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Fotds: January 2000

From Diablo 2 Wiki

The information presented in these archived FotDs is now outdated, but that's often the most interesting thing about them, seeing how much the game has changed from then to now.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.

January 3, 2000

Decrepify is a Clvl 24 skill from the Necromancer's Curses Skill Tab. It slows down the footspeed and attack speed of the monsters it is cast upon, allowing the Necromancer and his minions to score numerous additional hits on the afflicted monsters.

Decrepify does more than this, but no one knew about that until after the game was finished and released. It was never seen in pre-game screenshots of gamot to try out every skill (briefly) during our visit in December 1999, but 5 minutes per character eplay movies, we just knew about it (and most higher level skills) from what info Blizzard released through previews. Also we gisn't enough to test out the intricacies of higher level curses.

January 4, 2000

Bone Prison is a newly-added Clvl 24 skill, that replaces "Spike Field" in the Necromancer's Poison and Bone Skill Tab. Bone Prison works like an encircling Bone Wall. It pops up five bone stakes, surrounding the targeted area, with just enough room for one monster (or character) inside. They must beat down the wall, or wait for the spell to dissipate.

January 5, 2000

Summon Resistance is a Clvl 24 skill from the Necromancer's Summoning Skill Tab. This is a mastery skill, and it raises the resistance of all of the Necromancer's summoned creatures, including Golems, Skeletons, and Revived minions. The amount of resistance it provides them increases with the skill level.

January 5, 2000

Bone Spirit, which you can see here, is a Clvl 30 skill from the Necromancer's Poison and Bone Skill Tab. The most powerful of his direct attack skills, Bone Spirit sends forth a glowing white skeletal head projectile that will home in on the target, dealing substantial damage.

An old shot with a tremendous amount of speculation about things, most of it incorrect, in hindsight. But the Bone Spirit graphic looks just the same over time.

January 7, 2000

Bone Wall is a Clvl 12 skill from the Necromancer's Poison and Bone Skill Tab. This skill works much like Firewall, but instead of flames, it creates a wall of bone, that acts as a physical obstacle, trapping the monsters, or keeping them from approaching the Necromancer. The wall has hit points and a duration, both of which increase with higher skill levels.

Fresh from our Blizzard North visit, the clamoring for more Necromancer info was loud (especially since we didn't play him all that much on our visit) so it was all Necro FotDs for a time.

January 8, 2000

Blood Golem is an interesting Clvl 18 skill from the Necromancer's Summoning Skill Tab. The in-game info describes it as, "A golem that shares health and damage". This means that the Necromancer can lose some hit points if the golem is being beaten badly, but he will also gain some if it is doing a lot of damage. The exact formula for these effects is not known.

January 9, 2000

Charged Strike is a Clvl 18 skill from the Amazon's Javelin and Spear Skill Tree. This melee skill works with a spear or javelin, and hits the monster with added damage and accuracy, as well as lightning damage, and it releases Charged Bolts upon impact, which will strike other monsters, though not for huge damage. Higher Slvls allow bigger damage, and more Charged Bolts, there are only two at Slvl one.

Another skill that had never been demonstrated at the time, but we knew about it from seeing it at Blizzard North.

January 11, 2000

Fend is a Clvl 24 skill from the Amazon's Javelin and Spear Skill Tree. This melee attack allows the Amazon to execute several stabbing attacks in rapid succession, auto-targeting all adjacent monsters, hitting each of them for big damage. It is obviously best used in a crowd.

January 12, 2000

Dispel Minion is a newly added Necromancer skill. This is not one on his Summoning Skill Tab, but is rather an intrinsic ability, like Kick or Throw, but one that is exclusive to the Necromancer. Dispel Minion enables him to fire a magical projectile, much like Heal Minion, but this one dispatches the summoned creature it strikes. This is a needed addition, since with numerous Minions, it is possible for the Necromancer to get stuck in a narrow hallway, or be unable to get past to go through a doorway.

The skill was simplified to just striking down the targeted creature anywhere on the screen, with no projectile involved.

January 13, 2000

Fire Wall is a Clvl 18 skill from the Sorceress' Fire Spells Skill Tab. This skill works much like it did in Diablo. You click on the spot you wish it to grow from, and that becomes the midpoint, with the fire running out to each side from there. The length of the firewall, as well as the damage it deals and the duration is lasts all increase with more skill points.

January 14, 2000

Fire Golem is a Clvl 30 skill from the Necromancer's Summoning Skill Tab. The most powerful of the Golems, Fire Golem looks very impressive as it burns and glows, and it does more damage and has more hit points than any other Golem skill. There is no reagent required to cast it.

Pre our visit to Blizzard North, there was intense speculation about what sort of reagent would be required to cast a Fire Golem, since all of them but Clay were supposed to require one. Initially Blood cost hit points as well as mana to cast. There was wide-spread disappointment when we found that Fire Golem had no reagent needed to cast it. People were hoping the Necromancer would need to be near fire of some sort, apparently, while realizing that might be impractical, but hoping the Fire Golem's power would make up for it. Oh well.

January 15, 2000

You see friendly players on your overlay map, and also the small belt map, as green "+" signs. Enemy characters show up red, NPCs are white, you are blue, your own hirelings or minions or those of a friendly player are teal, and if you die your corpse is hot pink. You can see friendly players a great distance away, while NPCs are not visible on the map more than about two screens away, and enemy players need to be nearly on the screen to appear.

Check out that shot of the mini belt map, it was only in the game for a short time. You can see why it didn't last, it's just way too small to be of much use, and it's relatively ugly. Blizzard did add the small corner of the screen mapping option in, and once you get used to that it's much better than the full screen, which can be hard to see through in some places. Especially in some areas of Act 5, where it's very heavy, to be visible over the light ground, such as in the ice caves.

January 16, 2000

Zeus Bolt, a Clvl 30 skill is the most powerful of the Amazon's Javelin and Spear skills. This awesome attack fires a lightning-enchanted javelin at the target, which does huge damage upon impact, and also shoots out four streams of lightning, forming a sort of "X" shaped pattern. These streams will deliver high damage to any monsters they strike. Very useful thrown into a crowd.

This skill became Lightning Fury, but it worked very differently early on. Each throw sent out an X of lightning bolts, regardless of how many or how few monsters were in the area. Much less effective than Lightning Fury's targeting everything in range, and sending dozens of bolts at times. However the X-shaped Zeus Bolts moved a bit more slowly, almost like a lightning firewall, as they moved out from the impact point. This skill was never seen in a screenshot or gameplay movie, however the effect is very similar to the lightning portion of the Assassin's Phoenix Strike skill.

January 17, 2000

Confuse is a Clvl 18 skill from the Necromancer's Curses Skill Tab. This curse causes the afflicted monsters to lose their direction, and they will run at random angles, or stand still, breaking off their attack, unless directly confronted again. Useful with ranged attacks, or to escape.

January 18, 2000

Impale is a Clvl 12 skill from the Amazon's Javelin and Spear Skill Tree. This skill adds accuracy and substantial damage to a melee attack with a spear or javelin, at the potential cost of a large durability drop to the weapon. Useful when trying to get a kill very quickly, or if your weapon is down very low on durability already, and you want to go out with a bang.

Earlier versions of Impale were for javelins only, when thrown. Blizzard changed it to be a better damage attack for spears, but with Jab so much faster and not all that much less damage, Impale had almost no use in D2.

January 19, 2000

Lower Resist is a Clvl 30 skill from the Necromancer's Curses Skill Tab. This curse causes the afflicted monster or character to lose some % of their resistance to all forms of magic. The actual amount is 53% at Slvl One, and it increases with higher levels. You can see the actual in game hover info here.

One of the digicam shots taken during our visit to Blizzard North. Yes, it's blurry.

January 20, 2000

Attract is a Clvl 24 skill from the Necromancer's Curses Skill Tab. This curse causes the afflicted monster to become a magnet for the attacks of the other monsters, damaging and probably killing it, and also giving the Necromancer and his minions a break. The afflicted monster should keep coming after the Necromancer though, or it might fight back against the monsters attacking it. Not yet know.

January 22, 2000

Revive is a Clvl 30 skill from the Necromancer's Summoning Skill Tab. Revive, seen in an animation here, allows the Necromancer to target a monster corpse, and and resurrect the monster, to serve his will. The monster will have a black/blue coloration, and a few hit points more than it did in life. The number of skill points in Revive determine how many may be Revived at once, and also Skeleton Mastery aids them.

Revive was much anticipated, and the first reports of how it actually worked (very stupid monsters) were greeted with dismay after I experimented with the skill at E3. Max Schaefer was in our chat room some time after that and the vast Necromancer-fan club grilled him medium-rare over it. Revives were a bit faster/smarter in the final game, so Blizzard must have found them a bit too dumb in testing, and improved their speed.

January 24, 2000

Many of the basic "physics" in Diablo II are different than they were in Diablo. Attacking and blocking and damage are calculated differently, and some of the basic terminology has changed. Armor Class = Defense Rating. To/hit = Attack Rating. Magic = Energy. And these aren't just renamed, they are largely modified in function as well. Screenshot evidence.

The Character window display hasn't changed any since December 1999, not even the fonts or point sizes, in over two years. Added info would be nice, such as displays for: physical resistance, physical/magical damage reduction, and magic/gold find percent. There could even be info on your Increased Attack Speed percent increases, run/walk speed bonuses, or attack speed in frames, but don't hold your breath.

Blizzard said initially that things like stamina, hit points, mana, etc would be based on more than one stat. That there would be more interdependence between stats and other character properties, so you couldn't just load up 300 vitality and have a ton of hit points. Obviously they changed their minds on that one at some point.

January 26, 2000

The various Skill Trees have undergone many changes in the course of Diablo II's development. The Necromancer's Summoning Tab, for example, was previously called Summoning and Mind Control and had a Mind Control skill, along with Familiar and Homunculus. These two were replaced with Skeleton and Golem Mastery, Mind Control became Summon Resistance, and the tab was renamed Summoning. Then Heal Minion replaced Golem Mastery, for a couple of months. Now Golem Mastery is back, at the expense of Heal Minion. Of course the pre-req arrows and icons have changed with every skill change; and the game isn't finished yet...

This was one of the more changed skill trees, or at least one we knew most of the details of the changes. Others probably changed just as much, but were more behind the scenes. Blizzard never revealed anything about what Homunculus did. Mind Control seemed to be a sort of Convert, like the Paladin skill, or more like the Assassin's Mind Blast, in the Expansion. We have no idea of the duration or if there was a % check on it based on the Slvl or anything.

January 27, 2000

Jab is a Clvl 1 skill from the Amazon's Javelin and Spear Skill Tab. A very useful early skill, Jab allows the Amazon to strike a target three times in rapid succession, much faster than three normal attacks. At Slvl one the three attacks have less accuracy and damage than normal attacks, but with more skill points the Amazon gains a damage and to/hit bonus with the attacks. All three have a chance of picking up a Critical Strike bonus as well.

We were obviously in a skill-intensive FotD stretch, with lots of info about the skills from playing them at Bliz North, and skills were more desired info at the time than general game play mechanics stuff. Those sorts of things are harder to fit into the FotD space limitations anyway.

January 28, 2000

Pierce (passive) is a Clvl 30 skill from the Amazon's Passive and Magic Skill Tab. A very useful skill with projectile attacks, Pierce allows arrows and javelins to hit a monster and keep on going, possibly hitting several in a row, boosting and spreading the damage widely. Very useful against crowds, or in narrow corridors.

If we remember correctly, Pierce used to have a +damage bonus on it, rather than just allowing multiple hits, as it does in the final game.

January 30, 2000

There will be difficulty levels in Diablo II, though it is not yet known how many, or what they will be called. Going up to a higher difficulty level will only be allowed once you have beaten the full game on the previous level, and there may be a Clvl requirement also. Waypoints and quests must all be done again each time you go up a difficulty level, but you will get all of the quest rewards again also.

The idea of doing all of the quests on each difficulty level, and getting all of the rewards three times was very exciting way back when. Blizzard kept saying they were looking for better names than Normal/Nightmare/Hell again, and probably they were, but evidently they never came up with any.

January 31, 2000

Corpse Explosion is a Clvl 6 skill from the Necromancer's Poison and Bone Skill Tab. AKA "The greatest skill ever." Corpse Explosion is a messy, nasty, joy to behold. Dealing big physical damage, every Necromancer will want to take advantage of this one. You merely target a corpse, or near a corpse, and click, and for some mana the body blows up in a shower of blood and bone, dealing from 60-100% of the hit points the corpse had when it was full health and alive. Obviously if there is a choice of corpses, you would want to blow up the most powerful monster corpse for the most damage. Higher Slvl increases the radius of blast damage.

We'd done another Corpse Explosion FotD not that long ago, but it was a very discussed skill, and by the time of FotD we'd learned the actual damage range and seen it in action.