I remember when cooperative games were just like a single player game with an extra player walking along next to you. Co-op has gone from that Double Dragon approach, to proper co-op like Left 4 Dead where the mechanics of the game ask you to directly help your allies. Still Diablo II is loads of fun to play with friends, even if the co-op doesn’t go far beyond having a variety of guys on the screen and having someone to trade with.
Personally I would struggle to play through Diablo II on single player; it lets me do the whole Necromancer thing but Guild Wars definitely scratched that itch better, but Diablo II would possibly get a bit repetitive for me. With friends however Diablo II is great fun, probably because it doesn’t distract you too much from the social aspect.
With a game like Diablo II, players online tend to go a few ways. There are the guys who are playing for the social aspect, who kind of want the Dungeon’s and Dragons thing of fighting evil side by side. There are the guys who would be playing single player if only it had high score leader boards, but it doesn’t, so here they are to join your game and run ahead solo to show off. There are the wiki guys who love a game they can sink their teeth into the whole character building aspect of, for them its just great fun to be putting together some epic team. And then there are the quiet ones, they are probably joining for any mixture of the above reasons, maybe they just want the unpredictability of having some extra human players running about, its hard to tell, they just tag along and carry their weight mostly. I guess there are also the trolls, adbot’s spamming url’s to buy gold and ranked accounts and all sorts of other crap, but those four are the classic kind of people who you will be investing an hour with.
I’m not even sure what’s going on in the plot of Diablo II, I can barely keep track of it with the microphone chatter, but damn it’s fun.
Here is us playing Act I of Diablo II. Truly a spectator sport.
I went Necromancer because I just love filling the screen with shit that will do my dirty work for me.
MattDeckard went Paladin because that seems his lean in fantasy co-op stuff. He wants to give to the team as much as he can, and he wants to swing some big weapons.
Hex went Sorceress because he wanted to be the damage dealer guy and fill a role that the team didn’t have. And to find some loot with wicked stats.
Chinner went Paladin because he usually plays Paladin, and would be damned if he let MattDeckard steal it away from him. Also Paladin seemed like the best character choice to earn MVP with.