Diablo is one of the most well-known examples of the action-RPG subgenre. Although players level up, choose character classes, and manage a variety of spells and equipment as in a typical RPG, all actions are done in real time, as in an action game. Diablo in some ways resembles roguelike games, major differences include the commercial quality of the game's graphics, the fact that it plays in real time rather than as turn-based, games can be restored after the player dies where most roguelikes feature permadeath, and Diablo's relatively short learning curve. Diablo was influenced by Moria and Angband. The majority of commands in Diablo, such as moving and attacking, are executed by mouse clicks; however, learned spells can be assigned hot keys.
Gameplay is structured around a monster-filled dungeon located near the town of Tristram. In town, players may rest, buy items, and repair equipment. There are sixteen levels of the dungeon, divided into four areas. Each area has a different appearance, architecture, light level, monster mix, and musical soundtrack. The first level of each of these areas has an additional exit leading back up to the town of Tristram. In single player, these entrances are blocked until the character opens them from the dungeon side, and the entrance is available for two-way travel from then on. In multiplayer, the entrances to town all start in their "open" position, but with a level requirement to access them from town.
Diablo is highly re-playable due to its randomly generated level layouts, monsters, and items. In addition, in single-player mode there are only three core quests as the rest of them are drawn from several pools, making it impossible to complete every quest in one playthrough of the game. Either way, only the last two quests are compulsory. Given this arrangement, no two playthroughs of the game are ever exactly alike.
The three character classes of Diablo are the warrior, rogue, and sorcerer. Each character, following typical role-playing conventions, has his or her own particular traits. The warrior possesses physical strength, the rogue has high dexterity, and the sorcerer is oriented towards magic.
* Warrior: The warrior is a powerful melee fighter, master of weapons of war and capable of enduring more damage than the other classes. They range from barbarians of the northern highlands to noble paladins.
* Rogue: The rogues are the best archers in the world of Sanctuary. They can have a higher level of magic than warriors, although not nearly as high as sorcerers. The rogues belong to a group called the Sisterhood of the Sightless Eye.
* Sorcerer: A powerful master of the arcane arts, the sorcerer is able to achieve the greatest heights of magic, so that he doesn't have need of physical weapons. Sorcerers belong to the Vizjerei mage clan, and have come to Tristram seeking long-lost tomes of magic knowledge under the cathedral.
Unlike other games that strictly differentiate between classes, a character's abilities are not unique; a warrior can use the same spells as a sorcerer, while a sorcerer can use weapons such as axes. All three classes require the same amount of experience to level up, and there are no class-based requirements for equipping items or using spells. However, different classes have different starting attributes and different maximum possible levels for their attributes, and gain different amounts of life and mana per level.
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.
Four numerical character attributes (Strength, Magic, Dexterity and Vitality) in Diablo affect the characters' combat statistics, which in turn determine how powerful the character is.
With each level up, the player may distribute points among the four base attributes to permanently increase them. They may also be modified by elixirs and magical shrines encountered in the game. Various magical items increase character attributes while these items are being used. Certain items may have minimum attribute requirements before they can be equipped or used.
Characters can learn spells from tomes found in the game, and add them to their spellbooks. Spells can later be cast repeatedly, if the character has enough mana to do it. Spells can also be improved by learning higher levels of the same spell. Different spells, and different levels of the same spell, require varying amounts of mana to be cast. Each class also has a unique skill: Warriors can repair items (although not as well as the village blacksmith, Griswold), Rogues can disarm traps, and Sorcerers can recharge magical staves that have a certain amount of spell charges on them.
 Monsters and items
Each of the sixteen levels in Diablo contains monsters that are tougher and stronger than ones from the level before it. When the player kills a monster, it may randomly drop an item or gold. Upon killing more enemies of the same type, the player may find out more details about the monsters, such as hit points and resistances or immunities. Enemies are divided in three groups: Animals, Demons, and Undead. Group determines which weapons the enemy takes more or less damage from.
Items are sold by the vendors, randomly dropped by slain monsters, and can be discovered within the labyrinth inside of chests or barrels or sometimes lying on the floor. There are several types of items. Gold is the currency used to buy goods and services from the vendors. Consumables are items that are destroyed when used, and include life and mana potions, elixirs to increase base attributes, scrolls to cast spells and spellbooks to learn spells permanently. The player has eight slots representing a belt which can contain only consumables (except spellbooks). These slots are numbered, and pressing the corresponding hotkey will use the associated consumable. A special kind of items are quest items, which come in many varieties. Some of them activate a quest when picked up or found, while others must be carried along or used to interact with the environment, and yet others are given as special rewards for completing quests.
Any character can use any piece of equipment so long as they meet its statistical requirements (Strength, Dexterity, and Magic). Weapons and protective gear have durability values that decrease with use, but can be restored through several means. If durability reaches zero, the item is destroyed. Staves are two-handed weapons used primarily for the spell charges they contain, which can be recharged. Each charge allows one casting of the spell contained within the staff.
Diablo helped popularize a system used in other RPGs such as the Might and Magic series, to handle the many combinations of random items imbued with random magical properties. Magical items in Diablo have an idiosyncratic naming system; a particular enchantment will be either a suffix or prefix. For example, the "Godly" prefix, appearing only on armor, adds greatly to armor class. An item with this ability would appear as "Godly (itemname)". Magical items can have both a prefix and a suffix; however, certain systemic limitations within the game mechanism prevent some prefixes and suffixes from appearing together on the same item. Different equipment types draw from different pools of affixes; some affixes are never available on certain types of equipment.
Equippable items can have various modifiers, and break down into three major classes: normal items (items that have no special attributes and are most abundant), magic items (that can have up to one prefix and one suffix) and unique items (very rare and powerful, and may have up to six magic bonuses). Magic and unique items must be identified before their modifications become known.
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Single-Player PC System Requirements:
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* Pentium® 233 or equivalent
* 32 MB RAM
* 650 MB available hard drive space
* 4X CD-ROM drive
* DirectX™ compatible video card
Multiplayer PC System Requirements and Options:
* 64 MB RAM
* Open Battle.net game Creators and TCP/IP game Hosts: 128MB RAM recommended (256MB RAM in games with over 4 players)
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* 28.8 Kbps or faster modem
* Up to 8 Players over TCP/IP Network or Battle.net® (Requires low-latency Internet connection with support for 32-bit applications)
Optional PC 3D Acceleration:
* Supports Glide™ and Direct 3D™ compatible video cards with at least 8MB of video RAM. Direct 3D™ requires 64 MB of system RAM
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