Gamers across the world are clamoring at the virtual gates of Diablo game-creator Blizzard, awaiting the third game of the series on May 15th. The Diablo game series is known not only for its seamless integration of action and RPG game genres, but also its spectacular loot system.
The series has introduced several item types that are now mainstays of contemporary PC & Console RPGs: rare rune drops, set items that combine to create awesome bonuses, and uber-rare items with rich lore and huge stat bonuses.
Here’s a list of some of the most remarkable loot to be found in the game series so far.
Diablo I - Gotterdammerung
Diablo didn’t invent the idea of unique magic items - they were long established in fantasy novels like Lord of the Rings (remember Bilbo’s blade Sting?) – but they did bring them to the video game world in a major way. One of the coolest unique items in Diablo 1 was Gotterdammerung.
The helm bestowed a major armor bonus to players, but made it near impossible to navigate a dungeon because it severely limited your character’s vision.
Diablo I – Schaefer’s Hammer
This weird hammer does zero melee damage, instead striking out with massive lightning damage. This odd stat combo has become a calling card for the coolest weapons in the Diablo series.
Finding one of these hammers in Diablo was incredibly rare. You could easily play through the entire game 50 times before finding one. Luckily Battle.net existed, even way back in 1997, and players quickly discovered the joys of trading rare items with each other online. Unfortunately, it wasn’t long before less savory players discovered that there was nothing stopping them from using game editing programs to spawn in these ultra-rare items, devaluing the loot significantly.
Diablo II - Tomb Reaver
Probably the coolest item in Diablo II, Tomb Reaver has a 10 percent chance to bring any enemy you kill back to life as a zombie to fight on your side. Back in the heyday of Diablo II, selling a near-perfect version on eBay could fetch hundreds of dollars. It was sales of items like this that inspired Blizzard to put a real currency auction house in Diablo III.
Diablo II - Cow King’s Leathers
When rumors spread after the first Diablo that there was a secret cow level hidden somewhere in the game, Blizzard decided to make the player-spawned fantasy a reality in Diablo II.
It didn’t take players long to discover that if they combined the seemingly innocuous Writ’s Leg item with a Town Portal scroll, they could gain access to the Secret Cow Level.
There, players can battle the Cow King. The King himself rarely drops a piece of the Cow King Leathers set. Each character can only kill the King three times, so getting his rare leathers yourself is close to impossible. Luckily, the items were never too popular, so they can easily be traded for.
Diablo II – Trang Oul’s Avatar
Each class in the Diablo II expansion has a high-level set dedicated to them. The coolest by far is Trang Oul’s. Decked with all the stats every young Necromancer desires, if you manage to find all five pieces, it actually transforms your character into a vampire.
Diablo II - Tyrael’s Might
Tyrael’s is the rarest armor in the game; it not only gives your character a spiky shine, but it’s wearable by all characters since it has no strength requirement.
Tyrael’s isn’t the best armor in the game, but it has mythic status as one of the most desirable loot drops. Since Tyrael’s drops with random statistics, a perfect version can still fetch $50 on the Diablo II black market!
Diablo II - Zod
This Rune drops most frequently on the last boss – Baal – and only the hardest difficulty. To kill Baal on Hell difficulty, you need a group of your highest-level buddies. You then need to trek through the gnarliest corners of hell to confront Baal in a final showdown. Even then, Zod only has about a 1 in 33,000 chance of dropping! That’s about the same odds as getting hit by lightning. Of course, you could get really lucky and find one off a Hell Bovine, Hephasto the Armorer, or Hell Diablo; but the odds are even longer.
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Diablo II - Breath of the Dying
If you somehow managed to get a Zod, it wouldn’t do you much good. In fact, its only use was to make the Rune Word Breath of the Dying. To make that Rune Word, you first need to find a Vex rune. No problem, right? The only boss that drops Vex is the demonic succubus Andriel at the end of Act 1. And she only has a 1 in 1250 chance of dropping the rune.
Vex is considered a “HR,” or High Rune, which is the current default currency in Diablo II. If you want one, you need to bring the goods. You need a near-perfect high-demand unique item like Tomb Reaver or Tyrael’s Might to make the trade.