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Diablo II is an action role-playing hack and slash video game developed by Blizzard North and published by Blizzard Entertainment in 2000 for Windows and Mac OS computers.
The game, with its dark fantasy and horror themes, was conceptualized and designed by David Brevik and Erich Schaefer, who with Max Schaefer acted as project leads on the game. The producers were Matthew Householder and Bill Roper.
Building on the success of its predecessor Diablo (1996), Diablo II was one of the most popular games of 2000. Major factors that contributed to Diablo II's success include its continuation of popular fantasy themes from the previous game and its access to Blizzard's free online play service Battle.net. An expansion to Diablo II, Diablo II: Lord of Destruction, was released in 2001. A sequel, Diablo III, was announced in 2008, and was released on May 15, 2012.
Diablo II's storyline progresses through four chapters or "Acts". Each act follows a more or less predetermined path, although there is some random-level generation in wilderness areas and dungeons between key cities. The player progresses through the story by completing a series of quests within each act, with optional quests providing additional rewards. In contrast to the first Diablo, whose levels consisted of descending deeper and deeper into a Gothic-themed dungeon and Hell, Diablo II's environments are much more varied. While Act I is similar to the original, Act II mimics Canaan desert while Act III is supposedly based on the Maya civilization jungles. Act IV takes place in Hell and is the shortest, with just three quests compared to the other Acts that have six.
The Lord of Destruction expansion adds Act V which continues the story where Act IV left off. Act V's style is mainly mountainous as the player ascends Mount Arreat, with ice tunnels/caverns in the mountains, as well as hellish subterranean pits (reminiscent of Hell in Act IV) for extra monsters and experience. After reaching the summit of Arreat, the player gains access to the Worldstone Keep (whose architecture may be reminiscent of Angkor Wat and other Hindu temples).
In addition to the acts, there are three sequential difficulty levels: Normal, Nightmare, and Hell; completing the game (four Acts in the original or five Acts in the expansion) on a difficulty setting will open up the next level. On higher difficulties, monsters are stronger and are resistant to an element, experience is penalized on dying, and the player's resistances are handicapped. However, better items are rewarded to players as they go through higher difficulties. A character retains all abilities and items between difficulties, and may return to a lower difficulty at any time.
Players can also create a hardcore character. In normal mode, the player can resurrect their character if killed and resume playing, while a hardcore character has only one life. If killed, the character is permanently dead and unplayable, and all items and equipment on that character will be lost unless another friendly character has the "loot" icon checked.
The game was released in Collector's Edition format, containing bonus collector's material, a copy of the Diablo Dungeons & Dragons pen-and-paper campaign setting, and promotional movies for other Blizzard games. The Diablo II: Exclusive Gift Set (2000) similarly contained exclusive collector's material and promotional videos, as well as a copy of the official strategy guide. The Diablo Gift Pack (2000) contained copies of Diablo and Diablo II, but no expansions. The Diablo: Battle Chest (2001) contained copies of Diablo II, Diablo II: Lord of Destruction, the official strategy guide, and the original Diablo. Recently, however, the Battle Chest edition no longer contains the original Diablo.
Original CD release worked on Windows 95/98/Me/NT4SP5, but current one downloadable from Battle.net requires at least Windows 2000/XP.
The announcement of Diablo III renewed the interest in its predecessor and brought more attention to the many mods available for the game.
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