In 1996, a small team of developers, who would later become Blizzard, created something dark, difficult, and addicting.
Diablo feels like something more than just a game about fighting in a dungeon as one of three archetypical character classes. It’s an action RPG, but it established something new. Players love loot and they will do anything for new loot.
Thus giving birth to a sub-genre, and a gameplay mechanic definition akin to metroid-vania. The Looter.
As of this writing, Looter Shooters are the progeny of Diablo with the greatest amount of universal appeal. Borderlands, Destiny, and the Division, all owe their success to the systems of play that Diablo created.
When I describe the mechanic you can see other examples in adventure or RPG games, where quality levels of loot are dropped seemingly at random, or at least when the right combination of conditions are true. Many games share this basic concept. Witcher 3, Fallout, Shadow Warrior 2, and the Assassin’s Creed Origins ( and newer ), series also use this mechanic.
It isn’t really the core gameplay loop of these titles. Or at the very least it’s an unobtrusive complimentary piece, that fuels more exploration rather than an urging the players to farm items.
In this episode my brother Robert and I give an oral history of our experience playing through the three Diablo titles, and chat about what was so engaging and interesting about them. We answer questions for ourselves about what elements in the combat, skill trees, and atmospheric elements we found to be the stand outs in the series.
Come along with us back to Tristram and beyond as we revel in our fandom of the endless loot-palooza that is Diablo.
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Guest – Rob Meyer
Illustration – Evan McIntyre