Diablo II Resurrected has been my game of choice for a couple of weeks now for a few reasons, not the least of which was the server and queue issues that New World was having at its launch.
Seems a bit ironic now, doesn’t it?
As I mentioned at the end of Friday’s post, Blizzard has a whole post up of their own about the problems they have been having and some of the fixes they have put in place, including that queue shown above.
I find the whole thing quite interesting, both because I am a bit impressed that 20 year old net code is holding up as well as it has, and because it is interesting to see how player behavior has changed over the two decades the game has been around.
The end game of Diablo II was always a grindy effort to get that perfect drop that you knew had to be out there. The RNG is a cruel mistress in Diablo II. My “almost done with nightmare” necromancer is still using some gear from Act II of normal mode because literally nothing better for my spec choice has deigned to drop.
But now, in 2021, the game is a solved problem, with guides to which specific mobs to farm for your item. So people have been putting up BNet games, killing the mob, leaving them, and putting up a fresh one over and over in order to farm for items. And, of course, that is rippling back on the servers and everybody else just the way it did in WoW when people were constantly resetting instances to farm a specific boss.
No new problems, just new circumstances.
Of course, this isn’t the first time BNet has had problems, and my gut reaction after having played Diablo and Diablo II at launch has been to simply avoid making BNet characters if at all possible. A lot of the outrage about there being no local character mode for Diablo III wasn’t because we were all still keen to drag our computers over to a friend’s house for a LAN party, but because we’d all been there with online character before.
The Diablo III launch proved that point.
Then there is how quickly Blizz used to be in deleting your Diablo II BNet characters if you hadn’t logged on for a few months.
So the solution seemed to be to make offline characters. They’re stored on your drive, the world is spun up and save locally, and you even get the same map for your ongoing local game. One of the pissers about BNet games is that your exploration is always for naught once you leave your game.
And that was certainly my go-to when Diablo II Resurrected landed. My first few characters were offline.
Then the group picked up the game and… well… there is no more LAN option, so if you want to play together you play on BNet. So I started rolling up characters for non-group play on BNet as well, including my necromancer who has made it all the way through. I might as well keep all of them together now that we have those three tabs of sweet shared storage… which I have totally filled up already. I can’t bring myself to start tossing yellow and gold items until I am out of storage. And I have been saving every rune, gem, or jewel as well.
Overall, playing on BNet hasn’t been much of a problem. There are occasionally some network blips and we had a problem yesterday where I couldn’t join anybody’s game and they couldn’t join mine. But I had been online and logged into BNet for a couple hours at that point playing one of my other characters, so the service seemed to have tucked me off in a corner on my own. The issue was fixed by logging out and then back in again.
In the end, I have only see a queue twice so far. The first time it was only a few people deep and I was connected in a couple of minutes. That was Saturday when EU and US prime time was overlapping. The second time, the 70 deep queue pictured above, was at 10:30pm Pacific time on Saturday night, which seemed a bit odd to me. I guess people to the east of me were up late playing. But Diablo and Diablo II were always games suitable to late night play. Their atmosphere is enhanced by darkness and a late hour.
And even that queue was down to a single digit in the time it took me to go grab a drink and make myself an evening snack.
I don’t know what the policy is on character deletion there days though. I hope they’re a little more lenient now that storage is a damn sight less expensive than it was 20 years ago. The support site still says they’re purged if inactive for 90 days. That was another reason to roll up a local character. We’ll see how that plays out I guess.