Think back to one decade ago. January 1, 2000 came and went, and the Y2K apocalypse never really happened. Super hero movies weren't the biggest thing in theaters just yet. No one had heard of LOST. The Red Sox were in the midst of a serious World Series title drought. And Dracula was the coolest vampire around, not some pretty-face who sparkled in the sunshine. And in the middle of the summer that year, a game hit the shelves that many consider to be the best game of all time. And it's hard to argue: Diablo 2 was, and still is, an unmatched experience.
What exactly made Diablo 2 so great? Was it the classes, ranging from the creepy Necromancers to bloodthirsty Barbarians to unstoppable Amazons? Perhaps it was the skill trees, which allowed players of the same class to customize themselves in all manner of different builds? Or, it could have been the magic items, ranging from those with random properties of questionable usefulness all the way to unique sets of armor of unimaginable power? Diablo 2 was great because of all these things, and so much more.
Perhaps the most important attribute leading to Diablo 2's success were the unrivaled multiplayer options. Eight players could team up through a LAN or using Blizzard's Battle.net service. A full group was fairly rare, at least in my experience, but it sure was fun to get as many friends as possible teaming up to take down the bosses. Scaling difficulty kept the challenge level consistent even when people dropped in and out. Trading loot was a snap. Diablo 2 was built from the ground up as a cooperative multiplayer experience, and it's a gold standard that has spawned its own genre, emulated by such games as Titan Quest and Din's Curse.
To help celebrate Diablo 2's tenth birthday, I asked the Co-Optimus staff to weigh in. They were very quick to share some fun memories and interesting insights into the game.