Description: Reviewed by Maxx Power for the Phrozen Keep.
Categories: Mod Reviews
Talk about your complete disasters. Perhaps it was divine intervention, pure coincidence, or just plain bad luck, but the extensively planned 'mod multi-player test', unsurprisingly, fell through. Perhaps the idea was just too great for one man, maybe I didn't think it through, though most likely lack of communication, among other things, was probably the problem. And, after a good month since the last mod review, I'm forced to bite the bullet and realize that, if this charade were to go on any further, I would be writing this review until doomsday. So, instead of a comparison between three mods, you get a multi-player test of Jeff Bouley's Sanctuary In Chaos v2.1 instead.
I won't take the time to dwindle on the features included in the mod. Instead check out the previous review of the last version of the mod. Not much has changed since the last version, so I'll concentrate on the mutli-player side of things.
First off, like normal Diablo, the 'fun-factor' involved with the mod increases ten fold once played with other people. After a great exodus of Diablo players moved onto the battle.net servers as soon as the ideals of multi-player gaming sunk it, it was clear that this was the main aspect of Diablo. The same applies here. Teamwork is the key, and finding the right selection of skills and equipment is essential, as much for yourself as for others in your party. In a mod such as this, planning is everything, and the new re-vamped skills, items and so on allow for tactics and strategies a world apart from the original. It makes for intriguing and involved gameplay, not to be missed by the most obsessive Diablo fan.
Also, my constant complaint about the over crowding of monsters in mods has finally been silenced. Added players into the game means that the game goes from becoming an annoyance to a challenge. Increasing player density gives reason to the insanely high amounts of monsters running around acts. It's the one reason that no one has ever given me as to the 'bad points' behind their mods, but finding out for myself gives a better scope personally as to the drives behind some of the more obscure inclusions in mods. Not that it affects my own review viewpoints at all. After all, this is multi-player, and I review single.
What Doesn't Work
As the good points of online Diablo are inevitably included, so to the bad points come hand-in-hand. As most mods have the compulsory extra hit points, the increased amount of players means that the monster's HP can sometimes reach levels which can't be easily thwarted by those playing. Some areas of the game, once reached, were found to be too hard for our characters, forcing them to start a new game to fight lower level monsters to gain the required experience for the next area. This broke the flow of the mod, stopping and starting constantly. More an annoyance than anything else.
Also, with increased monster density, so to does the density of items dropping increases. However, this can lead to problems. With several players on screen at once, with monsters alive, corpses and items on the ground taking up memory on the computer, lag can systematically kill off all of the players in the game, as the host server struggles to take the extra leeway created by using the mod. This is more a performance issue than a gameplay one, but if this mod is to be played online, added stability must be added in order to combat this 'memory monster'.
If anything, SiC shows us that the golden rule of Diablo, that multi-player is always more enjoyable than single-player, applies to mods in the same way. The added interaction with other characters expands on Diablo as a whole, as well as the added extras included with any mod offers a new lease of life into a near stagnant area known as battle.net. This is the sort of Diablo that should be played online, and if blizzard were to create realms dedicated to mods, then perhaps the drawing power of Warcraft III wouldn't be slowly draining the life out of Diablo.
And if I've learned anything from all this, its never to do something as stupid again. Ever. From now on I'm back to the normal mods again.
With thanks to Zac503, his friend (sorry I couldn't remember your name!), Lee Cowen and ICRWA.
This mod review is dedicated to those who tragically lost their lives on September 11th, 2001. May you all rest in peace.
Anyone wishing to check out the Sanctuary in Chaos mod can do so by visiting the official website at http://sic.d2mods.com.
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[url=http://d2mods.info/forum/kb/viewarticle?a=104&sid=36e92c835c7130185c877405bda47d1b]Knowledge Base - [LoD v1.09x] Sancturay in Chaos v2.1 (Multiplayer) by JBouley[/url]