Opinions are like food, some of them good but most are bad. We all have different tastes. While some might cringe at that peanut butter, cheese, egg, and mayo sandwich. Others might revel in every savory bite. That being said, this is my egg sandwich with cheese, peanut butter, and mayo on the mod Median XL for Diablo 2.
In anticipation for the new Diablo 3 coming out, I decided to give a go to my old favorite Diablo 2. This time however I wanted to do it with a twist. So I searched the internet for various mods for this cult classic.
One that really caught my eye was a mod called Median XL. The thing that stood out the most was that it changed the game up almost completely. Yes, you still run through and murder tons of baddies in the classic scenario: Rogue Camp > Lut Gholein > Kurast > Pandemonium Fortress > Harrogath.
They did however change the way all of the baddies work. From giving them new abilities, to changing their sprites. The classes have all been changed as well. Gone are the old skill trees and in are the new. Each class has special rules regarding their skill tree. For example, the Paladin gets to choose to either be a light paladin or a dark paladin. Once you choose one the other becomes locked and inaccessible.
Every class also has a general skill tree to go along with their more focused skill trees. Your hard earned skill points may be spent in those trees as you see fit. Then as another way to keep people interested they have skills that require you to do in game quests which differ from those of the main story arch.
For example, one skill quest requires you to venture into a dungeon of skeletons of every kind. There are also destroyable pillars spread through-out this open dungeon that spew out skeletons and have an aura that makes them immune to all damage. Thus prompting you to want to rush through and kill these pillars before you are overrun with skeletons that you cannot kill.
There are also skills called “Uberskills”, of which there are three and you can only choose one. One of those three usually coincides with your skill build or adds a bit of uniqueness to you. All of these skills cap out at 35 for the amount of points you can put into them. You can level up to 120. There are more items, more skills, more monsters, more things to do that make this mod as amazing as the classic game is. The sad part about all this, is that I have only scratched the surface of all the things you can do in Median XL and all the new stuff there is to experience.
They wanted it rebuilt… but they didn’t want to spend a lot of money
My adventure started in the lovely village filled with hot women that clearly wanted to get lesbian with me. Me being the sorceress I was playing of course. I grab my staff with no plus to any skills and head out into the wild. The first bits are just like the classic game which stands as the foundation for solid time wasting. Much like a point and click adventure. You vigorously use the stick to head technique until you get points to put in other places.
One thing I noticed was I could only pick two elements to specialize in, and that one of those elements is poison. I did not know poison was an element that a sorceress for, but hey it is new and exciting. So I decided to go lightening and fire. Fire apparently has bonus HP and HP regen skill, and lightning shoots real lightning! As I was adventuring in The Cave, I came across what was supposed to be level 2.
There was something slightly different about this “cave”. It had the text “Danger – Uberquest Area”, and me, being a boss, went down anyway. Needless to say, it ended poorly for me. I got caught in gangbang of about fifteen guys, all who wanted to see my body strewn across the ground with gold on my face. After that little escapade I decided it would probably be best to avoid those types of areas. I was nearing the end of my day and the final level of the catacombs was drawing near. I could not wait to kill Andariel.
Upon opening the door to her lair I was greeted by what can only be described as a tide of skeletons, fallen, and various other assorted demon types. Along my way to the bottom of these catacombs I came across a sword that was sorceress only. At first I laughed at a sorceress-only sword. Then I read that it did Area of Effect damage. My mind reeled and I slapped that baby in hand an cut a swath through the lines to Andariel.
Andariel proceeded to cast what appeared to be a full screen of meteors. A part of me died at that moment. Mostly because I could not escape the screen of meteors, but it occurred to me that she might be hard this time. I stocked up on potions, repaired my armor and weapons and went down for round 2. This time I laid her out something good. Not only did she have a host of new skills, including a full screen of meteors, but she also appears to have a high drop rate for unique items. So I murdered her a few more times, and got some unique items. None of them were good for me sadly, so I went about my day narrowly avoiding death and probably doing things I shouldn’t be doing.
While Diablo 2 is older than time, or at least it feels that way, many people including myself still get enjoyment out of it. I personally cannot wait for Diablo 3 to come out after playing it at my last trip to Blizzcon. I decided to do this review in the light that Diablo 3 should be coming out soon. Median XL is everything a Diablo 2 player enjoys about Diablo 2. Tons of items, amazing builds with numerous paths, cube recipes for every occasion, and of course waves of bad guys to mercilessly slaughter.
My experience with the mod when I played it a few months ago and then again for this review has oddly not changed. I thought it might have just been the nostalgia of playing Diablo 2, but it turned out to be just as much fun now as it was then. All together I would say this is a solid investment of your time if you enjoyed Diablo 2 and possibly if you did not enjoy it.