Thoughts on Diablo 2 from a family man with little time (long post)

Sorry for long post, but here goes:

After picking the game back up after 15 years or so, I had some thoughts as to why I, a now
33-year-old man with a family, will sacrifice precious sleep and revitalized post-pandemic social mobility only to go back and visit Sanctuary all by my lonesome (albeit, I do meet a few players here and there.

First of all, to me, and many others, the game was a gateway drug into RPG’s. I had fun with Baldur’s Gate and Neverwinter Nights, but the firs time I picked up a demo of Diablo 2 from my grandpa’s computer magazines, I was completely shocked by the feel of the game. It struck a chord in a young boy who was just getting into Black Metal as a genre and also devouring Tolkien faster than a Sorceress drinks mana potions. The music, the dungeons, the monsters and the magic – they all made a gesamtkunstwerk of Wagnerian proportions. Hence, this is going back to the source, full circle. Nostalgia is wonderful, and Resurrected put me right back in that place and time.

However, nostalgia is not necessarily enough. I’ve played a fair share of brushed up classics over the past years, and even though they all gave me some form of joy, they never became sleep depriving or all consuming (I’m constantly haunting the forums and threads now, taking a glance whenever I have spare time). A game needs something more. It needs a drive. Perhaps it needs to be all-consuming in it’s original version, or maybe it needs to hit you right in the middle of where you are at the moment you first pick it up. For me, this is most certainly the case.

Even so, Resurrected has not merely resurrected the game for players like myself. It has revitalized the game altogether – and new, young players are now running through the streets of Tristram and the sewers of Lut Gholein – and they are having a blast. They’re getting invested in this 20 year old game that, to be fair, went through a face lift and a tummy tuck. They’re playing the game all the way through normal, then embark on Hell and Nightmare. And herein, dear redditor, lies what I believe to be the true magic of Diablo 2: The way the game escalates around you without you really picking up on it until the end.

The game has a wonderful way of setting you off small – humble weapons and humble powers, but also humble settings. Throughout your journey, your powers and gear enhance in pace with your surroundings – from the Rogue Encampment, through Hell, and finally, when you arrive in Harrogath, the game has somehow transformed into a high fantasy-tale with awesome magical abilities, and also high-fantasy surroundings and high fantasy-music. This transformation makes the game exceptionally immersive in a way no other isometric game have achieved – at least to my knowledge.

So here we are, 20 years later – some of us nostalgic, others experiencing for the first time. All of us, sharing the same immersion we did 20 years ago – (less) worts and all. If you stayed with me (and listened) through all of that, thank you for your attention. Happy farming, and may the servers be with you!


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