Diablo Anniversary Event: The Darkening of Tristram

I didn’t play Diablo when it was released back in 96/97. Diablo 2 was my first playing of the Diablo franchise, but I did have some exposure to that first game. I sat back and watched as a housemate slaughtered his way through legions of demons and monsters, enjoying the game vicariously.

So today was the first time I played Diablo 1, and it wasn’t at all as I remembered. Even though it appears that the Darkening of Tristram is the complete game, it feels small.

The Darkening of Tristram is accessed by going into Adventure Mode, teleporting to the Old Ruins in Act I, and heading south. I created a new seasonal level 1 character for Season 9, a Demon Hunter and created an adventure mode game.

I actually had some problems with this at first. For some reason, last night and this morning, adventure mode wasn’t available. Not to my new L1 DH, nor to any of my existing characters. I simply got the message that I needed to complete the campaign first. This was odd for one reason. I have completed the basic campaign to Act IV, when the game was first released with my original Demon Hunter. Thinking something must have gone awry I logged in my highest level character, Crusader Pinkerton who finished the campaign in the middle of Act II. I got bored with the campaign at the time and switched to Adventure and had been playing him at Torment III. He got to level 70 with Paragon level in the 30’s. So I dropped the difficulty to normal and resumed the campaign. That was a breeze. I had so much life regen that nothing even made a dent in my health bubble. Not any of the bosses. Not Diablo himself. I just stood there and wailed on them. I got through Acts 2, 3, and 4 in just a few hours, getting the achievement for doing Act III in less than an hour. I finished Act V this morning.

So after lunch I recreated the DH and was now able to start adventure mode.

The first thing you notice when you enter the portal is that the graphics changes to become more pixelated. This gives the look of the original graphics. You can see what I mean if you click the image below. I’m not sure however if the developers used all the original models. Certainly the sounds were (must have been) the originals. The PC voice was male despite using the Diablo 3 female DH model.

Starting the Hunt


BTW, the reason I created a level 1 character rather than using one of my existing and more power ones is that there is an achievement for completing the event starting with a level 1. Don’t worry, it doesn’t take long before you’re powerful enough to wipe the floor with the large number of mobs that assault you, and when I finally ran into the Lord of Darkness himself it wasn’t much of a fight. I suspect that the developers didn’t do any re-balancing or scaling to make this more of a challenge.

The original game consisted of just 16 levels, and that is what the Darkening of Tristram provides. I don’t know, maybe the levels are the same size but compared to Diablo 3 they are tiny little things. Considering D3 has been criticized for the levels being smaller than Diablo 2’s that’s saying something, but I felt like the experience was over far to quickly. I went from go to whoa in just a couple of hours. I remember sitting there watching my friend and I recall Diablo being bigger.

I also seem to remember a wider variety and different models for some of the mobs. That might just be a faulty memory, but it could also be the repurposing of D3 assets for the DoT event.

Ahh, nostalgia. What a heartless mistress you are.

In the end I managed to get all but four of the event achievements. I didn’t find one of the areas, I didn’t get all of the named NPCs, and there were a couple of other things I missed. I figure that completionism will require several run throughs. I doubt I’ll have another go at this, but since Blizzard intend to make this an annual event, I might have a go again next year.

Overall, it was a good event but over too soon and needed to be a little (lot) more challenging.


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