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Neo-opsis Review

Why I still Play Diablo

By Stephanie Ann Johanson

I used to consider myself a computer gamer. I enjoyed checking out the latest computer games. I spent evenings and weekends trying to beat my latest high score. I especially enjoyed multi-player games, and talking with people at work about the latest games they were playing.

 

I work out of my home now, so I donít really get any of the co-worker gaming talk. A good chunk of my time goes to reading story submissions for Neo-opsis Science Fiction Magazine, so Iíve fallen behind on the latest game news. Iíve lost my gaming edge and I miss it.

 

Myst 001bmyst_eurofrontOne of the great successes in the computer game industry is Myst, released in 1993 for Macintosh and Window 3.0. You didnít have to be a gamer to enjoy exploring the world of Myst. You installed the game and learned as you went. Most games tended to be shoot Ďem ups or fighting games. Myst was something different. For me, Myst felt like exploring. Riven, the sequel to Myst wasnít released until 1997, so that left four years of looking for other good games.

 

I used to play Castle of the Winds, a tile-based RPG (Role Playing Game) that was first released in 1989 for Windows 3.0. I downloaded the shareware part for free and then paid for the second part of the game after I was hooked. It was like playing Dungeons and Dragons with a mouse, except that it was a single player game.

 

In 1996 Blizzard Entertainment released Diablo, and I didnít look back. This RPG required an IBM PC or 100% compatible computer, with a Pentium 60 MHz or better. You needed to have at least 8 MB of RAM for single player mode, and 16 MB if you wanted to play multi-player. The operating system had to be Windows 95 or Windows NT 4.0 to be able to play the game. Windows 3.1 just didnít cut it any more. The Mac version of Diablo came later.

 

It was because of Diablo that I broke down and ordered a Shaw cable connection for our computers. Before cable, only one of us could be online at a time, and our phone line was always busy. No one could get a hold of us.

 

Diablo could be played online with up to four players in a game, fighting as a team or competing against each other. There were three character choices: Warrior, Sorcerer, and Rogue. I have played Diablo online with players in Canada, the USA, Australia, Denmark, Germany, England, France, New Zealand, and those are just the ones I remember. Many a night I played into the wee hours of the morning, or got up really early to play with someone before they had to go to sleep. I was a true fan of the game. I even wrote poems about it.

 

Warrior and Skeletons

Diablo character S

 

Diablo

Three images for a thousand souls,

Warriors strong and handsome,

Swift and lean the rogues.

Sorcerers strong with power

can quickly clear the floor.

Down they go both friend and foe

the monsters be no more...

The archer slings her arrows

and shoots with deadly speed,

But warriors wade through blood

And often take the lead.

Not all will fight beside you

They have a different aim.

Some would rather kill the friend,

Than fight the foe again.

by Stephanie Ann Johanson†† Feb/99

Rogue

A Rogue

A rogue am I, this is no lie.

My eye is keen; my body lean.

Without my bow, I kick my foe.

So watch your hand, and understand

My eyes will burn and you will learn

To keep your tongue, and not die young.

by Stephanie Ann JohansonJan/99

 

Many a Diablo fan kept an eye on the computer game news when it was rumoured that Diablo II was in production. There were many delays, but Diablo II was finally released in 2000. I was, of course, forced to upgrade my computer to be able to play, but I was convinced it would be worth it.

 

Diablo II required an IBM or 100% compatible computer, with a Pentium 233 MHz or better processor. 32 MB of RAM was needed for single player games and 64 MB for multiplayer or for the enhanced 3D graphic features. The operating system had to be Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows NT 4.0 (with service pack 5), or Windows 2000 (running with local Administrator privileges). Again, the Mac version came a bit later.

 

Instead of only three characters, as in Diablo, Diablo II gave you the choice of five characters to play: Amazon, Barbarian, Sorceress, Necromancer, and Paladin. Instead of four, eight players could play together in a Diablo II multiplayer game. You could link together through the Battlenet or by IP address, and there was no monthly charge as there is with many of the massively multiplayer games.

Firewall

 

Diablo II

 

Having five different characters, and each character having different skills that they could master, made the replay value of the Diablo II quite impressive. In 2001 Diablo II Expansion Set: Lord of Destruction was released, adding two new characters, an Assassin and a Druid, and a whole Diablo II Lodnew chapter to the end of the game.

 

Since 2001 I have played quite a number of computer games, single player, multiplayer and massively multiplayer, but I keep coming back to Diablo II and it is still enjoyable. I am still exploring and battling evil monsters to save the world from Diablo and his brothers. I have eighty-eight characters saved on my computer ranging from levels one to eighty-four. With each character I have played them slightly differently. Some of them are quite capable of making it through all the quests alone. Some of them need help from other players.

 

Lately I have been playing Diablo II with my nieces, encouraging them to work together. Their mother thinks the game is too violent. She hasnít played it. She just looks over her girlsí shoulders and sees her babies bashing monsters. I havenít completely convinced her that the game is a good device to encourage teamwork.

 

Blizzard Entertainment has continued to create patches for Diablo II Lord of Destruction. Linking to Battlenet from the game triggers a check for updates. Diablo, Diablo II, Diablo II Lord of Destruction and Diablo Battle Chest (a complete set of all three with the Diablo II Ultimate Strategy Guide) are still available to purchase online and in stores. There are even rumours of a Diablo III being worked on. You can find more information on Diablo games and more at www.blizzard.com.

 

Screen

 

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