10 Things We Love About the Diablo Series

Diablo, Diablo 3, dungeon crawler, Blizzard Entertainment, RPG
The Diablo trilogy is arguably the best dungeon crawling experience in the gaming world.

Since the Diablo series debuted, it has been the hallmark for dungeon crawling RPGs. Here are some of the things that make us love it.

A star falls from the cloudy night sky and leaves a trail of white hot fire behind it. The star crashes into a cathedral near the town of New Tristram and the impact violently shakes the ground for miles around. The citizens of the town gaze unnervingly at the sky as the town gate slowly creaks open. A cloaked figure enters through it and the citizens watch as the figure enters the inn. The citizens don’t know it yet, but this is the hero who will save them and their town from eternal damnation.

When the first Diablo was released shortly after Christmas in 1996, players were introduced to a challenging yet rewarding dungeon crawler that wound up being the first in a trilogy that Blizzard Entertainment would release. And although each game in the series is markedly different, the fundamental aspects the games have in common keep us coming back to play them. Here are ten things we love about the Diablo trilogy.

1. A storyline that becomes more engrossing with every sequel

The Diablo series will make you want to “Stay a while, and listen” to its storyline.

The first Diablo was pretty cookie cutter, in terms of plot, but the second and third games greatly expanded upon the lore to create an expansive storyline. Recurring non-player characters such as Tyrael, King Leoric, and even Diablo himself allow players to both develop rapport and experience nostalgia from when they played the prequels. I’m sure many a Diablo player experiences some sort of emotion upon the mention of Deckard Cain.

It’s not easy to evoke emotion from players toward a digital character, but creating attachment to a fictional world has always been a forte of Blizzard’s, and the Diablo universe is no exception to the rule. While on the topic of recurring, nostalgic characters…

2. Each title has fun, challenging (and sometimes recurring) bosses to fight

The bosses throughout the Diablo games impact players, in more than one way.

One of the keystones to creating a great RPG experience is including fun and/or challenging boss battles, and each title in the Diablo series is no exception. I still remember the first time I heard “AHHH… FRESH MEAT!” as a pot-bellied, cleaver-wielding demon rushed toward me, and finally bringing an end to the tragic tale of King Leoric in two separate games.

The series really hit its boss-fighting stride in Diablo III however, when the battles evolved from mostly hack and slash to multiple phase fights, which made them less of a gear check and more of a test of player awareness.

3. Each subsequent title has an increasingly vast assortment of enemies to battle

In Diablo III, there are even more enemy types than the previous games. Being familiar with their capabilities is vital on higher difficulties.

Because of the variety of enemies a player will encounter in each game, cookie-cutter strategies are less effective, forcing the player to be a little more innovative. Some enemies are susceptible to being rounded up and mowed down by a Whirlwind or area-of-effect spell, while some need to be kited around to avoid their massive blows.

Some enemies attempt to use crowd control on the player and their minions, while others are vulnerable to being charmed to fight against their brethren. Knowing the strengths and weakness of each of your foes is vital to ensure that you will emerge victorious.

4. The environments and music combine perfectly to create a cataclysmic mood

There is no shortage of dark, spooky environments in the Diablo series. These combine with the soundtracks to give the games exceptional ambiance.

Blizzard did a phenomenal job creating an immersive atmosphere with each game in the series. The use of gothic-themed graphics combined with haunting music, crisp sound effects, shadowy lighting, and wholly believable voice acting all contribute to making the player feel like the world of Sanctuary is in dire need of salvation.

When beginning a campaign in each of the games, the ambiance leaves little doubt that the player is about to embark on a journey with the odds completely against them, which makes the eventual triumph even more fulfilling.

5. Variable difficulty levels consistently provide a challenge for players, no matter how skilled or geared they become

Diablo III took selectable difficulties to the next level, providing a wide selection for players of all skill levels to choose from.

This is true of all three titles in the series, and taken to a whole new level in Diablo III. In the first two games, players could play one of three difficulties, and would need to progress through each in order to reach maximum level. In Diablo III, players can choose from one of 14 difficulties; each higher level granting a greater bonus to experience gains and gold/magic find percentage.

The range of difficulties in the third game ensures that players will not end up stuck in a gray area between “too easy” and “too hard”, and the latter difficulties guarantee that players never become too overpowered and lose the challenge factor that can bring enjoyment.

6. The inclusion of great cut scenes that Blizzard has become known for

Intermittent cut scenes throughout the campaign allow the player to take a break from defeating evil and soak up a little storyline.

Even a Nephalem hero needs to take a break from time to time, and Blizzard includes a handful of cut scenes in each title for the player to enjoy between bouts of demon slaying. Typically employed during a crucial moment of the lore or directly preceding a boss battle, these scenes are always beautifully done and engage the player in the storyline even further. These scenes are the reason that gamers are so excited about the Warcraft movie scheduled to be released sometime this year.

7. The introduction of customizable weapons and armor in Diablo II

Weapons and armor can be customized to the player’s preference with the introduction of gems and runes in Diablo II.

Beginning in Diablo II, players could augment socketed weapons and armor with gems or runes to give them a more desired effect. This concept was carried forward to Diablo III, which also introduced reforging. Reforging allows players to replace less useful attributes with preferred ones, and enabled players to further enhance specific builds.

Certain combinations of runes compose “rune words”, and imbue gear with extremely powerful attributes. The inclusion of such features motivates players to pursue these runes in order to greatly empower their character against the forces of evil.

8. Each title includes multiplayer modes so that you can slay demons with your friends

Multiplayer has always been a staple of the Diablo series. Up to eight players could party in Diablo II.

As fun as the series is just playing alone, it really hits its stride when you party up with friends or random online players to adventure together. In Diablo and Diablo II, monster health did not scale with the amount of players in a party, so grouping up was necessary to down enemies at higher difficulties if your gear wasn’t exceptionally good.

In Diablo III, monster health and damage increases as your party size does, although the experience point, gold, and legendary drop rates increase as well, making grouping up a rather profitable arrangement. Celebrating a high difficulty boss kill with your group is one of the higher moments one can experience in gaming, and the Diablo games have no shortage of these moments.

9. Loot, loot, and more loot!

There is no greater feeling in the Diablo games than picking up all the loot dropped after a tough boss battle.

Carving a swath through a large group of demons is fun, no doubt. But the single greatest contributor to enjoyment in the Diablo series is looting a chest or picking up your rewards after defeating a difficult boss.

The anxiety of waiting to see if the piece you need drops and suspense directly preceding the identification of an unidentified piece of gear is an unrivalled feeling in the game. Well, perhaps it is rivaled by actually getting the piece you have been grinding for, and finally taking one more step toward becoming the bane of evil’s existence.

10. Transforming your character into the Ultimate Demon Killing Machine

Fear will strike the hearts of the minions of Diablo once you become the Ultimate Demon Killing Machine!

This is the bottom line. There is no greater feeling than slicing through scores of evil minions like an electric knife through a Thanksgiving turkey. Once you achieve the best gear, you become more fearsome than the Lord of Terror himself, and able to fell hundreds of his minions in mere seconds.

The stacks of demon bodies left behind act as a testament to your power, and the citizens of Sanctuary will sing of your greatness for generations, as you have become the Ultimate Demon Killing Machine!

There are the top ten things we love about the Diablo series. Did we miss any of your favorites? Take exception to any of the ones we chose? Want to start a super fast Baal run? Be sure to comment and share!

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Gamer Since: 1986
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: Dark Souls 3, Diablo 3, MLB The Show, World of Warcraft, Starcraft 2, Mega Man Legacy Collection
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