The information presented in these archived FotDs is now outdated, but that's often the most interesting thing about them, seeing how much the game has changed from then to now.
The original FotDs are indented and italicized. Explanatory comments below them were written by Flux at the time the FotDs were archived, usually a couple/few months after the original FotDs had been presented.
December 1, 1999
- Enchant is a Clvl 15 skill from the Sorceress' Fire Spells Tab. This skill allows the Sorceress to imbue her weapon with magical flames, which will then add substantially to her damage, assuming the target isn't fire-proof. It is not known if she can cast this skill on other characters, or if it works like an aura or warcry, where it will work for the Sorceress, and anyone else near enough to her when she casts it. Screenshot evidence.
Enchant is one of the least important skills in the game, but it's interesting to see the amount of speculation we (all the game fans) did in advance, on just about every skill that was known. Blizzard never gave out that much info on a skill, just the name and something of its function, so there was always plenty left to debate.
December 2, 1999
- Iron Golem is a Clvl 25 skill from the Necromancer's Summoning Skill Tab. This skill is one of the more ingenious in Diablo II, in that it requires a metal item as a reagent to summon the golem, and then the golem takes on some of the attributes of the reagent. At least in theory, a shield sacrificed to make the golem would produce one with a higher defensive rating. A sword golem would do more damage, etc. How socketed gems, magical items, and other things like flaming swords work is yet unknown.
Blizzard had the cool idea for this skill, but never really got into the actual mechanics of it deeply enough to add the variety we'd have liked to see in it. The skill is much better at reflecting the reagent item's properties in D2X.
December 2, 1999
- Goatmen return in Diablo II, and they are nastier than they were in Diablo. Wielding larger weapons, such as two-handed mauls, polearms, and spears, they hit hard and move fast. Their existence was only recently confirmed, and they have only been featured in two screenshots so far. Two clearly different clans are shown, one reddish, and the other gray.
The red goats are seen very seldom in the final game (only in the Forgotten Tower levels. Thanks to zub69 for pointing that out.) and seldom are goats seen in the location they are shown in this screenshot. The Gray one (green here) is actually a boss shown in Tristram, much as you could see today.
December 5, 1999
- Terror is a Clvl 10 skill from the Necromancer's Curses Skill Tab. This is a newly-added skill, replacing "Taint", which we never even got a description of. Easy come easy go. Terror is said to cause the cursed monsters to run in fear. So sort of an instant Fallen affect. The duration is unknown, and also unknown is how monsters will resist it, since presumably it wouldn't work on more powerful monsters. Higher Slvls should increase its effectiveness.
Terror turned out to be more effective than expected, though it's far from the most commonly used Necromancer skill in any event.
December 7, 1999
- Sanctuary is a Clvl 20 Paladin Skill from the Offensive Auras Skill Tree. This skill creates a barrier against the undead, a sort of smoke ring around the Paladin that repels incoming undead monsters, bouncing them backwards. There appears to be a % chance that they can get through it, since in the Paladin.avi a couple of them do, while others are bouncing off. You can see an animation of this skill, or view it in a screenshot.
This is one of the oldest screenshots you'll ever see, with very weird looking zombies, and the old smoke ring Sanctuary.
December 9, 1999
- Monsters in Diablo II are generally less crowded together than they were in Diablo, which is lucky for us, since the levels are almost infinitely larger than they were in the first game. Monsters stick more to logical habitats, with various monsters indoors, others outdoors, and certain types appearing and working together. However if you run around a bit, you can still get quite a few on your trail. Big view.
Mostly speculation on our part in this one, based on screenshots and Blizzard's comments in previews. There seemed to be fewer monsters per area early in the game, when Blizzard was planning on making individual beasties more difficulty, but as the game development went on, the monster density increased, as they became more slaughter-bait.
December 10, 1999
- Poison is a major addition to Diablo II. One of the four base types of magic (the other three being Cold, Fire, and Lightning), poison is used by characters and monsters, and can also be found in potions, traps, and just about everywhere. In addition to dealing damage, poison can also "poison" a character or monster, turning them emerald green, and causing a hit point drain Here you see three Burning Dead seconds after tasting the Amazon's Plague Javelin.
Poison was a totally new concept in D2, nothing like it existed in D1, so we had people constantly posting questions about how it worked in the forum, and tried explain some with the FotD.
December 12, 1999
- Waypoints are a new feature in Diablo II, but you will soon grow to love them. There are a dozen or more waypoints set up in each act, with one main transporting station in the town area in each act. Here you see the one for Act One. Step upon it and every other waypoint your character has found, in that act, will pop up, and you merely select which one you wish to be teleported to. You must find them first, but they are saved to your character, so after your first game, you'll most likely have them all.
A bit high on our estimate of waypoint numbers per act here, at least for how it turned out in the final game. The number of them was not set in stone, Blizzard added and took some away, as they arranged how large levels would be and how they'd be set out. Playing at Blizzard North, we actually got a fatal character bug in Act Two, when there were 9 waypoints there, and as soon as my character got near the 9th, which was in the Canyon of the Magi in Act Two, the character crashed out and became unplayable.
December 15, 1999
- Golem Mastery is a Clvl 10 Mastery skill from the Necromancer's Summoning Skill Tab. This skill enables the Necromancer to add to the health and speed of his summoned golems, which should come in handy, as they are faster than the golem spell was in Diablo, but they are still pretty plodding. Higher Slvls of Golem Mastery should increase the bonuses.
This skill was in and out of the game a couple of times. The note on the FotD archives page below this FotD was that it was removed from the game entirely. Obviously it returned before the final release.
December 17, 1999
- Penetrate is a passive Clvl 15 skill from the Amazon's Passive and Magic Skill Tab. This skill, a prerequisite for the very useful Pierce. Penetrate allows the Amazon's projectile attacks (arrows, bolts, or anything thrown) to pass through the target's armor more easily. In effect this is a bonus to/hit skill, and as it's passive, the bonus is forever, once it's enabled. Higher Slvls of Penetrate would raise the +to/hit%.
This one came out just as planned.
December 19, 1999
- Poison Explosion is a Clvl 15 skill from the Necromancer's Poison and Bone Skill Tab. This skill is similar to Corpse Explosion, but adds poison to the messy attack. Exactly how it works is currently unknown, but presumably the Necromancer targets the corpse and blows it up, inflicting either physical and poison damage, or possibly just poison. As it is a higher Clvl skill than Corpse Explosion, expect the damage to be bigger as well.
Poison Explosion had never been seen at this point, so just speculating on how it might work.
December 20, 1999
- Zeal is a Clvl 10 skill from the Paladin's Combat Skills Tab. Formerly a skill that allowed the Paladin to run through several obstacles on the way to his target, this skill has changed functions, and is now a way for him to quickly attack multiple adjacent enemy targets. This has never been seen in action, but it sounds like you would click on the target, and he would hit it, and then a monster or two next to the target. Screenshot evidence.
This is much different than how Zeal works in the final game, as you probably already knew. It's not clear from the screenshot what the Paladin is doing with the skill. It's quite possible that Blizzard changed how the skill worked, changed it to the multi-hit attack that we see in the final game, but we didn't know about that at the time this screenshot was released.
December 22, 1999
- Blessed Aim is a Clvl 12 skill from the Paladin's Offensive Auras Skill Tab. This aura enables anyone carrying it to enjoy a higher "attack rating", which is what "to/hit" is called in Diablo II. A higher Slvl of Blessed Aim would likely boost the % of additional Attack Rating, and perhaps the duration of the aura.
At this time auras still worked for a given time after being cast. It was later that they became perpetually active, but requiring the right mouse button to be set to them to keep them going.
December 23, 1999
- Fallen are appalling little monsters. Smelly, filthy, cowardly, attacking only in numbers, they squeeze into overcrowded camps with their Disfigured mastiffs and even assorted goatmen, and emerge like clowns from a circus car once your character enters their area. There are numerous varieties of Fallen in Diablo II: Red, Orange, Blue, Silver, Gray, and Turquoise have all been spotted thus far, though we don't yet know anything about what differentiates the various colors.
The thumbnail links to the full size shot. I'm not sure where this FotD came from, it's almost a Fallen rant, but you write enough of them, mere scientific descriptions sometimes seem inadequate.
December 27, 1999
- Weaken is a Clvl 6 skill from the Necromancer's Curses Skill Tab. This curse causes any afflicted monsters to deal lower damage than they normally would. Higher Slvls of Weaken should lower their damage by a larger %, as well as lengthening the time the curse remains in effect. It is not known if this skill works against projectile attacks, magical attacks, or just melee attacks. Screenshot Evidence.
No screenshot, since Weaken looks exactly the same then as it does now.