Inside the Diablo 2 in-game interface players can find the blue chat gem. The gem is clickable, and when clicked, turns a shade of purple. Each time the gem is clicked the chat window says “Gem Activated” or “Gem Deactivated”. What does this do?
The most common one that appeared in the early years of Diablo 2 was that activating the gem improved your odds of finding gems, Gem Shrines, or just good items in general. Whether or not it actually did any of these things was uncertain in the beginning, but that was almost beside the point. Whether it did or not was irrelevant, the more superstitious player would be happy clicking away in the hope that it did increase their chances in achieving any of the above improved items or spawns.
So human psychology aside, what does the Gem in the Battle.net Chat do? Well, for one thing there are two semi-secret messages that you can get by clicking on it for long enough.
When players heard about these messages, they suspected it was simply a joke. But of course both are true, even the “Mooooo!” one, which has been seen (and reported) by thousands of players. We have three examples of each, that different people mailed in in the very early days of the game’s release. Mooooooo!: Number One, Number Two, and Number Three. And Perfect Gem Activated: Number One, Number Two, and Number Three. The Perfect Gem one feeds into the main rumour, that just activating the gem, or especially getting the Perfect Gem Activated, and then creating a game, will cause more gems or Gem Shrines to appear.
Angry secret cow
The cow sound effect obviously brings to mind thoughts of the Secret Cow Level, a persistent rumor from Diablo I that was embraced by Blizzard in an April Fools screenshot from 1999, a thumbnail of which can be seen to the right. It then was found to have actually gone beyond the rumour and into the “real world,” so that upon killing Diablo (or Baal in the Expansion Pack), one can actually visit the cow level
But during the Stress Test, most of the speculation revolved about what, if anything, the gem in the chat does in terms of the spawning gems or Gem Shrines in particular. We posted some news about it, and asked for people to test it out and send in their results or thoughts about it. Lots did, the majority thinking, or at least hoping, that it did do something. A few of the many emails are quoted below.
Diablo 2 Resurrected Cipher
On 23 September, Blizzard launched an ARG for Diablo 2 Resurrected players during the release of the 2.5 patch notes. A cryptic message was added in a screenshot at the end of the notes.
This message, when decoded, read So many gems what do these orange numbers mean”. This immediately pointed at the lobby chat gem.
After a certain amount of clicks, an orange code would appear. These codes corresponded to pages, lines, and words in the D2 manual which form sentences on the decoded cipher message.
For example, if a player got a code 003121105 it would be
- Word position in the decoded cipher message: 003
- Page number: 12
- Line number: 11
- Word number on that line: 05
The code was deciphered to read:
The ARG is still underway.
Blizzard’s Official (early) Comment
Blizzard employees consistently avoided saying much on the record about what the gem does, or doesn’t do. We certainly felt that it was merely a bit of fun to keep players speculating about it’s purpose. Their early official statement on it can be seen on their Multiplayer FAQ.
- Q: What is the functionality of the Gem in the Diablo II Battle.net Chat room?
- A: While we cannot reveal the purpose or function of the Gem in the Diablo II Battle.net Chat room, we can say that it is working correctly and has more than exceeded our expectations. Also, Blizzard employees cannot confirm or deny any rumors regarding this Gem.
The “exceeded our expectations” part meant their expectations of how interested people would be in the gem and what it might do, and also how many people would spend time poking at it. The fact that all public and private mentions of this gem by Blizzard employees have been sarcastic or sort of snickering seemed to reinforce the idea that it had no real function, other than just as a small Easter egg.
So the consensus for months was that the gem didn’t do anything. That it was just a little chat Easter Egg, you can click and play with it, but there’s nothing connected to anything on the Realms, it doesn’t make more gems drop, or perfect gems drop, or more gem shrines appear, or any of the other numerous theories we still get emailed about all the time. If you get disconnected from Battle.net, but are still showing the chat room (as in no other people appear and you can’t get a list of games to join) you can still click to your heart’s content on the gem, and get the occasional “Perfect Gem Activated” message.
No one had reported seeing the “Mooooooo!” message (see further down this page) in a long time, so it might have been removed around the time Diablo 2: Lord of Destruction’ launch. There were thoughts that Blizzard would be adding a few new nonsense messages to display in the Expansion, but that didn’t come to pass.
The edition of the Blizzard Insider for June 24, 2001, had a question about the Gem in Chat answered by Bill Roper:
- Q: I want to know what the Gem does in the Diablo II Battle.net chat room, and don’t tell me you can’t say — just tell me what it does!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
- A: After a solid year of silence, we just can’t keep the secret anymore. The long awaited answer to one of the most burning questions about Diablo II is simple: It does what it does. When you click on the Gem, it works perfectly every time, and that is what we have always said. To paraphrase Sigmund Freud, “Sometimes a Gem is just a Gem”!
Bill is saying it doesn’t do anything, but if you were not convinced by that response, you could just assume he’s saying that to try and throw us off the track of what the gem really does! In fact, sure enough, we got e-mails saying just that as people continued to poke at it.
I want to believe!
Quotes from players feeding their own dreams down the years of playing.
- I’m about 75% certain I know. If you create a game with that gem lit up, it WILL drop a gem shrine in the game someplace. (least in the stress test) I’m 7/7 so far. Seven times I’ve done it, all 7 have had gem shrines… 3x not doing it… no gem shrines…”
- “So far, I’ve tried this on three separate occasions. Each time I tried it, I found at least one gem when I went into the Cave Level 1. Coincidence? Perhaps. But until I read your post regarding this little Easter Egg, I hadn’t found a single gem, believe it or not. Thanks alot to the whole team for having the best damn D2 coverage anywhere in the net.”
- “When I was playing the stress test I felt like seeing if the little jewel thing on the chat screen did anything. so I activated it and created a game. Little did I know that I found a gem shine where I received a sapphire gem, also when fighting a skeleton champion I received a skull gem… I don’t really know if this was just a fluke or the chatroom gem did it, but when it happened I was pretty happy.
- 5 new games with gem deactivated.
- 5 new games with gem activated.
- 10 games, alternating gem activated/deactivated.
- Results: Every game where I had the chat gem activated, I found a(one) gem somewhere before cleaning out all the monsters in the stress test. I didn’t find any gems in any game I play with the gem deactivated.
- I ended up with 1 skull, 2 diamond, 1 ruby, 1 topaz, and 5(!) emeralds.
- This is probably one huge set of coincidences, but heck, I figured I’d share my results. ( I wonder what perfect gem activated does).”
- I can’t vouch for the “Perfect Gem Activated”, since I haven’t seen it yet… but I did notice one thing:
- When I started a game with the gem activated, I found 6 gems. That’s more gems than I found in all the games it took me to get to level 10.
- I ended up clicking enough to get that perfect gem message and then went through a game by myself. No gem shrine, but I did end up with 10 shrines on the overworld map (not counting dungeon’s). Don’t know if that’s special or not but thought you might like to know.
- It said moooo! when I clicked it 286 times. The next game I found a gem shrine. May work. I dunno. I’ll try some more.
- Up until I found out about that little gem, I had only found 1 Gem. When I DID find out about it, I left it on, and found 6 gems in 2 games! I was on a Gem spree, it was amazing. I really do think that if you activate it, the chances of just plain finding Gems on enemies (not just shrines, I still haven’t found any of those) will increase. Its my guess that setting it to perfect Gem will place a perfect Gem somewhere in the next game you create. Well, I know I can’t prove it, but I really believe it. Good luck, the truth is out there 😉
- “I got the Perfect Gem Activated thing. and in 1 game, I got:
- 3 Rings
- 1 Amulet
- 2 Gem Shrines
- 5 Gems
- There were three of us in the game and I had to pay the guys in there to not take the gem shrines (10k each per gem shrine = 40k! Ouch!)
- I have the Flawless Sapphire (soon to be perfect, once I get another gem shrine) to prove it. Thanks.”
Gem Shrine Frequency
For some actual game info, Gem Shrines are rare, but not all that uncommon. The frequency at which they spawned was tweaked a number of times during the Diablo 2 classic closed beta, but for the stress rest they were set back to their less frequent rate, the same rate they spawned at for the start of the closed beta. At that rate, which was carried to the actual released game, you’d get one Gem Shrine every three or four games, according to Blizzard North employees. With the Expansion, you have another zone in which to find them, but the frequency was not bumped up, to the best of our knowledge.
Another e-mail from a site reader who took part in the Stress Test in Spring of 2000. He talks about some trials with the chat gem, and makes some pretty insightful comments about wishful thinking and superstition in the Gem-hunting business:
- “Well I had it activated early on when I got the stress test and ash000 and I found a gem shrine. That has been my only gem. From then on I have basically forgot about it in my eagerness to jump right in and play. So, without my gem activated I have found ZERO gems, and I search every game I enter throughout the blood mores and the cold plains.
- These gem hunters that I have met use the gem in the chat and they have one of their gems upgraded to flawless and the other up to flawed on their way to three flawless gems for his weapon. It’s not an exact test, but it has been done over many games. I know I am now superstitious. Now if it’s character specific we’ll know about the gem in chat, because I haven’t found much, and with the gem activated, if I start finding gems then I will be even more superstitious.”
The highest level of gem is “perfect”, not “flawless”, but you see his point. With this sort of “publicity,” and people’s willingness to believe, even today there are D2 players who are sure to activate the gem before they play, since it’s fun and “you never know”. And then if they don’t find anything, they tend to not remember, but if they do find something interesting, then the fact that they had the gem activated will stick in their minds, and perception/wishful thinking makes things happen
No, it Doesn’t Do Anything!
The other side of the coin are people who tested it and by bad luck didn’t find anything cool or notable in the game when they had it activated. Many testers tried it with no results, or no clear results, and we here post a few of their mails. Admittedly, there were a lot fewer “no” mails than “yes” emails. But again, given Bill Roper’s comments below, it was clearly all about “wishful thinking.” And a person is more likely to write as a believer than as a nay-sayer.
- Yeah I normally turn on the gem, and I have yet to find a gem shrine. 😉
- I have played with the gem for some time now (more than I should have) and I do not believe it alters the beta in any way… I have a few screenshots while stopping completely when I have gotten Perfect Gem activated and found nothing different playing. I have not felt it gave me any more gems then usual while playing with perfect gem activated. Another anomaly the gem creates though is “Moooo!” which I have a screenshot of. I have not played while stopping on “Mooooo!” But I’m fairly sure that neither while alter the game to make acquiring any item easier as that would be a cheat.
- “It takes forever to get the perfect gem activation. I’ve found one gem shrine to date and it was in a game without the perfect gem activation message. I’ve tried it twice with the perfect gem activation and no gem shrines. Ill continue to try it, as I need to make at least as many games as it took to find the first gem shrine for this to be scientific, but so far my impression is as follows: “If it does increase the chance of finding gem shrines it does not increase it so much as to merit the colossal waste of time.”
So if we were determining it by majority vote, the “it does… something” crowd would apparently be way ahead. The reporting of it in email is another factor, since a person who thinks they have a exciting new discovery is much more likely to want to email and share the news than someone who has just played half a dozen games and found nothing of any interest.
Theories and More Theories
More fun than just whether it does or doesn’t give you more gems or Gem Shrines are the semi-wacky theories about other aspects of it. How about a way to get the Perfect Gem Activated more quickly:
- It seems when you click YOUR character then do the gem clicking the perfect gem activated seems to happen right away we tested it and I got it in as little as 4 clicks.
This one is easily tested, and anyone spending more than 30 seconds on Battle.net can establish that a naughty language filter it is not. 🙂
- “The gem in the diablo2 chat area filters out curse words. Just thought u might wanna know :)”
The ending quote from a tester who found that it didn’t do anything is here, showing that even the skeptics hoped it will do something in the final game.
- I have however heard that the gem may be a way of activating a Trade Screen in the full version but I do not have any real information about that
And there were also wild rumors flying about what it might have been put in place to do in the final. The weakest form of rumour is the old, “My cousin’s friend’s dad said…” where the attribution is so distant it might as well be a complete fabrication. We don’t have any quite that silly, but there are a lot of supposedly “said by a Blizzard employee” type of rumors running around:
- I heard from somebody who has supposedly talked to a customer service rep at Blizzard, and they said the gem is used for trading items in the chat rooms, and will only be included in the final release. This is simply a rumor, but it sounds pretty legit, and would be a cool feature.”
There other also rumors quoting Blizzard employees. We heard people say that the gem does or does not do things and they’ve said they heard it from Geoff Frazier, Max Schaefer, Bill Roper and other well-known Blizzard employees. All hearsay, and no Blizzard employee had said anything about this gem other than vague “It is working perfectly” comments like Bill’s above. An example of a fake quote someone mailed us:
- I just happened to meet GFrazier on battle.net (about 07:40 your time), and he told us that the “Perfect Gem Activated” thing is classified until his on-line guide is ready. So I suppose Blizzard will reveal the secret in GFrazier’s D2 guide. To quote him, “But when you click it, it currently does not send information to the server.” So all you people out there can stop clicking on that stupid gem.
The person who sent this in wasn’t trying to trick us, they were fooled into believing the person they were talking to was indeed a real Blizzard employee. You can’t trust anyone these days. 😉
What does the gem in chat do? Nothing, other than change colours and put up the occasional unusual message. As was explained to us by a Blizzard employee, it was not set up to send data to the server, and that would be necessary in order for it to have any other function than to just “look good.”
If you get desynched/disconnected from Battle.net sometime while you are in the channel, try clicking on the Gem. It will still change and give you the very rare “Perfect Gem Activated” message from time to time, even though it’s obviously not sending anything to or from the server, since you are disc’ed.
There could be two theories on the original intent: Blizzard put it in there to taunt and amuse us, or it could be that the gem was intended to have a function, but for some reasons that never happened, and they just left the gem in the chat since it’s fun to poke at, and they know how people love to run with the wacky rumors and speculation.
Thanks to everyone who sent in the quotes and images used on this page. A partial list of contributors, in no particular order, (we weren’t sure if the people would want to be connected directly to their comments at this point 😉 includes: ShadowLore, DemonMaelstrom, Reaper49, Foxteeth, Merv, Aerlorn, FluffyDeath, Virgo, Moritz, Nasmodok, and Viscid.