Diablo Wiki
For other meanings of the term, see Diablo (disambiguation).
The Box Cover of Diablo
Developer(s) Blizzard North
Publisher(s) Windows, Mac
NA Blizzard Entertainment
NA/EUElectronic Arts
JP Electronic Arts Victor
Designer(s) David Brevik
Erich Schaefer
Max Schaefer
Eric Sexton
Michio Okamura (lead artist)
Kenneth Williams (game developer)
Series Diablo
Version 1.09
Released PC
December 31, 1996
NA January 3, 1997
PAL 1997
NA May 1998
JP April 28, 1998
NA March 1998
PAL April 1998
JP July 9, 1998
Genre(s) Action role-playing game, hack and slash
Mode(s) Single Player, Multi Player
Ratings ESRB: M (Mature)
PEGI: 16+
ELSPA: 15+
KMRB: 18+
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows, Mac OS, PlayStation
Media CD-ROM
System requirements Windows
Windows 95 or better, 60 MHz Pentium or better, 8 MB RAM (16 MB for Multi Player), 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
Input methods Keyboard, mouse

Diablo (otherwise known as Diablo I) is an action role-playing game developed by Blizzard North and released by Blizzard Entertainment on December 31st, 1996.

Set in the kingdom of Khanduras that is located in the world of Sanctuary, Diablo has the player take control of a lone hero or heroine starting outside of their house in town as they set out on a journey to rid the town of Tristram of the titular Lord of Terror, and his horde of demon minions lurking in the shadows within the Dungeon lying underground, beneath the Cathedral located on the outskirts of town.

Diablo was a best seller. Following its popularity, an unofficial expansion pack entitled Diablo: Hellfire was developed by Synergistic Software and released in November, 1997 by Sierra Entertainment. This was followed by a sequel, Diablo II, which was released by Blizzard Entertainment 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 hordes of demons, pouring forth from beneath the ruined Tristram Cathedral, and the player must save the town. As the player delves into the network of labyrinths within the Dungeons, and later on the Catacombs beneath, which in turn are followed by the Caves further deep down, he or she discovers more about the Demon Diablo, who is residing in the final level of Hell, which lies even further beyond, through large tomes which are found throughout the levels. Eventually, the player reaches the lair of Diablo himself 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 within a Soulstone and buried in the caverns deep beneath the town of Tristram centuries ago by an ancient people known as the Horadrim. Although his imprisonment was meant to be eternal, Diablo worked tirelessly to corrupt his Soulstone, eventually overpowering his prison. Diablo received help from the thoroughly corrupt Archbishop Lazarus, who had been turned into his loyal servant. However, in order for Diablo to actually manifest himself in the mortal realm, he needed a mortal vessel to house his spirit.

Diablo first tried to possess King Leoric, the local ruler of Tristram, but due to his weakened state and the strong will of the King, Diablo failed to gain full control. Therefore, the demon abandoned the King, which in turn left the King crazed and senseless. Lazarus then kidnaps King Leoric's younger son, Prince Albrecht. He leads him deep into the Catacombs where he inserts the Demon's Soulstone in the Prince's forehead. This allowed Diablo to possess and warp the prince, thereby attaining material form. 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, infesting the entire underground complex, gradually turning the region into an outpost of Hell.

The maddened King Leoric accuses the townsfolk of Tristram with the kidnapping of Albrecht, and has several people executed. His loyal knights try to calm him, but as the crazed king has completely lost his sanity they are forced to kill him. His dying words are a terrible curse, damning the knights into unholy servitude. Meanwhile, Lazarus emerged from the catacombs and rallied the townsfolk, leading them deep into the catacombs in order to save the prince. This turns out to be a trap - instead Lazarus lures and leads them to the lair of The Butcher. Many of the townsfolk are slain by the demons. Afterwards Lazarus flees deeper into the underground Dungeon.

Demons appear in the countryside as the Lord of Terror regains his strength in the very heart of the labyrinth and prepares, biding the time when he would once again emerge to seek out his brothers - Baal and Mephisto - and free them as well. It seemed to be only a matter of time until the three Prime Evils gained dominion over the entire mortal realm.

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

At the end of the game, the hero removes the Soulstone from "Diablo's" head (being that of Prince Albrecht, that is). To the player's surprise, Diablo begins to melt away, revealing Prince Albrecht's body underneath. The hero then pierces his or her head with the Soulstone, attempting to contain the Lord of Terror himself. However, the end of the game hints at a darker outcome. The final scene depicts the hero, swathed in a shadowy, hooded cloak. The closing words are foreboding:

"The Soulstone burns with Hellfire as an eerie red glow blurs your vision. Fresh blood flows into your eyes, and you begin to hear the tormented whispers of the Damned. You have done what you knew must be done. The essence of Diablo is contained... for now.

You pray that you have become strong enough to contain the Demon and keep him at bay. Although you have been fortified by your quest, you can still feel him, clawing his way up from the dark recesses of your soul.

Fighting to retain control, your thoughts turn toward the ancient, mystic lands of the Far East. Perhaps there, beyond the desolate wastes of Aranoch, you will find an answer.

Or perhaps... salvation!"


Diablo (Diablo I) 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, just like in 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, and the expansion pack for Diablo II, which is Diablo II: Lord of Destruction has a huge online gaming community, complete with a primitive game world economy due to the rarity of most of the popular items.

Character Classes[]

The three character classes from Diablo are the Warrior, the Rogue, and the Sorcerer. Each character, following typical role-playing conventions, has his or her own particular traits. The Warrior possesses physical Strength, the Rogue has got 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 (Diablo I)

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 any need for physical weapons - he can kill his enemies solely with magic, whether it be searing arcs of flame 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 like a Sorcerer, while a sorcerer is able to 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 as 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, resulting in the rogue being the more balanced character out of all three.

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 example, only the Warrior is able to 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 got the maximum possible Dexterity required to use a high-level Bow.

Character Stats[]

Diablo Character Classes: Minimum and Maximum Stats
Attributes Strength Dexterity Vitality Magic Life Mana Per Level Up Per Vitality, Magic Per Vitality, Magic/Items
Characters Min Max Min Max Min Max Min Max Min Max Min Max
Warrior 30 250 20 60 25 100 10 50 70 316 10 98 +2 Life, +1 Mana +2 Life, +1 Mana +2 Life, +1 Mana
Rogue 20 55 30 250 20 80 15 70 45 201 22 173 +2 Life, +2 Mana +1 Life, +1 Mana +1.5 Life, +1.5 Mana
Sorcerer 15 45 15 85 20 80 35 250 30 138 70 596 +1 Life, +2 Mana +1 Life, +2 Mana +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; the other two 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, she has a higher hit chance in the use of bows and also a faster rate of fire similar to the Warrior with melee weapons. The Sorcerer has the highest chance to hit with magical spells and the fastest Cast Rate, as well as gaining more Mana than any of the other two classes from items which increase 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).

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 Maximum Attributes 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 classes. 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 charges are reduced. Therefore in using such an ability, the item loses its potential and worth, which is why it is highly recommended to use these skills only on low-end equipment, e.g., normal items or magic items of low worth.

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 or being hit by enemies in combat and the chance of blocking a hit if wielding a shield. It also increases the amount of damage dealt by ranged attacks (for the Rogue only). The more 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 learned 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 class 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, unless the character in question is a Barbarian. 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, Magic and some are even immune to all of the three elements, which is called Triple-Immunity.

The Dungeon[]

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, just like the exit of the Church Dungeon.

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.


The monsters of Diablo I are undead monstrosities, vicious nocturnals and demons spawned from Hell. As the player progresses, it passes through four distinct areas: the Cathedral, the Catacombs, the Caves and Hell, which has started 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 Magma 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, Goatmen 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 50% more damage from swords/blades and 50% less damage from blunt/clubbing weapons.
  • Demons: Take equal damage from all kinds of weapons. Diablo himself is considered a Demon.
  • Undead: Take 50% more damage from blunt/clubbing weapons and 50% less damage from swords/blades. Undead are the only monster type (aside from Diablo himself) vulnerable to the Holy Bolt spell. The Skeleton King Leoric is an Undead just like the skeletons and zombies.

Items and Shrines[]

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


These are items which are consumed 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 consumables. 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 I, rather than over time unlike 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 the Apocalypse Spell to level 15.) Those spells (Nova Spell) which cannot be learned from books must be cast using staves and scrolls.


Weapons, Shields, Armor, Helms, Rings and Amulets 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, use a two-handed weapon in conjunction with a shield, or hold two shields simultaneously.

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 and they're always Indestructible. 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 not identified to obtain its unrivalled 60 AC without suffering the resistance and light radius penalties. You still won't receive the major attribute enhancement (+20 to all) and the enemy damage reduction though, but most players still believe it's worth it nevertheless.


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 (Computer Role Playing Game) 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.

Multi Player[]

The game supports several types of Multi Player 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. A typical duped/hacked item seen online is the "Godly Plate of the Whale", a combination of enchantments which actually can never appear legitimately on Full Plate Mail 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).

Versions and Expansion Pack[]

Diablo was cited to be officially released by Blizzard in January, 1997, with an official announcement of the release by Blizzard Entertainment on January 3, 1997, although the game had originally been set to be sold in stores on January 6, and its wide release was reported on that date by CNET Gamecenter. However, certain retailers had broken the game's official street date by January 2. Designer David Brevik claimed in 2016 that certain West Coast retailers already had begun selling the game by December 31, 1996. 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.


Tome This page contains obsolete content
This article contains information that is no longer relevant to gameplay.



The idea of a game called "Diablo" existed as far back as David Brevik seeing Mt. Diablo. The original concept for the game itself was more of a traditional party-based RPG, turn-based and heavily influenced by Rogue, NetHack, and Ultima. Brevik started designing the game when he was 16. His exposure to Roguelikes in college (including Rogue itself) further influenced his early designs.[2]

When Condor was formed, Brevik put together a 10 page design document for Diablo, describing it as a turn-based, Single Player DOS game that would have expansion packs (he likened the expansions to the booster packs of Magic: The Gathering).[3][4] The expansions were expected to be picked up at cash registers at $5 per expansion. Each would have their own theme, such as "Dark Nightmares" or "Holy Avengers."[5] The game would have permadeath, which had been a feature of previous roguelikes. The game would also have a claymation art style, taking inspiration from Primal Rage.[3] The idea of permadeath was removed due to how punishing it was for players, but would return later in Hardcore mode.[6] Brevik hoped the game would be an improvement (e.g. graphics) on the games he played in college.[2]

At the time, the RPG genre had a focus on narrative. The developers wanted to instead focus on the action, with story layered into the background.[7]

Early on, the idea was to set the game in a dark gothic world, bereft of orcs or elves.[8]

Development Cycle[]

Initially, game was pitched to various publishers without success, given that it would be PC-exclusive, and the sense among publishers that the game's genre was too niche.[8] The game was pitched around 20 times and rejected in each case.[2]

Condor approached Blizzard Entertainment in 1995 with their idea for the game—a turn-based, singleplayer claymation RPG. The use of turn-based combat would involve action points which would determine how many actions would be possible in a given turn. Both the player and monsters would use these points.[5] The turn-based formula came from early Roguelikes.[2]

"Diablo" was simply its working title at the time.[9] At this point, Condor had to decide what the game would actually look like as it appeared on-screen. Brevik took a screenshot from X-COM as a point of reference as part of the pitch.[3] Blizzard accepted the pitch.[9]

The game's development process was difficult, and left Condor on the brink of insolvency several times.[10] The game was given an initial budget of $1.2 million. Even for the time, it was a budget that was very small.[11] The game had a development staff of 15 people.[4]

Condor was purchased by Blizzard Entertainment and renamed "Blizzard North" about halfway through the game's development process. This changed the nature of the project and the developers almost started over, as they were now free from their former budgetary constraints.[10]

The game's "crunch period" of development began in August, 1996.[12] Battle.net was implemented into the game's Multi Player six months before release.[10] Towards the end of its development, members of Blizzard South were transferred to work on the game before returning to work on StarCraft.[13] This included work on the development of battle.net, as during most of its development, Diablo didn't have Multi Player modes, or even codes for Multi Player. Brevik was wary of people hacking, but Blizzard reasoned these would be isolated incidents. Brevik was proven in the right, leading to revamped architecture for Diablo II.[3]

Compared to RPGs of the time, the gameplay of Diablo was intentionally streamlined. Examples include controlling one character rather than a party, and the absence of character backstories. Brevik has cited his experience in developing console games as part of this design philosophy.[2]

No propriety tools were used in the game's design. Background tiles were created by hand, and commercial software was used to process character art.[14] The developers intended to implement a "jog" function that would allow players to navigate Tristram more quickly, but they couldn't implement the required animation. This function would not be implemented until the game's expansion.[15]

A pre-alpha released demo was provided in November, 1996, through PC Gamer.[3] The game went gold on December 26, 1996.[12]

Art Style[]

"We called it gothic fantasy at the time. It was a combination of trying to not to look like everything else, and my love for dark and grimy Italian zombie movies. We wanted it to be gritty and gory. I wanted you to kill the first monster by bludgeoning its head in with a shovel, before you even got a sword. Lots of the looks were based on my travels to castles, churches, and catacombs."

The game's art style was designed to be dark and bloody, to stand in contrast with traditional high fantasy (e.g. elves).[16] Erich Schaefer was the game's art director, in addition to being its lead designer. The look of the game was taken from his love of Italian zombie movies, and his personal visits to churches, castles, and catacombs.[8] The art style caused some unease from Davidson & Associates (the company that owned Blizzard at the time).[16]

Cinematics and Story[]

"I wanted there to be a relatable core to the fiction, to create a big, classical, mythical backdrop behind what was a relatively simple gameplay experience in terms of lore."

In the original story, Diablo would be the actual Devil. In opposition to him was a hero where, in a backstory different from the final product, the hero had lost his home and family to raiders. Left with nothing save vengeance, the hero would trace the raiders to a crypt with a labyrinth below it. It was also intended that the game's ending be open-ended to allow for different themes in future sequels. Goblin caves and a "living fungus world" were ideas pitched for such themes. These locations were intended to be released in expansions.[5]

Blizzard's cinematics team was created at around the same time as Diablo I was being developed.[17]

Chris Metzen originally reacted negatively to the "Diablo" name.[13] Metzen later developed the game's story.[18]

The game's final cinematic (where the hero plunges Diablo's soulstone into their forehead) was sent to Blizzard North one month before the game's release. This created some contention with Blizzard North, as they hadn't been consulted, and the implication was that the hero died at the end of the game. However, according to Erich Schaefer, "we liked it enough, and it was just weird enough, and it was too late to do anything else."[19]

User Interface[]

A year into development, Blizzard requested that the game be turned from a turn-based game to a real-time one, along with featuring a Multi Player component. Brevik protested the decision, but everyone in Condor agreed to the change. Brevik converted the game from turn-based to real-time over the course of a few hours of coding.[3]

Condor disliked RPG menus during Diablo's development, due to the time spent on character creation before one could begin the game proper. Inspiration was taken from Doom in regards to the game's menu, including thematic inspiration. The idea that the UI would meet the "mom test" (i.e. "could my mom play this?"). The idea was to make something that players could start playing as quickly as possible, with minimal hang-ups.

The game's map took inspiration from Dark Forces, and was implemented in the last 3 months of the project.[3]


At least two conceptions of the game's class system exist prior to the final version that was implemented in the game.

In the original design document, the player would be presented with a choice of class and race. 5-6 human races would be offered (hill people, forest people, etc.), each with advantages and disadvantages. The player would then have a choice of class, namely fighter, thief, or magician. All the characters would be able to use weapons and cast spells, but advantages would exist based on the nature of the class—the fighter would gain more attacks, the thief would move faster and have stealth advantages, and the magician would be able to cast more powerful spells. The magician would be able to choose from one of four schools of magic. After making the choice, the game would provide the character with basic statistics in the form of strength, magicial aptitude, dexterity, and vitality. The player could also choose a pre-set character, skipping the character creation process. The idea of sub-classes was also mentioned.[5]

A different take on the characters also existed prior to the game's release. It has been stated that it was originally intended that the game would only have a single class (represented by the warrior), where players could distribute attributes to their liking and thus take the character in whatever direction they wanted. The division of the character into the warrior, rogue, and sorcerer archetypes occurred late during development.[20]

Cut Content[]

Diablo was originally intended to be much more expansive than the final product. A large number of monsters, characters, items, and quests never made it into the retail release.[21] A large portion of this content is still contained on dormant files hidden on the CD of the game.

  • 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 the Stars" quest.
  • Tristram was originally going to be much larger, featuring a general store for equipment and repairs (whose function was implemented on Griswold), a temple for healing (function taken by Pepin) and a training center.[5]
  • Many item graphics were never used in the final game, including the Map of the Stars for its corresponding quest, which was hacked many times into the game and spread over Battle.net.
  • Some spells never made it into the retail version. The original spellbook was set to have six pages (this can be checked in Diablo's manual, page 18, in a screenshot 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, and 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.[22]
  • Some enemies don't appear in the final version, such as the Unraveler (which appeared as the Shredded in the Hive from Hellfire and was later added in Act 2 of Diablo II), Goat Lord, Incinerator, Bone Demon, Invisible Lord, The Arch-Litch 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.[23]
  • Certain townsfolk wouldn't remain static in Tristram, hinting they would move around village. Griswold, Ogden and Gillian for instance, had fully animated walking cycles.
  • Many hints for quests that never made it into the final game can still be viewed on the game's main data file.
  • Originally, the The Butcher's quest was a bit more intricate. His room would be empty upon finding it, and returning to Tristram would trigger new dialogue for various characters. Wirt, in particular, would start speaking in a strange, backwards manner, mentioning a portal in The Butcher's room. Gathering more information on the townsfolk, particularly Adria, revealed that casting spells inside his room would cause "unexpected results". By returning inside his room and casting a town portal, a red portal would appear instead, directed to "Butcher's Chamber", which was a mini-level where the player would fight Fallen and skeletons, and The Butcher at the end.
    • This alternate version of the quest, as well the Butcher's Chamber level, are present in the Diablo demo, but were removed from the final release of the game.
  • A character named Tremain the Priest does not appear in the final game, but his sprites exist, and 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 would start the two quests:
    • The first one is "Fleshdoom, Wielder of Shadowfang", where he would task the player to kill the demon Fleshdoom, who escaped the body of a survivor from the expedition to the labyrinth after Tremain and Pepin conducted an exorcism. The priest also asks the player retrieve Fleshdoom's cursed blade, Shadowfang, a unique sword. According to Griswold, it is an ebon blade crafted in the hellforge, that can rend the soul of whoever it strikes, cleaving it from the body. Tremain begs the player to not attempt to wield the blade, because its demonic powers corrupts the soul; instead, says he'll destroy the cursed sword. However, once the player returns with Shadowfang, Tremaine fails the holy ritual and is instead consumed by hellfire, but cries for the player to cast the blade in the hellforge, before dying. His soul presumably was trapped within the ebon blade. The player would supposedly be able to reach the hellforge to destroy Shadowfang.
    • Tremain would also be 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 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.
  • Gillian was originally involved in two of the quests.
    • The first one would be called "Izual, the Fallen Angel", in which she mentions that, while drinking at the tavern, Farnham started rambling about Azurewrath, a fallen angel named Izual, and a key in a barrel. Inquiring Farnham about it would result in more drunkard mumbling. However, if the player consults Deckard Cain, he tells about the legend of how Izual was fatally wounded after an assault on the hellforge, and cast into a dark pit that corrupted and transformed him into a demon, and would wield his once holy blade, Azurewrath, against the forces of heaven instead. Adria reveals that Izual's pride trapped him in an immortal torment. Upon finding and defeating Izual, the reward of this quest would likely be Azurewrath, a unique sword.
      • Izual, the quest and the sword were later added in Diablo II.
      • This quest is originally referenced in a concept art made by Chris Metzen, which depicts Izual with human features and feathery wings, being pulled into the black abyss by demons.
    • The other quest given by Gillian involved hunting down the demonic temptress Andariel, the Maiden of Anguish, after reports of men mysteriously vanishing from the town, as well sights of strange lights and crimson shimmering in the woods. Cain would say that Andariel's thirst for mortal blood was so strong she found a spell to breach into the mortal realm, and use lust to lure and devour men. The player would supposedly navigate outside of Tristram, fighting Andariel in the end.
      • Andariel was later retconned as one of the Lesser Evils, and added as the boss of Act 1 in Diablo II.
  • Pepin the Healer was involved in a quest where he would ask the player for aid in cleaning an infested cellar, located in one of the town houses, as "Giant Worms" had invaded beneath. The house in question is located in bottommost of Tristram, with an open door, where Farnham the Drunk resides outside. Inside the cellar, the player would navigate a small dungeon with a design reminiscent of the caves, fighting Wyrms along the way.[24]
  • Horazon would've been featured in a quest, where the player would find various tomes in the Catacombs, and one of them would warn the player to walk away, for trespassing would inflict the wrath of the Summoner. The player would supposedly be able to enter Horazon's Sanctum and fight various creatures, while also finding more tomes, the Horazon's Journals, which described how he managed to trap Azmodan's lieutenant, Doomlock, and Belial's lieutenant, Grimspike.
    • Returning to Tristram after reading the tomes before finishing the quest would reveal more information on it:
      • Deckard Cain would talk about events regarding The Sin War, particularly mentioning a rivalry between Azmodan and Belial. According to Cain, Horazon somehow trapped the lieutenants of these Lords of Hell inside his Sanctum.
      • Adria would ask the player to kill the two lieutenants of Azmodan and Belial trapped within Horazon's Sanctum, stating that if they escape their prison, they'll create a link to the world that "will make what lies below the cathedral seem like a children's tale".
    • Horazon's Sanctum in Diablo's cut quest would've likely inspired the Arcane Sanctuary from Diablo II.
  • Farnham would give the player a quest, supposedly later in the game, where he would mumble about an "island where angels watch" and about picking up stones to reach the place, claiming he was there before. While some of the other townsfolk would dismiss what Farnham said as being just drunkard gibberish, others would support his story. Wirt would say he heard rumors about the island, and of sorcerers who tried to create a portal to get there. Pepin states he read about the island in his books, and that warriors of light would go there to mend their wounds sustained in The Sin War. Griswold would say that said place exists in legend, calling it "The Island of the Sunless Sea", located at the edge of hell and filled with treasures, where warriors would go to fight the armies of darkness. Deckard Cain will recall that the Ancient Chronicles of the Sin War tell about an oasis for those who acted as watchmen over the gates of hell, and that angels and holy warriors would heal themselves, gather their strength and prepare for the war; The Island of the Sunless Sea would be fabled to be hidden behind trinity of rocks. Lastly, Adria claims, with certainty, that this island is real and filled with "great rewards". The player would supposedly reach the island and cleanse it from demons.
  • Wirt would start a quest where he is found talking to himself about losing a treasure map, which he remarks last seeing it between a rock and a tree, before the bridge. The player would supposedly be able to find the map near the bridge that leads to Adria's Hut, which matches his description. Should the player inquire other townsfolk about the it before returning the map Wirt, the response would be that they don't have time for the common fantasies of a child's imagination, and state that there is no buried treasure in Tristram, as the map's drawings don't even match the town's layout. Ogden would mock the player, saying the whole story is probably a prank the boy is playing on them. Gillian, however, would believe Wirt and the map, saying it looks pretty old, and that some of the buildings in town don't match the map. The player would supposedly be able to find the treasure somewhere in Tristram.
  • A quest called "Map of the Stars", supposedly one of the last in the game, was to be implemented, and it would be the only quest in the game the player could actually fail. The player would find a mysterious map depicting the sky and the stars, which would start the quest. The player would be then set on a timer to defeat Diablo before the stars aligned; if failing, a cutscene would play, showing the Lord of Terror attaining his full might and become "all but invincible", and "one may never have a chance to rid the world of his evil ever again." Diablo would supposedly be invincible or, at least, extremely hard to take down.
    • This was the only removed quest which was ever officially recognized by Blizzard, who mentioned that it was left out because "it changed the way you played Diablo".
    • A reference to this quest was later added in Diablo III: Reaper of Souls's yearly event, The Darkening of Tristram, which celebrates the anniversary of the original game.


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 last patch, v1.09 was released in 2001.

A bug that is only noticeable on latter-day computers is the colors appearing 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. This effect can be worked around by killing explorer.exe before or after starting Diablo (tested on Windows 7). Another possible workaround for Windows 7 is to right-click on the desktop and select "Screen Resolution" before launching the game. It's also possible to Alt+Tab out of Diablo after starting, right-click on the desktop, select "Screen Resolution", and Alt+Tab back into Diablo while the "Screen Resolution" window remains open. In Windows 8 it is possible to fix this color wash issue by changing the compatability settings under properties of either setup or autorun. Under settings, allow color reduction and use either 8 or 16-bit color mode. Blizzard have subsequently released a registry fix for this which is available from their site.

Another bug that prevents players from connecting through Battle.net is the fact that if you play the 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 then 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.

Reception and Influence[]

Diablo 1 box anim

Diablo I box animation

The game sold 2.5 million units.[9]

Critical Response[]

The large majority of reviews Diablo received were very positive. It received an average rating of 94 on Metacritic,[25] with many awarding the game near-perfect or perfect scores on their respective grading systems. Most praised the game's addictive gameplay, immense replayability, dark atmosphere, superior graphics, moody musical score, and its great variety of possible 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.[26]

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.[27]

Diablo's online Multi Player 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.[28]


Diablo 15 Year Anniversary

Diablo 15 year anniversary.

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 Secret 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. This would later become a running joke around Blizzard Entertainment's offices.

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 a 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 which were cows walking upright and carrying halberds. 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.

This is later referenced in Diablo III as well, through a tip on the loading screen, and when the spirit of the Cow King allows the hero passage to Whimsyshire. In the spirit's case, the hero is confused as to why he is seeing a cow, and remarks that something has gone wrong, be it a health potion, or where he/she went wrong. After insulting the hero as 'a stinking bag of flesh with no fur', the Cow King bids them welcome to the 'level of sparkling happiness and rainbows'. They then break the fourth wall, asking 'You mean the cow level?', to which the Cow King defends Blizzard's stance on the cow level, before telling them to 'move' along.

However, there is a secret level that can only be accessed by transmuting a Bovine Bardiche into Kanai's Cube, which then opens a portal to "Not the Cow Level" which has the portal with special text telling the reader not to tell anyone as they won't be believed. This could be a reference to how the Secret Cow Level was opened in Diablo II, as it required the Horadric Cube and had the player use it to transmute Wirt's Leg and a Tome of Town Portal. This level in Diablo III was originally only open to the public through a different method, and only for a limited time, but was changed to allow everyone a chance to play the "nonexistent" level.


This section contains facts and trivia relevant to this article.

The game's 20th anniversary icon

  • 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.
  • A contest was held after Diablo launched, offering to pay $100 to the first player who could kill Diablo. Shortly thereafter a player used a health-swapping skill to run down to the final boss, swap health with him, nearly die, swap again and slay him. The skill was promptly removed from the game.[3]
  • The Diablo game logo uses the font Mason Serif by Jonathan Barnbrook, with minor alterations made to the letters.

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. Diablo III confirms that while all three heroes fought Diablo, it was Aidan the Warrior who took the stone.
  • 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 Rogue was later confirmed to be the Blood Raven, her mortal name being Moreina.
  • 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. He was later named Jazreth.
  • 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, Adria is, in fact, alive since she is confirmed by Blizzard to appear in Diablo III, she escaped Tristram before it was attacked. 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.[29] 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: Brood War, 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 Illidari 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.


In March 2019, the game was re-released on the GOG digital distribution platform. It is available in two versions; the first is the original Battle.net version of the game, which is completely unchanged and allows players to connect to one another through Battle.net. The second is the GOG-enhanced version, which offers several quality of life additions, including minor audio fixes, up-scaling support for resolution and refresh rate control, and compatibility fixes. However, this version cannot connect to Battle.net and only supports Multi Player via LAN and P2P connection.[30]

On 29/30 January 2024, the game along with the Hellfire expansion released on Battle.net itself and can be installed via the Battle.net desktop app.[31]


See also[]


  1. Jarulf's Guide to Diablo and Hellfire
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2024-06-07, The Making of Diablo - David Brevik Interview. YouTube, accessed on 2024-06-10
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 2016-03-18, 20 years later, David Brevik shares the story of making Diablo. Gamastura, accessed on 2016-03-24
  4. 4.0 4.1 2019-06-28, Diablo 2 Legacy Recounted by Stay Awhile and Listen Author. Diablo.net, accessed on 2019-07-03
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 2016-03-19, Original Diablo Pitch Document. Graybeard Games, accessed on 2016-03-23
  6. 2017-04-27, Diablo Podcast Special #220 - David Brevik Interview. YouTube, accessed on 2017-04-28
  7. 2020-02-23, Rhykker Q&A with David Brevik, Max & Erich Schaefer at ExileCon. YouTube, accessed on 2020-09-21
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 2017-07-30, 20 YEARS OF DIABLO: AN IGN RETROSPECTIVE. IGN, accessed on 2017-07-31
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 2011-20-11, Diablo Retrospective. YouTube, accessed on 2015-09-15
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 2000-10-25, Postmortem: Blizzard's Diablo II. Gamasutra, accessed on 2015-07-04
  11. 2012-09-07, Tough times on the road to Starcraft. Code of Honor, accessed on 2018-07-08
  12. 12.0 12.1 2000-10-25, Postmortem: Blizzard's Diablo II. Gamasutra, accessed on 2015-07-04
  13. 13.0 13.1 2015-11-06, STARCRAFT: THE PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE. Polygon, accessed on 2015-11-18
  14. 2000-10-25, Postmortem: Blizzard's Diablo II. Gamastura, accessed on 2015-07-05
  15. 2018-06-29, How a Diablo expansion led to behind the scenes trouble. Polygon, accessed on 2018-06-30
  16. 16.0 16.1 2016-07-13, Diablo 2 vs Diablo 3. YouTube, accessed on 2016-07-30
  17. 2015-09-15, Blizzard Retrospective. YouTube, accessed on 2015-09-15
  18. 2008-08-12, Designer: ‘Diablo III’ Rounds Out Trilogy, But Not The End Of ‘Diablo’. MTV, accessed on 2016-01-23
  19. 2015-09-08, Page 3: In Their Own Words: An Oral History of Diablo II With David Brevik, Max Schaefer, and Erich Schaefer. US Gamer, accessed on 2015-09-12
  20. 2012-10-12, Diablo Was to be Classless, Diablo II Almost Received a Second Expansion. GameBanshee, accessed on 2013-09-10
  21. "Diablo Evolution". Diablo Evolution, a centralized source for information regarding Diablo's removed content. Retrieved on November 22, 2006.
  22. "Removed Spells: Analysis". Diablo Evolution. Retrieved on November 21, 2006.
  23. "Base Monsters 1 (PR & Beta)". Diablo Evolution. Retrieved on November 21, 2006.
  24. "Removed Quests". Diablo Evolution.
  25. "Diablo review(pc: 1996)". Metacritic. Retrieved on November 22, 2006.
  26. "Diablo for PC review". GameSpot. Retrieved on November 21, 2006.
  27. "Diablo Review". Adrenaline Vault. Retrieved on November 21, 2006.
  28. "Diablo Review". RPGFan. Retrieved on November 21, 2006.
  29. "The Secret Cow Level". The Arreat Summit, Blizzard's main Diablo II site.
  30. 2019-03-07, Diablo (1996) Available on GOG.com. Blizzplanet, accessed on 2019-03-13
  31. 2020-01-30, Face the Lord of Terror in Diablo, now available on Battle.net. Blizzard Entertainment, accessed on 2024-01-30

External Links[]