The Unofficial Diablo Player Guide v1.1 28th Jan 1997
written Edward Kenworthy
So why am I writing this player guide ? Basically because I had a look on
the Web and couldn't find any that were any good. An awful lot of very
pretty looking Diablo pages and FAQs but they either lacked substance or
were woefully out of date covering such things as "when will Diablo be
released ?". And besides I've played a lot of Diablo and I can write and
I want to do it. So here it is. Version 1.0 of my player's guide.
This guide is not a faq - it's written in a more prosaic style and to be
blunt there are some things I just don't care about and so will probably
never include a section to cover them (unless I get nagged enough ;)).
Such subjects include "How do I play Diablo without a CD ?" "How do I
play Diablo on Windows 2.1 ?" "How do I play Diablo on my Linux install
?" - I DON'T CARE ! Go whine at someone else you sandal wearing hippy !
;-). I have a Pentium running Windows 95 and 48 MB of memory and
everything is just fine. (Well nearly, but I won't bore you with my petty
whinges if you don't bore me with yours :)). All I'm interested in is
playing the game !
Note also that I've generally avoided including stuff that's in the
manual. If you want that then RTFM !:)
One word of caution. There are spoilers in here. Because of the style I
have chosen to use for this guide they are scattered through out the text
as appropriate with no other warning. If you want to enjoy all the
surprises then don't read this ! I certainly enjoyed (and am still
enjoying) the surprises and won't be offended if you feel the same way
and therefore choose not to read the rest of this guide.
Sorry ! :(
I'll keep this as short as I can. This guide is copyrighted by me, Edward
Kenworthy, 1997. Feel free to copy this guide as many times as you like
and put it on your web pages or wherever; you can even print it if you
like to read in the... bath. Please just give me the credit I'm due :=).
Under no circumstances may you charge for this guide or any part of it.
If you want to contribute anything then that's great, just send it to me
at: firstname.lastname@example.org and you'll receive full credit. I get
to keep full copyright on the guide and any contributions (and you accept
that condition by posting me contributions), but hey that's no problem as
the guide will always be free - it's just to avoid any misunderstandings.
At first glance and after playing Diablo for a short while it seems that
there are only three significant differences between the three available
character classes: which skill do you receive, what sex are you and what
are your starting stats. It seems that from then on you can follow
whichever path you wish regardless of your starting class choice. To a
degree that is true but there are other less obvious differences between
the different classes. Firstly depending on which class you chose you
gain more or less for allocation of points to differing stats - the
Wizard, for example, gains 2 mana points for each point allocated to the
Magic stat - the other two classes gain only one. Also his maximum Magic
is higher than that of the other two classes - the maximum Magic for a
Rogue is 70, for example. The Rogue and Warrior have similar benefits
with regards to Dexterity and Strength respectively.
The other difference between the classes is that each is quicker at doing
what it is best at. The Rogue is faster firing her bow, the Warrior
faster at swinging his axe or sword or mace and the Wizard faster at
This is the primary statistic of the warrior. It has two effects. Firstly
it adds a bonus to the damage inflicted by your character - whether melee
or ranged weapons. Secondly it allows you to use certain items of
equipment - armour and weapons - which usually have a minimum strength
requirement to use.
This is the primary statistic of the Wizard. It has a number of effects.
Firstly it determines how many points of Mana you have to cast spells.
Secondly it allows you to be able to cast spells (see the section on
spells below) and thirdly some staves and all scrolls have a minimum
Magic requirement to use. Some magic items give a bonus to Magic; these
are called names like "of the Dragon" or "of Wizardry" dependent on how
much of a bonus they give. Some cursed magic items give a negative
"bonus" to magic and these are called "of the Fool" or similar.
The primary statistic of the Rogue dexterity affects the character's
armour and "to hit" percentage. Some bows also have a minimum Dexterity
requirement for you to be able to use them. Some magic items give you a
bonus to Dexterity, these have names like "of Precision" or "of
Perfection" depending on how much of a bonus they give you.
The only effect I am aware of that Vitality has is to give you hit
points. That's it. Some items give a bonus to Vitality and these are
called names like "of Health" or "of Vigour". Some items give a penalty
and these are called "of Illness", for example.
This is a measure of how much damage you can take before you die.
Vitality, level and class are the basic factors in deciding how many hit
points you have. Some magic items give you an increase in hit points,
these items have names like "Armour of the Lion" or "Helm of the Wolf"
depending on how many hit points they give you.
This is the amount of spells that you can cast. Magic items that give a
bonus to Mana are called things like "Spider's Ring".
This is a measure of how hard it is for a monster (or player) to hit you.
How good your armour class is depends on your level. AC 40 is reasonable
at 10th level but sucks at 20th.
A combination of the attacker's to hit and the defender's armour class
decides the attacker's chance to hit. Magic items give two possibly types
of bonus, either an absolute increase in your armour class eg an "Armour
10" item gives you an additional armour value of 10 if worn. Typically
this represents the physical protection given by the item (eg a helm) and
is not magical. Some Unique Items ("The Protector" is one I know of) have
an Armour value even if they don't obviously physically provide such
protection. "The Protector" for example is a staff - which does not
normally have an Armour value.) Magical items normally provide a magic
armour bonus expressed as a percentage (eg "+147% Armour"). This means
that after your Armour value is calculated it is modified by this bonus.
For example a bonus of +147% would turn a basic Armour of 100 into a
final Armour of 247.
This is the amount of damage you inflict. It's a combination of your
Strength damage bonus, plus the damage inflicted by your weapon (but not
any additional variable damage, for example the 1-6 points of flame
damage your firey sword inflicts) modified by any % damage bonus any of
your items give you. Magic items that give a bonus are called things like
"Brutal Maul". Items that give a negative "bonus" are called things like
"Useless" :=). Some magical items give a fixed increase in damage, for
example +6 to damage. These items are called things like "Sword of
This is your chance to hit an unarmoured monster. It's based principally
on your level and Dexterity and is modified by any magical items you have.
There are three types of resistance available. Both characters and
monsters can have resistances in each of these three areas. Characters by
using magical items, monsters have them intrinsically and may even been
immune to one or more of them. The best that characters can manage is 75%
resistance to a particular thing. (One of my characters had unique item
once, a "Ring of Constriction" which gave her 75% immunity - which the
description said was maximum - in all three areas. Unfortunately it
drained hit points at the rate of 1 per second ! It quickly got converted
* Fire - Resistance to fire gives the chance to completely avoid damage
from a firey source.
* Lightning - Resistance to lightning gives the chance to completely
avoid damage from an electrical source.
* Magic - despite the name this does not seem to give a general
resistance to magic. Instead it appears to be resistance to certain
magical attacks, the only one of which I am currently aware is Stone
By default each character radiates a certain amount of light. Certain
magical items can increase or decrease the strength and hence radius of
light emitted. This is particularly important for characters using
magical ranged attacks: bows and spells.
Monster heroes also radiate light and this can be a useful warning that
there's a monster hero nearby. Monster hero's radiated light can even be
seen through walls (!) and if they're invisible. Just aim for the centre
of that moving patch of light !
Swords: Dagger, Short Sword, Long Sword, Broad Sword, Claymore, Great
Sword, Bastard Sword, Two Handed Sword, Falchion.
Maces, Flails and Morning Stars
Staves: Composite, Short, Long
Axes: Small Axe, Great Axe
Short War Bow
Long War Bow
Short Battle Bow
Long Battle Bow
There are a number of standard types of armour, listed below which
determines their basic armour value and required strength to use. These
are listed in increasing order of armour class.
There are several different types of Headgear ranging from skull cap,
through cap and helm to full helm.
Rags, robe, cape, leather armour, hard leather, studded leather, ring
mail, chain mail, banded, splint mail, breast plate, plate mail, gothic
plate, full plate mail.
Buckler, small shield, kite shield, large shield, tower shield.
Rings and Amulets
Potions and Elixirs
Mana. Restores Mana. Available in full and partial versions. Can be
bought from the witch.
Health. Restores health. Available in full and partial versions. Can be
bought from the healer.
Rejuvenation. Restores both health and mana. Full and partial versions
exist. Can be bought from both the witch and the healer. They are a lot
less cost effective than separate mana and health potions (Full Health
plus a Full Mana Potion costs 300 gold. A Full Rejuvenation costs 600)-
but takes up half the space and takes half the time in combat to imbibe
for the same effect.
Elixir of X. There are elixirs for each of the stats that permanently
increase that stat by one. Note however that unlike magical items they
cannot increase that stat beyond the character classes limit. In this
case the Elixir is simply wasted. Can be bought from the witch at a cost
of 5000 gp. However she only ever has a limited selection and they only
seem to be offered once you reach about 25th level.
Experience. I have only heard of this potion appearing in the beta
version. It could be bought from the peg-leg boy but had a rather serious
bug. Rather than giving a single level it immediately promoted the
imbiber to 50th level ! Something of a bug. Whether it exists in the
release version of the game or not I don't know (although there are some
50th level characters running around battle.net who have suspiciously low
hit points given their level...)
Death in Diablo is never permanent and therefore not a disaster. If
you're playing single player then all you have to do is go back to your
saved game. You did save the game recently didn't you ? In multiplayer
you can re-start with the same character back in town. What happens is
that you lose all your mana - if you had any left - and are back on one
life. Obviously then a trip to the healer is the first order of the day.
(Nothing more embarrassing than getting all tooled up, trekking through
four levels of dungeon to recover your items only to be killed by a
Horror because you forgot to get healed first ! I know - it happened to
If you check your inventory you'll find that you lost everything you were
wearing - rings, armour, amulet, readied weapons, helmet, and some money
(except if you were killed by your own spell - eg you walked into your
own Wall of Fire or if you are on the "Down to Diablo" level). But
anything that was in your back pack (other than some money) or belt is
safe. Also you'll have all of the spells you've already learnt - you
can't lose those "weapons" even if it was readied - which is one of the
things that makes learnt spells so good.
Next job is to consider whether it's possible for you to go and recover
your lost items (I'm assuming here that you were alone and not
resurrected) which will have been dropped where you were killed. The
worst possible place to have been killed was whilst surrounded by
monsters at the only entrance to a level. Chances are that as soon as you
arrive you'll be butchered again - so you may want to give it a couple of
goes and then give up if you get nowhere. (DO NOT GO IN WITH ANY READIED
ITEMS - you'll just lose those as well.) Try the suicide recovery
technique - below.
There are two tactics for trying to recover your items. If you think you
can kill all the monsters using the equipment you have left (perhaps you
were caught by surprise and mobbed and now you now you'll clear the way
with a couple of well aimed lightning bolts) then arm up and go in a slog
it out, kill all the monsters and recover you items.
The second method, I call the suicide recovery technique, involves diving
in with no items readied (perhaps just a mana shield running) and aiming
to grab as much of your stuff before being killed. As items are placed in
your backpack when you collect them when you're killed they all come back
with you to town. The exception to this is if you have no weapon readied
and you pick up a weapon it is automatically readied and, of course, when
you are killed gets dropped again. The answer to this is to have some
cheap dagger or lump of wood with a nail in (ie something you don't care
about losing) readied so any weapon picked up is safely stashed in your
As part of this tactic you may need to lure the monsters away from your
items first, by running up to them and then quickly running away before
doubling back. Alternatively you could treat this as a purely suicidal
run to get them well out of the way and set yourself up for the next life
when you can make a more leisurely collection.
This is a list of standard monsters. I may eventually get around to
listing their hit point ranges and resistances etc but I doubt it. Also
note that this list is possibly not complete. That's because you never
meet every monster in every game. I've only seen Guardians, for example,
in one game that I've played. Please feel free to email me any additions.
* Zombies, Rotting Corpses, Ghoul, Black Death
* Skeletons, Skeleton Captain, Corpse Axe, Corpse Bow, Burning Dead,
Burning Dead Captain, Horror, Horror Captain
* Scavenger, Plague Eater, Bone Crusher, Shadow Beast.
* Acid Spitter, Poison Spitter
* Fiend, Gloom, Blink, Familiar
* Overlord, Mud Man
* Winged Demon, Gargoyle
* Juggernaut, Frost Charger, Obsidian Lord
* Storm Rider
* Cave Viper, Gold Viper, Crimson Drake, Azure Drake
* Lava Lord
* Unseen, Stalker, Hidden
* Goat men: Flesh Clan, Fire Clan, Stone Clan, Night Clan
* Succubus, Snow Witch, Hell Spawn. Soul Burner
* Doom Guard, Blood Knight, Black Knight
* Advocate, Magistrate, Counsellor
* The Butcher - Overlord.
* Skeleton King
* Duke of Sludge - Mud Man.
* Foulwing - Gloom.
* Spine Sucker - Bone breaker.
* Sir Gore - Blood Knight
* Soulpus - Zombie
* Rotfeast the Hungry - Zombie
* Madeye the Dead - Burning Dead
* Blackash the Burning - Burning Dead
* Goretongue - Blackdeath
* Skullfire - Corpse Bow
* Moonbender - Blink
* Archbishop Lazarus - Counsellor
* The Dark Lord - guess who ;-)
There are 16 levels with regular shortcuts straight back to town level -
which makes things easier. These short cuts occur at the beginning of
each new section. In multiplayer they are open straight away but you have
to be a minimum level to use them (dependent on the difficulty level). In
single player games they open when you find them in the labrynth.
The first four levels are called the Dungeon and entered via the
cathedral. The next levels (5-8 inclusive) are called the Catacombs which
are entered from a small temple to the east of the town (slightly north
and east of where the town portals appear). Levels 9-12 are called the
Caves - the entrance to which is amongst the rocks on the way to the
peg-legged boy. The next levels (13-15) are called Hell and the direct
entrance is a glowing crack in the earth north west of the town, just to
the south west of the bridge you take on the way to the peg-leg boy. The
final level of Hell is called "Down to Diablo" rather than level 16 and
is got to through the pentagram on level 15 near the stairs up to level
One thing to be aware of. In the final level - "Down to Diablo" - and
that is that if you die - unlike all the other levels - you do not lose
any items. However because the game ends when (if) you kill Diablo you
lose any and all items that you left "safely" in the village. I lost
THREE unique items in this way. I was NOT pleased !
This is the standard difficulty level.
This is the second difficulty level. To start here you need to be at
least 20th level. All the monsters are significantly enhanced - but so
are the treasures and experience points. You'll gain more experience
clearing the first two levels of the Dungeon at Nightmare level than you
would clearing levels 5 to 8 ! But then even the Rotting Corpses average
over 100 hit points !! And don't ask about the Butcher...
This is the third difficulty level. To start here you need to be at least
30th level. I haven't made it yet so I don't know the differences but I
assume it's the same as Nightmare level - only harder. I hate to think
how hard The Butcher is...
The majority of shrines have a positive effect, whether it's to give you
two potions of full rejuvenation or add a couple of levels to all your
spells. However there are one or two that have a bad effect. I've never
experienced one so can't be sure but apparently there are.
Strategies and Tactics
Diablo, despite some people's claims, is not a strategy game. There are
no grand strategies you can plan and execute (please, before arguing, go
and look up the definition of the word strategy). Tactics and possibly
"Grand Tactics" yes, strategy no.
Okay, onto the tactics.
The number one tactic which you should learn and are never, ever, too
tough to ignore is RUN AWAY !!! There are two reasons for doing this. One
is to escape a tough monster - typically this will require running out of
sight, but for some monsters - like King Leoric - it may require leaving
the level as they are a bit more persistent and seem to have an almost
radar like sense of where you are (and they can open doors !!! The first
time King Leoric did this to me I almost jumped out of my seat. Shortly
after I was smeared all over the walls of the room I had been cowering
The second reason to run away is to string out the monsters. Numbers
count, for several reasons. Firstly each monster has a chance to hit you.
Two monsters attacking have double the chance of hitting and causing
damage than one monster. Four monsters four times the chance, etc. So
obviously you'll get killed more quickly and have less time to kill them.
Secondly each time you're hit it makes you stagger and spoils any spell
or blow you were preparing. Get hit often enough - more likely with
multiple attackers - and you'll never get a chance to hit back. Uh oh !
Thirdly there are more targets for you to spread your attacks over which
leads onto the next combat tip:
Concentrate Your Attacks
Simple maths says that it's better for me to completely kill one monster
than wound three. The simple reason is that three wounded monsters fight
just as well as three healthy monsters and do just as much damage. Two
healthy monsters plus one dead one however do only two third's of the
damage. Concentrate your attacks on one monster until it is dead.
Generally you should concentrate on the weakest first to get them out of
the way quickly. This is particularly true with the monster heroes, who
typically have a large group of consorts. Avoid the big monster and aim
to kill off all his hangers-on before turning on him.
Dealing with Ranged Attacks (Bow Fire and acid/poison spit)
There are four main ways of dealing with ranged attacks and which you
choose depends on your character and the circumstances.
* Shoot it out. If you think you're hard enough (and obviously have a
good ranged attack) then you can choose to simply dive in and shoot it
out. A variation on this is to duck back a bit (to reduce the number of
enemy firers) and then shoot. Picking them of one by one and slowly
advancing (possibly guessing the firer's off-screen location by where
their missiles are coming from.) This only really works with skeleton
archers (and their variants). Goatmen and poison spitters, for example,
will just follow you. In which case, use option two. Duck around a corner
and wait for them to follow you and pick them off one by one as the come
around. This also works if you have no ranged attack as it brings them
into melee range (otherwise monsters that have a range attack runaway if
you come too close). Ranged weapons include both spells (lightning bolt
being one of the best) and bows.
* Simply dive in and try and corner the archers and butcher them where
they stand. Be careful though as quite often by moving closer you'll come
into range of more archers. And of course the archers runaway from you as
you come closer.
* Run for it. The first variant is to duck around a corner and wait for
them to follow you before picking them off one by one (corners are
preferable to doorways in this case). The second variant is to decide
it's all too much for you at the moment and you need to "re-group" then
simply keep running...
* Finally use spells. Golem - which monsters seem to ignore (!) - and
Firewall are good spells.
Handling Large Groups of Monsters
There are a number of ways you can handle large groups of monsters.
* Firstly you can sod subtlety and simply wade in for a gore-fest. This
only really works if you armour is good enough that they are unlikely to
hit you otherwise you're in trouble (see the section on Running Away for
* Secondly you could use mass destruction spells like multiple Lightning
bolts or Novas to even up the numbers.
* Thirdly you can run away in order to string out the monsters and then
pick them off one by one - either hand to hand or with bow or spell fire.
* Firewall is also a good way to thin out numbers.
* The section on Death for item recovery tactics.
Etiquette and Scams to Beware Of
In a word - Don't.
Whilst in Diablo it is possible to deliberately kill another player (but
not in town where no combat or spell casting, other than healing, is
allowed. Why casting healing is allowed when there is a healer to do it
for free is beyond me.) It is frowned upon in the Diablo community - and
quite rightly so. Not because we're all a bunch of wimps who couldn't
handle a deathmatch game of Quake but for two reasons. Firstly because
most of us feel it is against the spirit of the game - we're supposed to
be crusading against this great evil - Diablo - not butchering each other
for mere monetary gain. And secondly because there are no real safeguards
against a 20th level character turning up in a multiplayer game and
butchering all the 10th level characters he can find. (I have a 28th
level Rogue and I have no doubt she could butcher and entire party of
10th level characters - level makes a *big* difference. Great fun - not.)
So don't be a PKilling pillock. If that's your game why not go back to
pulling the wings off butterflies and leaves us to enjoy our game ?
Top Tip: If your 10th level character is being attacked by a 20th level
PKiller then the easiest way out (and best way to deny the bastard any
reward) is to hit Escape and chose "Quit Diablo" or "New Game". Then
restart, go back to the same game and, whilst safely in Town, loudly
broadcast the fact that a certain player just tried to murder you. Or
perhaps bring your 25th level character with his vicious 2-Handed Sword
of Might into the game track down the rotten sod and return the
A word of caution. It is possible to kill another player even if you are
"player friendly" by the incautious (deliberate or accidental) use of
missile weapons or spells. Often you'll find those dumb warriors just
insist on wandering in the way of your hail of arrows. Always apologise -
even if they were stupid and it was their fault. It avoids any mistakes
over attempted PKilling. The caveat is never, ever fire into a melee
where you don't have a clean shot. It just pisses people off.
One of the down sides to not being able to attack another player in town
(this might seem strange given my above demagoguery) is that it is easy
to rip players off (or to be ripped off). There is *no* secure way to
trade items - this is something that Blizzard really should fix - and
unlike in the real world because violence is not allowed in town (and
there's no police force - not with the king dead anyway ;)) there's no
way to *force* the thief to hand back your goods.
Scams to be aware of.
Number one and most blatant is "Let me just have a look at that Kingly
Plate of the Zodiac just to see if I can use it." And then he does a
runner leaving the game. One way to deal with this is to trade from
opposite sides of the river. That way you can see what each of you has
dropped but neither of you can get away with both.
Note there is a bug in Diablo which means that items just "disappear" in
multiplayer games. I've confirmed this in a direct connection game where
on occasion items would be visible on one computer but not the other !
And then disappeared.
Most players however are honest, the word is never to trade anything
you'd be terribly upset to lose... The Witch and the Blacksmith may offer
ridiculously low buying prices - but at least you know they'll honour
what they say.
Another unpleasant scam to be wary of seems to be perpetrated by low
level characters on higher level ones. Basically they beg to come along
on foray with you - and then if you get killed steal all your items and
run !! RYAN you theieving bastard - when I find you you are DEAD !
What Next ?
From the ending it appears that a sequel is on its way. And why not ? The
Diablo engine seems capable of doing so much more... So here are some
ideas for Blizzard :=)
* Make the principle baddies a lot more... different. Diabol and Lazarus,
for example, were simply improved versions of the other monsters - more
hits and more damage sure but basically the same.
* Vampires with level drain. Now there's a monster to worry about,
*especially* at high level. Kill the vampire to recover lost levels.
* Some out of dungeon stuff. Fighting in the village and raids on it by
* Secure trading between players.
* No deliberate PKilling possible, *or* have the villagers ignore
PKillers - afterall they're after heroes not more evil types so why
should they help them (heal, trade, identify items) ?
* New character classes: Cleric, Paladin etc. With *useful* skills. For
the cleric Heal/Heal Other - but only to a maximum of 50% of total life
* Call unique items "Artefacts" or "Relics".
* Allow some monsters, Ghosts or spectres or something, to walk through
walls. Now that would be frihtening the first time it happened !