I've been playing Diablo II since it was released. From Classic to Expansion ladder/non-ladder, from when a WW Barb with dual fury swords was the shit to now everyone and their mothers have enigma runeword armor and a super weapon like an eth breath of the dying, with spirit shield and call to arms flail on switch. I've seen the dupe glitches, I've been scammed in trading (because of my own stupidity of course) and to this day I haven't seen some of the higher runes drop, not even in players 8 games. I've played hacked characters on Open Battle.net, I've ran rushing services on d2jsp and before d2jsp was really used, I've ran countless Ubers with ease and countless Ubers with great difficulty, never ran Uber Diablo tho, that takes way too much planning and coordination (I hear there's a dedicated IRC lobby just for this purpose) and SoJs are rare as it is. Now they have queues for making games, as a way to stop bots and Baal/Chaos runs I suppose, and there's maybe 30 people in a chat channel when I log in now, but I still love Diablo II, and I can't see myself liking Diablo III for various reasons:
- No runewords. Half the fun I have in Diablo II is making runeword equipment. I highly enjoy being able to make a Lore helm, Stealth armor and Rhyme shield in the early game so it isn't such a slog. Having a barb or a necro with Enigma armor makes for a faster paced game and makes finding more loot even better, especially when I can buff myself with Call to Arms. Plus, you can't do Ubers without them (well, not very easily at least... Idk what I'd do without Treachery armor). Even without runewords (and therefore no infinity polearms!) you could just use alternatives like the Hone Sundan (cheers if you find an eth one) and throw two Shael runes and an Amn rune inside and run an Act 2 offensive merc with it and have an easy time in Hell. It's also great to throw an Um rune inside a helm to get that magic find percentage.
- Art direction leaves a lot to be desired. D2 is dark and gothic and even today it still looks fantastic IMO. Diablo III looks too cartoony to me.
- No control over stats? No re-rolling characters? You know what's great in Diablo II? If I have a cold/fire MF sorc and I want to make a pure Light sorc, I can just re-roll stats and skills and get the proper equipment. No need to make a new sorc and level her up and get to Hell difficulty.
Do I think D2 is perfect? Hell no:
- Skill tree is fun and all, but if you're playing ladder, you're going to run into the issue of where you pick a pre-made build or else you're going to have a hell of a time getting equipment. For example, D2 is fucking littered with Paladins. With the right equipment, you can have a hammerdin doing 30k damage easily, with 15k life and an endless supply of mana, max chance to block and defense/resistances so high that even if you DO hit him you're most likely dead shortly after. Now try making a bowazon. Windforce bow is easily one of the hardest, in my experience at least, to find from drops, and even then when you have other classes like hammerdins or trapsins that do almost double the damage output with no real consequences, why bother?
- Drop rates are fucking ridiculous:
High runes are some of the best currency in game. From this link:
I've seen high runes drop in Chaos Sanctuary. What usually happens though, is either someone else has much better reflexes, or more than likely, they have a pickup bot running. If you're doing Chaos runs with a bot to level up, you can pretty much say goodbye to finding any high runes, and since almost no one does Chaos runs without a bot anymore... you get the drift.
- Bots. Bots are great for leveling characters and I've followed many Baal/Chaos runs. Bots fucking suck for everything else though. They used to flood chats with advertising, they're the reason that D2 has create game queues now (took me 10 minutes to create a game last night, just to run Andy, Countess, Meph...), and you can hardly find people to walk through the actual Acts because they'd rather pay someone their Hell forge quest to g-rush them to A5 Hell and sit in baal runs for an hour and reach lvl 90. Don't get me wrong, I've done this before and its great if you need to get a char up fast, but after a while it's really stale. It forces you to play an entirely different game. For example, a friend botted and I would post on d2jsp for him to offer leveling services. Someone would inquire, and I'd accept. I'd get their account info, log in and choose their char they want leveled. I'd get rushed to Act 5 Hell from my friend, then sit on that char doing Chaos runs the entire night until I hit a certain level (I think it was 85). I'd reply back to the person, they'd pay me in forum gold, and I'd split it with my friend. We even had a spreadsheet of people who wanted leveling services. It was wild, and not any fun at all.