Warriors, Rogues, and Sorcerers: a history of Diablo
Blizzard Entertainment owns a powerful trifecta of video games: World of Warcraft, StarCraft, and Diablo. The third game in the Diablo series is landing on PC and Mac on May 15, so now’s the perfect time to brush up on the history of the massively popular franchise.
Origins: Diablo (1996)
Blizzard began the series with a name as simple and fierce as “Diablo.” The first game pitted the forces of Heaven and Hell in opposition, and a dark mutiny brought the three Lords of Hell — including the demon Diablo — to Earth. The Archangel Tyrael managed to seal the trio away in Soulstones, hiding Diablo’s deep beneath a monastery.
Generations passed, but with the small town of Tristram came King Leoric, who rebuilt the monastery as a cathedral of rule. There, Diablo haunted the nightmares of Lazarus, the Archbishop of Light, willing him to destroy the Soulstone that contained the demon’s power. Once free, Diablo possessed the king, sending his knights and priests to war with peaceful kingdoms. He also took hold of the king’s son, Albrecht, whose restless dreams filled the earth below with vile creatures.
Those who tried to prevent the evil at Tristram vanished, unable to dethrone Leoric. Even after the army captain Lachdanan killed him, Leoric resurrected as the cursed Skeleton King.
After the hero fought and killed the king, the Archbishop Lazarus, and finally Diablo’s mortal form, he banished the demon to his Soulstone. But the Warrior then drove the relic into his skull in an attempt to contain the Lord of Terror. Diablo overtook him and corrupted the fellow Rogue and Sorcerer — changing them into the Blood Raven and Summoner, respectively.
The game’s multiplayer supported up to four players who could work together or attack each other at will. The Warrior excelled at close quarters combat and started with the skill to repair possessions. Rogues mastered ranged weapons and could detect environmental traps, and Sorcerers were naturally gifted with magic, although physically weakest of the three.
An expansion pack, “Hellfire,” arrived in 1997, produced this time by Sierra Entertainment. It added two dungeons as part of a new side story, different items and magical item properties, spells, and a fourth class (the Monk). Two other classes, the Barbarian and the Bard, and two quests never made the final cut but could be enabled with a specific Command.txt edit.
In 1998, Electronic Arts published a port to the PlayStation console, requiring a considerable 10 blocks of memory (a standard card held 15). The version also lacked online play but introduced a cooperative mode and allowed players to learn the story through a narrator, rather than in-game books.