Diablo II picks up where the original game left off. The hero of Diablo has fallen, and evil has once again spread throughout the land. But the warrior, wizard, and rogue are nowhere to be found. Five new adventurers have been recruited to renew the fight against Diablo - the paladin, the amazon, the necromancer, the sorceress, and the barbarian. These heroes must take up the fight against the new evil.
As in the original Diablo, once you've chosen your character, you'll journey across randomly generated overland zones and multilevel dungeons in search of treasure, new weapons and armor, and experience levels. Diablo II features several branching skill trees that let you choose from and develop a number of level-based abilities, for use both in and out of combat. For instance, the paladin can not only learn protective auras that will heal himself and his companions, he can also learn physical disciplines that will let him strike multiple times in combat. On the other hand, the sorceress can not only choose to learn powerful schools of combat magic, but she can also learn skills that will let her recover spent mana more quickly.
In Diablo II, you'll hack and slash your way through three long chapters of gameplay. And once you've managed to make sufficient progress, you'll be able to use one of Diablo II's most interesting new features: one that lets you create a hard-core character. Hard-core characters are exactly the same as normal characters, except their deaths will be permanent. Hard-core characters represent the ultimate Diablo challenge - you might be able to create a character, kill a few monsters, and gain a few levels with ease, but can you do so without dying?
Players will be able to explore the world of Diablo II at the end of this year. For now, peruse our E3 coverage, and don't miss Gamespot's enormous Diablo II Compendium.