Fotds: May 2000
The information presented in these archived FotDs is now outdated, but that's often the most interesting thing about them, seeing how much the game has changed from then to now.
The original FotDs are indented and italicized. Explanatory comments below them were written by Flux at the time the FotDs were archived, usually a couple/few months after the original FotDs had been presented.
The Beta test continued in May, but was close to wrapping up so that the Stress Test could being. This was basically an online demo, with just a bit of Act One, the Barbarian, and only his Clvl 1 skills to use. The idea was to get as many people on Battle.net at once as possible, to stress test the servers (they of course got 10x as many people the first month of D2, which caused huge lag problems until Bliz could get more servers online).
The Stress Test was a 100meg download, and it was mirrored in many places, but to actually play on Battle.net you had to have a registration code, and Blizzard only gave those out in email (Max Schaefer gave out quite a few in our chat room.) to selected testers, with more added every week or so. So anyone could DL the program, but you had to have an active code to play it.
With there not all that much to the Stress Test, lots of players got tired of it after trying it out for a week or two, and we ran a very active key exchange program, where players would mails us their keys if they weren't going to play anymore, and we'd give them out to people who mailed asking for them. Hundreds of codes came in and went out so other players could try it. Blizzard loved the idea, since they wanted the most people on as possible, and didn't care how they got their codes. Towards the end of the Stress Test they removed the registration code requirement, trying to get a huge surge of users at the very end to prepare for the game launch.
There are more holes in the archives in this month, mostly just sloppy record keeping. I'd write the FotD's on the spot, put them on the main page, and then write another one a couple of days later, and not always remember/bother to paste them into the archive page. Since early 2001 they are written in advance on an archive page, and pasted to the main page from there, so we don't lose them anymore.
May 2, 2000
- Frozen Armor is Clvl One skill from the Sorceress' Cold Spells Skill Tab. A very useful skill for the Sorceress, this one causes any melee attacker who strikes her to freeze in place for a short time, allowing her to escape, or fight back. It also raises her Defense rating, and even has a cute swirling sparkly look around her body. See it here.
The screenie looks just like it does now, in this shot from the beta.
May 4, 2000
- Double Throw is a Clvl 12 skill from the Barbarian's Warcries Skill Tab. This one doesn't seem like that much at first glance, since it just enables the Barb to equip and throw items in each hand. However upon testing it in the beta, we've found it to be a very cool skill. His throwing rate with it is very fast, and with a point in throwing Mastery, he adds around 30% to his damage and Attack Rating. Excellent for dealing with ranged attackers, it looks cool, and the mana cost is very low also.
Throw Barbs were awesome in the beta, if you had enough gold to buy the weapons you went through so quickly. We figured they'd be good in the final game also, but of course they proved inadequate for bigger games and especially on higher difficulties. Weapons weren't sufficient, small stacks, no repairing weapons, no magical throwing weapons, etc. Most of which are fixed in D2X.
May 7, 2000
- Shiver Armor is a Clvl 12 skill from the Sorceress' Cold Spells Tab. A step up from Frozen Armor, this one protects the Sorceress by raising her Armor a substantial percentage (45% at Slvl 1), and chilling (4 sec at Slvl 1) any melee attackers that land a successful hit on you, giving the Sorc time to move away, or blast them. See the Stats up to Slvl 10, and a cool animation showing off the light radius boost.
This was the called the "Popcorn Armor" in the beta, due to the way the ingame graphics send little splashes of cold dust up into the air over her head constantly.
May 14, 2000
- Revive is a Clvl 30 skill from the Necromancer's Summoning Skill Tree. Revive requires the Necromancer to target a corpse, and from it resurrects the monster to serve the Necromancer. The Revived creature is black in color, as you can see here, and has a substantial hit point bonus; 200% at Slvl 1. The AI is rather lacking though, and Revived's are clearly the stupidest of all the Necromancer's minions; slow to attack, and requiring the Necromancer to often wait for them to keep up.
The screenshot link is live.
Revive wasn't available in the beta, of course (no one got to Clvl 30 anyway) but we were all eager to try it out, though enthusiasm was somewhat tempered by our reports that they were very slow and dumb from seeing them at Blizzard North.
May 26, 2000
- Valkyrie is a Clvl 30 skill from the Amazon's Passive and Magic Skill Tree. This one works much like a golem, creating a powerful warrior to fight along side the Amazon. She looks just like an Amazon in gold plate mail, is always armed with a spear, and does substantial melee damage. With a lot of hit points and, she is excellent at "tanking", drawing the attacks of the monsters, freeing up the Amazon to heal or murder them from a distance. Valkyrie in action.
The semi-ugly icon here is a result of us making it ourselves. There had never been a Valkyrie icon shown, but we remembered more of less what it looked like from seeing it at Blizzard North, so we did what we could.
This is an odd screenshot, it's either evidence of two Decoys at a time, or else a Valkyrie that changed headgear to match the player, way back when. We don't know which at this point.
May 29, 2000
- Duplicate, formerly known as Dopplezon, is a Clvl 24 skill from the Amazon's Passive and Magic Skill Tree. This skill is essential, as a pre-requisite to enabling the extremely useful Valkyrie, at Clvl 30, but it's useful in its own right. It creates an exact duplicate of the Amazon, mirroring her current equipment. The duplicate lasts for a set amount of time, or as long as its hit points last, if it is attacked. It can not move or fight, but is useful to distract the monsters from the Amazon, letting her heal or fire on them from a safe distance.
The name changed a lot, since it's Decoy in the final game. I still prefer Dopplezon myself. A "doppleganger" is a "ghostly counterpart of a living person", which certainly is an appropriate name for this skill, but Blizzard probably thought not enough people would know what it meant and be confused by the skill name. Not that that ever stopped them on the Curses or Auras, which have effects that are hardly ever anticipated by their names. Basically Amazon skill names got cheesed.