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This new book reverse engineers Diablo 2 to discover how it was so good

diablo 2 game design book

If you’re the type to really dig your teeth into the crunchiest bits of RPG design, boy have I got news for you. A new book has just been released on the intricacies of Diablo 2, pulling it apart piece-by-piece and examining how all those bits came together to make an all-time classic.

We agree that Diablo 2 is a classic, and that’s why it’s on our list of the best old games on PC.

Reverse Design: Diablo 2 is built on 600 hours of research, as well as interviews with the original team, including project leads David Brevik and Max Schaefer, lead designer Stieg Hedlund, and level designer Stefan Scandizzo. It’s all on the academic and mathematical side, but the book is tremendously detailed in laying out how every single stat contributes to the overall design.

The book also does a great job in laying out how different forms of randomness affect the final product, a precept game designers understand, but most players seem not to.

Most of the book is available for free at the Game Design Forum, but you can kick the author a few dollars for access to the full ebook with extra content, along with the rest of the series covering the likes of Half-Life, Final Fantasy VII, and Super Mario World with similar depth.

Diablo 2, released originally in 2000, saw its final patch just a last year. With the release of StarCraft Remastered, Diablo 2 would be a popular choice for Blizzard to revisit next, and they’ve hinted that a remastered version could be coming.