Normal Acts One and Two

All rogues were present for the first night's session (October 4, 2004), and all looked suspiciously similar. It was often difficult to tell who was who apart in the early going (lots of identical green skirts). After a brief stop in town, it was off to the Blood Moors where the foul denizens were whacked to death with the starting sorcie staffs! Eventually we did get bows though:

One of the first tests was to take down the corrupted rouge Blood Raven. In a typical example of our fighting style in Normal difficulty, one rogue is tanking against Blood Raven while five others pepper her with arrows from safety. Also note that Cy is up to his usual commentary as well.

This is from down in one of the caves in Act1. Here you see the rogue firing squad in action, seven bows twanging in unison as the eighth rogue (offscreen) tanks and distracts the enemies for us. The picture doesn't really do this justice, it's quite something to see a wall of arrows flying out at the baddies. How often in B-net games do you see all eight players using bows? Not too much would be my guess.

First night we full-cleared all the way up to the Inner Cloister waypoint. The team worked pretty well on the whole, with few deaths registed. We also handled our first lightning-enchanted bosses without anyone suiciding themselves (much to our own surprise). If only we could have kept going at this pace indefinitely! In retrospect, Normal difficulty sure was easy.

Hawkmoon was late for our next session, due to another commitment that overlapped with our playing time on that night, and after reaching Catacombs 3 it was put to a vote whether to go on or wait for Hawk to join us. Regarding Andariel - "Should we wait or do her twice?" The rogues voted to do her twice!

The first battle with Andariel was probably our first real screw-up. The door to Andariel's chamber was accidentally opened while half the rogues were back in town stocking up on healing and antidote potions. (oops) As a result the old hag broke free and ran amuck, killing several rogues before she could be brought down. The team consensus was to coordinate major boss battles better in the future.

Hawkmoon joined up with us shortly thereafter, and then it was back down to the catacombs to dish out some revenge!

This time the rogues were much more successful. Andariel is under fire from about five different sides in this picture. She lost half her health before closing to melee range with anyone. Poor Hawk bit the dust before we took her down though. The rogues were moving on to Act 2!

First up: taking down Radament in the sewers.

This is a great picture. The big mummy is being simultaneously chilled with Ice Bolt, roasted with Inferno by Dathon, electified with lightning by either Hawkmoon or Cyrene (hard to tell), and pincushioned with arrows from three different sides by the other rogues. Burning Dead sure are easier to kill when they aren't Fire Immune and partly physical resistant to boot!

The deserts of Act2 were next. They did not pose a particularly difficult challenge, except when the rogues ran into large packs of lightning-spewing beetles. We had a major problem with killing one another by pincushioning them with arrows. What can we say, the rogues are a bit trigger-happy. We'll shoot anything that moves. Still, this was an area in which the team could stand to improve upon and did get better at as time progressed.

Tight quarters down in the maggot hole. While the long, narrow passageways were good conditions for using bows, we ran into more problems with beetles. It also became readily apparent that rogues cannot run from the charged bolts when the passageway behind them is choked with their rogue sisters (this before Teleport was online). Combine that with a half-dozen trigger-happy bows firing at once, and the conditions were not good for tanking. Here in this picture though, five rogues are shooting at a maggot boss as Dathon blasts it with Inferno (after teleporting further up the tunnel). This night's play session took us up to the Lost City waypoint.

All eight players were again present for the third session, and we picked up where we left off.

Another common image from the deserts. Sirian is tanking against the Fire Tower while six rogues (note the head in the bottom of the picture! judging by the crossbow, it's probably Jaffa) pepper it with arrows. The Viper Temple was hairy but not unduly difficult. The biggest problem was the return again of beetles to torment us with lightning sparks. The Palace was comparatively easy, except on the third basement where there were huge packs of horror archers. Then on to the Arcane Sanctuary:

There are no fewer than four distinct arrows and a crossbow bolt visible in that picture. The goats at the other end never knew what hit them. The Arcane Sancturary was fairly tame, although occasionaly a rogue would get swarmed under by numbers and killed. We also incurred a number of deaths when rogues either went off on their own (not so smart) or teleported directly into a mob of foes (very brave, but also not so smart). As time passes, we would get better at coordinating our actions and cut down on the (self-inflicted) deaths. Summoner was a joke, shot down before he had time to do much of anything. Canyon of the Magi and the tombs were both crawling with more beetles, causing more deaths. More lightning resistance needed!

This is a very common scene from the session, rogues firing away at a sparking beetle through a doorway to try and minimize the lightning damage. Firing through doors at enemies... very reminiscent of the original Diablo. We also continue to set the bar high for inane chatter, most of which doesn't appear in these pictures since we were using TeamSpeak plus headsets to talk to each other.

Another common picture. Now that the rogues have reached level 24, the blue rogues are starting to use energy shield and there is increasing specialization of the red/blue roles. The rogues are also all using Enchant by this point, which is why all the bows are red.

Bug-squashing time:

Duriel ran amock among the rogues and killed quite of few of them. Due to the mixture of B-net lag and the small area, he killed all but 3 rogues before the battle was done. For whatever reason, we really screwed up this battle just like Andarial; this was probably due to the fact that everyone was still feeling out what their character could handle. We would do better as time progressed. After finishing Duriel and cleaning out the last of the false tombs, we called it a night and prepared to move on to Act3 in the next session.