Diablo II ladder and competitive character reset coming November 26

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BlizzCon 2013 found Mike Morhaime pledging to make Diablo III the sequel it should be. Every bit the sort of promise we’d expect from developers working on the follow-up to a beloved ARPG – but for the fact that Diablo III was released a year and a half ago.

Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that Blizzard can’t stop playing with the tricky formula at the centre of the series, though. Each of their games is an ongoing project, a relationship conducted in tandem with its community. I mean, check those numerals in the headline – they can’t even quite leave Diablo III’s 13 year old predecessor alone.

On Tuesday morning next week, Blizzard will tear down Diablo II’s dedicated servers – called Realms – for up to six hours before they’re reassembled. During that time, all existing ladder characters will be switched to non-ladder. They’ll remain in every other respect just the same – but will no longer have access to ladder-specific content including rune words.

The result will be a “clean slate”, with all ladder characters beginning anew at level 1 without previous item gains to ease the climb.

To join the race, log into Battle.net once the Realms have returned, tick the ‘ladder character’ checkbox in character creation, and hack away. Check your progress at any point via the ‘Ladder’ tab in the Diablo II Battle.net interface.

Diablo II’s competitive ladder has clearly lent it a much longer half-life than it might have had – so it’s small wonder that Blizzard have been “looking into” a ladder for Diablo III. Wyatt Cheng warned in May that it “wouldn’t be viable until an expansion” – but hey, look what Reaper of Souls is.

Is that something you’ve been holding out for in the still-new Diablo? And what do you make of Blizzard’s recent assertion that Diablo II should have been online-only?

Thanks, PC Gamer.