Ending B

Obey Haruhi

Diablo II and Median XL

by Ed Van Loon

Friday, April 23, 2010

Hello everyone! I've been trying to keep my updates at least weekly so you can marvel at all the awesome things that I happen to find.

First of all, let's take a look at this: My Median XL character

This is actually a rather noobish character in Median XL.



Read my full featured and incredibly awesome review of this modification (and a short look back at Diablo II) after the FOLD!

Now that I have your undivided, let me talk a little bit about the history of Diablo II.

I purchased the game not long after I received my temporary driving license. School was rather boring back then, and there was not much to do during that young innocent age of 15 1/2. I was a model individual, few people could have matched my prowess of ingenuity in school, and I was one of the most popular and well liked people there.

All right, to those of you who aren't laughing at the obvious sarcasm there, that was a joke, but enough about me...

Diablo II, as far as the original is concerned, is a hack-and-slash romp through the reaches of Hell in order to defeat the evil Diablo, Lord of Terror. Apparently someone tried to do it in Diablo I and failed, so there's a second. He seemed pretty dead and gone from any sort of spiritual thing after I was done with him here, so I have no idea what's up with the third one that is supposedly coming out.

In the original, you choose between a Zealous Paladin, a raging Barbarian, a stalwart Amazon, an alluring Sorceress, and a morally questionable Necromancer.

You're plagued with a small bit of inventory space, and you basically have to pick and choose what you want to keep with little difference between many endgame items. As it was, the game's best items were rares (back in the day), and you would have to have many different ones drop in order to get one with the proper modifiers. Sure there were unique items (like in the picture), but they usually included low stats and were generally akin to paper compared to the might of the Lord of Terror.

Then along came the expansion, which added two new character classes, the unbearable Druid, and the stealthy Assassin (there are traps involved, but she isn't one).

They added more inventory space in the character's personal stash, and basically made unique items the most sought after in the game. Also, there were many exciting changes to the skill trees that allowed for synergies between early skills and later skills.

While this was a fun game for me in the beginning (especially online), to have the very best character as Battle.net has shown, you essentially need to keep a bot running most of the game's bosses, and make sure that Blizzard does not ban it. Sure, things aren't as bad since item duplicates are even more rare than before, but the flagrant disregard for the rules, plus the lack of being able to easily transfer items between characters on an account without a trustworthy friend is a cause for extreme frustration.

I played during patch 1.13 for a bit, as it alleviated one of the most frustrating parts, that is, if you put a point somewhere it doesn't belong, that point stays there. Luckily they added respecialization, for a theoretically unlimited amount of resets to ensure the proper build. However, this does not completely save the game as I found that the lack of space and having to make some characters that are essentially pack mules is still prevalent and rather annoying.

So that brings me to the Median XL mod. Sure, I'd heard of the mod before, but found the download to be daunting with previously terrible connections (living out in the boonies sucks, anyone know where a programmer can find a decent job with a bachelor's degree?), at any rate, I downloaded and played it.

It blew me away. The game's tech trees were completely changed, and many different items were created. Also, there are many new Horadric Cube recipes that make the game a bit easier to deal with. Also, it plays very nicely with the PlugY mod (but only with patch 1.12, so far) which adds respecialization as well as an infinite character stash that can stretch across every character.

That's right, the only real draw of online in that case is now proven moot. Also, the increased difficulty as well as higher end items being much more accessible to the casual gamer. For someone who can only play every so often, it's very helpful. I've spent quite a bit of time on this game, and the additions by both mods that I'm using make things so much nicer that anyone who has access to the original Diablo II and the Expansion should give it a shot.

Of course, if you want to play the original, I fully endorse that, but there are some pretty sweet mods for such an old game that it almost makes it stand the test of time.

Almost.

You can pick up this mod at: The Median XL homepage. Enjoy!