There’s a lot going on Blizzard’s next remaster project, Diablo II resurrected
After successfully spitting StarCraft Remastered in 2016, the Blizzard Classic team followed with the Unforgivable Milkweed WarCraft III: Reforged– and I say “unforgivable” because we are currently eight unfulfilled months past the latest plague of much-requested features of that game. Those are hard things for anyone who has chosen to spend $ 30 (or more) Forged again, so it still needs to be fixed before we can pretend the company’s shaky reputation is almost restored. (Reps for multiple Activision and Blizzard projects have yet to respond to my pending questions about WC3RAfter a no-show at BlizzCon 2021, the developer blamed “the nature of today’s world” in March for a lack of updates, even though fans had created their own grassroots. WC3R solutions in the same time span.)
That said, there is arguably a larger audience in the world that has left WarCraft III but still has a soft spot for one of Blizzard’s most enduring classic games: Diablo IITwenty one years later, Diablo IIThe gameplay core holds up remarkably well and certainly more than the original, genius yet clumsy DiabloI like Diablo II, and I like the idea of a refreshed, allegiant Diablo II
Its renewal had been kept a terribly secret until its formal announcement in February 2021. Surprise or not, it’s a welcome opportunity at Blizzard semi-redemption. The company certainly seems to think so, having reportedly ripped the project off the original Blizzard Classic team and turned it over to Vicarious Visions. (Vicarious Visions’ last game, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2, some serious game remake chops proven.)
The abbreviated way to hell
So I am absolutely curious how D2: R. will turn out – and I’ll find out in about 24 hours by diving into the first public alpha technical test. Starting on Thursday, April 8 at 1 p.m. EDT, we will be one of the first in the world to test a limited portion of the game’s remake ahead of the demo launch on Friday, April 9. that test, sign up here and cross your fingers.)
Blizzard also lets me stream my gameplay with no restrictions, so if you don’t want to wait for my typed impressions you can tune in by returning to this page at Thursday, April 8, 1:30 PM EDTI’ll add half an hour of buffer time just in case. Should we run into technical issues for any reason, I have the original D2 client installed, and anyway, I’ll be streaming here for three hours on the Ars Technica Twitch channel, until 4:30 PM EDT. We will embed the video here, but you will need to click through to Twitch if you want to use the chat functionality. (On the other hand, if Twitch chat sounds awful for any reason, our built-in live stream will keep you safe from it.)
The D2: R. single-player demo features the game’s first two acts (out of four in the primary retail game and a fifth act added via the ‘Lords of Destruction’ expansion pack), and it lets players go hands-on with three of the final game classes ( Barbarian, Sorceress and Amazon). I can only stream a 1080p signal at 60fps, despite sales pitches like ultrawide support and 4K-friendly resources. But I’ll do my best to break down what I see on my side as I quickly click through demons and march east to Lut Gholein. I’ll also take my sweet time to break down the remaster’s biggest sales pitches, particularly in terms of quality of life and the promise of switching between old graphics and new ones at the touch of a button.
The remaster’s multiplayer tests will follow later this year, Blizzard says, so this week’s test will only be “multiplayer” if you pile into chat on Thursday and send very specific gameplay requests.