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Diablo Wiki
Diablo I
Diablo Box
Developer Blizzard North
Publishers Windows, Mac

NABlizzard Entertainment



NA,EUElectronic Arts

JPElectronic Arts Victor

Designers Erich Schaefer

David Brevik

Max Schaefer

Eric Sexton

Kenneth Williams

Platforms Windows, Mac, Playstation
Release Date PC

NA January 2, 1997

PAL 1997


NA May 1998

JP April 28, 1998


NA March 1998

PAL April 1998

JP July 9, 1998

Ratings ESRB: M (Mature)

PEGI: 16+

ELSPA: 15+



KMRB: 18+

System Requirements Windows

Windows 95 or better

60 MHz Pentium or better

8 MB RAM (16 MB for multiplayer)

SVGA-compatible graphics card

2X CD-ROM drive

Mac OS

Power Macintosh or compatible

8 MB RAM with virtual memory

System 7.5 or higher

2X CD-ROM drive


Diablo is an action-adventure game developed by Blizzard North and released by Blizzard Entertainment on December 31, 1996.

Set in the Kingdom of Khanduras (located in the Diablo series world of Sanctuary), Diablo has the player take control of a lone hero as he or she battles to rid the town of Tristram of the titular Lord of Terror and his demon minions.

Diablo was a best seller and following the first game's popularity an expansion pack, entitled Diablo: Hellfire, was released in 1997. This was followed by a true sequel, Diablo II, in 2000.


The story of Diablo is based on the premise of a war between Heaven and Hell. The town of Tristram is under attack by demons, and the player must save the town. As the player delves into the underworld, he discovers more about the demon Diablo, through large tomes that are found throughout the levels. Eventually, the player reaches the lair of Diablo and must kill him.

Diablo, an incredibly powerful demon, is the Lord of Terror and one of the Three Prime Evils of Hell, who had been imprisoned in a Soulstone and buried in caverns deep beneath the town of Tristram. Though his imprisonment was meant to be eternal, the power of the Soulstone weakened over centuries, eventually allowing Diablo to awaken from his forced slumber. He telepathically turns a nearby human, the Archbishop Lazarus, into his loyal puppet. In order for Diablo to actually leave the Soulstone, Diablo needs the stone to be shattered. He possesses Lazarus, and has him break the stone. Diablo then tries to gain control of King Leoric, the local ruler, but Diablo, in his weakened state, is unable to overpower Leoric. Since Diablo is too weak to possess the king, he abandons the idea. This leaves the monarch's mind numb and his soul corrupted. He then gets Lazarus to kidnap King Leoric's son, Prince Albrecht, so that Diablo can possess and warp him, thereby attaining material form and strength. At the moment of the boy's possession, his terror is so great that the boundaries between the realms are broken and parts of Hell seep into the mortal world and take root in the subterranean labyrinth beneath Tristram. Diablo may have a body now, but he is far from his full power, so he bides his time and summons countless hordes of demons and infests the whole underground complex, claiming the new region of Hell as his own personal lair.

Soon afterwards the maddened Leoric is slain by his own lieutenants. Demons appear in the countryside as the Lord of Terror regains his strength in the heart of the labyrinth and prepares for the time when he would once again emerge to seek his brothers - Baal and Mephisto - and free them as well. It seemed to be a matter of time until the Prime Evils gained dominion over the entire mortal realm.

This is where the player comes in. As he or she fights their way through sixteen levels to face Diablo, they encounter various monsters, quests, tomes, scrolls, weapons, and other miscellaneous items.

There are sixteen levels of the dungeon, divided into four areas. Each area has a different appearance, architecture, light level, monster mix, and musical soundtrack. The first level of each of these areas (levels 5, 9, and 13) have an additional exit leading back up to the town of Tristram.

In Single Player, these entrances are blocked until the character opens them from the dungeon side. For example, the entrance from level 13 to town is not visible at first. When the character reaches level 13 from level 12, and then finds the stairs to town, they may go up, and the entrance (a glowing crevice) opens and is available for two-way travel from then on.

In Multi-Player, the entrances to town all start in their "open" position, but with a level requirement to access them from town. A character that does not meet this level requirement will have to either gain more levels, or reach that area by completing the preceding area.

  • Levels 1-4: The Cathedral. The monsters here are the weakest in the game, and shrines with curative effects abound. The Cathedral is fairly straightforward in layout, with large rooms of regular size connected by wide corridors and frequent doors and grates. Multi-Player level required: 1.
  • Levels 5-8: The Catacombs. This area is more difficult than the Cathedral, and random shrines which have unknown effects begin to appear. The Catacombs are very dark, and the room layout is convoluted and confusing. Multi-Player level required: 8.
  • Levels 9-12: The Caves. Powerful monsters appear here, and in Hell difficulty, the first enemies who are immune to all three magical damage types appear here (Obsidian Lords). The layout of the Caves is very complex, with rivers of lava and fences blocking the character's path in many places. Multi-Player level required: 13.
  • Levels 13-16: Hell. Infested with the most powerful monsters in the game, including two more monsters which have triple immunity on Hell difficulty (the Soul Burners and Advocates). The layout is straightforward, but doors and grates do not exist in Hell, preventing the character from easily controlling his enemies' movement. The 16th level of the dungeon, lair of Diablo himself, cannot be accessed until the player has completed the quest to slay Archbishop Lazarus. Multi-Player level required: 17.

At the end of the game, the player character has again trapped Diablo in a soulstone. The hero then pierces his or her head with the soulstone, attempting to contain the Lord of Terror. However, the end of the game hints at a darker outcome. The final scene depicts the hero, swathed in a shadowy, hooded cloak. Diablo II later confirms that Diablo was indeed too strong, and possessed the hero who slew him.


Diablo is one of the most well-known examples of the action-RPG subgenre. Although players level up, choose character classes, and manage a variety of spells and equipment like a typical RPG, all actions are done in real time, like an action game.

The majority of commands executed in Diablo are performed by the mouse. Players click on an area of the screen to direct the character, and click on enemies to attack. However, learned spells could be assigned hot keys using the function keys on mouse-over, as well as several text exclamations (e.g. "Help me!") that could be edited in a configuration file.

Its own expansion Diablo: Hellfire, its popular sequel Diablo II and also the subsequent expansion pack Diablo II: Lord of Destruction extend the gameplay through additions such as new character classes, monsters, items, quests, areas, and plot. The latest installment, the expansion pack for Diablo II, Diablo II: Lord of Destruction has a huge online gaming community, complete with a primitive gameworld economy due to the rarity of most of the popular items.

Character classes[]

The three character classes of Diablo are the Warrior, Rogue, and Sorcerer. Each character, following typical role-playing conventions, has his or her own particular traits. The warrior possesses physical strength, the rogue has high dexterity, and the sorcerer is oriented towards magic.


Main article: Warrior

The warrior is a powerful melee fighter, master of weapons of war and capable of enduring more damage than any of the other classes. Seeking fortune and glory, warriors come to Tristram every day to challenge the dark unknown in the subterranean labyrinth. They are not necessarily of any particular clan or group and range from barbarians from the northern highlands to noble paladins. Warriors are able to repair their equipment at the cost of diminishing maximum durability. The amount of maximum durability lost with use decreases as character level increases. Given this lost durability, most players opt instead to pay for non-destructive repairs in town for equipment they will be using in the long-term.


Main article: Rogue

The Sisters of the Sightless Eye are the best archers in the world of Sanctuary and the rogue therefore is master of killing enemies from a distance. They can have a higher level of magic than warriors and thus are able to make better use of magic in their battles, although not nearly as well as sorcerers. Willing to test their skills against the evil in the labyrinth, where untold riches are rumored to be stashed, rogues have come from the far east to Tristram. Rogues have the ability to spot doors, chests and sarcophagi that have traps and are able to disarm them. The chance to successfully disarm a trap increases with the character's dexterity attribute.


Main article: Sorcerer

A powerful master of the arcane arts, the sorcerer is the hero that is able to achieve the greatest heights of magic, so that he never really has need of physical weapons - he can kill his enemies solely with magic, whether it would be balls and walls of fire or powerful bolts of lightning. Eager to gather knowledge about demons and see them slain, sorcerer acolytes of the Vizjerei mage clan have come to Tristram - seeking to discover long lost tomes of magic knowledge under the cathedral. The sorcerer is able to recharge magic staves at the cost of the maximum number of charges. The amount of maximum charges lost with use decreases as character level increases. As per the warrior class's skill, this is less-used in late-game and with equipment used in the long-term.

Differences between Classes[]

Unlike Diablo II and other games that strictly differentiate between classes, a character's abilities are not unique; a warrior can use the same spells as a sorcerer, while a sorcerer can use an axe. All three classes require the same amount of experience to level up, and there are no class-based requirements for equipping items or using spells. However, this does not mean that a warrior could easily turn into a perfect sorcerer: different classes have different starting attributes. For example, a warrior always starts with more strength than a sorcerer. Additionally, the warrior gains more life per level than the sorcerer, and the sorcerer gains more mana per level than the warrior, with the rogue gaining equal amounts of both.

In terms of game mechanics, the different characters also each have different maximum possible levels for their attributes, and gain different amounts of life and mana per level. As a result, some classes may have difficulty attaining the attribute levels required to equip or use high level items/spells. For instance, to raise a spell to the highest levels may require 255 Magic to read the spellbook; while this is simple for the Sorcerer, it is not possible for a Warrior or Rogue even with the best equipment (and is very difficult for a Warrior to achieve in the Hellfire expansion). In an opposite example, only the Warrior can natively achieve the necessary strength to wear a full suit of plate armor or wield a heavy sword (the others requiring strength-enhancing equipment), while only the Rogue natively has the maximum possible dexterity required to use a high-level bow. However, the highest requirements for armor (90 Str) and bows (80 Dex) are much lower than the requirements to maximize spell levels (255 Mag).

Diablo Character Classes: Starting and Maximum Stats
Strength Dexterity Vitality Magic Life Mana Per Level
Start Max Start Max Start Max Start Max Start Max Start Max
Warrior 30 250 20 60 25 100 10 50 70 316 10 98 +2 Life, +1 Mana
Rogue 20 55 30 250 20 80 15 70 45 201 22 173 +2 Life, +2 Mana
Sorcerer 15 45 15 85 20 80 35 250 30 138 70 596 +1 Life, +2 Mana
Max values do not include item bonuses. Data source: Jarulf's Guide to Diablo and Hellfire, v. 1.62.[1]

Also, the characters have hidden differences in their in-game performance. The Warrior has an innately higher chance to hit in melee combat, a chance to cause a critical hit (causing twice the original damage; other characters lack this), as well as the best chance to block with a shield. Also there are fewer frames per swing with melee weapons. The Rogue calculates not only her strength but her dexterity as well when determining the damage she can deal with a bow and also has a faster rate of fire similar to the warrior with melee weapons. The Sorcerer has the highest chance to hit with a magical spell and faster cast rate, as well as gaining more mana than any other class from items that improve Magic.

Result on Gameplay[]

Overall, there are no class-based requirements for equipping items or using spells, but class-based attributes and performance do limit the ability of characters to cross over.

Warriors are the most effective for melee combat, though their limited level of magic allows them to use spells for support situations, notably Stone Curse against tough enemies and Teleport for "telekilling" (to quickly move in close quarters with ranged enemies). Their maximum magic levels are enough to allow them to access every spell in every tier but not to raise them to high enough levels to be efficient and/or effective in the later stages of the game.

Like Warriors, Rogues use magic mainly to supplement (their main expertise is archery) rather than as a primary offense/defense, as their maximum mana level is not much higher than that of a Warrior. Nonetheless, they do have more magic (see Attribute Maximums above) so they can rely upon Mana Shield and Golem on a more regular basis than Warriors.

Sorcerers on the other hand essentially rely on spells, given their high levels of magic and low levels of strength, dexterity, and vitality. They have little use for dexterity and vitality, instead focusing on the use of Mana Shield to compensate for low hitpoints. Nonetheless players often max out a Sorcerer's strength in order to wear certain types of armor (these are nicknamed "Battle Mages" or "Tank Mages").

Each class also has a special "skill" which is unique to specific character class. Warriors have the ability to repair items, Rogues can disarm traps and Sorcerers can recharge staves that have a certain amount of spell charges on them. However there is a drawback that is associated with repairing or recharging an item. In both cases both the original durability and maximum staff charge is cut in half. Therefore in using such an ability, the item loses its potential and worth.

The large majority of "abilities" are spells, and only Sorcerers have the maximum amount of magic possible to raise the most powerful spells (such as Fireball, Bone Spirit, or Chain Lightning) to high enough levels to be efficient (reduces amount of mana required) and/or effective (does more damage, faster casting). Thus, Sorcerers are considered the most powerful characters in the long run, while Warriors and Rogues generally drop off as the game progresses.

Character information[]


The four numerical character attributes in Diablo affect the characters' combat statistics which in turn determine how powerful the character is. With each level up, five points may be distributed among the "Base" attributes to permanently increase them at the player's choice. They may also be modified by elixirs and magical shrines encountered in the game. Various magical items acquired in game increase the effective character attributes "Now" (while these items are being used).

  • Strength affects the amount of damage the character may deal in melee combat. Advanced armor and weapons have minimum Strength requirements.
  • Magic affects the amount of mana the character has (see Character Statistics). Magic affects the chance of a spell striking its target. Also, many spells are affected in some way (such as damage dealt or duration) by the Magic attribute. Spellbooks, staves, and many scrolls have minimum Magic requirements.
  • Dexterity affects the chance of hitting enemies in combat and the chance of being hit by enemies. It also increases the amount of damage dealt by ranged attacks (for the Rogue only). Advanced bows have minimum Dexterity requirements.
  • Vitality affects the Life statistic of the character (see Character Statistics). It also determines how much damage a monster needs to deal in order to stun the character ("stun" refers to a momentary delay in character action after suffering a heavy blow; being repetitively stunned in combat can be extremely hazardous).


  • Life represents how much damage the character can take before dying, also informally called "hit points". The amount of Life remaining is constantly displayed as a red orb on the left of the screen.
  • Mana represents the character's spiritual essences. Casting spells requires mana. Therefore the more mana is available, the more spells can be cast. The amount of Mana remaining is constantly displayed as a blue orb on the right of the screen.
  • Chance to Hit represents the likelihood that physical attacks will inflict damage on their targets. This is assuming that the character is actually attacking a square that is occupied by an enemy. If the square is empty, then the chance to hit is zero. There are many hidden effects governing chance to hit, such as maximum and minimum restrictions imposed by the game engine and innate class bonuses. Therefore, displayed chance to hit may not accurately indicate the true likelihood of striking a given enemy.
  • Armor Class (sometimes abbreviated AC) represents the amount and quality of armor worn as a whole, modeling this as a reduction in chance of being hit. The body location, type of armor (fabric, chain, plate), and type of attack (bow, sword, etc.) are not considered by the game.. Armor does not protect a character against magical attacks, but a shield can occasionally block spells.
  • Damage represents the reduction in Life a physical attack will cause if it hits, represented as a numerical range.
  • Resist Fire, Resist Lightning, and Resist Magic represent the character's ability to resist damage from the respective categories of magical attacks. "Magic" attacks are all those that are not fire or lightning, which include magical acid. These statistics can only be non-zero as a result of the use of magical items, as characters can never innately possess resistance. None of the resistances can exceed 75% under any conditions for any character, though some enemies in the game have complete immunities to Fire, Lightning, or Magic.


The monsters of Diablo are undead monstrosities, vicious nocturnals, and demons spawned from Hell. As the player progresses, it passes through four distinct areas: the church, the catacombs, the caves, and Hell, which starts to seep into the mortal plane due to Diablo's presence. Each of the sixteen levels contains monsters that are tougher and stronger than ones from the level before it. When the player kills a monster, the monster may randomly drop an item or gold. Upon killing more enemies, the player may find out more details about the monsters, such as hit points and resistances and/or immunities.

In the world of Diablo, monsters are divided according to their masters.

The followers of Mephisto, the Lord of Hatred, are the undead (skeletons and zombies), demonically corrupted animals whose unshapely forms and twisted limbs leave them in eternal agony and rage (overlords), and lava demons spawned by the spilling of Mephisto's blood in Hell.

The followers of Baal, the Lord of Destruction, are creatures that seek the undoing of the material Universe and the manifestation of chaos. Some of them include the Fallen Ones, Goat Men and Poison Spitters.

The minions of Diablo, the Lord of Terror, are the fears of man in a corporeal form, figuratively-speaking. They prefer to attack their victims from the shadows, especially after their prey demonstrates weakness. Some of these demons are The Hidden and Scavengers.

In Diablo, enemies are also divided in 3 groups:

  • Animals: take greater damage from swords/blades and less damage from blunt/clubbing weapons.
  • Demons: Take equal damage from all kinds of weapons. Diablo himself is considered a Demon.
  • Undead: Take greater damage from blunt/clubbing weapons and less damage from swords/blades. Undead are the only monster type (aside from Diablo himself) vulnerable to the Holy Bolt spell.

Items and shrines[]

Items are sold by the vendors, randomly dropped by slain monsters, and can be discovered within the labyrinth inside of chests or barrels or sometimes laying on a floor. There are several types of items :


These are items that are destroyed when used.

The Belt: Between the red and blue orbs of life and mana, at the bottom of the screen, the player has eight slots representing a belt which can contain potions, elixirs, and scrolls. These slots are numbered, and pressing the corresponding key (one through eight) will drink (or cast, for a scroll) the associated consumable. No other items can be placed in the belt.

  • Potions : Healing Potions (red) refill life, Mana Potions (blue) refill mana, and Rejuvenation Potions (yellow) refill both. All varieties come in normal (partial refill) and full (complete refill) types. Each class has a hidden bonus value for Healing and Mana potions; Warriors recover more Life from a Healing Potion, while Sorcerers recover more Mana from a Mana potion, with Rogues regaining an average amount from each. Potions of Rejuvenation function as one potion of Healing and one potion of Mana; therefore, Warriors will typically regain more Life than Mana from a Potion of Rejuvenation, and Sorcerers will typically regain more Mana than Life. All potions take their effect instantaneously in Diablo, rather than over time as in Diablo II.
  • Scrolls : Appear as "Scroll of (spell name)". When used, the scroll simply casts the named spell. The benefits are that the spell costs no mana to use, and the user doesn't need to actually know that spell in order to use the scroll (though they must meet the scroll's Magic requirement, if it has one). Scrolls of Town Portal and Identify are staple items for many players. Some scrolls bear spells which the player cannot learn, such as Apocalypse in the original Diablo. When casting a spell from a scroll, it is cast at whatever level the character knows the spell; if the character does not know the spell at all, it is cast at level one. For example, a Sorcerer who had read five Books of Fireball would cast a fifth-level Fireball from a scroll of Fireball. A Warrior who did not know the spell at all would cast a much weaker first-level Fireball from the same scroll.
  • Elixirs : Appear as "Elixir of (attribute name)". Using an Elixir increases the named base attribute by one (but not over the base attribute's natural limit). They typically don't begin to appear until the character reaches the Caves (levels 9 through 12). In Single Player, elixirs can be bought from Adria and Pepin once the character has entered Hell. In Multi-Player, they become available from Adria only, once the character reaches character level 26. Elixirs of Vitality can never be bought, and must be found in the dungeon.
  • Spellbooks : Appear as "Book of (spell name)". Using one grants the player the named spell, or increases the spell's level by one if the player already knows it. Minimum magic requirements have to be met in order to read a book; but in order to cast the spell the player only needs enough mana to pay its casting cost. To that end, most players keep a special set of "reading gear" (equipment with +magic modifiers) in town in order to learn spells that they otherwise couldn't. Spellbooks can be found in the dungeon (either dropped by monsters or found on bookshelves and scroll racks), or can be bought from Adria. Some spells cannot be learned from books; in the original Diablo, books of Apocalypse do not exist; in the expansion, Hellfire, a single book of Apocalypse is always dropped by the final boss, Na-Krul. (However, he can be defeated multiple times in order to raise Apocalypse to level 15.) Those spells which cannot be learned from books must be cast using staves and scrolls.


Weapons, Shields, Helms, Armor, Amulets, and Rings are the basic types of equipment. Any character can use any piece of equipment so long as they meet its statistical requirements - Strength, Dexterity, and Magic (there are no items with Vitality requirements). The only other restrictions are that characters may not equip two weapons simultaneously or use a two-handed weapon in conjunction with a shield.

Weapons and protective gear have durability values that decrease with use. The durability of weapons has a chance of being reduced when striking an enemy; the durability of armor has a chance of being reduced when the character is struck. When the durability of a piece of gear gets low, an icon appears the corner of the screen to warn the player. If the durability reaches zero, the item breaks and is utterly destroyed. An item's durability can be restored by paying Griswold to repair it, or using the Warrior's repair skill on it. Item repair costs at Griswold vary, but overall, the more powerfully enchanted the item is, the more expensive the repairs will be.

Staves are magical weapons used primarily for the spell charges they contain; each charge allows one casting of the spell contained within the staff; staves also can have magical prefixes. Some of the most popular abilities found on staves are "Angel's" and "Archangel's", which add to all spell levels, and "Emerald" and related prefixes which improve resistances. A Sorcerer can recharge a staff using his Recharge skill, but at the cost of permanently reducing its maximum charge level. Therefore, it is preferable when possible to have Adria recharge staves, though this can be expensive. With respect to effective level of the spell produced by the staff's charge, staves function identically to scrolls: the spell is cast at the level known to the caster, unless it is unknown, in which case it is cast at level one.

Rings and amulets have no innate damage or armor class bonuses, and only come in Magical and Unique versions, never Normal. The character may wear only one amulet and two rings at any given time.

Equippable items can have various modifiers, and break down into three major classes as a result:

  • Normal (white text) : Common mundane items without any special attributes. Most abundant in the game. These can be bought from Griswold or found in the dungeon. Rings and Amulets never appear as Normal items.
  • Magic (blue text) : Enchanted items that can have up to one modifier prefix and/or one modifier suffix. Unless buying one from a vendor, magic items must be identified using a Scroll of Identify or a visit to Deckard Cain in order to reveal and enable their modifications. Most modifiers are beneficial to the player, but early in the game it is possible to get items with negative modifiers that make them less powerful and less valuable. These are sometimes referred to as "Cursed" items. Non-cursed Magical items can be bought from Griswold, Wirt, and Adria, and an item with negative affixes will only sell for one gold piece.
    • Prefixes and Suffixes: Magical items in Diablo have an idiosyncratic naming system; a particular enchantment will be either a suffix or prefix. The "Godly" prefix, appearing only on armor, adds greatly to armor class. An item with this ability would appear as "Godly (itemname)". The "of the Whale" suffix adds a great deal to the character's life stat. An item with this ability would appear as "(itemname) of the Whale". Magical items can have both a prefix and a suffix; however, certain systemic limitations within the game mechanism prevent some prefixes and suffixes from appearing together on the same item. For example, the item "Godly Plate of the Whale" (abbreviated on Battle.net as "G.P.O.W.") cannot be generated by any monster or vendor in the game. It was made, and then duplicated, using third-party software known as item editors. Also, different equipment types draw from different pools of affixes (enchantment prefixes and suffixes); some affixes are never available on certain types of equipment. For example, the highly-coveted suffix enchantment "of the Zodiac" (adds between 16 and 20 to all four Attributes evenly) is only available on rings and amulets, so the game engine cannot generate Shields of the Zodiac or Helms of the Zodiac.
  • Unique (gold text) : Very rare and powerful items that may have up to six magic bonuses. Unique items can never be bought from vendors, and all quest items are treated as unique items. Some unique items have a unique item graphic within the inventory screen, but their appearance on the field of play when equipped does not differ from others of their type as in Diablo II. Unique items typically grant great bonuses but can also possess negative modifiers, such as the "Gotterdammerung", a unique full helm which adds the greatest amount of Armor Class of any helm in the game (60), but sets all of the character's Resistances to zero and greatly darkens the dungeon, making it difficult to see. Like magic items, uniques must be identified before their modifications become known; but unlike magic items, uniques have predetermined stats that are largely the same each time the item is found. An interesting difference from many games that require item "identification" is that unidentified items can be equipped in Diablo. Their base attributes (damage and armor class) will take effect, but no magical abilities will activate. Therefore, a Gotterdammerung could be (and frequently is) worn unidentified to obtain its unrivalled 60 AC without suffering the resistance penalties.


Gold is the currency used to buy goods and services from the vendors. When gold is picked up from the ground or received from selling an item, the amount is added to the smallest pile of gold in the player's inventory. A maximum of five thousand gold pieces can be in one pile (which occupies one square of inventory space). In the Hellfire expansion, an item gained as a quest reward is a unique amulet that allows each inventory space to hold ten thousand gold instead.

Quest Items[]

Quest items come in many varieties in the single-player mode of Diablo and within the Hellfire expansion. Some of them activate a quest when picked up or found, while others must be carried along or used to interact with the environment, and yet others are given as special rewards for completing quests. Some of these quest-related items are automatically "destroyed" (or otherwise taken from the player) when the related quest is completed.


Shrines add a twist to Diablo. They create effects upon one's character and sometimes others when activated. The normal Shrines found in the Dungeon and Catacombs (first eight levels) are labeled when the mouse cursor is placed over them. However, the Goat Shrines found in the Catacombs and the Cauldrons in Hell cause a random effect, leaving the player only with the result and the same cryptic clue that would be displayed in the center of the screen by a normal Shrine.


Diablo is highly replayable thanks to its randomly generated levels, with every map that the player encounters being unique compared to the last. This randomness extends to the monster population as well, though they are generated from a group appropriate for that level. In addition, in single player mode there are only three core missions as the rest of them are drawn from several pools, making it impossible to complete every quest in one setting. Either way, only the last two quests are compulsory (although it is necessary to complete the voluntary missions to gain experience and items, and to learn more of the backstory). Given this arrangement, no two playthroughs of the game are ever exactly alike.

By contrast, its sequel, Diablo II, is much more linear. Though many of its maps are randomly generated as well, the player will encounter the same levels and quests (many of which are compulsory) upon each playthrough.

Diablo helped popularize a system used in other CRPGs such as the Might and Magic Series, to handle the many combinations of random items imbued with random magical properties (i.e. any item "of the Eagle" will give hitpoints to the player, any "Bronze" item will increase the chances of a hit, etc); this system is utilized by its sequels. The only items which are relatively constant are Unique items, which have the same types of bonuses, though sometimes of varying amounts, every time they are found.


The game supports several types of multiplayer connections. It can be played over a local area network using the IPX network protocol, a telephone line with the use of a modem, or by means of a serial cable in a direct connection. One can also play Diablo over the Internet via Battle.net.

Unfortunately, the game lacked the stronger anti-cheating methods of Blizzard's later games and as a result, many characters online have been altered in various ways by common third-party programs known as "trainers". It is difficult to play a fair online game of Diablo in public games, as hacks and duplicated items are common. The use of trainers (which modify memory locations while the game is running in order to cheat) is fairly common and character editors are often used to give incredible statistics to even newly made characters. Additionally, buggy game code allows any player to infinitely duplicate items and avoid being stunned in combat using the Mana Shield spell. A typical duped/hacked item seen online is the "Godly Plate of the Whale", a combination of enchantments which actually can never appear on a legitimate item due to the way the game generates items. Another is the "Archangel's Staff of Apocalypse" with 255 charges (while Archangels' Staves of Apocalypse are possible, they can never have more than twelve charges legitimately). However, a number of legitimate players still exist and may be found primarily on forums related to Diablo, as well as on Battle Net.

Versions and expansion pack[]

Diablo was released by Blizzard on January 2, 1997, with an official announcement on the release by Blizzard Entertainment on January 3, 1997. An oft stated release date of November 30, 1996 is incorrect as Diablo only went gold and into full production on December 27, 1996.

In 1998, a PlayStation version of Diablo was published by Electronic Arts. The game lacked online play, but featured a two-player cooperative mode. It also featured an option to learn the story through a narrator without having to find the books in the game. This feature can be found on the main menu under the title 'history'. This version was infamous because of its needs of 10 blocks from the memory card.

The only official expansion pack made for Diablo was Diablo: Hellfire in 1997. The expansion was produced by Sierra Entertainment rather than an in-house Blizzard North development team. The expansion featured two additional dungeon segments located within a new side storyline, several new unique items and magical item properties, new spells, and a fourth class, the Monk. There were also two possibly unfinished "test" classes (the Bard and Barbarian) and two quests which could be accessed only through a configuration file modification.

Hellfire was also relatively buggy, and since a version of Diablo with Hellfire installed could not be patched using Blizzard's Diablo patches, and Sierra themselves only released one patch for Hellfire, it retained some bugs that the original Diablo did not. The expansion also had some small design problems wherein some of the new unique items could never be found in the game.

However, despite these problems Hellfire generally received quite favorable reviews from the game magazines at the time. Blizzard North also later implemented their own versions of the insect caves and the crypt levels introduced in the expansion in Diablo II.

Diablo was included with the release of the Diablo Battle Chest on December 31, 2003, however it was sans the expansion Hellfire and the 80 page booklet.

Reception and influence[]

Critical response[]

The large majority of reviews Diablo received were very positive. It received an average rating of 94 on Metacritic,[1] with many awarding the game near-perfect or perfect scores on their respective grading systems. Most praised the games's addictive gameplay, immense replayability, dark atmosphere, superior graphics (for the time), moody musical score, and its great variety of possibly magic items, enemies, levels, and quests. This last aspect was praised by GameSpot editor Trent Ward in his review of Diablo, which he gave a "9.6", the highest score for a PC game to date:

Similarly, although a set number of monsters is included, only a few will be seen during each full game. This means that players going back for their second or third shot at the game will very likely fight opponents they haven't seen before. Talk about replay value.[2]

Diablo was awarded GameSpot's Game of the Year Award for 1996.

"Adrenaline Vault" reviewer Brian Clair awarded Diablo a perfect five out of five stars and had a similar amount of praise for the sound design and musical score for the game, calling the former "perfect" and saying of the latter:

For years I have waited for a game to come out with that perfect musical score. I think I've found it in Diablo. The music is just as perfect as the sound fx in both quality of the sound and the score itself. Everything about it is perfect for the fantasy genre and just integrates great with the other nuances of the game.[3]

Diablo's online multiplayer aspect was also cited as one of the strongest points of the game, with it described as greatly extending its replay value.

The most common complaint about the game was the length of its single-player aspect, which many felt was too short. Others criticized what was seen as the simplicity of the story, with RPGFan stating:

It's been said already, but I'll say it again - if you consider plot to be a highly important part of your RPGs, and can't play any RPGs without a solid plot, stay away.[4]


Diablo has been credited with creating a sub-genre of "point-and-click" Action RPG's. Since 1999 many games have used the concepts introduced in Diablo and some have imitated the game. These games include Dungeon Siege, Mu Online, Sacred, Ragnarok Online, Titan Quest, etc.

References to Diablo are scattered throughout the various Blizzard products that followed; see the 'Trivia' section for examples.

The legendary Cow Level[]

One of the more well known aspects of Diablo was something that didn't actually exist. Rumors started of a "cow level" with varying instructions or ideas on how to enter such a place and what existed in this level.

Blizzard put a cheat code in StarCraft: 'there is no cow level.' Typing this caused instant victory.

The Hellfire expansion also mocks this rumor - if cowquest is added to command.txt, the first new dungeon segment is accessed by speaking to one of the townsfolk, who's dressed in a cow suit.

As fan service, Blizzard actually did put a cow level in Diablo II, although it was merely a very large area full of monsters called Hell Bovines who were cows walking upright and carrying halberd's. All of their sound files were of humans saying the word 'moo'. Net lore has it that the ridiculously bad voices of the cows were those of various Blizzard employees. "The Cow King" makes an appearance as a super unique Hell Bovine.

The cow level is rarely brought up other than as a joke but is still referenced in other products. In the game "Warcraft III" the Tauren are introduced, a race of anthropomorphic bulls and cows, whether intentionally spoofing the joke or not. World of Warcraft features them as a playable race, and their city is sometimes jokingly referred to by players as "the Cow Level." An item even exists named "The Cow King's Hide." On the game's loading screens, one of the tips displayed is "TIP: There is no cow level." although this was added long after the game was released.

Cut content[]

As with many games, Diablo was originally intended to be much more expansive than the final product, with a large number of monsters, characters, items, and quests never making it into the retail release.[5] A large portion of this content is still contained on dormant files hidden on the CD of the game.

  • Some spells never made it into the final game. The original game was supposed to have six spell-book pages (this can be checked in Diablo's manual, page eighteen, in a screen-shot where the spell-book has six pages), unlike the four in the final, and the spells left on the CD are: Invisibility (whose icon graphic was reused for the Teleport spell in Diablo II), Blood Boil, Blood Ritual, Doom Serpents, Etherealize, Sentinel. Most of these spells are disabled, but some, like Etherealize, can be enabled with the help of hacks, and Doom Serpents' graphics can still be extracted from the game's main data file.[6]
  • Some enemies don't appear in the final game, such as the Unraveler (which appeared as Shredded in Hive from Hellfire and is now a monster found in Act 2 of Diablo II), Goat Lord, Incinerator, Bone Demon, Invisible Lord, The Arch Lich Malignus, and Devil Kin Brute. Their images can still be viewed in sprite form (.cl2) in the game's main data file. Several of these monsters later appeared in the expansion, Hellfire.[7]
  • A character named Tremain the Priest does not appear in the final game, but there are sound files of his speech in the game's main data file. He was supposed to travel in and out of Tristram and was to trigger of the "Fleshdoom, Wielder of Shadowfang" quest, which also never made it into the game's final stage. As originally planned, Tremain was to give the player a quest to destroy the demon Fleshdoom and retrieve his cursed sword, Shadowfang. However, when the player returned the demonblade to Tremain, he was to be consumed by hellfire and slain. He was also said to have been supposed to guide the player through the "Archbishop Lazarus" quest, instead of Cain; the reward in that quest was to be a powerful unique mace called Lightforge. Since the quest was not removed, it is not possible to obtain a Lightforge legitimately; many players have used third-party programs to gain this item, and some have even changed it into other forms to create Lightforge helmets and armor.
  • Many hints for quests that never made it into the final game can still be viewed on the game's main data file. These include "Izual, the Fallen Angel", in which the player talks to Gillian the barmaid and receives a quest to find and destroy Izual to release his tormented soul. The reward of this quest was likely Azurewrath, a unique sword. Both the quest and the sword were used separately in Diablo II. Another quest involved hunting down the demon queen Andariel. This character appeared later as a boss in Diablo II.
  • Two cutscenes appear on the CD but not in the game. One of them is a video the player is supposed to see upon entering The Butcher's lair, and the other one is of Diablo gaining power if the player fails the (never implemented) Map of Stars quest.
  • Many item graphics were never used in the final game, including the Map of the Stars, which was hacked many times into the game and spread over Battle.net. When the stars become aligned, Diablo will become "all but invincible", so the player had to complete this quest on time or else one "may never have a chance to rid the world of his evil ever again." This is the only quest of the whole lot which was ever officially recognized by Blizzard. They said that it was turned off because it "changed the way you played Diablo."
  • One of the extra sub-quests from Diablo supposedly involved Gillian. Gillian was involved in two quests, the first one she would issue early in the game. Rumor has it that Gillian requested that a cellar is cleaned in one of the town houses as "Giant Worms" had invaded the cellar. To complete this quest, the player needed to enter a town house. There is an abandoned house inside Tristram with an opened door which could possibly be the house the player was meant to clean up.
  • It's believed that Blizzard originally only planned to have one character skin. This is backed up by early screenshots, which not only showed only the warrior skin, but also depicted the warrior skin using magic and ranged weapons. The early names for the classes were the Fighter, Archer and Mage.[8]


Many gameplay bugs were fixed by the patches made available by Blizzard. However, two critical bugs were never addressed by these patches. One of these is a bug allowing item duplication, also called the "dupe bug". With practice and timing, a character can duplicate any single item, including stacks of money. However, the existence of trainers and other third-party programs made item duplication far quicker and easier, so few learned to use the duplication bug after the trainers became widely available.

The other critical bug is in the damage routines for the "Mana Shield" spell, a spell which causes damage to its caster to be deducted from Mana rather than Life. "Stunning" is the term for the delay in action of a character when struck forcefully by a monster; during "stun", a character can do nothing but display a recovery animation. If the character is stunned again before recovering, a state called "stunlock" can arise, paralyzing the character. Typically this occurs when surrounded or when facing greatly superior enemies in melee combat. Since stun chance is partially based on the Life of the target, Sorcerers are the most vulnerable to being stunned. However, due to the bug in the Mana Shield coding, a character with extremely low Life (typically less than thirty) with Mana Shield up can never be stunned. This bug is typically exploited by allowing a monster called the "Black Death" to strike oneself; Black Deaths steal one Life point per successful attack, permanently. This reduces the character's life to a low enough level that the bug will take effect. The advantage of exploiting this bug is that it allows a sorcerer to stand in the midst of a swarm of monsters and continue to cast spells, when normally he would be stunlocked and killed.

The last patch, v1.09 was released in 2001.

A bug that is only noticeable on latter-day computers is that there is not an option to change your screen resolution settings nor the number of colors viewable in-game. Moreover, the colors appear very psychedelic since the 32-bit color-rendering graphic system on newer computer systems causes the 256-color scheme of the game to falter miserably.

Another bug that prevents players from connecting through Battle.net is the fact that if you play version of Diablo I from the Battle Chest and attempt to connect to Battle.net, you will have to apply v1.09 before you can play. However, once you finish applying the patch, it will tell you the following:

"Battle.net was unable to properly identify your application version. Please uninstall and then reinstall the application. If the problem persists the you may have a computer virus. For information on detecting and removing this virus you may contact us by email support@blizzard.com" On Macs, the online play works just fine.


This section contains facts and trivia relevant to this article

  • When the Diablo game launcher is opened, the game plays a deep, evil laugh (often assumed to be that of Diablo). When this laugh is recorded and sped up several times, it becomes the sound that Fallen Ones emit upon death.
  • A sound file of the game's namesake, apparently speaking in tongues, is played when entering level 16. It can be extracted from the game's main data file and, when played backwards, produces "Eat your vegetables and brush after every meal." This is a play on the claim that satanic subliminal messages perceived to be included in songs through backmasking effectively lead teenagers towards sex, drugs and violence.
  • Diablo appears in the book, "1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die".

Diablo II and Diablo II: Lord of Destruction[]

  • According to Diablo II, the canon hero who defeated Diablo in Tristram was a Warrior: the wanderer who is possessed by the Lord of Terror is clearly a man, ruling out the Rogue. His skin is pale, implying he is not the dark-skinned Sorcerer, and in the opening cutscene, the wanderer leans on a sword, the weapon most closely associated with the Warrior.
  • Blood Raven (the corrupted Rogue from the first act of Diablo II) was evidently the Rogue in the first Diablo game. Akara and Charsi say that Blood Raven was a rogue captain at Tristram, battling Diablo. They say she returned unlike before, bringing an evil influence. Shortly thereafter, Andariel's uprising in the west began and Blood Raven began raising the dead.
  • The Summoner, the corrupted Mage from the Second Act that was impersonating Horazon, was evidently the Sorcerer in the first Diablo game. Jerhyn and Drognan speak of a near-insane Vizjerei mage who arrived in Lut Gholein (presumably seeking Horazon's sanctuary) claiming to have fought against Diablo in Tristram, suggesting that mage became the Summoner. The Summoner is also dark skinned, like the dark-skinned Sorcerer in the original Diablo.
  • Both the Diablo manual and the Arreat Summit battle.net strategy guide gives an account of the Sin War between Horazon and his brother Bartuc. Bartuc, who was known as the Warlord of Blood supposedly meets his end in the first Diablo self-titled quest Warlord of Blood though this is disputed (see below). Horazon presumably meets his fate in Act II, although this is disputed as others say that Horazon was being impersonated by the Sorcerer (in this case, Horazon's end is unknown).
  • Bartuc the Bloody makes an appearance in the Lord of Destruction expansion Act V, as the leader of Baal's Council Members during the battle in the Throne Room of the Worldstone fortress. This however may conflict with the Warlord of Blood quest from the first Diablo.
  • Act I continues the story of the town of Tristram and Act IV revisits Hell, making these acts the most similar to the first Diablo game. In Tristram, the player rescues Deckard Cain and learns the fate of Griswold the Blacksmith, while Wirt is killed, though there is nothing told of the whereabouts of the other town characters (Pepin, Adria, Ogden, Farnham and Gillian). In Tristram, corpses can be seen on the ground where the original town members once stood. The lone exception to this is Adria, but only because the general location of her hut is inaccessible. Whether or not these are the other townsfolk is unknown.
  • Although Act II and Act III present an entirely new theme, they expand upon what happens to Tal-Rasha's tomb and the Zakarum religion, respectively, stories which were presented in the first Diablo manual.
  • The expansion Act V plays little homage to the first Diablo, but it does bring back Succubi, enemies that were not found in the original Diablo II. Although it is thought that all of the Succubi were killed in the battle beneath Tristram, Baal unleashed his personal harem on Arreat.
  • After the player beats Diablo II or the expansion, an item called Wirt's Leg (which is obtained from Wirt's body in Tristram) can be used to open the Secret Cow Level.[9] This item is a reference to the character Wirt from the original Diablo, a teenager who lost his leg to demons and wears a peg leg, as well as a homage to the well-spread cow level rumor in the first Diablo.

Other Blizzard Franchises[]

  • In StarCraft, the Protoss Arbiter and Observer units are heard to repeat Adria's greeting line, 'I sense a soul in search of answers.'.
  • In "Starcraft Broodwar Expansion", in the 7th Terran level, the password for one of the computer terminals is "Farnham" (the drunk).
  • Also in StarCraft, the Observer will play a line of Griswold's, namely the line he speaks as he gets overenthusiastic about the large mushroom.
  • In Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne, if players click on Illidan enough times, he will eventually say, "Wings, horns, hooves... what are we saying, is this Diablo?"
  • In the last Human level of Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne, one of the hostile units is the Butcher. As he attacks the player's units, he even greets them the same way he greets the player in Diablo: "Ahhh, fresh meat!" If this creature is killed, he drops an item called "Wirt's Other Leg". In the World Editor both of Wirt's legs may be found. The descriptions hint at the demons from both games being the same. Wirts leg also mentions that it was used to get to the cow level.
  • One of the items that can be found in Blizzard's MMORPG, World of Warcraft, is called Wirt's Third Leg.

See also[]


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