Reflections on the Depth of Diablo II

I think most people who spent a good deal of time playing Diablo II would still extoll its virtues on the gameplay side of things, so it really doesn't come as a surprise to see a critical reflection up on Ahti Lilura's blog regarding the action RPG's "low level dueling" and "player killing" mechanics. LLDing, explained:
This is where you go up against one or more other ppl. There is a degree of etiquette involved and communication is kept to a minimum or is completely absent. You walk out into the zone, announce your readiness, and either kill or be killed. Pretty simple.

Now, the problem with LLD is that you can't just jump in, face off and expect to have fun. You need to actually invest time learning how to build and twink out a decent LLD build, and invest time farming, trading, imbueing and gambling. Otherwise, you will be a joke.

You need extensive knowledge of the game's internal workings because you're dealing with items you want tailored to a restricted character level ("officially" lvls 9, 18, 30 and 49).

You have to know, for example, that to gamble a rare circlet for a lvl18 LLDer you must use a lvl25 character; to imbue an ethereal ornate plate for a lvl30 you must use a lvl64-65 character; to find rares for a lvl30 you're best off farming Nightmare tombz. You also need to know how re-rolling rares works, applying formulae so that each time you re-roll the item its level stays within your build range; otherwise it can't be worn and is all but useless to you. Just things like that.

All this pays off when you find, as a simple example, a sixth tier mod on an item, because that means you can simply equip the item to get the ability rather than "wasting" several pre-requisite skillpoints to earn it. And several skillpoints makes a massive difference in LLD. As does rushing an LLD through Hell to get all the +skill and +stat bonuses x3. All are Hell-rushed, so don't even bother if yours isn't.