Remaking our Diablo II Group

After the three of us played Diablo II Resurrected on an off week, the return of Beanpole brought up the question of whether we should get back to Outland in WoW Classic or keep running in Diablo II.

Diablo II, being something different, won out, though Beanpole did suggest we would do just about anything to forget how to play our classes in WoW.  But now Diablo II is an instance group thing.

A larger group meant a restart with fresh characters.  We hadn’t gotten that far before, so it wasn’t a huge burden to re-roll.  And, in re-rolling it was a chance to try a new class.  There was some discussion as to what we ought to play, and Potshot asked if it would bother anybody if he played an assassin, a class locked as female.  I immediately say no, indicated that we would likely make fun of him at some point, which I guess was enough to throw that idea in the bin.  We’ll probably have to roll up a group at some point where Ula plays a barbarian and the three men play female classes.

But for now the boys each grabbed a male class, Potshot going with druid, Beanpole grabbing the necromancer, while I went with a paladin.  Paladin was kind of on my over-played list, but I thought it might be different with a group due to the aura thing that paladins get.  Ula went with an Amazon, which gave us the following characters.

  • Talon – Amazon
  • Ulfar – Druid
  • Ernest – Paladin
  • Kevin – Necromancer

Beware Kevin

Then we had to spend a bit of time sorting out how to play Diablo II again, as Kevin hand’t played it in many years and even I was still remembering things.  The whole skills and talent tree and right click swap assignments and accidentally hitting the W key which swaps you weapons were all refreshed.

Hanging out in the Rogue Camp while things get sorted

Still, we were out into the world soon enough, fighting the first few creatures as we made our way around to the Den of Evil, the first quest objective of the game.  We made our way into there and set about clearing it out.

Down in the Den of Evil

It was time for a couple of teachable moments.  Kevin got himself killed in a scuffle with a mini-boss, but I was able to open a town portal for him to get back quickly.  We also learned a bit about BNet issues.

You can see the four of us, Talon, Ernest, Kevin, and Ulfar in that picture.  Ernest has his might aura up, and you can see it glowing at the feet of everybody save Ulfar.  He was in the game, but somehow wasn’t fully connected.  It also turned out, as we went back to the rogue camp, that he couldn’t use the portal that I had to put up, and had to cast his own in order to return quickly.

We thought maybe the problem would sort itself out, so went off after Blood Raven.  However, even though we finished up that fight successfully, I noticed when we were going into the crypt in the graveyard, that Ulfar was still not getting my aura.

No aura for you

He also had to take his own town portal home yet again.  He could see mine, but couldn’t enter it.

We did a bit of disconnecting and reconnecting after that and eventually got everybody on the same page connection wise, with everybody getting the paladin aura and able to use each other’s portals.

Of course, after the Blood Raven quest everybody got a rogue mercenary.  With four of those, and Kevin’s growing skeleton followers, and Ulfar with a couple of wolves, we were starting to become a bit of an army.

From there it was on from the Stony Field, through the dark tunnel, and into the Dark Woods and the Tree of Inifuss for the scroll for Akara.  Being the old hand at this, I insisted that we explore a bit more to get the waypoint in the Dark Woods.  We would be needing that later.

From the waypoint it was back to the rogue encampment and Akara.  By that point we’d been playing for quite a while.  We were just warming up as a group so things were going a bit slow.  But I got everybody to come along for one last push.  I figured we could get to Tristram easy enough.

So it was back to the Stony Field and the Carin Stones, which opens the portal to Tristam.  Then it was into the portal and into town to rescue Deckard Cain and clear the place out.

Clearing out the town square while Cain waits in his cage

We cleared the town out, freed Deckard Cain, who took a portal back to the rogue camp, then swept around the town to make sure we got everything.  I made sure we found Wirt’s corpse and that somebody grabbed his leg.  I will do the cow level some day, I swear.

Then it was back to the Stony Fields, because the waypoint was next to the Carin Stones.  No point in wasting a town portal scroll while we were still poor.

Leaping back into the Stony Field

Then it was back to the rogue encampment, where Deckard Cain thanked us and promised to identify all our items, which is also a bit of a gold saver this early on in the game.

So that brings us up to where we stand in Diablo II Resurrected.

That actually wasn’t last weekend, but the weekend before, which was probably a good thing.  Apparently Diablo II Resurrected is doing very well, to the point that the servers were falling over last weekend, at least during EU prime time. (I played in the evening Pacific Time and never saw a blip, but by that time the load had passed.)

Blizzard actually has a long post about the troubles the servers are having, which is in part because the code from 20 years ago didn’t face as much traffic as it is getting now, and because people are starting new games in rapid succession to farm specific mobs for drops because the end game of Diablo II has always been trying to get some crazy rare item in the rain of loot that litters the game.

There is a list of things they are doing to handle the problem.  People have been making a comparison between this launch and the Warcraft III Reforged launch.  But that feels like a false comparison.  Both saw problems, but not the same problems.

Warcraft III Reforged launched missing a lot of features and some petty restrictions that left a bad taste in the mouths of many.  Blizzard ended up having to offer refunds on demand.

Diablo II Resurrected feels more like it delivered what it promised.  It isn’t anything new, just better looking.  But that seemed to be the right mix to get enough people on board to swamp the servers trying to recreate a 20 year old experience.

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