Special thanks to ronya for editing the following Megapost.
Latest Patch News
We’re preparing for a Diablo II ladder reset to coincide with the release of the 1.13 patch that’s currently in development. We don’t have a final release date for the patch yet, but we’re providing early warning as a reset could occur as early as the end of April. We’ll be providing updates with more certain dates once the patch is closer to release.
Please be aware that with a ladder reset all ladder characters are moved to non-ladder. This means that your characters will still be accessible but will no longer have access to ladder-only features and games. In order to play in the new ladder season after the reset you will need to make new ladder characters.
This thread will be updated with more information as it becomes available.
So yeah, we're still working on the patch. It's coming along really well. We're getting there. I can't give an estimate or date, we're expecting there to be a good amount of testing required due to the types of changes being made. We want to take our time and put out a solid patch, and that means we don't have a release date right now.
Some exciting news - and it also may be some comfort - due to the types of changes we're making we will be offering the Diablo II 1.13 patch for testing and feedback on a test realm before its release. We'll have more information about how you'll be able to help test it in the coming weeks.
[ Post edited by Bashiok ]
I think the term beta has too many preconceptions attached to it. Revised to "test realm".
I'm told it will be similar if not exactly the same as similar tests that have happened for Warcraft III recently.
And regarding the evil end-of-April-but-no announcement:
We try to give everyone at least a two week notice before a ladder reset. When it became apparent that the patch could potentially launch in two weeks, we put up an announcement just in case.
Now, even though no promises were given it's going to create some hope that it will be out, but we can only do so much to balance between expectation and information that's necessary for the community to have.
It's coming along. We're still in the process of refining and testing the changes going into the patch. Work is progressing, we haven't stopped working on it or anything like that.
As far as information of what's being changed in the patch, almost anything we're working on now could be removed. Testing could deem any change unworkable and we'd have to remove it. By releasing any information on possible changes we'd be raising expectations that the change is guaranteed to make it in, no matter how many disclaimers we place on it. That said, one change we're planning is to increase the stash size to 12x10. As I said it is in no way a guaranteed change. Any number of reasons could mean it will not make it into the final patch. But enjoy the breadcrumb maybe?
tl;dr 1.13 will be a "content" patch, or so Blizzard says. There is, alas, no other information available regarding 1.13 - we don't know whether "content" means "yet another one line code fix" (1.12!), "a few new runewords" (1.11), or "A WHOLE NEW WORLD, A NEW FANTASTIC POINT OF VIEW" (1.10). There will be a "test realm" to get the patch early and play around with it. Don't expect the patch to arrive until they give fair warning, which will be about 2 weeks before the release of the patch. In other words: GAME ON!
Terms and Definitions
If you are brand new to Diablo II, you will need to know the distinctions between the following types of gameplay.
- Single Player/Open vs. Battle.net ("Realms"):
"Single Player" and "Open" characters are the same thing - they are saved on your local hard drive, and can be modified with character editors. They can be played online, but only with other Single Player/Open characters. Most people don't tend to play Open except with real-life friends and family. People also play Open when they run a popular Diablo II mod like Eastern Sun or Median.
Battle.net characters are saved on Blizzard's Battle.net character servers, and can't be modified with character editors. There are still hacks and cheats on online play, but not nearly to the degree that is seen in Open play. On this list, we assume that you are playing on Battle.net. Unless we suddenly all decide we want to play Eastern Sun instead...
- USEast (E) vs USWest (W) vs Europe (EU) vs Asia (A):
This is the realm name. There are 7 Diablo II realms for multiplayer Battle.net play (Asia has three). Accounts created only exist on their home realm; characters created on a server cannot be migrated to other servers. Most folks on Penny Arcade at this time are playing on the USEast server, including some of us on the West Coast. With a broadband internet connection, it shouldn't matter much which server you play on, but USEast appears to be more populated at the moment (or at least, more organized).
- Hardcore (HC) vs "Softcore" (SC):
There isn't an actual "softcore" word, as such, but most people refer to non-hardcore play as softcore. You can create hardcore characters once you have beaten the game on Normal in any game mode or added the right Registry key (see below, this is not considered a hack).
In softcore play, when you die, you will lose gold and XP (in Nightmare and Hell difficulties - Normal has no death XP penalty). You leave a corpse with your gear where you died, but your shiny items can be retrieved by simply clicking on your corpse (your character will automatically pick up and re-equip the items) or by exiting and reentering a game (the corpse will then appear at your feet).
On the other hand, in hardcore, when you die, you stay dead instead of kicking it next to Warriv by the fire. You will be unable to create or join new games, and your avatar appears as a ghost. The only thing your fallen hero will be able to do is chat in the channels, although you will retain your Ladder standing (most people won't get this far). To keep playing, you will have to start a new character.
Needless to say, Hardcore is not for the faint of heart, and requires a different mindset when playing. Otherwise, the game is identical. Note that you can let other players loot your corpse of gear in Hardcore (this has to be toggled manually in the Party screen) - if you play with friends (or PAers ) this should allow you to keep your most useful items (everything in your stash and inventory will be lost to the ether, however). We have an approximately equal distribution of Hardcore and Softcore players here, but the Hardcore seems more active because we stick together on principle (harder to die when you're with friends, although it DOES happen).
- Ladder (L) vs Non-Ladder (NL):
When you create your character, you may create it as either a Ladder character, or as a non-Ladder character. Ladder characters cannot interact with non-ladder characters and vice versa. Every so often, Blizzard starts a new Ladder season, so everyone there will (initially) be at level one, nobody will have old bugged/hacked items from their non-Ladder characters, and everyone gets to experience a fresh new Diablo multiplayer universe. Ideally, anyway.
We are currently at Ladder Season 5 - a new season may be imminent. New ladder seasons are normally timed to coincide with patches, and 1.13 may hit the road as early as the end of April. When a ladder season ends, all Ladder characters will be converted to non-Ladder (retaining all their items and stats), and will now be able to interact with characters from earlier seasons or from before Ladder.
There are certain abilities that only Ladder characters can do (mostly 1.10 runewords and some uniques), but the game is mostly the same. Most people here are playing on the Ladder. We don't care about all that cool Non-Ladder gear that you've been hoarding. Roll up a brand new Ladder guy, with the rest of us! One of us! One of us!
- Common abbreviations:
* Amazon = Zon (also "Bowazon" or "Javazon" or "Tankazon").
* Assassin = Sin ("Trap-sin" or "Kick-sin").
* Barbarian = Barb ("Throw Barb").
* Druid = Umm. Druid? Usually abbreviated by the type of skill used ("Fury Wolf").
* Necromancer = Necro, although subspecies can be "Mancers" ("Summonmancer").
* Paladin = Pally or "-adin" ("Hammerdin").
* Sorceress = Sorc, with distinctions based on skill or tree ("Fire Sorc" "Meteorb" = Meteor + Frozen Orb).
This isn't a hard and fast rule.
- Putting it all together:
Notice that I put several abbreviations above in parentheses. When people describe their characters, they typically say it in a manner similar to this: "My ESCNL barb is level 50". This means USEast server, SoftCore, Non-Ladder barbarian.
- Many more abbreviations here.
- If you make requests for items or help, be sure to specify your realm, hardcore/softcore, and ladder/nonladder status. Help us help you!
Most of the time, we'll be in-game - message account names from the list below. (command: /m *accountname message).
When not in-game (which is rare) we hang out in the channel named PA. This is also an Italian Warcraft III clan or something, we have no idea who they are, but they don't normally bother us. Enter Chat > Channel > type "pa" in the box, no password.
Game Naming Conventions
The Softcore crew tends to start up a Normal game/pass with the following: panr1/wang
The Hardcore crew tends to start up a Normal game/pass with the following: pahnr1/wang
Nightmare difficulty games tend to be: panm1/wang for Softcore or pahnm1/wang for Hardcore
Hell difficulty games tend to be: pahhl1/wang for Hardcore. Softcore can be pahl1/wang or pall1/wang.
Muling or whatever games may also be pa/wang or pa1/wang.
Further iterations of the number for new games (in case folks need the earlier completed quests). Or just add any of the account names above to your Diablo II friends list by typing /f add AccountName (no asterisk needed) and you'll be able to see who is online or available to private message. Feel free to start up the PA games on your own, and other people might find you.
Also, when you start up a new game, post the game to this thread, if you want to have more visibility and attract some PA lurkers.
Why should you follow these naming conventions? Well, you want to play with other PAers, don't you? It makes it much easier to find you and play with you when we all use the same names/passwords for games.
Quests and Rewards
from 0blique (mistakes edited out by me):
Essential quests (need these to advance the story)
A1Q6: Kill Andarial. You can skip to Catacombs 2 to do this, without doing any prior quests.
A2Q2-6: Technically you can skip some of these, but unless someone knows the location of Tal Rasha's True Tomb and has the Staff of Kings, you won't save any time. You need to break the altar at the Claw Viper Temple to go into the Palace and Arcane Sanctuary, and you need to defeat the Summoner inside the Arcane Sanctuary to reach the final waypoint (and get Tal Rasha's True Tomb symbol).
A3Q3,5,6: You only need to defeat the Council at Travincal Waypoint, talk to Deckard Cain, then teleport directly to the Durance of Hate 2 waypoint to Kill Mephisto. If there are no characters with the Durance 2 waypoint, however, you'll need to have the Khalim's Will flail to break the Compelling Orb.
A4Q3: You only need to Kill Diablo to advance to Act 5
A5Q5,6: You need to beat the Ancients to advance to the Worldstone Keep and Baal, and you need to Kill Baal to get to the next difficulty/beat the game.
For all act bosses (last quest in each act), you will get a special bonus drop if you get the killing blow: all items will be magic or better. This is called the quest drop. If you have not finished the quest, and you kill the boss in a game created by someone who already has, you will get the quest drop and still not complete the quests. You can then continue to get more quest drops by joining other such games.
Skill point quests:
A1Q1: Den of Evil, gives 1 skill point when you talk to Akara.
A2Q1: Book of Skill, gives 1 skill point, drops from Radamant. No, you cannot buy/hoard these.
A4Q1: Kill Izual, gives 2 skill points, when you talk to Tyreal.
Stat point quests:
A3Q4: Lam Esen's Tome. You will ALWAYS find this in the Ruined Temple at Kurast Bazaar.
Other quests with useful bonuses
A3Q1: The Jade Statue always drops from the first boss you encounter in Act 3, gives +20 life.
A5Q1: Socket 1 item
A5Q3: +10 to all resists (permanently) when reading the Scroll of Resistance
A5Q5: You'll gain 1 level's worth (no more, no less) of experience points.
A1Q3: rare ring (magic in normal)
A1Q5: rare item of your base choice
A3Q2: rare ring
A4Q2: 1 pgem, 2 flawless gem, 1 reg gem, 1 rune (depends on difficulty, also random)
A5Q2: Runes Ral, Ort, Tal
A5Q3: rare class specific item
Merc quests (get a free merc if you don't have one, otherwise you get nothing)
A1Q2: Free Act 1 Merc
A3Q2: Free Act 3 Merc
A5Q2: Free Act 5 Merc
Price reducing quests
A1Q3, A2Q1, A3Q2 (not sure), A5Q1