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I plan on picking up Diablo 3 on the expected release day, but I am new to the franchise. I know in other games it is crucial to play the previous release to fully understand the story line. Does Diablo 2 have a cliff hanger I need to know about?

Should I play Diablo 1 and / or Diablo 2 before playing Diablo 3?

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retagged for the contest, please don't rollback (at least until it ends or diablo-series is also accepted) –  jmfsg Apr 30 '12 at 21:25
    
now @Lauren is accepting the diablo-series tag in the contest –  Michel May 1 '12 at 17:49
    
@JuanManuel It doesnt seem to be applying to the contest under my name. Should I retag it with diablo 3? –  Zero Stack May 15 '12 at 7:50
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This question entered for the last contests. It was asked prior to the start the date for the current one, so it doesn't count. –  jmfsg May 15 '12 at 11:44
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7 Answers

up vote 18 down vote accepted

No.

While the series' lore continues, the series was never known for its story. If you want to experience the series, you will most likely need to play alone or with friends as D2 online players rush through the game. While you can let experienced players run ahead, they will open and close quests for you before you can arrive, and spend little time looking at new items and listening to dialogue and cutscenes (which, undoubtedly, is why you're playing). Also the spam bots are awful. The only benefit to you now, pre-Diablo III, is whatever you happen to take away from that rushed experience. (Even the Easter eggs are obscure and most likely won't be things you remember from a normal playthrough.) And even after all this, D2 is a very long journey to undertake alone.

The game mechanics are also different between each game—many of the dog-eat-dog elements of D2 (stealing loot, final boss rushes, power leveling) are downplayed or simply removed in D3. Unless you would play the games anyway, you will benefit more from the time invested by watching a few D1/D2 gameplay videos for nostalgia and this lore video series instead:

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Nevermind you really can't play alone. People on your friends list can always join you, and are actually encouraged to do so right on the main screen. At least that's the way it was in the beta, anyway. –  badp Apr 30 '12 at 18:51
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@badp This is not true. There is an option hidden in the menus that will make your games truly private. –  StrixVaria Apr 30 '12 at 18:52
    
@badp As Strix said, gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/63738/… –  bwarner Apr 30 '12 at 18:55
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Playing alone is a real grind, literally; the hirelings are crap after about Act III, and without a group to help you, you will need to level more than normal to have the HP and either the tank-ability or the stand-off skills to avoid getting swamped (a Paladin with Zeal, Thorns and Prayer/Redemption can solo almost anywhere; the Amazon's Dodge skills help her run-and-gun, a "tweaker" Sorceress can lay down Frost Orbs fast enough that nothing gets close, and Necromancers live and die on the strength of their meat shields. –  KeithS Apr 30 '12 at 22:47
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For the story you don't have to play the former diablo games but for the experience. I'll never forget the first encounter with "The Butcher" in D1. You can even buy shirts with his legendary sentence on it! –  Tom May 2 '12 at 8:55
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No.

If you are new to the universe of diablo, this is one of the best introductions you can find:

.

It explains the diablo universe and what happenened in the two previous diablo titles without spoiling. It also goes over some games mechanics and development.

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Each entry in the Diablo series is relatively self-contained, but makes references to previous games in the series.

The references are enjoyable if you are a big fan of in-game lore, but it is absolutely not necessary for the actual gaming experience.

There is a history of easter eggs within Diablo games (such as the Cow Level in Diablo 2, and Adria's Black mushroom in Diablo 3), but these are such a minimal part of the experience I wouldn't worry too much about it.

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Blizzard has put an immense focus on making sure Diablo 3 is accessible to everyone, even newcomers to the series and gaming in general. You will most certainly not need to play the previous games in order to fully understand the storyline. Any necessary previous knowledge will be explained in-game.*

You will, however, miss out on easter eggs thrown in for long-time fans. If you really love the idea of easter eggs, you should probably go back and play through the previous games.

*Obviously, I haven't played through the story yet, so however strong these words are, there will be doubt until the game fully releases. I will come back and update this answer once I can give a more authoritative one.

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Easter Eggs aside, Diablo and Diablo 2 are two of the best dungeon crawlers ever made, so not playing them means missing out on two of the best games ever. –  Fluttershy Apr 30 '12 at 19:07
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@Fluttershy historically, sure. Viewed from today's perspective, absolutely not. –  Nick T Apr 30 '12 at 19:55
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@Nick: I agree; D1/D2 were a step up from MUDs, but compared to something like Guild Wars or WoW they pale in comparison. D3 was designed by the guys that made the most successful MMO in history; the only concern is that they didn't make D3 feel too much like an MMORPG; the Diablo franchise has always been more an MMOTPW (MMO third-person whacker). –  KeithS Apr 30 '12 at 22:56
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Gameplay wise you'll do fine. But Diablo does have a fairly intricate backstory. It isn't like Mass Effect where you had a lot of choices to make, but I think you'll enjoy the game more if you at are at least familiar with the back story. I'm sure you can find can a recap on Wikipedia, and there are a number of books if you really want to be hardcore.

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This is more about your taste of games.

You don't need to play nor to be fully aware of the lore and immersion of .

If you want some vintage game, and are awesome, as @Fluttershy said

Easter Eggs aside, Diablo and Diablo 2 are two of the best dungeon crawlers ever made, so not playing them means missing out on two of the best games ever.

  • There are people that enjoy be part of the story behind.
  • There are people that enjoy the story but don't mind skip the gameplay.
  • Others don't care about the pass, only the present/future.
  • There are even people that don't like lore at all.

Here is a resume for Diablo

And here a good reference link (is a post in a forum of Diablo fans, and there is a lot of links for lore)


tl;dr;

Don't need to play D1 or D2 to play D3, it's only good if you want to play them for the fun of playing a game. If you want to only know the lore, you can look in the links above

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YES.

I wouldn't take the time on D1 unless you want to, but I suggest playing D2 if nothing more than to get familiar with the terminology, the skills and systems, random dungeons and loot randomization..plus its just fun.

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He specifically asks with respect to the story. –  StrixVaria May 1 '12 at 3:20
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