Daily Archives: November 18, 2021

Facing Diablo without our Skeletal Front Line

Having moved forward into Act IV in Diablo II Resurrected, the group was now on the path straight to Diablo himself.

The return of the classic

However, the shine was fading from the apple that is Diablo II for the group.  We had been talking about other games to play and the click action of D2R was coming up a bit shy on the challenge front in normal mode and I am not sure the group was willing to bet that Nightmare mode would improve things.

So our necromancer Kevin, who was going to be away last weekend, let us know that we could carry on and slay Diablo without him.  That seemed to be the sign that this would be the last hurrah for D2R for now, so the three of us around set out to at least finish off the boss whose name adorns the box.

The question was, were we up to it?

For the past runs we had always had Kevin and his army of skeletons there to bear the brunt of any fight, with the rest of us working behind the wall of bones that were our front line.  Now it would be just the paladin, the amazon, and the druid to face the boss fight.

Assembled in the Pandemonium Fortress

We had our mercenaries to help us along, and Ulfar the druid could summon three wolves, a pair of crows, and that glowing floaty squid thing to assist us, but it seemed like it might be a challenge.

And our first steps out of the fortress and into hell did not seem fortuitous.  We ended up in a fight at the bottom of the stairs that saw all of our minions and one of us fall, and we had barely set foot into the first zone of Act IV.

We revived, re-summoned, and regrouped after that first onslaught, then set out at a careful pace.  The theme of the mobs in Act IV are “Hey, surprise!” and a dozen or so of them suddenly run up at you.  We stayed together and managed to push through the first area, finding the steps down to the Plain of Despair fairly readily.

In the plains we were able to find Izual, the mob for the first of the three quests in Act IV.  He was tough, and ran around quite a bit, which invited his neighbors to join in the fight.  But we held on and managed to bring him down via persistence and judicious use of Ulfar’s fissue area attack spell.  Izual’s spirit gave us a message for Tyrael.

Izual’s spirit mocks us

We took a portal back to the fortress and got the quest update and reward.  Then it was back out into the field, where we found the steps down to the City of the Damned.

Our luck on maps seemed to be with us, as we were not there for very long before we spotted the waypoint and the path down to the river of flames, which was where the next quest lay.

Our goal was the hellforge to destroy Mephisto’s soul stone.  We pressed on and in what seemed like a very short run, managed to find and clear out the hellforge and the area around it.  The hellforge hammer dropped Hephasto, the guardian of the hellforge and Ulfar picked up to destroy the soul stone.

At the Hellforge

Then we had kind of a strange update.  Ulfar destroyed it, but only he got the quest update.  Both Talon and I got an odd message in the quest log indicating that we would have to complete it in a different game.

Sorry, the quest you have reached is disconnected or no longer in service…

I don’t recall this from the old days, but I barely recall anything from 20 years ago at this point, but it seemed like an odd oversight by somebody that only one person can do the Mehpisto soul stone quest per game instance.

Still, only one of us needed to do it to press on.  Back in town all of us, soul stone or not, got the quest to go forth and slay Diablo.

We returned to the river of flame fought our way onward, looking for Diablo’s sanctuary.  We did end up having to backtrack a bit, but eventually found our way to Hadriel, who is at the entry to the chaos sanctuary where Diablo lives.  He didn’t seem happy to see Talon or I due to the whole quest thing that we couldn’t complete.

Yes, we know, we didn’t do the quest

Fortunately Ulfar was able to get us through and we ventured in to find the big guy.  That involved some more clearing of mobs and a few fights with mini-bosses as we unlocked the five seals.  But with the fifth seal undone, Diablo was unleashed and looking for us.

At that point we took a minute to make sure everybody was full up on potions, had their minions to hand, and a portal up to get back from the fortress should they fall.  Three portals, just in case.  I decided to put up my fire resist aura, which I had put a few points into, since a couple of Diablo’s attacks are fire based.  And then we ran over to the big pentagram and got ourselves stuck into the fight.

Diablo engaged!

It started off pretty well.  The first resist aura seemed to shake off most of Diablo’s AOE fire attack, though Ulfar’s pets didn’t last long.  His other fire attack seemed to be stymied as well, and his melee wasn’t doing much to hurt me.

And then came the red lightning, always the worst of hist attacks and our mercenaries started to get swept away.  A full on hit from that was enough to take any of us down, so I tried to keep on him in melee range and, as soon as Diablo would start that attack, I would use a health potion and start running in a circle around him, as his tracking turn rate isn’t fast enough to keep up with you and you’ll be ahead of his attack… if you get an early enough start.

I kept getting froze by him, which made my movement slow, and a couple of times I got penned in against something and barely got away.  The fight took a while and we all ended up dying a couple of times.  Then it was back through a portal and back to a corpse to get back into the fight.

Diablo Poisoned as I keep him in melee range

Ulfar found a lightning enhanced crossbow at the vendor and swapped that in for his melee weapon and laid down his fissure spell and shot at Diablo with bolts.  Talon was throwing lightning enhanced javelins and dodging Diablo’s lightning as he sprayed it about the room as I circled him.

As the fight got close to the end, Ulfar and I both got a bit greedy and stayed in close to try and finish him, but Diablo has a lot of health and we both died one last time.  We ran back, retrieved our corpses, then went back to our more conservative attack style, staying safe until Diablo went down.

And that was it, we defeated Diablo.  I suspect it would have gone considerably smoother with Kevin’s army of skeletons, having done the fight with a necromancer myself, but we managed it.

Amazon, paladin, and druid at the end

Diablo didn’t drop anything special for us.  There were five items, but none of them worth keeping.  We went back to the fortress, wrapped up the last quest, then stepped through the portal into Act V.

On to Act V and the barbarians

Act IV hadn’t taken that much time, so we went in and finished up the first quest in Act V, getting the first waypoint out in the field.  But Baal will have to wait until we’re in the mood again.  Act V is a long one, being a whole expansion worth of content, and maybe we’ll get back to it some day.

But for now the group has its eye on another game.  But that will be tomorrow’s post.