Date: July 13, 2021
It’s been a couple of months since the Technical Alpha test in April and Diablo II: Resurrected developers have been happy to share the fixes and touch-ups they have introduced in response to the feedback!
In the age of NDA early game testing many of us would have expected the footage to not be publicly available and all the feedback exchanged on a private Discord channel, but neither of these has been the case.
Bravely open about their plans and progress on the classic (as always), the team of developers have allowed streaming of the Alpha gameplay in April, taking feedback from testers, messages, and stream live chats, and you should absolutely check one of them out:
After developers had a chance to go through all this mass of feedback, they have shared some changes. And bo-oy should you buckle up, because the conservative attention to detail shown by the dev team is to this day busting through the roof!
Nailing the Visual Effects and Item Art!
Honestly, I was already enjoying how things were looking when Diablo II: Resurrected was premiered during BlizzCon. The subtle improvements paid a lot of respect to the original and were more than what I expected to see to begin with.
Yet, loyal fans of the game had more suggestions for perfecting the remastered look, and developers took those suggestions even if it meant changing a couple outlines and shading.
Hear this: one of the changes they gathered from player feedback is altering the speed of how fast mana and health return to your character, just to alight with the feel of how it refills in the globes. With how central the gratifying feeling of cutting through mobs of monsters is in Diablo II, I wholeheartedly approve of these adjustments.
But, let’s talk about those wonderful modern-retro spell effects. A great representation of the dev team’s attention to feedback is the Sorceress’s Blizzard spell. Look at how rightfully destructive the ice rain is, and just how right it feels with the original in mind.
The devs have also made Sorceress’s Lightning spell brighter, with a bolder bolt of electricity. For Paladin’s Holy Freeze, developers adjusted the look to represent “wispiness” and the colors seen in the original.
Adding a little cherry on the top, developers adjusted the color for monsters that are damaged by cold, poison, and other status effects based on the feedback.
I mean it sincerely when I say it: I missed the old full-color overlay for units in my RPGs. Just look at how perfectly blue those sabre cats and wendigos are. Am I the only one finding this effect super satisfying?
But, dear fans, this is not the end of it yet: let’s talk about the subtle but very important icon touch-ups. Remember how I mentioned that the original remastered icons already looked great to me?
Well, this was the moment when I was surprised to see that the item icons can actually become even better:
With how things are going so far, I feel like devs will soon be sharing an additional crack they have added to one of the skulls as a response to the community feedback. And I know it will look even perfecter.
All it takes to achieve this level of goodness is just a few hundred of players who dedicated months of their life to the original game twenty years back and an ultra-dedicated team of talented developers, huh?
(And oh my go-od, I just want those Perfect Skulls and Rubies in my inventory. Now. In a 4×10 grid. I want to pick them up and set them down indefinitely, just to hear the perfectly remastered sound effects. Don’t think I forgot about the skull sound from the reveal trailer. I will never forget.)
However, I do have to say that with these icons compared I have realized just how well the original Diablo II assets have held up over the last two decades. Just look at the charm, the bow, and the shield. Quite a standard to compete with, honestly. No wonder the results are so impressive.
Updates to Small Add-Ons/Quality of Life Improvements
Those of you who have been following Diablo II since BlizzCon know that the dev team have been using jeweler’s tools to ever so gently introduce a few changes without impacting the gameplay. The idea is to make the game a little more flexible for the modern player, without touching the original quirks and systems.
As far as I have noticed, most of these changes came from “must-have” mods and tactics of veteran players of original Diablo II (including me), so I don’t think the devs are being unreasonable here.
If you don’t know already, an auto-gold pick up feature was added. Toggleable, of course. (And I have to say that I may actually toggle that one off, because there is something absolutely special to scooping all of that loot after defeating a major boss in the original.)
However, developers have also introduced some accessibility features: the large font mode, UI scaling for PC, and gamma/contrast settings. In addition to that, players can toggle item names on and off, or keep the original “press and hold” method.
You may remember the original Options for the game being pretty skim, but look at how much more expanded it is now:
Didn’t like all the text showing up on hovers? Or, on the contrary, wanted to see all of the loot names at all times? Now it’s a toggleable option!
Another notable update: two additional tabs in the shared stash! It’s like having three mule characters! Of course, this does mean that you will now have triple the amount of additional storage space inside your player chest. Quite a bit, especially if you don’t tend to play a lot of alt characters.
And, we will finish off with a few honorable mentions: the Compare tooltip can now be toggled off, automap’s color and assets have been tweaked to be more visible, and map location settings have been simplified down to three: left-minimap, right-minimap, and center-fullscreen. There is now a clock added to the UI, character spawning has been fixed to avoid receiving damage while loading, and devs have toned down a little on those extra grunts and yelps.
Whatever your opinion might be on the individual changes, you have to agree that devs know what they are messing around with. It’s not often, after all, that you hear someone unironically declare “we understand it’s serious business,” when increasing player storage space.
If you like what you are seeing, remember to pre-order your copy of the game before August for your PC or console, since that’s when early access beta will open to players who placed their orders!
And do check out the original Diablo II: Resurrected post-Technical Alpha update if you want a few more details about each of the improvements we summarized here.