience almost a new game. If you don't have D2, get it - it's cheap now, bundled with the expansion and the v1.10 update is free. You'll get the best action RPG ever, and maybe you'll be as crazy as me and play it for years!