Diablo (video game)

Diablo Coverart.png
Cover art
Developer(s)Blizzard North
Publisher(s)Microsoft Windows, Classic Mac OS
Blizzard Entertainment
Producer(s)Bill Roper
Designer(s)David Brevik
Erich Schaefer
Max Schaefer
Eric Sexton
Kenneth Williams
Programmer(s)David Brevik
Artist(s)Michio Okamura
Writer(s)Chris Metzen
Bill Roper
Eric Sexton
Erich Schaefer
Composer(s)Matt Uelmen
Platform(s)Microsoft Windows, Classic Mac OS, PlayStation
ReleaseMicrosoft Windows
Classic Mac OS
  • NA: May 8, 1998
Genre(s)Action role-playing, hack and slash
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer

Diablo is an action role-playing hack and slash video game developed by Blizzard North and released by Blizzard Entertainment on December 31, 1996.[1][3]

Set in the fictional Kingdom of Khanduras (located in the mortal realm), Diablo has the player take control of a lone hero battling to rid the world of Diablo, the Lord of Terror. Beneath the town of Tristram, the player journeys through sixteen randomly generated dungeon levels, ultimately entering Hell itself in order to face Diablo.

An expansion pack, entitled Diablo: Hellfire, was released in 1997 by Sierra Entertainment. In 1998, Electronic Arts released Diablo for the PlayStation.[5] This version featured direct control of the main character using the PlayStation controller and was developed by Climax Studios. A Sega Saturn version was also considered by Electronic Arts but never released.[6] The game's success led to two sequels, Diablo II in 2000, and Diablo III in 2012. To celebrate Diablo's 20th anniversary, a quest entitled "The Darkening of Tristram", was added in Diablo III in early 2017.[7]


Diablo is an action role-playing hack and slash video game. The player moves and interacts with the environment primarily by way of a mouse.[8] Other actions, such as casting a spell, are performed in response to keyboard inputs.[8] The player can acquire items, learn spells, defeat enemies, and interact with non-player characters (NPC)s throughout the game.

The dungeon levels are randomly generated, although they follow parameters according to their type; for instance the catacombs tend to have long corridors and closed rooms, while the caves are more non-linear. The players are assigned a random number of quests from several tiers; these quests are optional but help to level up the character and/or reveal more of the backstory. The final two quests, however, are mandatory in order to finish the game.


A warrior engages in combat with a ghoul enemy. A "Level Up" button indicates the character has attribute points available to distribute. The icon at the lower right indicates that the character's head protection is damaged and in danger of breaking.

Diablo has three character classes: the Warrior, the Rogue, and the Sorcerer. Each class has a different level of assigned attributes along with a unique skill. Each class is capable of using almost all of the same items and spells, in contrast to later titles in the Diablo series which have class-specific items and spells. However, the limitations in the attributes for each class reward play that utilizes them efficiently; for instance the Warrior's low maximum level of Magic prevents him from learning the higher levels of powerful spells like the Sorcerer, instead the Warrior is best suited to melee with a faster weapon swing plus a "critical strike" for bonus damage.

  • Warrior: The most physically able of the three classes. The Warrior is a close-quarters fighter and can generally take the most physical punishment. The Warrior's primary character attribute is Strength. The Warrior starts with the skill to repair objects in his possession at the cost of overall durability.[8]
  • Rogue: A master of ranged weapons. While not as strong as the Warrior, the rogue is very effective at attacking enemies from a distance with the bow. The Rogue's primary character attribute is Dexterity. The Rogue's unique starting skill is the ability to disarm traps.[8]
  • Sorcerer: A spellcaster being the most physically weak of the three classes, but can learn the most spells at the highest levels. The Sorcerer's primary character attribute is Magic. The Sorcerer's unique starting skill is the ability to recharge spell staves at the cost of lowering the maximum number of spell charges that the staff can hold.[8]

In the expansion set, Diablo: Hellfire, the Monk was added. The Monk was meant to be proficient at melee combat with the staff, and is not related to the Monk class in Diablo III. Two other classes, the Bard and Barbarian, were unfinished but remained hidden characters in Diablo: Hellfire, and could be enabled using a hack. Using the in-game sprites of the Rogue and Warrior, respectively, the Bard is capable of dual-wielding weapons while the Barbarian was a two-handed axe specialist.[9]


Many items have attribute minimums to be used effectively. White-colored items are normal items, blue-colored items are magic items and gold-colored items are unique items. Any items that are not white in color must be identified to make use of their magical effects, however, characters can use unidentified items as they would the base item. Items wear down through use and only have a certain amount of durability. When an item's durability is zero, it is destroyed. Players can return to the town and pay a fee to an NPC, Griswold the Blacksmith, to have the items restored, while the Warrior can repair objects in his possession at the cost of overall durability.[8]

Bows are the ranged weapon of the game, best used by rogues. Staves, while capable of physical attacks, are mainly used for the spell charges that they contain, as casting from a staff does not require the player to learn the spell or use mana. A staff's spell can only be cast a certain number of times before it requires a recharge. Swords are typically one-handed (though two-handed varieties also exist), while axes are all two-handed. Maces and clubs add a 50% damage bonus against the undead. Shields, when paired with single-handed weapons, allow attacks to be blocked. There are three classifications of armor: light, medium and heavy. Characters are also allowed to wear a helmet, two rings, and one amulet.[8]

Books contain spell formulas. Spell books cannot be used more than once, but multiple books of the same spell will increase the spell level, up to a maximum of 15. Scrolls allow use of both spells not yet learned, and spells not available in book form. They vanish after one use. Many potions are available for use, including health and mana restoration, and elixirs that increase statistics.[8]


Multiplayer can be done with up to four players. Multiplayer characters' states are saved periodically. Players can either be aggressive towards, or play co-operatively with, other players. Players can connect by one of the following: direct connection, modem connection, Battle.net connection or IPX network connection. The game lacks the stronger anti-cheating methods of Blizzard's later games and as a result, many characters online have been altered in various ways by common third-party programs known as trainers and/or game editing programs such as Cheat Engine.[8][10]

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