Getting through any game is possible by simply ripping open the shrink wrap, loading the software, and making a lot of guesses along the way. If you're really talented you might even get through the game well, without a lot of swearing on your part. On the other hand, some of us like to have a little help. If you are one of those people than this section is for you.
Within the bowels of this section you will find arcane and mysterious methods of dealing with the denizens of the labyrinth. Buried for long centuries these strategies were employed by the warriors of yore, and now with Blizzard's masterful recreation of a time long past, can be employed once again in the present time on your PC. Well, actually, they are simply ideas that I have gathered through my own play or through chatting with many people on line about what works best, but that other story sounded better, didn't it?
The tips are divided into two sections, those attributable only to Multiplayer gaming, usually because they require more than one character to use and those that can be carried out alone. These are grouped under the heading of single, but keep in mind that they are single only in spirit and not necessarily in practice. Many of the Single player strategies can be used in a multiplayer game as well.
A couple new strategies were revealed to me about things to do once you get to the ultimate challenge, Diablo. The easiest is one of the most effective ways to kill him, and that is with Holy Bolt. It never occurred to me that he might be undead, but if you think about it what else would he be.
The other strategy is real cool. Clear the level as usual, meaning clear all monsters before you pull the next switch, or switches. If you want more detail on this, check out my Quests page for a more detailed description of how to kill Diablo. The difference here is that you do not kill him until everything else is dead. This allows you to collect all the stuff from his buddies first without having to worry about Diablo. The only ingredients you need are some potions to keep you alive (mana or healing depending on what type of 'life force' you use) and the ability to cast a teleport spell. Once you have released Diablo, coax him out alone the way I discuss in the Quests page. You can bring his friends with but that makes it more difficult. Lead him into the spiral, which is the hallway you walk around in to throw the second switch. Once you lead him into the middle, teleport out. Diablo will be trapped in the spiral and you can clean up the level and come back and kill him later. While you are walking and leading him, he will obviously be attacking you so this is why you need the potions.
When meeting a large group of superior enemies it is best to fight them in a one-on-one mode if at all possible. This is best done by standing just outside the doorway. If a doorway is not available try to find a smaller passageway, especially down in the caves or in hell. The goal is not to get attacked by too many monsters at once or they may hit you so often that you cannot get a swing in. This can be especially deadly when they surround you and you can neither hit them or escape.
When fighting either Hidden or Mages your best solution is a stone curse, especially with mages, otherwise everytime you approach them they vanish and appear somewhere else. If you do not have the ability to cast a stone curse spell your next goal should be to trap a monster in a corner with you at a 45 degree angle from them. By doing this the monster cannot vanish and appear behind you, they are in fact trapped in that corner. Mages will continue to disappear, but they will reappear right in front of you in the corner until they are dead. This is a great way to kill Archbishop Lazarus if you cannot stone curse him.
You may have noticed that the monsters tend to move in spurts. They take a few steps and then stop, take a few more and stop. You can use this to your advantage, especially in a room with lots of objects, like columns or chests. Monsters take some time to orient themselves while you are moving, by running around obstacles you can keep beasties, like the Skeleton King away from you all day long. This allows you to quickly stop, fire a few shots with a ranged weapon or spell and then run around some more items as they approach. Obviously this works best when the room is not full of monsters.
One of the most common mistakes I see people do when they first start is run away from one attack into a room they have not yet explored only to be sandwiched between two attacks. I've played with a few people that backed off from a fight. Seconds later, I see, "Oh s---!" on the screen. Here they come running back with a mob of monsters on their tail. Now we have to fight from both directions. Be careful to run into areas you have already cleared so as not to put your party in a real bad situation. If you've just entered the level this is not possible, other than up the stairs, but if you are careful you can clear the dungeon in some order to allow you a safe avenue of retreat.
Many people who play this game for a while say that the greatest asset to them is knowing what
lies ahead. Obviously there is no way to be sure what lies behind that door or around that
curve, but there a couple of strategies that can either make you sure or pretty close to it.
The first is one of the easiest, but most often overlooked. It is the almighty Infravision spell. You can get Infravision in only one way and that is by finding that little rolled up piece of paper called a scroll. Even though this spell cannot be memorized, much like Apocalyse or Identify, most people seem to overlook the fact that Infravision is as powerful an ally as either one of those enchantments. With Infravision you can see the heat outlines of any living thing, even through walls. While this will not tell you which flavor you will be tasting, it will at least tell you if it is a Goat Man or a Winged Fiend. This can help your party prepare accordingly or perhaps decide to pass up the area entirely.
The other method is more along the track of 007, and that is simply knowing the territory by having gone through it enough. This usually only works on the earlier levels, but expert players can still use it in the Caves or even Hell. Certain types of monsters tend to defend certain items. This method usually works best with rooms. Before you open the door, check out what "furniture" you can see, whether it be a shrine, a bookcase, or even a pool. In the first four levels, most rooms with books in them are defended by skeletons. In the Catacombs, almost all Goat Shrines are defended by archers, either Goat Men or Skeletons depending on what types of monsters the level has been seeded with. Although obviously less exact than Infravision, this method can give you a slight edge when moving through the dungeon.
Most of us that have seen a good shoot-em-up have seen the gunslinger carving notches in his
belt for each of the kills he's made. In Diablo you need to be aware that your belt is good you
some other things as well. Fill your belt with potions or scrolls. You can then simply hit the
appropraite number key to quickly use the item there. This can spell the difference between life
Depending on which class you are playing you will have different things on the belt. For a warrior I like to use mainly health, especially if I really do not use magic. For a sorcerer who has Mana Shield, this advice changes to filling the belt with mana. If I am playing a character that needs a combination of the two I try to place healing potions on the left and mana on the right. This keeps the appropriate potion near its status ball and does not confuse your brain.
The keys F5-F8 are the greatest friends a sorcerer can have. As you advance in levels you will
accumulate many types of spells, but if you're like me you'll find yourself relying on a handful
of favorites. Point to a spell in your Spellbook and press one of the four keys. That spell is
now assigned to that hotkey. During game play simply press that key and that spell is instantly
Do not think that this is a list of four spells that you set up and never touch again. Good sorcerers will change their hotkeys every level, if needed. Once you see what three or four types of monsters you will be dancing with on the current level, set up your hotkeys with the most effective methods of extermination possible. Even though they don't like you very much, those baddies have no problem walking around together, and in the lower levels you will meet Storm Demons immune to lightning walking right next to Magma Demons immune to fire. Using the hotkeys you can quickly move back and forth and use the proper spell to dispatch the beastie that is about to see what color your eyes are.
One tactic that I consider a little cheap is the post mortem use of Fire Wall. I've seen it
employed a few times, and yes, I've used it myself to retrieve items from a level I ventured
into myself when I was not quite ready. Fire Wall is the only spell in your arsenal that
continues to do its job long after you're gone. I've seen people fighting Diablo and just before
they die cast a Fire Wall and even though they are dead, Diablo dies in the flames.
The best use of this is if you KNOW you are going to die, such as when retreiving that cool armor you lost on level 12 on hell difficulty. Walk down to where you were and then cast as many fire walls as you can right around your character. The monsters will attack you and you will probably die, but they will stick around your freshly mutilated corpse and continue to slow roast. Eventually they will die. Restart in town, and go back a retreive your gear from an area that now no longer threatens.
I found this one by accident but have since been able to recreate it to verfiy that it wasn't the sheer joy of survival that had made me see things. My warrior walked into a room full of Magistrates. They are telporting around like crazy as I try to chase them down. I was getting low on health and had no real means of escape. I filled the entire room with Fire Wall. By doing this it appears as if the program no longer allows Teleport to work in that room and the Magistrates simply sat there and died.