Blizzard Entertainment may not have released a significant patch for its cash cow World of Warcraft in almost nine months, but on Thursday it dropped a new patch for the 16-year-old action role-playing game Diablo II. That's some pretty impressive service in an age when other publishers go so far as to strip games of core services a handful of years later.
But don't expect new ways to kill demons or something fancy like a graphical update. As Blizzard says in an accompanying forum post, the patch simply adds support for contemporary operating systems like Windows 10. In addition, Diablo II's Mac players now have a new installer. And should you happen to get frustrated with cheaters, you'll be happy to know the team's also working on "cheat-detection and hack-prevention capabilities."
"There is still a large Diablo II community around the world, and we thank you for continuing to play and slay with us," Blizzard says in its blog post. "This journey starts by making Diablo II run on modern platforms, but it does not end there."
So where does it end? For starters, they might want to start fixing the new bugs the patch introduced according to reports from many Blizzard forum posters. The "shiny new installer" for OS X apparently doesn't work at all, mercenary portraits disappear, players reportedly can't adjust settings like brightness and gamma while in fullscreen mode without console commands, and the cursor now tends to glide across the screen at a sluggish pace. Some players even claim the bots are still around.
If and when they clean that mess up, who knows? Blizzard raised a few eyebrows last year when it announced it was creating a "Classic Games Division" and seeking software engineers who were interested in "restoring to glory" its old properties like Diablo II, Warcraft III, and Starcraft. Rumors of new content patches swirled about (and continues even now), but Blizzard told GameSpot at the time that the new positions were for nothing more than maintenance like we saw in Thursday's patch. According to a brief video released today aimed at Chinese players from Blizzard's classic games chief Robert Bridenbecker, Warcraft III will also be getting a new patch on March 15, but the nature of the update currently isn't known.
The release of significant patches for old, popular games isn't entirely unheard of. Unfortunately, it usually amounts to little more than support for peripherals. In July of last year, for instance, Obsidian Entertainment released a meaty patch for Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II a full decade after its initial release. The patch brought both Mac and Linux support, compatibility with game pads, 37 achievements, and Steam Workshop support for mods. In 2012, Metal Gear Solid 4 also got a patch four years after its launch, which introduced 20 PS3 trophies.
Blizzard's last patch for Diablo II was in 2011, which chiefly cleaned up bugs and fixed some chat issues.