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    Diablo Revealed
    written by Raven



    Click to enlargeOne of the things that surprised me most when I was looking back at Diablo, was the massive change to gameplay and structure, that was evident in early developmental screenshots. Originally, Diablo as a game had a far more Gothic look. More importantly, buttons and the GUI layout were almost completely revamped during development. Early development screenshots also support some of the assumptions and rumors from the previous page. Finally the screenshots show a very different Tristrim. I believe you will you be surprised by how much the town has changed. You can view the screenshots original1.gif, original2.gif, original3.gif and town.gif here.


    To help explain some of the general changes made to the Diablo GUI; it might help to compare this original screenshot to a more recent screenshot taken from the final product.

    To Old Diablo screenshotAs I have already stated, the original Diablo has a far more Gothic feel. You can see this by looking at the beasts hands (holding the mana and life spheres) and the darker, heavy texture used for the background. You will also notice that there are fewer buttons and no "quick item belt" in the older screenshot. This hints at two things. Either there were very few health and mana pots available in Diablo or alternatively you were expect to open up your inventory every time you needed a drink to pump up your health and mana. This second option would have hampered gameplay by making the game a lot less fluid. Another interesting thing to note is that the enemy and kills status were displayed in different boxes originally. These boxes were probably combined later, when Blizzard needed to find extra room to display the quick item belt.

    Taking a look at the buttons again, let's go through them from left to right. You will probably notice minor things such as the fact that the character and inventory buttons have switched sides in the more recent screenshots. You'll also notice that the map button was originally displayed using a funny looking compass.

    Whats more importantly though, are the two buttons in the bottom left of the original image. These buttons were never included in the final release. The button, which contains an engraved pentagram, related to the Map of the Stars. The Map is described in detail later, for now let's just say that this was originally central to the plot for Diablo and that there was a reason for why you entered Diablo's lair through a red, five pointed star (pentagram).

    The other thing of interest is the large buttons sitting just to the right of the star. I mentioned the implementation of skills earlier. I believe that this blank button was going to become the skill button. At the time of these original screenshots, it is obvious that the skills feature hadn't been fully implemented. You will notice the overzealous drop shadow going from the red life sphere and hand, which is attempting to cover this button.

    My final general comment about these prerelease screenshots relates to the bottom right button (funny looking arrow). I assume that this button was originally an attack type or an attack status button. What do you think?

    One Character Class

    If you open up the screenshot you will see that all of them feature the warrior character class. This helps to prove that Diablo did indeed only plan for one character class originally; that's obvious. However there is something just as important in these screenshots which isn't so obvious. Look at the weapon and magical abilities used by the warrior in each of the screenshots. The hero wields everything from bows, to magical spells, to axes, to combinations of each. The Warrior in the release version of Diablo did not have the character distribution for combinations of high level magic and dexterity. Something has definitely changed in between these screenshots and Diablo's release.

    To Original2. Click to enlargeLets focus on one example, original2.gif. In this screenshot our beloved hero, is wielding a bow and some surprising spells while in the Catacombs. Firstly we all know that hardly any warrior's use bows in Diablo, because the Warrior character class wasn't proficient with bows in the end game. This has obviously been changed from the original. The other amazing thing about this screenshot is the spells used by the warrior. Not only is he using some very powerful spells, he is also using spells that were not learnable in the end game. The spell Nova, is a high level spell that was not obtainable through spellbooks in Diablo final release version. This combination of long range weapons and magic, simply would not work in Diablo's release version. The warrior was made to have biases towards melee weapons. These biases aren't evident in the screenshot, this proves that originally the hero was far more neutral and able to branch out, and this helps to prove that originally Blizzard only planned for one character class.

    The Town

    To Picture. Click to enlargeThe original screenshots also show us that the Town of Tristram has had quite a facelift. Unfortunately I have only found one screenshot of the town, and this screenshot only shows a small part of Tristram. However from this small part we can work out quite a few things, and do a bit of speculating.

    From the town screenshot, you should notice two things. Firstly check out Griswold. Someone has put on quite a bit of weight lately, in fact the Gris from this screenshots looks completely different to the friendly smith we all knew and loved in Diablo. Other characters have probably changed a lot as well, and we know that secret characters such as the priest Tremayne were eventually removed from the game. The second interesting thing to note is that the tavern door is open! In fact it looks as if the hero has just exited from the tavern. Lots of people claimed to have found evidence stating that you could originally enter houses in the town. Most of rumors were dismissed or proven wrong. However the fact that you could enter houses is made evident in this screenshot. Entering town houses was also central to one of the quests removed from Diablo.

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