Diablo 2 Resurrected: Alpha launches - we're streaming!

Diablo 2 Resurrected: Alpha launches - we're streaming!

Diablo 2 Resurrected

Fans eagerly await the release of Diablo 2 Resurrected! Our in-house Zam is one of the lucky 19,999 people who are already allowed to look into the Alpha, which starts today and runs until April 12th, 7 p.m. Of course, Zam doesn't want to withhold Diablo 2 from you in beautiful 4K, that's why we're streaming the whole thing on our Twitch channel Electric Boogaloo! There or here in the message at the bottom, you can watch the stream starting today at 7 p.m. Tomorrow, on April 9th ​​at 7 p.m., the official alpha will also start for the public.

What is there to see?

But what does Diablo 2 Resurrected's first Alpha actually offer? In our last message about the alpha start we were able to report that the first two acts of the single player campaign will be playable - for the Amazon, Sorceress and Barbarian classes. However, this only takes place on the PC, the other platforms have to wait until the release.

Zam's search for the Dark Wanderer begins in a huntress camp. But of course he doesn't get away scot-free and has to face the mistress of torment, Andariel, directly. We continue to the jewel of the desert, Lut Gholein, which unfortunately no longer shines as beautifully as it did before the times of the Dark Wanderer. So be prepared for Zam to have to deal with the typical Diablo monsters.

If you get there early enough, you might even be able to decide with which class Zam will jump into the fight and of course can you are welcome to ask him questions about Diablo 2 Resurrected during the stream.

The Stream

April 8, 2021, from 7 p.m. on our Twitch channel or right here!

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Watch us play Diablo II Resurrected before anyone else can: Livestream on 4/8

ItEnlarge / It's resurrected. But is it good? Find out in real time as I get world-premiere access to unrestricted gameplay via Ars' Twitch channel on Thursday, April 8.

A lot is riding on Blizzard's next remaster project, Diablo II Resurrected.

After successfully spit-shining StarCraft Remastered in 2016, the Blizzard Classic team followed with the unforgivable milkweed that is WarCraft III: Reforged—and I say 'unforgivable' because we're currently eight unfulfilled months beyond that game's last tease of highly demanded features. That's harsh stuff for anyone who chose to spend $30 (or more) on Reforged, so it still needs fixing before we can pretend the company's shaky reputation is anywhere near restored. (Representatives for multiple Activision and Blizzard projects have still yet to respond to my ongoing questions about WC3R. After a no-show at BlizzCon 2021, the developer blamed 'the nature of the world today' in March for a lack of updates, even though fans had created their own grassroots WC3R solutions in that same span of time.)

Having said that, there's arguably a larger audience in the world that has moved on from WarCraft III yet still has a soft spot for one of Blizzard's most enduring classic games: Diablo II. Twenty-one years later, Diablo II's gameplay core holds up remarkably well and certainly more so than the original, genius-yet-clunky Diablo. I love Diablo II, and I love the idea of a refreshed, allegiant Diablo II.


Its refresh was a terribly kept secret up until its formal February 2021 announcement. Surprise or no, it's a welcome chance at Blizzard semi-redemption. The company sure seems to think so, having reportedly ripped the project from its original Blizzard Classic team and handed it to Vicarious Visions. (Vicarious Visions' last game, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2, proved some serious game-remake chops.)

  • Old graphics, as seen at BlizzCon 2021.

  • New graphics, as seen at BlizzCon 2021.


    Blizzard

  • Old graphics.


    Blizzard

  • New graphics.


    Blizzard

  • Old graphics.


    Blizzard

  • New graphics.


    Blizzard

  • The rest of the gallery is all remastered D2:R graphics.


    Blizzard

  • Handsome lighting model works with the updated graphics mode.


    Blizzard

  • Can't wait to jump back in as a barbarian and spin, spin our troubles away.


    Blizzard

  • Everything must die in here.


    Blizzard

  • If this character-selection interface doesn't make clear, we're in 'Lord of Destruction' territory.


    Blizzard

  • Cast magic?


    Blizzard

  • Nah. Hulk smash!


    Blizzard

  • Shortly after the game's announcement, Blizzard confirmed a lovely quality-of-life tweak: a shared stash! Thank goodness.


    Blizzard

  • Eight-player online co-op confirmed.


    Blizzard

  • Thus, I'm absolutely curious how D2:R will turn out—and in roughly 24 hours, I'll get to find out by diving into its first public technical alpha test. Starting at 1 pm EDT on Thursday, April 8, we'll be among the first in the world to test a limited chunk of the game's remake, ahead of the demo's wider public launch starting Friday, April 9. (Should you want to join that test, sign up here and cross your fingers.)

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    Blizzard is also letting me stream my gameplay with zero restrictions, so if you don't want to wait for my typed impressions, you can tune in by returning to this very page at 1:30 pm EDT on Thursday, April 8. I'm adding a half hour of buffer time just in case. Should we run into technical difficulties for any reason, I have the original D2 client installed, and either way, I'll be here streaming via the Ars Technica Twitch channel for three hours, until 4:30 pm EDT. We'll embed the video here, but you'll need to click through to Twitch if you want to use its chat functionality. (On the flip side, if Twitch chat sounds awful to you for any reason, our embedded livestream will protect you from it.)


    The D2:R single-player demo includes the game's first two acts (out of the four in the primary retail game and a fifth act added via the 'Lords of Destruction' expansion pack), and it will let players go hands-on with three of the final game's classes (Barbarian, Sorceress, and Amazon). I'll only be able to stream a 1080p signal at 60 fps, despite sales pitches like ultrawide support and 4K-friendly assets. But I'll do my best to break down what I see on my end while rapidly clicking through demons and marching east toward Lut Gholein. I'll also take my sweet time breaking down the remaster's biggest sales pitches, particularly quality-of-life touches and the promise of swapping between old graphics and new with a single button press.


    The remaster's multiplayer tests will follow later this year, Blizzard says, so this week's test will only be 'multiplayer' if you pile into chat on Thursday and send very specific gameplay requests.

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