Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Diablo II is an action-oriented adventure with role-playing game elements in a hack and slash style designed as a sequel to the popular Diablo. It was released by Blizzard Entertainment and developed by Blizzard North in 2000.
By 2001 (with the Lord of Destruction expansion pack), it had become one of the most popular on-line games ever, due to the free access to Battle.net. Diablo II may be played as a single player game, multi-player via a LAN or serverless TCP/IP, or multi-player via Battle.net. Diablo II is available for both Windows and Mac OS X.
Diablo II is considerably larger than Diablo; it spans a much greater game world consisting of four "acts" (with yet another added in Diablo II: Lord of Destruction), where each act consists of several areas themed for the act. The game increases the available character classes from three to five, and also adds new kinds of items – rare items and set items. The game engine allows much greater varieties in how the character looks depending on equipped items, the ability to run, a convenient key to see all items dropped on the ground, a stash to store character items in (that persists between games), and much more.
The story of Diablo II takes place a little after the end of the original Diablo. At the end of Diablo, Diablo, the Lord of Terror, is defeated. The hero then takes Diablo's soul stone (a device that is used to bind the soul of any demon or angel) and puts Diablo's soul into his own body, there to contain him for the rest of eternity. However, Diablo's corruption is rapid, and the hero soon begins to lose control. Before long, Diablo is more in control than the hero. In the opening scene of Diablo II, Marius, the narrator of the story, witnesses the Dark Wanderer (the original hero, possessed by Diablo) totally lose control and destroy a building. He is compelled to follow the Wanderer for reasons he himself does not understand. In the wake of the destruction, the player follows in attempt to stop the Dark Wanderer, Diablo. The rest of the story is revealed through the Acts, as the player eventually confronts Diablo and his two brothers, Baal and Mephisto.
Diablo II expands on the original by adding and transforming the already present classes of Warrior, Sorcerer, and Rogue into Paladin, Sorceress, Amazon, Barbarian, and Necromancer. The expansion, Lord of Destruction, adds two other classes, Druid and Assassin, to the mix.
The Paladin is, as the name suggests, a warrior fighting for all that is good and against all that is evil and unholy. To reflect this, the Paladin's specialty lies in auras that are either offensive or defensive in nature, and special combat skills ranging from fanatical attacks to specialized anti-undead spells. The auras add considerable complexity to the class as only one aura can be active at a time. The auras can enhance personal abilities, lower the enemy's, deal damage, or recover health. The Paladin, on top of having access to these auras, has access to great strength and health, and does not require much mana as the auras, generally, don't take any mana to have active.
While only one aura can be active at a time, before patch 1.10, a technique known as "flashing" was used. Many auras, once activated, soon attach onto nearby allies (or depending on the nature of the aura, enemies), so that the effect of the aura is shared. However, this spread effect of the aura is slightly delayed, and, moreover, the aura attached to anyone near the paladin persists for a few seconds after the paladin disables it. So, a somewhat common tactic was to have two offensive auras, one that affects enemies and one that enhances your personal self and allies. The paladin would switch on the enemy-affecting one, wait for it to "stick" onto the enemies, and then quickly "flash" to the personal aura (which effects the paladin immediately) and attack the enemies before the first aura dissipates. The process would then be repeated. After 1.10, this strategy is no longer viable, as auras now either change instantly or with unreliable speed.
The Paladin can also attack enemies with his shield, the more powerful the shield the more damage he can do with it.
The Sorceress focuses on ranged elemental spells in the areas of Cold, Lightning, and Fire. Her cold-based spells are generally the weakest, but have the benefit of chilling affected enemies (slowing them down) or freezing them (stopping them completely). Moreover, any chilled or frozen enemies may shatter instead of leaving a corpse. (A corpse can be used by some enemies as an attack or can be revived by other enemies to fight again.) Lightning spells tend to have long range and are more "utility" in nature. Their damage is widely variable. Fire is explosive and relies on hard-hitting spells.
The strong points of Sorceress are powerful damaging spells, and mobility which is very valued in multiplayer games. Weak points are strength and defense. Finding the good balance between both of these abilities takes expertise.
Some abilities of the sorceress are exceptionally effective. For instance, if a level 30 barbarian attacked a level 10 sorceress, the sorceress is in the best position to win. The elemental spells of the sorceress are extremely effective. Take the sorceress's frost nova for example. If a large amount of enemies attacked the sorceress, frost nova will freeze them, giving her either a chance to escape or an advantage in the ensuing fight.
To build a strong sorceress, give her a high casting rate. Also, her gear should be powerful, but have a low strength requirement. High vitality builds are very important and give your sorceress great resistance, especially since in Hell you lose 100% resistance to all elemental damage. Fire ball sorceresses are great since fire ball is based on faster casting rate so the faster casting rate you have, the more fire balls you can emit per second. Lightning sorceresses are powerful but most of their attacks aren't based on faster casting rates like lightning and chain lightning, which are widely considered the best lightning skills. Ice sorceresses are largely considered the weakest build. Maximizing the ice mastery skill is helpful, though many people don't believe so. It really helps out your sorceress because it lowers the resistance of the enemy, allowing your ice skills to do more damage. Blizzard is a powerful ability, but it's not a very accurate skill. However, frozen orb is great for attacking monsters. Fire ball is thought to be the strongest though. At least 1 skill point should be put into warmth for any sorceress and allow your bonus to the skill to boost the effects. Warmth is essential for casting characters. Learning the teleport skill is also important as it is useful for rushing.
Sorceresses who specialize in ice skills may have difficulty forming parties online, as the necromancer, barbarian, paladin, and druid classes all have skills that rely on intact corpses for some useful effect.
The Amazon is a very "active skill"-oriented fighter. While the Barbarian relies on brute strength and weapon skills, and the Paladin on auras and special abilities, many of the Amazon's abilities require far more attention. Her skills are oriented around personal (generally passive) protective abilities, the use of a bow and arrow (whose abilities are linked with the elements of fire and ice), as well as the spear and javelin (whose abilities are linked with the elements of lightning and poison).
In reference to the original Diablo, the Amazon is much like the Rogue: she is mainly good with ranged weapons (although her spear and javelin skills provide her with a solid melee force), and she is a middle point between pure strength and pure magic.
Although Amazons in Battle.net had been one of the greatest players in the past, after the 1.10 patch, they have become a very difficult build after reaching nightmare level of difficulty, unless you can afford the appropriate gear.
The Barbarian is by far the most powerful melee fighting character on a pound-per-pound basis. His skills are divided into various masteries, warcries, and combat skills. The masteries are purely passive in nature and allow the Barbarian to become highly specialized in various non-bow/crossbow weapons, as well as gain natural speed and resistances. His warcries are essentially "spells" that simply enhance his ability to fight in combat, or reduce the ability of the enemy. Warcries are similar to the "auras" of the Paladin class, where the warcries are temporary and the "auras" are permanent (while activated). His combat skills are attacks that simply maximize the brute force he can employ. While the Paladin has very specialized abilities (such as the ability to convert enemies temporarily), the Barbarian has attacks that pound out more brute damage.
The Necromancer is a magician, like the Sorceress, but in a very different manner. Whereas the Sorceress relies on blasting out as much elemental damage as possible, the Necromancer is a bit subtler in effect. While he does possess direct-damage in the form of poison and bone-based spells, by far his most specialized abilities are curses and summons. His curses are similar to a Paladin's enemy-affecting auras, except they are very temporary and limited in range and effect; they make up for this temporal nature with heightened and more powerful effects. His summoning abilities allow the Necromancer to raise skeletons, golems of varying natures, even former enemies themselves. Examples of known Necromancer "builds" are 'Bonemancers' which fire a barrage of bone and poison spells with occasional curses. 'Skellymancers' (a.k.a. Lazymancers) summon armies of skeletons (hence the name), and an occasional golem or revived enemy to fight their battles.
The Necromancer has perhaps suffered the most amount of play-change as Blizzard constantly "patched" and improved the original sale-version of Diablo II. Early on, the Necromancer skill "Corpse Explosion" was ludicrously powerful. Then, through successive modifications, the Necromancer decreased in relative strength and became mainly a favorite for the dedicated. With the 1.10 patch, however, the Necromancer is back in full force. Skeleton warriors, who were confined before to the role of mobile walls, now form the backbone of his assault force, and the already awesome Corpse Explosion now scales with the number of players in the game.
With the sorceress and the trap assasin, the Necromancer is currently the best character to play with no external items available (untwinked) as well as for Magic Finding.
This is a Diablo II: Lord of Destruction character class and not available in regular Diablo II.
The Druid could be best described as a "nature" version of the Necromancer. Instead of raising the dead, he calls forth vicious wolves, crows, and bears to fight by his side or serve as his bodyguards. Instead of poison and bone spells, he has a slate of elemental, nature-based spells (sort of like a toned-down sorceress, including spells such as volcano and cyclone). However, the main difference is that he can also shapeshift, and he has a whole slew of abilities that enhances this ability as well as giving him different attacks while using it. The Druid's shapeshifting abilities and nature-based spells clash, however: he can't use his nature-based spells, except for Armageddon, while in the form of a werewolf or werebear.
This is a Diablo II: Lord of Destruction character class and not available in regular Diablo II.
The Assassin introduces a very different style of play into Diablo II. Her abilities include "shadow disciplines," traps, and martial arts. Her shadow disciplines consist of Amazon-style passives and Barbarian-style masteries, along with a few interesting spells (involving blades resembling shuriken). Traps are a new way of attacking enemies; she can lay five at a time, and once laid, they fire (or activate) a given number of times at nearby enemies before dissipating. Martial arts is a radically new style of attacking enemies. It introduces the concept of "charges." Each of her martial arts attacks, instead of producing an effect, adds a "charge" of that attack to her. These charges last as long as the assassin is fighting; she can hold up to three of a given attack, and she can potentially have three charges of every attack active on her person (although this is a hard feat to manage). She then needs to perform a "finishing move" which may just be a plain punch or one of a few specifically designated finishing moves (which add extra effects), at which point all the charges release. Depending on how many charges were built up for an ability, the effect changes. Phoenix Strike for example, releases a meteor with only one charge, a chain of lightning with two charges, and a chaotic blast of ice for three charges.
New Game Concepts
There are several new game concepts introduced in Diablo II, that didn't exist in its predecessor.
While Diablo provided almost no item customizability, Diablo II improves in this area considerably. For example, all weapons (of which there are now around a hundred different varieties) can be socketed with gems that convey additional abilities. In Diablo II: Lord of Destruction, runes are introduced to further improve in this area, allowing players to create pseudo-unique items by arranging the runes to form runewords.
These are rarer than the regular magic items, and can contain more magic modifiers. Rare Item names are written in yellow in the game.
Set items all form part of a small collection. When some or all of the items in a certain collection are equipped by a certain character they become more powerful. For example, when wearing all items in Milabrega's Set, the items in this set will exhibit new powers introduced by the fact that you're wearing the entire item set. These powers are not available if you would only wear one item in the set, or mix items from various sets. Set Items can be found in the game rarely, mostly from the hardest monsters, like Act Bosses.
In Diablo II Lord of Destruction Expansion, there are totally 15 Normal Sets and 15 Exceptional/Elite Sets. Each Set contains from 2 to 6 items.
The Horadric Cube
One interesting new component of this game is the existence of the Horadric Cube. This is an in-game artifact that can change certain treasures into other treasures. For example, 3 partial rejuvenation potions may be combined to produce a full rejuvenation potion.
The Horadric Cube is further enhanced in Diablo II: Lord of Destruction to allow item crafting (giving items random properties not found on items dropped by monsters).
This device, which occupies four units of inventory space in a 2 unit by 2 unit configuration, is able to hold 12 units of items in a space measuring three units wide by four units tall. As such, it behaves much like a tesseract, storing 2 dimensional objects in 3 dimensions.
Diablo II introduced the concept of hiring mercenaries. Different mercenaries are available for hiring on different acts. In the first act, a Rogue-type hireling (as in the original Diablo) can be hired. In the second act, a spear-wielding mercenary is available. In the third act, one of three elemental mages can be hired. As for the fourth act... well, no one wants to brave Hell except for your character, so you're alone.
Diablo II: Lord of Destruction, however, expanded this concept greatly. Instead of having act-specific help that generally never improved with experience, hired help now persists for as long as you want (although you may need to pay a resurrection cost to revive them after they have died). They can be equipped with weapons, healed, and they also become stronger with experience, just like your character. Moreover, there were many improvements to hirelings in general to make them more viable as actual help. The second act hirelings, for example, previously notorious for dying quickly, have many extra abilities (such as Paladin auras) that make them favorites for many. In addition, the fifth act offers hirable barbarians that can use Barbarian-specific gear (although they are very limited and can only use the skills Stun and Bash from the Barbarian's skill tree).
Basically a combination of specific runes that are inserted in a socket item to make an item. They also have to be in a specific order. Most runewords are worthwhile.
The Secret Cow Level
The "Secret Cow Level" is a holdover of a running joke from the original Diablo which spawned from an internet rumor about a cow which, if you clicked on it enough times, would open up a secret level. The rumor was a hoax, of course, but the urban legend was born, and player after player bugged Blizzard about how to access the level. In Hellfire, the only official expansion to the original Diablo, it was possible to change a parameter in an .ini file so that the farmer who gives out the "rune bomb" quest was dressed in a cow suit, with appropriate new dialogue ("Moo." "I said Moo!"). This, of course, merely added fuel to the fire to the point where Blizzard snuck an easter egg into Starcraft which read, "There is no secret cow level." Evidently, the public pressure had gotten too great, as the Secret Cow Level is alive and well in "Diablo II." The exact method for opening up the level is a little arcane, but it didn't take long for someone to discover it (and is now posted on battle.net's "Arreat Summit" FAQ page). Essentially, after killing Diablo (or, if you have the LOD expansion, after killing Baal), return to the Rogues' Camp in Act I within the same difficulty level and combine Wirt's Leg with a Tome of Town Portal in the Horadric Cube. A portal will open up to the bovine hell that is the Secret Cow Level. You have been warned.
Long thought to be a myth or an aborted attempt, Patch 1.10 was announced to the world in May 2002, and was finally released to the public on October 28, 2003. This patch adds several new features and items into the game.
Ladder Characters: The patch introduces a new type of characters called Ladder Characters. Only Ladder Characters are ranked on the ladder (lists of the top 1000 characters on a realm in different categories). These characters are separated from the rest of the realm and can only join games created by other ladder characters. This effectively creates a new clean economy for these characters free from the existing economy where any item in the game can be had for the right price.
Ladder seasons are also introduced where ladder characters play together for a season. The standard season length is still unknown. When a ladder season ends, the ladder characters are converted to non-ladder characters. To continue playing in the new ladder season, players will have to create new characters, thus creating a new economy.
Ladder-only Features: The patch also includes items and cube recipes that are ladder-only. These can be found in game types except non-ladder Battle.net games. This restriction was added to compensate for increased monster difficulty in ladder games, and also because overall difficulty was further increased as the players have no longer access to their non-ladder items to help. When a ladder season ends the ladder-only items found will be moved to the non-ladder realm with the characters and will be quite valuable.
Rust Storm: Blizzard has implemented a new system for identifying and deleting illegal items on the realms, that was dubbed the rust storm (since hacked items are "rusted" and removed from the realms). When Blizzard is made aware of a new hacked or bugged item, they can simply update the rust storm filters and the item will be deleted from the entire realm. This should help keep the economy stable and free from items that give players an unfair advantage.
Leeching and Rushing: A popular playing style in the pre-1.10 realms was to "rush" a character – meaning that the player would have a friend of much higher level (the "rusher") quickly play through the game for them, completing the needed quests and skipping the others, while the friend of lower level (the "rushee") tagged along at a safe distance. This allowed the rushed player to bypass much of the long areas of the game that are time consuming to complete. The player would then "leech experience" (i.e. gain through no effort from their own side) from higher level characters to gain levels before continuing. Leeching experience was most commonly done in the Secret Cow Level, since this level could be created repeatedly as long as the Cow King was not killed by the game maker, and because the level had highest density of monsters, which provided a fairly large amount of experience per unit time spent when the game had the maximum number of players. With 1.10 these tactics have been made much more time consuming, and leeching was supposed to have been made a lot more difficult, because the amount of experience a player receives from being partied is now based on the proximity to the actual fighting, and difference between player levels. This was meant to encourage players to play the game the way Blizzard designed it, in truly cooperative games. However, the player community found variant methods to leech (namely the so-called Baal runs and Pit runs), which, albeit slower than the "Cow runs", are still well beyond the intended leveling speed.
Skill Synergies: With Patch 1.10, Blizzard introduced a feature called Synergies (before 1.10, seen in the Druid's and Necromancer's summoning skills). Synergies allow skills to gain bonuses depending on the skill levels of other, related skills. This enables the player to build a more varied character while still attaining the efficiency and power of a specialised build (the so-called "cookie-cutter" variants). The downside to Synergies is that many pre-1.10 characters have been made essentially useless because the popular ways to allocate skills before 1.10 results in extremely low damage characters after 1.10. This essentially forces all players to start over and create new characters that utilize Synergies.
The World Event: Patch 1.10 also introduced the world event. This is a server-wide event that, when in effect, replaces the next super unique monster found by a Diablo Clone that is much tougher than the regular Diablo act boss monster, but also drops the much sought after unique Annihilus charm. This charm is only dropped in the Diablo II: Lord of Destruction. The event is tied to the selling of "The Stone of Jordan", a very popular ring that was/is, as such, very extensively duplicated -- the objective seems to be the removal of excess SoJs, as they're called, from the game.
The general player's opinion of Patch 1.10 is mixed. The players that dislike cheats find the 1.10's new relatively cheat free realm wonderful, while others dislike the fact that many of their old characters have taken a drop in efficiency, forcing them to start over.
It is probable that Patch 1.10 will be the last patch released for Diablo II (except for possible critical bug fix patches), as many former Diablo II designers have now left Blizzard to form the new company Flagship Studios. Besides, the size of the released patches already represent quite an unusual investment into a game that is no longer being developed and expanded.
Diablo II on Battle.net
The Diablo II section of Battle.net consists of a global online community made up of tens of thousands of people who connect to six primary realms across the globe, two in the United States, East and West, one in Europe and three in Asia. Each realm is comprised of several servers. Each realm has two ways to connect: there is the closed realm, where all your character data is stored on the battle.net servers making it difficult to cheat, and there is the open realm where you play with your off-line (single player, LAN or TCP/IP) characters. There are generally many more cheats on the open realm due to its nature – the characters used on the realm exist on the player's local hard drive.
Players may create characters to play with in the softcore, hardcore, softcore ladder and hardcore ladder modes. If played softcore, the user's character can be resurrected if they die. In hardcore, no such option exists. Ladder characters are ranked on the ladder. The non-ladder and ladder characters can't play with each other, and therefore has two completely different virtual economies. When a ladder season ends, ladder characters are transformed into non-ladder characters, and to keep playing on the ladder, new ladder characters need to be made. This is made both to keep the ladder more clean from hacked items, and naturally also to give the players a reason to keep fighting for the top spots.
The Hardcore game style
While Softcore is often referred as a tutorial of the game, Hardcore is meant for advanced players who succeeded in Softcore, but they begin to notice that once they had all their desired equipment, they are done. Hardcore characters cannot be resurrected once they die; as a result, cooperative playing is a requirement and not an option, and the people playing in this mode tend to be more mature and helpful. Apart from the fact that the user's name is put in red in the ladder, the game itself and the "Item Drops" are the same, despite the common belief that in Hardcore "Magic Find" drops are better. Hardcore players are less likely to "miss" a good item being dropped, and are more likely to point out good items to the players in their party.
It is also an interesting study in sociology, as social groups organize to adventure together, usually based on geographical region, language, character affiliation/preferences, playing style and other considerations. Many players form clans to defend themselves from player killers (or PKs). There is also a significant economy associated with Diablo II, because the most powerful magic items are rare, and are often traded. Interestingly this trading occurs both in-game and in the real world. Certain "unique" items used to sell on eBay for upwards of 500 US dollars.
Many people on battlenet or bnet utilize some elements of leetspeak. Some terms that appear only in Diablo II are abbreviations of item names, like "cgmboe" for Cruel Grand Matron Bow of Evisceration, or the description of certain builds of characters like Javazon for an Amazon which uses Javelins as her main weapon, a Bowadin for a Paladin who shoots a bow or crossbow, or boon instead of Barbarian.
A person that is new to Diablo II and joins a chat channel will probably be shocked and unable to comprehend the majority of expressions. In game, they may be dumbfounded when someone peremptorily "opens a trade window" with them (the method of allowing players to exchange virtual items within the game) and sends the message "wug?", meaning "What you got?", or "wywfi", meaning "What you want for it?". They may be offered a hand in advancing to higher game levels in exchange for a quest reward by the cryptic message: rsh u 4 4rg? (Rush you for your hellforge quest reward?) or asked about a soj [Stone of Jordan (a valuable item)]. More common internet slang like lol [laugh out loud], tx[thanks], and np[no problem] are also present.
Battle.net Player versus Player (PvP)
PvP is another widely played feature of the game. Players can join into parties and declare hostility to each other. PvP has become a competition like a sport, with leagues, special rules, a big community and even rivalry between the leagues. The two largest leagues are Duellliga and Art of War.
Diablo, ever since the first version, has been plagued with cheats on the closed and open battle.net realms. These cheats give the players unfair advantages or the abilities to remove other players from the games by crashing their computers. The most notorious cheats have always been dupes. A dupe is a cheat or exploit of the game that creates exact copies of an item. These copies are then traded and/or sold for the profit of the cheaters.
One popular type of a hack, that can also be found in games like Warcraft III, is a Maphack. This hack allows the user to see the entire game map and all the monsters. This sort of hack gives the player an advantage because they show where to find the monsters and which monsters to avoid, and also because they allow the player to quickly find a path to his destination. The author of the most widely used Diablo II Maphack is "Mousepad".
With this class of hacks, the effect is only on the client side and doesn't harm the servers. Blizzard has had to struggle to prevent maphacks from being used on the realm. They are notoriously hard to identify and only detectable if the maphack software itself is buggy or if Blizzard scans the clients' memory for the hack, but since that's illegal it's an impossible option.
The most controversial type of hacks on the realm are the so called "bugged" or "hacked" items.
There are theories concerning the origin of the hacked items, but most people agree that the infamous items were created all at once, quite a while ago. A few players found a loophole whereby they could create powerful items in "open battle.net", where cheats are allowed, and lag the battle.net servers so that a player from closed battle.net could enter their game, pick up the items, and leave. A consensus among long-standing players is that all of the infamous hacked were created at this point, but were kept secret. Slowly, these items were released into the public domain. The creators knew exactly what they were doing - throttling the supply to make the items incredibly expensive. When one of their items had become common (through "duping" or various other exploits), they would release an even more powerful item. They used e-Bay to sell the items, and supposedly made quite a lot of money from it. However, some of these items with extraordinarily powerful effects were spawned because of bugs in the game. These are generally referred to as "bugged" items. The "hacked" items have characteristics that are too powerful to have resulted from an accident, created by hackers on purpose.
One type of the hacked items are known as "ITH" items. They may appear in all type of items such as Colossus Blade. In this example, it's generally referred as "ITH CB", having "unsocketed" properties of Slience runeword (mostly), e.g. 200%Enhanced Dmg. Perhaps the most striking feature of ITH items is they are with open sockets. One may get six duped 40%ED/15%IAS jewels into an ITH CB, yielding an overpowered weapon. However, the 1.10 patch removed all known ITH items from the closed realms.
Other known maphacks included JHJ maphack, and CP-3O
More recently in the past year bots have become extremely popular. These programs allow the user to completely automate their game play. They are primarily used for magic finding (finding better randomly generated items). This gives their users a clear advantage because their computer is playing around the clock, collecting the best items in the game with little input from the user.
The first of these bots to appear used a program called AutoIt to automate key strokes and a d2hackit module. The first popular version to utilize AutoIt and d2hackit was called Infinite Pindle Bot (IPB); it was designed to repeatedly kill a boss monster, Pindleskin, without any user intervention, except to periodically remove the items it found from the bot character.
The first class of bots was quite simple, they were limited to killing monsters in a "static" area. Yet Diablo has many areas in the map that are "random", and to find your way around it with a bot you'd have to use a simple path finding algorithm. The first bot to use such an algorithm was called Mephbot, written by "Syadasti" also known as Mike Gogulski. He appeared on TechTV's The Screen Savers  demonstrating his mephbot. This bot used Dijkstra's shortest path algorithm to find its path to kill "Mephisto", a boss character in the game.
Scamming is probably the most widely tried type of hack, and its success is based on how well a player can fool another. A player creates a game with a name that would entice other players to join. The perpetrator then tries to convince the players to download a program, which he has disguised as a duping program (a program that makes exact copies of items). If the player being scammed is gullible enough, he/she will download the program and run it while still in the game. Generally the program is an Autoit script which opens Diablo II and drops all of their items on the ground, and then closes the game and shuts down the player's computer. This leaves the scammer enough time to pick through and take whichever items he/she wishes and leave before the other player can return. This type of program has not only been done in Autoit, but in VB.NET and its predecessor Visual Basic, as well utilizing API calls to manipulate the keyboard and mouse.
This type of cheat is still tried often, but generally doesn't work anymore because the Diablo II community has become very familiar with it due to overuse, and knows to avoid it.
There are other forms of scamming that do not involve convincing someone to download a program. One such example is to convince another player to drop an item of value on the ground and in return they will get another item, but instead the dropped item is simply picked up by the scammer. There have also been scams that convince someone to reveal his or her account password, thereby giving the scammer complete access to the person's account.
Another known method is the fast-click method, when one player will try to get a rare item from another person by offering the item, clicking cancel, and then offering it again, causing the unsuspecting victim to impulsively click the "ok" button. This then means that the scammer gets the good item that the victim gave up, while the victim may receive something that is of much less value. It is still widely used in the Diablo II world.
Blizzard has a strong anti-cheat stance. They've always aggressively pursued hack programs that are designed to attack their systems. These typically have been dupe programs, because they exploit bugs and flaws in the game's software. These dupe programs, when publicly available, have at times brought the online gaming servers to near collapse. So Blizzard has aggressively patched and fixed many of these exploits as soon as they became aware of them.
With bots, Blizzard has taken a more direct approach. Since their first appearance on the realm, Blizzard has banned over 200,000 Battle.net accounts that have been associated with bots. The first of these mass bannings took place on April 1, 2003.
With Patch 1.10, Blizzard has adopted a still more direct course to detect hacks. They have added special code into the game itself that can detect these cheats in memory and report back to battle.net.
Blizzard has also implemented a system to detect and delete the "bugged" and "hacked" items from the realms (in the form of the nicely mysterious, artifact-munching "rust storm"). The post-1.10 Diablo II realms are much cleaner than the realms have been in years, with less duped and hacked items around. Unfortunately, users have been extremely creative at finding ways to avoid the anti-hack measures, and hacked items have resurfaced, although in much smaller quantities than before.
Diablo II off Battle.net
ATMA (short for A Tenshi Muling Application) is a program created by Hakai_no_Tenshi that allows for those not using Battle.net to "mule," or move items across characters. Originally, items were muled via another player hosting a TCP/IP game (which uses single-player characters). Later, character trainers (programs designed for editing a character) were used to mule alone. Another common practice was to use an edited file that allowed for one computer to both host and join a TCP/IP game.
ATMA's initial release was merely a console window that displayed a character's inventory and the individual statistics for each item. Since these statistics provided "fingerprints" (of which each item has a unique one), duped items could be detected simply by asking others what fingerprints their items had.
Later releases allowed for simple drag-and-drop muling, character editing (which was removed with later editions), and "stashes," or files that could contain thousands of items in an organized list. Currently, versions 1.07 through 1.10 final are supported. The latest edition also has a drop calculator for all supported versions.
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