Blizzard has a tough time of things. When you make games that consistently rank among the best and brightest of the genre, everyone has increasingly high expectations of you. Blizzard did an excellent job of improving upon the devilish gameplay and storyline in Diablo when they released Diablo II last year. While Diablo II was very entertaining, all good things must eventually come to an end, and thus was beginning to get a little long in the tooth for some gamers. Expansion packs seem to be all the rage these days, though, and Blizzard, of course, won't make another exception.
The frozen river under the fields of the Arreat Plateau.
This time, however, Blizzard elected to create the expansion pack for Diablo II in-house. Instead of being taken on by Blizzard North, Sierra published the Hellfire expansion pack for the original Diablo. While the expansion pack offered a great storyline and some interesting new areas to play in, some of the other features were rather lacking, including multiplayer, and the expansion pack itself got a rather tepid response from gamers.
Diablo II: Lord of Destruction, sets out to take these issues head-on, correcting and improving the gameplay while adding new levels and depth to the story.
Although the title of the expansion pack point-blank gives away some of the plotline, those who have not finished Diablo II yet may wish to skip to the next section, so as not to be spoiled.
Lord of Destruction picks up at the very end of Diablo II, with the player defeating Diablo and sending his Soulstone to the Hellforge to be destroyed, thus sealing his evil away forever. Marius, who was safekeeping the Soulstone of Baal, was to travel to the Pandemonium Fortress as well, delivering the Soulstone to Tyrael. Marius chickened out, however, and admitted himself to an asylum, hoping to escape that which has plagued his life and soul. Baal, planning to avenge the death of his brothers, tricks Marius into giving him the Soulstone, after which he promptly kills Marius and flees.
Baal begins a journey to the Barbarian Highlands, where he seeks the Worldstone, which has overseeing power above the Soulstones. Baal plans to use the Worldstone to immediately bring the world to doom and resurrect his brothers. Tyrael, seeing the unfolding doom, whisks away the player to Harrogath where he/she can begin his pursuit and domination of Baal.
My name is Baal, Lord of Destruction. You killed my brothers. Prepare to die.
The player doesn't have to go it alone, however. Two new characters come out from the woodwork to help in the fight against evil. The Assassin fights the legions of the damned using her stealth, cunning, and martial arts skills, while the Druid brings with him the power of nature and animal mastery.
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