Become One With the Lotus. Then Slice and Dice It.
Before I even get into some of the truly unique concepts of Throne of Darkness, there are a few things that I think are worth covering. For anyone who read my extremely over-sized Diablo II: Lord of Destruction review, you will likely remember some of my rants about flaws that made the game an annoyance. While not entirely corrected, the ToD team did make some of them far more livable. First and foremost is the ability to access the blacksmith and the priest "shops" at any time in the game without having to visit any towns over and over ad nauseum. Another advantage is the automatically shuffling inventory. As you place things in the inventory, the other items beneath your cursor move over to fit it, this saves quite a bit of time spent playing with the inventory in D2. Another ingenious idea is similar to Diablo II gems. Instead of something fivolous, though, parts of your monster's corpse can be used as an enhancement for your weapons or armor, as well as other sp ecial items found along the way. This is certainly a far more logical, and very interesting implimentation of item modification that any ARPG that I've seen to date. Finally, rather than just getting a skill point per level and placing it in one of your (all very much needed) skill trees, ToD provides you with a multitude of points. But not only do you get all these points, but you get the same number of additional points in each of the four elemental tabs. How's that for skill boosting?
Associated with the blacksmith and the priest interface is the unique trading system. Unlike other games where you sell the items you collect along the way, instead you donate them to the shops. Normal items are donated to the smith who will come up with a total number in each category (armor, ranged, and melee) of what level of items he can make for you to buy. This certainly beats the Diablo system of having some random items show up in the shop. Magic items are donated to the priest. When donating to the priest, you offer it to the god of one of the elements. When you gain 100% in an element, the character gains a skill point for that element. It's certainly a nice way to "buy" some magic power.
One of the most truly unique concepts in the game, however, is the seven character system. In Diablo and other ARPGs, the game focuses around one single character and building that character up. In ToD, however, there are seven characters, each with their own skills and abilities, each with their own tactical advantages and disadvantages, and each with their own experience and skill total. During the game you can send your injured warriors back to the dojo (instant teleport) to heal and recharge his mana, while pulling out your other players to keep their experience up.
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