Yee-ha! Been playing patched D2 tonight and the 5-meg patch implements most of the features in the upcoming expansion including:
* 800X600 mode (hallelujah!). This makes the game look a helluva lot better, but it takes a bit to get used to feeling like you're running slower, due to the larger viewing area.
* Vastly improved merc hirelings in Acts I-III. Huge, huge improvements in life and defense, I've found, esp. at the Hell skill. But they're expensive (19,000 gold or so for Act II hell for example), and so far it doesn't seem like you can heal, revive them or take them to ensuing acts like in the expansion.
* Gobs and gobs of new items at all the merchants, and damned if a lot of them aren't truly useful for a change. A lot of shields have % to defense modifiers and I've seen gloves with life and mana stealing.
* The dreaded immune monsters talked about for the expansion are now here and there, esp. at hell skill.
* Lot of major adjustments to skills. I'm sure these will draw a lot of complaints but for me they really make the game feel fresh again.
Freezing arrow now does terrific damage, Strafe is now capped at 10 targets but does great damage, Valkyries now have tremendous life HP numbers (nearly 2,000 for my level 5) but very reduced modifiers to attack and defense, just a few examples I"ve encountered so far.
By Geo on Wednesday, June 20, 2001 - 02:03 am:
Oh, once I patched it went into 800X600 mode immediately. I imagine you have to run the little testing thing to get the video mode options (the same thing you have to run to change your video mode choice)
By Sean Tudor on Wednesday, June 20, 2001 - 02:34 am:
That's good. I was going to have a massive whine at Blizzard about having to buy the expansion pack to play in 800x600 mode.
Interesting to note that no where on Blizzard's website does it mention the latest V1.08 patch supports 800x600 mode. (Correct me if I am wrong).
Of course they mention that the expansion pack clearly supports 800x600. Maybe I am just being cynical .....
By Geo on Wednesday, June 20, 2001 - 02:56 am:
Alas, I'll bet the junkies who play 18 hours a day and rely on 4 skills per character are going to just howl and howl and howl.
But, people who got bored and moved on should really get a kick out of it i think. Well if the quests bored you this won't fix it, but if you just wanted more of the skills to be useful, the mercs to be useful and for there to be a lot more items worth going after, this should be fun (as 'tis for me). :)
And no, I don't think the readme files mention 800X600. :) I wouldn't have noticed except that my character seemed so slow (this optical illusion wears off after maybe 15 minutes playing)and I noticed the characters suddenly didn't seem so pixeldy and low-rez. :)
By mtkafka (Mtkafka) on Wednesday, June 20, 2001 - 03:20 am:
yeehaw, i'm downloading it now! the 800 x 600 res is enough to warrant a download imo. Though the limit of strafe for amazon to 10 arrows... doh, i relied heavily upon that skill after level 30 for my bowazon... oh well, I'm making my EQ druid when the expansion comes out, no more femme nikita amazon fer me!
and more items... as if there weren't enough already
this patch is almost like a free expansion imo, almost...
By Geo on Wednesday, June 20, 2001 - 04:06 am:
Prepare for the inevitable backlash, but I'm not going to be one of the complainers. :)
Hell is truly hellish to be sure now, but the tougher Act III mercs and the Valkyrie's boosted HP made it still okay for my L52 amazon. I had cranked Strafe up to 25 targets so I know how you feel, but it still seems useful.
I've gotten some nifty items from merchants already, like a 30-94 Tusk Sword, that I previously only found amongst treasures.
By Geo on Wednesday, June 20, 2001 - 04:09 am:
The Act I rogue mercs, in addition to being tough enough to survive a LOT, now seem to be able to fire their elemental arrow (Fire or Cold) a lot more often.
I spent some time just watching my Cold Rogue (no, not her butt, I swear! :)), and the moment a monster got too close to her she'd go nuts with the cold arrow 2-3 times and then finish it off.
By Tom Ohle on Wednesday, June 20, 2001 - 12:41 pm:
I'm actually quite pleased with the expansion--it's worth a purchase, even if you really didn't like Diablo (I know for sure that I didn't). All the new items in the expansion are really cool... Also, I've had my merc (the one you get in the first act from one of the quests) all the way to about halfway through Act 2. They gain levels, just as you do. Mine is currently level 19, while my character is level 20. It's pretty cool--you can also give them equipment, and give them potions if you need to.
By Geo on Wednesday, June 20, 2001 - 01:05 pm:
Aye, the patch seems to implement the Merc improvements and leveling but not the ability to equip them or take them to other acts. I also noticed Rogue mercs casting inner sight, and the Act II mercs using Blessed Aim, Thorn and Prayer.
By Mark Asher on Wednesday, June 20, 2001 - 01:15 pm:
This sounds great. I love patches like this that really improve the game. I'm going to reinstall.
BTW, I talked to Blizzard last night and the expansion's just about set to go. This is Blizzard and the expansion's a big deal, so being done and appearing on store shelves may not even be something that happens in the same month. They may be doing another simultaneous world-wide release.
By Geo on Wednesday, June 20, 2001 - 04:56 pm:
The fan site forums are already flooded with people with Level 89 characters screaming bloody murder that they can't slaughter everything in their path anymore and others wanting to start petitions to have the patch reversed. :) "Unethical" is the world being bandied about. Bleah. Whatever happened to adjusting to the situation? :)
If you're re-installing and starting all new characters it's a treat though. My Level 12 spearazon is quite omnipotent now, and it seems like a few spear skills were tweaked upwards in damage and attack % adding. I'd just remember that the various immunities (to individual element attacks or physical altogether) make it more important now to develop a little variety in attack types and not rely too much on just one thing. Leeching gets tougher in nightmare and hell, but I assume you can find ways to get better leeching stuff once the expansion's out; and Paladins with the mana regeneration skill and high prayer skill ought to be more in vogue now in MP.
On Act II hell I ran into a boss that was poison immune, fire immune, mana burning, cold enhanced and fire enhanced. Thank goodness for cold attacks in that case. :)
Maybe you can ask your Blizz contact if the patch really does put 800X600 mode in. If I'm wrong and I'm somehow hallucinating it, I'd like to know so I can eat crow and stop hollering about it. :)
By Geo on Wednesday, June 20, 2001 - 07:06 pm:
It's looking like I'm wrong about 800X600 being in the patch, so everyone feel free to hang me on a post and beat me in effigy - as a lot of immature players are doing to Blizzard right about now. ;)
By Mark Asher on Wednesday, June 20, 2001 - 09:26 pm:
Yeah, you're wrong. I called Blizzard and they said the 800x600 isn't in the patch. Were you looking at the screen through a magnifying glass?
I think in a medical study they'd give you the placebo pill and you'd have all the symptons. :)
By Supertanker on Thursday, June 21, 2001 - 12:32 am:
And they torqued up my Iceblink armor. It rarely seems to freeze anyone anymore, and only for a fraction of a second. At least they raised its defense from 90 to 144. Time to find some nice Gothic Plate.
By mtkafka (Mtkafka) on Thursday, June 21, 2001 - 02:29 am:
Even with your higher defense, it still might not matter much... the monsters in hell and nightmare are on steroids now, and dont even mention the unique monsters take at least 15+ arrows b4 dying (and thats with my gothic that does up to 60 base dmg! so im guessing NORMAL creatures in act 2 of Hell have upwards of at least 1000 hps or close to it, (the sanctuary slaughterd me...i guess it really is HELL!) and instead of strafe, i now have to use lvl 18 skill ice arrow... luckily have 10 skill points in it... does more damage than before but the thing is every monster after normal mode is BEEFED more than the damage they added to ice arrow! plus with leeching not doing as well, my bowazon has to horde all mana pots and STILL has to gate back to town alot... its a good patch but i think they should have just added ULTRA hell level and added 50 levels to character levels and kept nitemare and hell the same.
i'll still buy the expansion pack.
and i like the patch, it makes diablo 2 hell as hard as diablo 1 hell. prepatch diabo 2 hell was a cakewalk... i won the whole 3 modes at level 53... but with this patch i think its prolly not doable till at least level 80 90 solo.
though i predominantly played my main amazon with patch 1.03, so some of my complaints with the 1.08 patch might have been from pre 1.08 post 1.03... uhm yeah.
By mtkafka (Mtkafka) on Thursday, June 21, 2001 - 02:32 am:
oh and Geo theres no 800 x 600 you liar! LIAR LIAR PANTS ON FIRE!
By Jason_cross (Jason_cross) on Thursday, June 21, 2001 - 03:15 am:
I was gonna say... if it was 800x600 you'd notice immediately from a lot more than just the movement speed. Everything is about 50% smaller with 2D graphics running 50% higher resolution.
Perhaps you had auto-run turned on (hotkey "R") before the patch and after the patch it's turned off?
The patch does add some of the cool things from the expansion, but the expansion adds SO much more, what with the 800x600, runes, jewels, new class-specific items, new set items, new elite/exceptional items, crafted items, and of course the new "material" stuff like classes and act 5.
By Robert Mayer on Thursday, June 21, 2001 - 12:23 pm:
Hehe, those of us playing the beta of Lord of Destruction have been dealing with a lot of the stuff in the patch (and more) for some time now, and the initial shock has worn off. Welcome to a much tougher Diablo II, ubercharacter munchkins .
By Aszurom on Thursday, June 21, 2001 - 06:52 pm:
Ok, so how are the new character classes? Will I really want to replay the game as an assassin just so I can get my "pollo de gama style" kung-fu on?
By Tom Ohle on Thursday, June 21, 2001 - 08:34 pm:
The Druid is pretty cool... haven't given the Assassin a run yet. The druid's a bit of a mix between a Paladin and a Necro. I really didn't like D2 classic, but this New D2 is quite appealing. It's actually fun for more than 20 minutes.
By TomChick on Thursday, June 21, 2001 - 09:27 pm:
I'm a big fan of the Assassin. She really changes up Diablo's whole zoning-out-and-clicking gameplay. It feels like a different game when you're having to plan out strikes and finishing attacks. It's very gratifying to stack up combos and pull off a brutal smackdown. And I've only scratched the surface with her sentry skills.
The Druid, on the other hand, strikes me as a bit desultory. Visually, it's a lot of fun, but it doesn't feel like a very focused design: one third barbarian, one third sorceress, and one third necromancer. I guess it is an interesting way to split your emphasis with a single character.
By Jason_cross (Jason_cross) on Friday, June 22, 2001 - 01:50 am:
I've only tried the Assassin, but I dig 'er, and that's what I'll start up in the final.
Tom's right, it definitely takes more thought and planning. You have to deal with different enemies different ways.
But my favorite thing is the speed-up skill. Lasts for a good two minutes or more, and at even modest levels you can get a third speed boost to movement AND attack speed. This stacks on top of having boots of "fastest run/walk." You can CRUISE around the map. I always have that skill cast.
Thing is, the Assassin needs it. She's a strange paradox--incredibly short range melee, powerful if your combat plan works, in deep doo-doo if it doesn't. It's easy to get overwhelmed and you better be able to run away...she don't have a lot of defense or hit points to sit there and slug it out with a mob.
By Robert Mayer on Friday, June 22, 2001 - 09:41 am:
I'd say the Druid is more 1/3 Necro, 1/3 Paladin, and 1/3 Sorc, IMO. Necro for the summoning, Pally for the auras, and Sorc for the elemental spells, but weaker than any of the above in any one discipline. I played my Druid to level 46 in the beta, and have a decent idea of how they work. Enough to know I screwed up my point allocations royally :-).
My wife played an Assassin to the same level, but until almost the end used nothing but traps and basic melee attacks. The combo of her traps and my grizzly bear seemed to work well. Both of us used mercs, too, mine being a rogue from Act I and hers being a cold sorc from Act III. They nerfed the mercs in a patch, costing them like ten levels of exp, and then a bug ate her merc and his very good equipment, but I realy like the help they offer.
We play together mostly, only occasionally with one or two others. Our tactics, which worked well enough until Act IV in Nightmate at least, were to use my summoned critters as tanks, with our mercs pounding monsters with spells and bows. She'd throw traps, I'd use spells, and we'd both plink away with bows. I'd switch to sword or axe and shield (or just 2H axe) occasionally. Later, she'd use her shadow as a tank, too, which is cool. At first I'd use the life aura, then I switched to alternating between the wolverine which gives more damage and the barb spirit, which returns damgage, depending on the situation. Having monsters take damage from beating on summoned creatures/shadows is great.
In the real deal, though, I think I'm going to try a Paladin. There are a lot of cool items for Pallys now, and I've never really played one beyond like level 18.