Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

Diablo II

Diablo II is an action-oriented adventure and role-playing game (RPG) designed as a sequel to the popular Diablo. It was released by Blizzard Entertainment in 2000. As of 2001 (with the Lord of Destruction expansion pack), it has become one of the most popular on-line games ever, due to the free access to

Diablo II may be played as a single player game or multi-player via Play is an online community made up of tens of thousands of people who connect to six primary realms across the globe, two in the United States, East and West, a European server and three in Asia. Each realm has two ways to connect: there is the closed realm where all your character data is stored on the servers making it difficult to cheat, and there is the open realm where you play with your single player characters. The open realm is generally filled with every kind of hacked item and cheat known to man because the game servers are ran on the player's machine hosting the game.

It is also an interesting study in sociology, as social groups organize to adventure together, usually based on geographical region, language, character affiliation/preferences, playing style and other considerations. Many players form clans to defend themselves from player killers (or PK). There is also a significant economy associated with Diablo II, because the most powerful magic items are rare, and are often traded. Interestingly this trading occurs in-game and in the real world. Certain "unique" items used to sell on eBay for upwards of 500 US dollars.

Players may play "softcore" or "hardcore." If played softcore, the user's character can die, then play continues with the same character. If a user plays hardcore, the character dies permanently and the user must start again with a new character.

With the 1.10 patch Blizzard introduced a new type of play mode, Ladder Characters. These ladder characters are not allowed to play in the same game as non-ladder characters, effectively creating a new item trading market. The ladder seasons are short lived. When a season ends the ladder characters are changed into non-ladder characters and the players will have to create a new ladder character to play in the next season. Blizzard has also created ladder-only items that will only spawn in the ladder games; this gives the players extra incentive to play on the ladder.

One interesting component of this game is the existence of the Horadric Cube. This is an in-game artifact that can change certain treasures into other treasures. For example, 3 partial rejuvenation potions may be combined to produce a full rejuvenation potion. It also allows you to craft in-game articles that have a combination of properties not found on items dropped by monsters. Generally Diablo II places a much greater emphasis on customizabilty and in-game "tinkering" than its predecessor. For example, all weapons (of which there are a couple hundred different varieties) can be socketed with gems and runes that convey additional abilities, or even create unique super-items (the "rune word" weapons).

Diablo II also offers a bustling online community with its own economy and barter system. It is split up into four different servers or realms, east, west, asia, and europe. Up to eight players can adventure together through the five acts of the game in attempt to level up their character so that it can compete in duels. Online, many players compete to gain status on the ladder, which constitutes a ranking of the most experienced players throughout

Cheating on

Diablo, ever since the first version, has been plagued with cheats on the closed and open realms. These cheats give the players unfair advantages or the abilities to remove other players from the games by crashing their computers. The most notorious cheats have always been dupes. A dupe is a cheat or exploit of the game that creates exact copies of an item. These copies are then traded and/or sold for the profit of the cheaters.

Another type of hack that is very popular is maphack. This hack allows the user to see the entire game map and all the monsters. This gives the player an advantage because they know where to find the monsters and which monsters they should avoid. The most popular creator of the Diablo II maphack is mousepad.

The most controversial type of hacks on the realm are the so called "bugged" or "hacked" items. It is unclear how these items first appeared on the realm. Some of these items with extraordinarily powerful effects were created by hack programs and bugs in the game. These are generally referred to as "bugged" items. The "hacked" items have characteristics that are too powerful to have resulted from an accident, and some speculate that a rogue Blizzard employee had originally placed these items on the realms.

More recently in the past year bots have become extremely popular. These programs allow the user to completely automate their game play. They are primarily used for magic finding (finding better randomly generated items). This gives their users a clear advantage because their computer is playing 24/7 collecting the best items in the game with little input from the user. The first of these bots to appear used a program called AutoIt to automate key strokes and a d2hackit module. The first popular version to utilize AutoIt and d2hackit was called Infinite Pindle Bot (IPB); it was designed to repeatedly kill a boss monster, Pindleskin, without any user intervention, except to periodically remove the items it found from the bot character.

The first class of bots was quite simple, they where limited to killing monsters in a "static" area. Yet Diablo has many areas in the map that are "random", and to find your way around it with a bot you'd have to use a simple path finding algorithm. The first bot to use such an algorithm was called mephbot, written by Syadasti also known as Mike Gogulski. He appeared on TechTV's The Screen Savers [1] demonstrating his mephbot. This bot used Dijkstra's shortest path algorithm to find its path to kill Mephisto, a boss character in the game.

The next bots to emerge allowed you to write bots using JavaScript. These programs embed the JavaScript language into the Diablo II game itself. The first JavaScript bot was JavaScript Enabled Diablo (JED). This program was written by Smoke and revolutionized the Diablo II bot world. The first versions were only able to kill Pindleskin because no path finding algorithms was enabled in JavaScript yet.

Shortly after JED was released another project started, called Diablo II JavaScript Parser (d2jsp). This program is written by njaguar and quickly became the standard for bots in Diablo II. It allowed you to fully interface the Diablo II game with JavaScript and bots was written to path find every area of the game and kill all major bosses.

Blizzard has a strong anti-cheat stance. They've always aggressively pursued hack programs that are designed to attack their systems. These typically have been dupe programs, because they exploit bugs and flaws in the game's software. These dupe programs, when publicly available, have at times brought the online gaming servers to near collapse. So Blizzard has aggressively patched and fixed these exploits as soon as they became aware of them.

With the maphack class of hacks, the effect is only on the client side and doesn't harm the servers. Blizzard has had to struggle to prevent maphacks from being used on the realm. They are notoriously hard to identify and only detectable if the maphack software itself is buggy or if blizzard scans the clients' memory for the hack.

With bots blizzard has taken a more direct approach. Since their first appearance on the realm, Blizzard has banned over two hundred thousand accounts that have been associated with bots. The first of these mass bannings took place on April 1st 2003.

With the 1.10 patch Blizzard has adopted a still more direct course to detect hacks. They have added special code into the game itself that can detect these cheats in memory and report back to

They've also implemented a system to detect and delete the "bugged" and "hacked" items from the realms (in the form of the nicely mysterious, artifact-munching "rust storm"). The post 1.10 Diablo II realms are much cleaner than the realms have been in years, with less duped and hacked items around. The users also have the option to play on the ladder which is a totally clean economy separate from the old corrupted realms, and is kept so by the periodic wipes.

The 1.10 Patch

Long thought to be a myth or an aborted attempt, the 1.10 patch was announced to the world in May 2002, and was finally released to the public on October 28, 2003. No patch has ever been speculated over and commented on as much as the 1.10 patch. This patch adds loads of new features and items into the game. The complete list is found at: " class="external">

Ladder Characters: The patch introduces a new type of characters called Ladder Characters. These characters are separated from the rest of the realm and can only join games created by other ladder characters. This effectively creates a new clean economy for these characters free from the existing economy where any item in the game can be had for the right price.

Ladder seasons are also introduced where ladder characters play together for a season. The standard season length hasn't been announced, but old Blizzard comments state a period of three months. When a ladder season ends, the ladder characters are converted to non-ladder characters. To continue playing in the ladder, players will have to create new characters, thus spawning a new economy.

Ladder-only Features: The patch also includes items and cube recipes that are ladder-only. Meaning only ladder characters can find or use these features. This is to give more incentive to the players to start new ladder characters. When a ladder season ends the ladder-only items found will be moved to the non-ladder realm with the characters and will be quite valuable.

Rust Storm: Blizzard has implemented a new system for identifying and deleting illegal items on the realms. When Blizzard is made aware of a new hacked or bugged item, they can simply update the rust storm filters and the item will be deleted from the entire realm. This should help keep the economy stable and free from items that give players an unfair advantage.

Leeching and Rushing: A popular playing style in the pre 1.10 realms was to "rush" a character - meaning that the player would have a friend of much higher level play the game for them and complete all the needed quests, while tagging along at a safe distance. This allowed the player to bypass much of the long areas of the game that are time consuming to complete. The player would then "leech" experience from higher level characters to gain levels before continuing.

With 1.10 these tactics are made rendered much more time consuming, and leeching has been made a lot more difficult, encouraging players to play the game the way Blizzard designed it.

Skill Synergies: With the 1.10 patch blizzard introduced a feature called Synergies (until then only seen in the Druid's Wolf Summoning skills). Synergies allow skills to gain bonuses depending on the skill levels of other, related skills. This enables the player to build a more varied character while still attaining the efficiency and power of a specialised build (the so-called "cookie-cutter" variants).

The down-side to Synergies is that all pre 1.10 characters have been made essentially useless because the popular ways to allocate skills before 1.10 results in extremely low damage characters after 1.10. This essentially forces all players to start over and create new characters that utilize Synergies.

The general player's opinion of 1.10 is mixed. The players that absolutely hated the hacked and bugged items and other cheats find the 1.10's new relatively cheat free realm wonderful, while other players who've been playing for years have had to realize that all their old characters have taken a big drop in efficieny, and now they have to start over.

It is probable that 1.10 will be the last patch released for Diablo II (possibly except for a small bug-fixing addendum to address new glitches that have come to light since), because most of the original design team have left Blizzard in the meantime, and the size of the released patches already represent quite an unusual investment into a game that is no longer being developed and expanded.

External link