Archery Popshots | Diablo II


While the original Diablo was the genesis
of a massive franchise, most people cut their teeth with Diablo 2 and its expansion, Lord
of Destruction. Diablo 2, along with StarCraft and later WarCraft 3 were the cornerstones
of the Battle.net experience, with many hours spent doing Baal runs to grind experience
and running Pindleskin to get items. Obviously, as a completely fantasy-based game
with no grounding in reality, we won’t be doing an analysis of the archery technique
in Diablo 2. That would be as silly as announcing a mobile game at a major convention. Instead we’ll be doing a spotlight on the
use of bows and bow skills in the game, specifically the Amazon class. As with the original Diablo, any class can
equip bows, with the exception of Amazon-specific bow types. However, only the Amazon has skills
that enhance the bow, which is why other classes don’t bother with it. That said, the early
game might demand the use of melee weapons or javelins until better bows and bow skills
are unlocked. In fact, that is the major limitation of the Amazon: as a class, it is perhaps the
most item-dependent, and if you don’t happen to find a good bow and complementing armour,
a Bowazon is one of the more difficult builds to play, especially in single player. Multiplayer
is a much different story with exclusive rune words and trading. Bowazon builds are centered on one of two
bow skills: Multi-Shot or Strafe. Multi-Shot, as the name implies, involves shooting multiple
arrows in a fan pattern, allowing for rapid area clearance. Strafe does a very similar
function, except that the arrows auto-target enemies. Subsequent skill points increase
the number of arrows and damage, and effectively turns the Amazon into a turret, adding valuable
DPS to the party. Elemental damage is always nice for a complementary
skill, and required to deal with Physical Immunes in Hell Difficulty. Thankfully, the
Bow Skills include fire and ice-based attacks, such as Freezing Arrow. The issue for fresh characters is that these
are late-game skills, and the first half of the game is agonising simply due to the fact
that you don’t have any skills that enhance your bow damage, and if luck doesn’t grant
you good drops, it’s a steep progression curve. Even when you do get Strafe or Multi-Shot,
you still need to max out the skills for optimal effect and you need a high-damage, high-speed
bow with at least mana leech to sustain your attack. Plus, if you’re using Strafe, you
face the problem of Strafe-lock, as your character is rooted in place until the entire attack
is done. When you finally get the skill investments,
get a good melee mercenary and start putting points into Valkyrie, you’ve got enough
going for you to solo to the end game, but it’s still a tough hike. You still lack
the crowd control and area damage of other classes like the Sorceress, and while it’s
fun to run through and spam arrows everywhere…others run single-target spike damage and mob annihilation
better, at least solo. The gameplay you’ve been seeing in the background
is a complete run of the game in single player with a Level 45 Amazon I built from scratch
without any additional tweaks. I had accidentally deleted my entire playthrough, so this is
a fresh run with the existing character for a nostalgic run through our favourite *cough*
zones. I’m sure we’re all too familiar with doing Temple runs, Travincal and the
Durance of Hate, the River of Flame and the Chaos Sanctuary. Even after getting all the
skills you need for a good build, taking down Diablo wasn’t easy – and again, this is
solo on single player. Not even my Valkyrie could tank for me, though the Hireling held
his ground. That damn red lightning is brutal compared to my Diablo 1 run. Then, of course, there’s the Lord of Destruction
expansion. I suppose running through to the Throne of Destruction would be faster if I
had a better weapon – or played as a Sorceress – but after getting past the procedurally
generated levels, we get to Baal and his waves of minions. Come on, we all remember this. Especially
Lister the Tormentor. This is so much easier in multiplayer. Finally, Baal himself. And to be honest, even
in retrospect and playing through an already familiar game, this was an honest challenge.
Many town-portals to restock on potions, smacking the wrong Baal, and finally bringing down
the final Prime Evil. It’s been 20 years since the original release
of Diablo 2. I’m sure fans of Diablo would equally happy with a remaster as much as a
fourth instalment. But I’m not a game publishing company. Just saying. Thank you all for following this nostalgia
trip. This is NUSensei, and as always, shoot straight and aim for your best.

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