One of the most beloved action RPG looters of all time, Diablo 2, is finally getting its long-awaited remaster on September 23rd. Diablo 2: Resurrected is developed by Vicarious Visions and Blizzard Entertainment for Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PS4, PS5, PC and Nintendo Switch. Though ostensibly the same game, there’s a bit that’s being added on top. Let’s take a look at 15 things you should know before buying the remaster.
The story takes place once again in the world of Sanctuary. The Prime Evil Diablo was defeated in the first game but rumors begin to swell about a Dark Wanderer who roams the landscape and brings demons in his wake. He’s accompanied by Marius, a seemingly ordinary person who narrates the tale while in prison. There are four Acts in total to go through, each with their own unique environments, and the Lord of Destruction expansion adds a fifth.
There are seven classes to choose from, five being from the base game and two from the expansion. There’s the Barbarian, a melee class fighter than can dual wield weapons and tank damage; the Necromancer who employs Curses and poison along with raising monsters and golems to fight with; the Amazon, a counterpart to the Rogues who can use bows, javelins and spears, prioritizing evasion over damage resistance; the Sorceress who uses elemental spells like fire, lightning and ice along with Teleport for quickly moving around; and the Paladin, a shield-bearer that utilizes various Auras to buff allies and debuff foes. The Assassin, who uses elemental traps, shadow magic and claws to fight. Each class has their own unique talents and skills which can be customized for different kinds of play-styles.
Gameplay and Difficulty Modes
By now, the gameplay loop of Diablo will be familiar to fans – it helped popularize the genre, after all. Explore, kill monsters, collect loot, become stronger, repeat. There are three difficulty levels – Normal, Nightmare and Hell – which add all kinds of unique modifiers to make things difficult for the player like tougher monsters resistant to certain damage types, XP loss on dying and so on. But you get better loot in the process. Hardcore mode also returns, allowing one to test their mettle against the forces of evil with just one life.
Loot and Crafting
Loot is divided into several tiers based on rarity. These are Normal, Magical, Set, Rare and Unique. Normal items are your bog-standard weapons and armor whose attributes stay fixed. Magical and Rare items have randomly generated bonuses with the former having one or two while the latter get two to six. Set items have certain fixed properties that are activated when equipping loot that belongs to that set (with the higher bonus being activated with six items equipped).
Uniques offer three to eight attributes that are fixed beforehand. Items can also have sockets for gems which add additional bonuses. There’s also crafting via the Horadric Cube for combining items to create a new one or three of the same gems to create one gem of higher quality. Though Vicarious hasn’t outlined how loot drops and such have changed in Resurrected, Diablo 2 isn’t known for having the same drop rates as Diablo 3. Set items can be very rare and it may take time to properly min-max a build.
Remastered Visuals and Cutscenes
In terms of visuals, all of the original graphics – from the characters and monsters to items and spells – have been remastered. Environments have been completely revamped, sporting more detail and features like fog, dynamic lighting and so on. Certain spells like Lightning and Blizzard have also had their VFX improved while icons now sport more “brilliant colors” and provide additional clarity to an image. All of the cinematics have also been redone, as seen in the recently released scenes from Act 1 and 2, looking sharper and more realistic.
4K Support and Mode Switching
Other improvements include 4K resolution and Dolby Surround 7.1 support. If the improved visuals and overall aesthetic of Resurrected aren’t doing it for you, then there’s the option to switch back to the Legacy graphics (complete with black borders on the left and right the screen). This can be done during gameplay with the press of a button if you want to compare the old and new visuals at a glance.
Shared Stash and Automatic Gold Pickup
Not everything is exactly the same in terms of gameplay. Diablo 2: Resurrected offers a revamped UI with more detailed character sheet, comparisons for item tool-tips and automatic gold pickup (which can be toggled on or off). The Stash has been expanded significantly and a Shared Stash has also been added with three tabs, allowing one to transfer items between characters more easily.
Large Font Modes and UI Scaling
Following the technical alpha, a number of other quality of life changes have been added such as UI scaling on PC, large font modes and gamma/contrast settings. There are also options for positioning the mini-map left, right or center along with having a transparent overlay for the map when pressing Tab. Expect more improvements following the beta.
Legacy Save Support
If you’ve already put hundreds of hours into Diablo 2 and don’t want your saves to go to waste, then there’s good news. Producer Matthew Cederquist confirmed to IGN Middle East that local single-player save files for the original release can be used in Resurrected without any issue. Of course, it’s a different matter entirely with save files that require mods.
In that respect, there’s even more good news – Diablo 2: Resurrected will support mods. Designer Rob Gallerani told ComicBook.com that modding in the remaster will be easier in some ways, since modders don’t have to hack the game to do certain things. That being said, it also means that certain types of mods aren’t going to be welcome. Gallerani states, “Mods that actually hack the game, that inject things into the DLL, those aren’t really going to be as welcomed anymore. But with the shift over to a modern Battle.net and us trying to increase security and prevent item duping and bots and other things like that, those types of mods aren’t going to be as easy to do.” The bad news is that mods which worked in the original game can’t just be directly used in Resurrected. They need to be redesigned and optimized for the same. So if you’re holding off on MedianXL’s 2.0 release in the hopes of playing it in Resurrected, you’ll have to wait till the mod author actually designs it for the same.
Won’t Replace the Original
But in even more good news, Diablo 2: Resurrected won’t replace the base version like Warcraft 3: Reforged did, removing features that fans enjoyed while also ruining things like mods in the process. Don’t like the changes made and want to stick with the original? Want to play Resurrected but also have access to new content with mods like MedianXL 2.0? That will thankfully be possible.
If you’ve pre-purchased the game, then you might have had early access to the beta. Everyone else can partake in the open beta on August 20th at 10 AM PDT with pre-loads available on August 17th for Xbox and PlayStation platforms while PC players can pre-load it on August 18th. While progression carries over from early access to the open beta, neither will carry over into the full game and sadly, the beta isn’t available for Nintendo Switch players. With the first two Acts and five classes to try out, the beta should provide a nice extensive look at what’s coming.
Cross-platform play hasn’t been confirmed but Vicarious Visions is looking into incorporating the same. There will be cross-progression, allowing players to transfer their save files across different platforms. This means all of your story progress, quests completed, characters, loot and unlocked talents will be accessible (though you’ll need a Battle.net account to set it all up).
For multiplayer, Diablo 2: Resurrected supports up to eight players in a single game and each can have their own mercenary along for the ride. There will also be ladder seasons with more frequent restarts (though it’s currently unlikely that they’ll launch alongside the game, instead going live after release). Unfortunately, TCP/IP support won’t be included due to “potential security risks.” This means you have to play through the official servers for multiplayer.
In terms of hardware, Diablo 2: Resurrected needs an Intel Core i3-3250 or AMD FX-4350, an Nvidia GTX 660 or AMD Radeon HD 7850 and 8 GB of RAM at the minimum. These may change over time based on compatibility. Recommended requirements include a Core i5-9600k or Ryzen 5 2600, a GTX 1060 or Radeon RX 5500 XT and 16 GB of RAM. You’ll need 30 GB of hard drive space in both cases.