For all my talk and nostalgia around Diablo II Resurrected, one thing I have not done in probably 18 years was play with anybody else. Early on in the Diablo II era we played together at the office and I played with some friends from home via BNet, but since then the game has been a solo venture.
Last weekend however we were a bit at loose ends with Beanpole away and were looking for something to do. With Outland or Brewfest as options in WoW Classic, we turned to the newly released Diablo II Resurrected to occupy some time on Sunday afternoon.
All of us had played Diablo II. Some of us had played it more recently than others however, so we got off to a bit of a slow start as everybody got settled into the 2000 era design that is the game.
Actually having somebody asking questions was good for me because I’ve certainly forgotten more about the game than I remember even if I played in beta and did a run through the game last year. I, for whatever reason, always forget about being able to bind skills to function keys for quick swaps when you need them.
We started off by picking classes. Ula went with the sorceress and Skronk, playing under the handle Daugrim, went with the necromancer. I avoided my usual pattern, which is to play paladin or barbarian, and went with a druid. I cannot recall having played a druid before, though surely at some point in the last two decades I must have at least tried one out.
And then we had to get together in a game, which is another thing I have forgotten to do over the years. The UI at least implies that people on your friends list ought to be able to simply join a game you start, but that didn’t seem to be coming together. I ended up going into the BNet lobby, a place I have avoided since 2001, to create a game with a password which I then said aloud on voice coms so we could all get in the game together.
I don’t mind the updated character models, but it feels like somebody decided that they all needed to be aged 20 years to go with the age of the game. They feel a bit old and weathered compared to the original graphics… though those were so low res I am not sure how much you could really tell. But we got the band together .
That accomplished, we spent some time getting oriented, wandering around the camp, getting keys setup, and grabbing that first quest. And then it was out into the Blood Moors, the first area, to warm up. We slayed a few things, Daugrim brought forth his first skeleton follower, and we hit a level pretty quickly.
With three of us sticking together we seemed to level on the same kill pretty consistently.
Once we got a level though it was time to look at those Diablo II skill trees. I passed on my general philosophy of the skill tree, which is that you can screw around with points, assigning them to things that look interesting until late in Act II, at which point you will probably want to look up a usable build and then turn in you one respec to run with that. Ula went with more damage, Daugrim more skeletons, and I started down the werewolf path. We’ll see.
Then we managed to find our way into the Den of Evil, the first destination in the game.
There we managed to mostly stick together… the tendency to wander off or away is strong, and all the more so when you have skeleton pets that run around like sugared up eight year olds… and cleared the den, returning to the surface to head back to camp for our reward.
Respec in our pockets for later, we got the next quest from Kashya, which was to go find Blood Raven in the cemetery over in the Cold Plains. As we explored we found the road into the next zone beyond, the Stony Fields, and I led us in there in hopes of finding the next waypoint, as it is sometimes just there inside the zone, easy to grab. That would save us a bit of walking later.
However, as we probed into the Stony Fields rather than finding the waypoint we found the cairn stones, which come into play later, and in the midst of them was the familiar mini-boss Rakanishu. He is memorable both because the carvers shout his name every so often when attacking and because he is likely the first lightning enhanced boss that you run into in the game and that is generally when you learn that lightning enhanced means handle with care.
We were quickly in over our heads as the skeletons began beating on the boss, summoning forth waves of lightning. We started to run away but Ula and Daugrim were down for their first deaths in the game. I kept running and chugging health pots, dropping a town portal when I had a moment.
I managed to get safe, but when they came through the portal it was quickly obvious that it was too close to the cairn stones leading to more deaths. At this point I tried to kite Rakanishu away from the area, which surprisingly worked. Once I had him off in the Cold Plains… he just kept following… Ula and Daugrim came through and collected their stuff.
I ran Rakanishu around Flavie, the rogue who guards the bridge between the Blood Moors and Stony Field… I was really on a tour with him in tow… hoping she might kill him off for us. Flavie took some potshots, but didn’t really seem invested in the killing. After running around her a few times, I headed back across the Cold Plains for the Stony Fields and the group.
Maybe Flavie helped more than it seemed, because once I got back and kited Rakanishu past the rest of the group a couple of times we were able to take him down. A warm up for when we have to get him next time.
After some extended searching, the waypoint was found. We were then able to hop back to the Cold Plains to look for Blood Raven.
After some wandering about I went back to my usual pattern, which is to follow the paths in the zones, they are generally there for a reason. The one towards Stony Fields was obvious, so I figured that the branch off from that would take us to the cemetery, and I was correct.
Having some ranged attacks with skeleton and werewolf druid melee, we were able to chase down Blood Raven and dispatch her without straying too far.
After that we took a turn in one of the crypts before returning to camp.
That was about all we had in us for one session. But there was some learning and warm up along the way. All in all, it was fun and a good change from my usual solo mode. We’ll keep these characters as group characters and see if we can get back together again for the next round, which includes rescuing Deckard Cain.
Loot drops were a bit stingy on our run, even considering splitting three ways. But on another BNet character I rolled… a necro because the skeleton thing seemed like a lot of fun… it was practically raining gems, jewels, charms, and gold level gear. But I can always put that in the shared stash.