The information presented in these archived FotDs is now outdated, but that's often the most interesting thing about them, seeing how much the game has changed from then to now.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 6, 2001
- A change in the v1.04 patch has improved the Barbarian's Battle Orders WarCry. While the skill's effects and stats remain unchanged, (it adds a substantial % to the hit points, mana, and stamina of the Barbarian and all friendly players) recasting the skill no longer resets the benefits, as it did previous to v1.04. Read full details about the improvement in a new Barbarian Quick Tip.
Prior to v1.04 Battle Orders was a total pain to use, since it always reset to your normal max hps/mana, and had to be filled to the BO-added max with leech or potions. This patch helped it become the extremely useful and popular skill is it today.
The key to it since then is to recast it at the same (or a higher) level, before the duration runs out. If you have 1000 hps, and Slvl 20 BO (92%) is cast, you'll go to 1920 HPs maximum. You'll stay at 1000 currently, but if you gain 920 you'll be full again. This lasts for 144 seconds at Slvl 20. If you have Slvl 20 or higher BO cast again before the 144 seconds are up, you'll stay where you are, or your maximum will increase a bit if the Slvl is higher. But if it's lower level then you'll reset to your normal max hps, 1000, and your maximum will go to the new lower amount. If it's Slvl 18 (85%) then you'll have 1000/1850 hps, and can fill that up again. This is why the player with the highest level of BO should always cast it for the whole party.
January 12, 2001
- Items in Diablo II can have up to +4 minimum and +20 maximum damage from various affixes. This occasionally creates an item with more added to min than max, which can look somewhat odd. It's not a bug, just a chance event, and no matter how much you boost your minimum damage (Bloodfist, +on jewelry, etc) you'll always do 1 more max than min damage. A 1-6 damage sword with +10 min would be 11-12 damage.
This was/is another ridiculously-frequently asked question, with someone sending in a screenshot of their sword with +3-2 damage just about every day, and never thinking it through for themselves, since the solution isn't all that complicated. In D2X items with +damage to both min and max generally list both, thus keeping people from this confusion, and us from the endless emails.
January 16, 2001
- Cursed monsters always have Amplify Damage, and the curse takes effect 50% of the time when they land a successful hit on your character. A nasty bonus is that if the Cursed monster hits one of your minions, you are immediately Cursed as well, no matter how far away from the action you are standing. (Whether or not the same 50% chance of Cursing effects minions is debated. It often seems more like 100%.)
This is definitely 50% now, in D2X. The monster hitting your minion has a 50% chance to curse them, and if they get cursed, you and all the rest of your minions get cursed. You can cast a new minion, such as a Valk, and they'll be curse-free until someone gets hit again and it re-curses you.
One annoying feature is if the monster has an aura that shares to you, such as Holy Freeze or Conviction, when it does the Aura always will as well, whether they hit you or not.
January 18, 2001
- In Diablo II, two much suffixes that are much sought after by spell-casters are "of the apprentice" = fast cast, and "of the magus" = fastest cast. Prior to v1.04 a number of uniques, including Magefist and Ume's Lament, had a "faster cast" property. This was identical to "fastest cast", and the wording on those uniques has now been changed to "fastest cast", to be more consistent. Full info on the Sorc's benefits of fast/fastest cast can be seen here.
Most players didn't really notice if they actually got an increase in casting rate from every single item of faster cast gear they had on in D2. The in game description for faster cast (and faster run, and faster attack speed) makes it sound like everything boost you the percent listed, when that's not true. You only increase in speed to the various things at set intervals, when you get enough of a boost to drop to the next lower frame. The link there goes to a page we did long ago with the frame breaks for Sorceresses and all other characters.
As most Sorcs learned in D2, you only gained a frame in your casting speed at 10, 20, 30, 50, 60, 80% faster cast. So if you had 30%, and added a fast cast ring for 10%, it made no actual difference in your total speed. Wise players planned their equipment to get to 50, or 60, or 80, right to where a frame was gained. No point in going to a 10% faster ring instead of an SoJ if it didn't actually gain you a frame, after all.
Casting rates are somewhat altered in D2X, there are a lot more ways to increase your casting rate (90% was the most possible in D2) but in general fast casting isn't as popular a need, since things like Firewall, Hydra, Inferno, Frozen Orb, and many others have their own built in delays, and Static is no longer the most important skill due to the caps on how much it can reduce monsters to in Nightmare and Hell.
January 22, 2001
- Every type of red and blue potion in Diablo II takes just over 5 seconds to deliver its full effect. The fill rate is different for every grade of potion, since it's the total red/blue averaged over the 5.12 seconds. If you drink a 200 hps potion, you'll gain around 40 points per second for 5 seconds. If you drink a 40 hps potion, you'll gain around 8 hps per second for 5 seconds. Drinking more than one at a time stacks, so if you drink a 200 and a 40 at once, you will get 240 over 10 seconds, or 24 per second. For this reason you do not want to mix lesser with greater potions, if you are in a hurry to enjoy their benefits. Thanks to Jarulf for the info.
This info is still accurate in D2X. Check that potions page for more details, and also the interesting info about where your odds are best for the potion you drink to do double the listed amount.
January 26, 2001
- The rings given as quest rewards by Akara and Ormus are generated at a pre-set level. Your Clvl at the time you complete the quest or get the ring is irrelevant. The levels are, Akara: Normal 7, Nightmare 28, Hell 49. Ormus: Normal 21, Nightmare 35, Hell 65. All rings are rare, other than Akara on Normal. The modifiers are up to +2, so you can get any lvl 30 or lower affix on the ring from Akara on Nightmare, for example. Check our Prefixes and Suffixes pages to see the level of every affix in the game.
This info was new and a surprise to most at the time. Conventional wisdom held that you should wait on doing the quests as long as possible to get higher quality rings, but that is not the case. These numbers are unchanged in D2X, as far as we know, though the odds of getting a ring that's actually useful seems to be much lower, with no more mana leech, and so many added crappy mods (charges of useless skills) cutting your chances of getting 3 or 4 good ones on the same item.
Tons of the prefixes and suffixes have changed levels however, so the old levels pages that were linked to here won't help you much now.
January 26, 2001
- A good Rare item is generally the best of any type of item. The affixes you see on Rares are regimented. You can get at most six affixes: three each of prefixes and suffixes, and only one from each family of affixes. So just one type of +strength, or +max damage, for example. Sometimes a rare will look to have more than six properties, but this is when one property (like Prismatic) shows on several lines, or there are added skills on a wand/scepter/staff. See Rares galore on Best of Diablo II.
Rares were the best items in D2, but they are far from that now in D2X, especially on weapons, other than possibly orbs and wands. The Best of Diablo II was a site we hosted for Diablo II, that had pictures of great Rares sent in by readers, and ranked the very best ones. It was fascinating to view them, but there was no real way to tell if they weren't hacked open items, or altered screenshots, and with Rares destined to be crappy in D2X, the site closed down before the Expansion was released.