The Diablo Series, Ranked from Worst to Best

Diablo III did not leave a fraction of the imprint on me that the original Diablo and Diablo II did, so I find it difficult to swallow PC Gamer’s ranking of the Diablo titles and their expansions, as the list places Diablo III: Reaper of Souls above everything before it. To each their own, I suppose, but I’m going to quote from their blurb on Lord of Destruction instead:

Diablo 2 was great, but only felt complete after the Lord of Destruction expansion. That’s not to say that Diablo 2 was unfinished in any way, but the systemic expansion offered by Lord of Destruction made it impossible to go back As we’ll see, this is the start of a budding trend for Diablo games.

The expansion added the assassin and the druid, a terrific new act set in the Barbarian sanctuaries of Mount Arreat, and introduced new ways to customise your equipment with runes and jewels. The additional classes were decent, Act V is the best Diablo 2 act and the deepened itemisation system (which included a trove of new unique items and a bunch of new recipes for the magic Horadric Cube forge) sustained new difficulty levels and gave Diablo 2 its extensive endgame. The expansion also made a wealth of small quality-of-life tweaks that collectively greatly improve the base game. It’s hard to imagine Diablo 2 without a permanently visible minimap, the generous Lord of Destruction stash size and the full range of skill keybinding slots.

The time I spent battling through Lord of Destruction with my pals’ Barbarian and Druid characters represents some of the best co-op experience I’ve ever enjoyed on my PC. Today, however, the multiplayer scene has largely dissipated (though there are heroic players out there still). It is hard to go back. Diablo 2: LoD was an immense game for its time, but its time has passed. Lord of Destruction lived and died with its community. It flourished in its golden age, fostered some great memories, and then faded into the annals of PC gaming history. All those moments lost, like fanboy tears in the putrid rain of Baal’s vengeance. As Deckard Cain might put it in his weird old-man drawl, “taaarm to dieaaaaargh”.

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