GOG and Blizzard have brought Diablo 1 back from the dead, and it is now available for the first time in digital distribution (€ 7.89)!
That's not all: the pair has signed a contract to bring back Warcraft: Orcs & Humans and Warcraft 2. Not a word about when; More information will follow shortly.
Diablo 1 on GOG has two game modes (the Hellfire extension is not included – there is "currently no information about Hellfire," GOG told me). One is 1996's "Warne-n-all" by Diablo 1, with classic support for Battle.net multiplayer matchmaking. The other is an updated "DX" version of Diablo 1 optimized for Windows 10.
The updated version does not support Battle.net support but does not support DirectIP multiplayer. The updates include in particular the resolution and refresh rate (up to 4 and 8 KB). Aspect-correct upscaling; borderless window mode; and vertical synchronization control. There are also bug fixes.
I played both modes and noticed little difference. I prefer the 20 fps original that works fine on Windows 1
More to the point: I finally see what everyone has to do with Diablo. I missed it the first time. So, when people talk about how different the series was back then, and it would not be amazing if Diablo 4 could be like that, I did not really know what they meant. Now I do that.
Diablo 1 feels completely different . Today, as you rush forward recklessly and get in the way of everything, Diablo 1 is what you expect. It's so tense.
The eerie music and the dull look reinforce this. It's hard to see what's around you, and there's no health barrier where you can measure fights, not numbers that fall from your mind. This is a much more hidden approach that reinforces the feeling of the unknown.
It's also uncomfortable, which of course causes trouble. There are not tons of flashy moves, just spells. All three classes – Warrior, Rogue, Wizard – can use them with varying degrees of success, but only one spell can be equipped at a time. If you want to change it, you have to replace it manually.
After fighting, no health blobs, regenerating health or mana pools are created. If you do not have enough potions or scrolls, you're having trouble. It's tough. Just wait until you find the relentless butcher or the towering Leoric – oh my, they're knocking you down! And when you're down, you're down – there's no respawning, just reloading.
Diablo 1 can be so depressing. There is no invisible developer presence that puts your enjoyment in the shade. The challenge is the point. It is very refreshing.