The information presented in these archived FotDs is now outdated, but that's often the most interesting thing about them, seeing how much the game has changed from then to now.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.
June 3, 2001
- Gambling in the Expansion. There is always jewelry, at least one ring and amulet every time. The gambling inventory changes each time you talk to the NPC, so no need to run out of town. The prices (other than rings, 50k and amulets, 65k) are based on your Character level, and increase with your Clvl, and also as your Clvl goes up you have a chance to gamble Exceptional and Elite items. Lastly, you can no longer gamble Set or Unique items either, just Rares (this will apparently be patched to Diablo II as well, so stock up on uniques now.
The changes to gambling were much-loved, other than the removal of sets and uniques. Bliz added those back in v1.09, but the odds of it are so low that most players never gamble either of them, so it's sort of a pointless addition with the odds as they are now.
It's hard to remember now in D2X, but there was a time when to gamble you had to run in and out of town after every single look. Act 2 was best for this, either out the side exit of town, or into the Sewers. And you often had to look 5 or 6 times to get a ring or amulet to gamble, which is why most players did gloves, boots, belts, etc every time they saw them. Just lacking the patience to wait forever on jewelry.
June 6, 2001
- There are some major changes with leeching in the Expansion. Perhaps the biggest is that mana and life leech are cut by 50% on Nightmare and Hell. Another nasty change, you can not leech from skeletons at all, which ruins a few leveling areas (Act 2 Sewers and Palace) for combat characters. Lastly, the items that leech affixes occur on are modified. Circlets and gloves can have mana and life leech, but rings can now only have life leech, and amulets are now mana leech only.
The Sewers are still good for leveling in Normal, where just Attack is plenty for fast kills for most characters, but they aren't real do-able in Nightmare or Hell where you need to use skills to kill quickly. There are enough zombies and 4-arms to leech full off usually though. The biggest change is that no one has any reason to level there in NM or Hell anymore, since Act Five exp is so absurdly better than anywhere else in the game.
The other changes to leech were somewhat bemoaned, since this was before we knew how many of the set and unique helms, belts, etc were going to have leech on them.
June 9, 2001
- A nice change to some item types in the Expansion is the way their bonus stat damage is calculated. Almost all melee weapons in D2 are 100 Str, and all bows are 100 Dex. This means that every point you have in that stat adds about 1% of your weapon's damage in bonus. 100 in Str would double sword damage. Assassin Claws, daggers, and throwing weapons in D2X are 50/50 Str/Dex, so every point you put into Str or Dex adds about .5% of your weapon's damage in bonus. Thus every point in Str or Dex goes towards your damage bonus, rather than one going for just AR or item pre-reqs. You get a lot more bonus damage if your stats are close to even.
This was not much understood at the time, and still isn't know to a lot of players. The ratios of damage have been changed as well, in v1.09 all throwing weapons and daggers and Amazon spears are 75/75 Str/Dex. So if you add to both you get 150% of the damage that you would if they were just 100 Str, as in D2C.
June 15, 2001
- Converting characters from D2 to D2X takes all of their items over with them. Items that can't generate in the Expansion, such as dual leech jewelry, will convert as they are, and be very rare in the expansion. Converted Uniques gain the new Clvl requirements, and converted Set Items aren't eligible for the new partial bonuses and hidden item bonuses. Rares will change names but not attributes, and no duped items were deleted converting to the beta. Of course any of this can still change.
There was much confusion about how partial set bonuses would work, and lots of trade rip offs early in D2X due to people wanting new Sigon's gloves for the 30% IAS 2 item partial bonus, and getting old ones in a trade.
The whole Character Conversion topic was hotly-debated for some time also, with many purists holding that there shouldn't be any conversion, or at least that all dupes should be deleted at that time. Bliz did put in some new dupe-detecting stuff, but nothing more than that, which resulted in the Expansion being MUCH easier at the start than it should have been, since players with chars in the 80's and 90's could tear through Hell right from the start, getting a huge headstart on finding the best items.
The converted equipment wasn't a real big deal long term, mostly since the D2X stuff is so much better in most ways, especially weapons and all of the Excep/Elite Sets and Uniques. The only converted stuff that's still really valuable are mana leech rings, and dual leech jewelry
June 21, 2001
- The # of sockets gained from the Act 5 Quest reward varies. Normal items get the maximum number of sockets they can have. Magical items get 1 or 2 sockets, randomly-selected. Rares, Set Items, Uniques, and Crafted Items get 1 socket. Items that already have sockets and RuneWord items can not have any sockets added at all. See our Act Five Quests Page for more details on this quest. All figures are for the final game, in the Beta magical and Crafted can get up to 3 sockets.
There were a lot of changes to how many sockets you could get. Crafted items were beyond Uber in the beta, since they could get all mods on them (including magic-only ones like Cruel and Ferocious) and also three-sockets when put through the quest reward. People had items with 600% enhanced damage.
There is still confusion about how many sockets non-magical items get, since it's based on the ilvl of the item, which is based on what monster drops it. The difficulty level that you use the quest on has no effect, when people generally assume the Hell quest will give more sockets than the Normal or Nightmare one.
June 26, 2001
- Throwing items of replenishment or items with the "repairs 1 point of durability every X seconds" affixes are quite handy in the Expansion, as money-saving aids and also just for the convenience of it. These items repair themselves any time you have them in your inventory or equipped. You'll often find one and bring it back to town and have Cain ID it, and only when you go to sell and notice that it's already fully-repaired do you look and see what the actual mods on the item are.
Pre-expansion such mods were known of, and it was assumed you'd have to have them equipped for it to fix itself, and probably it wouldn't work on the weapon switch, if it wasn't the active weapon (just as you don't get the bonuses for such switched items). We know now this isn't the case, the item repairs itself as soon as it's found, in your stash or cube, etc.
Also this was before the change to the game that all items got maximum sale value no matter their durability. In the beta you still had to repair everything to get full sale price for it, just as in D2C.
June 28, 2001
- A new modifier in the Expansion is "Absorption". This is a type of resistance that heals you. The percent absorb you have to a specific type of damage (like fire or cold) means that % of that type of damage is actually added to your hit points. So if you had 5 Lightning absorb, 5 points of lightning damage each time would convert to hit points, and if the total lighting damage was 12 points, you'd only take 2 damage. This is calculated after resistance and "reduces magical damage" bonuses.
Absorb was turned down a lot in a later patch, so it's much less effective now. Initially in D2X with good absorb you were more than immune to that type of elemental damage.