Over the last month, DiabloFans has warped back in time with The Hell for Diablo I, revisited the basics and more in Back to Hellfire for Diablo II, and saw the glory of spell-bindingly fantastic skills and adventures with Median XL for Diablo II, today we will venture forth into the Elemental Planes and beyond with Battle for Elements, an original Diablo II mod by True Mage.
*cue tire screeching sound*
http://diablofans.com/forums/picture.php?albumid=55&pictureid=1442&thumb=1There are Elemental Planes in Diablo?
Unless you've poured over the Diablo manuals, where even then mentions of the Elemental Planes are scant, you have likely never heard of them before. Battle for Elements takes a pre-existing component of Diablo lore and expertly molds it in to an exciting series of new adventures and areas, with new scenery and terrifying enemies that really makes you feel that you have left Sanctuary for something more elemental.
True Mage had a ball working with pre-existing material in the Diablo universe when he adapted his in-game visuals of the Elemental Planes into Battle for Elements:
[quote name='True Mage']I was interested in developing those things which were just marked in an original game. It opens new sides of the game. Besides that, I always was under a great influence of Might&Magic series. If you have noticed, information about Ancients as a high-tech species which was just noted in an original game, comes from the MM series as well. Elemental planes are like the opening of a new world still staying in the world of Sanctuary, as Elemental planes are exist very close, just behind a thin barrier containing the Elements, themselves.
However, the fun doesn't stop there. Battle for Elements incorporates a new version of runes and runewords, drawing inspiration from traditional Norse mythology. The mod includes thirty-five new runes with unique names and attributes. True Mage reminisces about the percieved short-comings of runes and runewords in Diablo II: Lord of Destruction and how he has improved them in Battle for Elements:
[quote name='True Mage']I like the Scandinavian mythology very much. I think it looks like a beautiful and natural combination of war and poetry. My rune system has used a kind of realistic model not only in rune names and aettes. I have also tried to keep runes ingame properties and their traditional mythology meaning. Another step into the realm of realism is my runewords system that passes runes properties to runewords. LoD runewords was one of the most disappointing things as their properties come from nowhere and not related to runes used in them. I have tried to fix this mistake. That's why runescripts has appeared in BfE as things which were reflected in Scandinavian mythology. So the main features are realistic properties and players ability to predict runeword properties based on the rune properties themselves.
http://diablofans.com/forums/picture.php?albumid=55&pictureid=1440&thumb=1The Norse mythological influence doesn't stop there. True Mage has woven elements of it into other parts of the mod, including an entire region devoted to Fenris, duly named the Lair of Fenris, a name many of you might recognize from its other name, Fenrir, the god-bound colossal wolf of legend.
Lore, locations, and enemies are not all that Battle for Elements embellished vanilla Diablo II with. Two new stats, in addition to Strength, Vitality, Dexterity, and Energy, make their debue in the Diablo world in Battle for Elements: Luck and Endurance. True Mage elaborates:
[quote name='True Mage']I wanted to add more variety to skills mechanics but later these two statistics have become more valuable in other game aspects as well. Endurance was the first one I have placed into the game. It is a DnD concept where the character loses 1 point of Constitution for every resurrection (i.e. death). I wanted this mechanism to have players to be more careful with their characters deaths as losing Endurance is more penalising than losing experience. This stat has eventually started to influence to many skill parameters which could depend on character's life forces and it was only logical to create another stat that would reflect a power of random. So these two stats have born.
http://diablofans.com/forums/picture.php?albumid=55&pictureid=1443&thumb=1Mystery Potions, Ancient Containers, and many new Horadric Cube formulae. New socketable items called Souls serve as a key element in character progression when used in conjunction with Extractors. There's simply too many to include in one post: I encourage you to look for yourself in True Mage's online database.
The future of Battle for Elements is looking bright. True Mage notes that future releases of the mod will include some visual enhancements: "I myself think that game misses modern graphic capabilities, like 24-bit color and resolutions over 800x600. By the way, both of these features are planned for Battle for Elements 1.52."
When asked if he would be extending his modding talent to Diablo III, he replied:
[quote name='True Mage']Yes, I really think it is possible I will make a mod for D3. Most possible it will be a sequel for my saga about Elements. But, as I already said, the coming game should be really good for it. I can't say just now if it will have me to stop BfE support and put all efforts into BfE2. It is possible that I will not leave those players who prefer Diablo II.
So, get ready to face the challenges and intrigue of the Elemental Planes and all that Battle for Elements has to offer: check out the official Battle for Elements website today!