I just started replaying Diablo 1 Hellfire, Barbarian class (single player).

One of the innate abilities of the Barbarian class is supposed to be that, when using any kind of axe, he hits monsters in all three squares in front of him with one swing. However, I've been using an axe for a while now (normal difficulty, cathedral level 4) and haven't killed more than one monster with any blow.

Is this a bug? Is there something that I'm missing?

  • How are your testing this? Monsters cannot hit diagonally, so they tend to not sit around in rows of three for you to hit. Even if you stood in a door way, they will constantly move around.
    – Nelson
    Feb 4 '18 at 2:12
  • Basically just playing for a while and seeing what happens. I distinctly remember last time I played it (years ago), the multi-hit effect was obvious. If a couple of skeletons are standing in two squares in front of me and hacking at me and I swing at the middle square and one-hit kill that monster, the other monster should die too, right? This has never happened. Perhaps there is a separate hit check for each monster or something? But I'd remember if that was the case from the past.
    – gnotnek
    Feb 4 '18 at 6:38
  • This ability should work with all two-handed weapons, have you tried others besides axes? Also are you using a shield?
    – VilleP
    Feb 4 '18 at 7:50

Ok, so I stumbled upon the following explanation of how the Barbarian's "sweep attack" works. To make a long story short: the to-hit % for the right and left squares of a sweep attack is way lower than for the main (center) square you're attacking. At low levels, the Barbarian has low dex and low to-hit % to begin with, and lowering it even further means I'm simply not hitting the left and right monsters. Once I get a massive +% to hit weapon, I expect to start hitting all 3 monsters most of the time. (side note: the damage done to the side monsters is apparently only 1/4 of the main damage).

Full explanation from http://www.oocities.org/daslonghorn/mmasguide.html:

"Quarter damage, also referred to as sweep attack...see below for a small diagram. It is basically a penalty, because:

1) The ToHit% you get from the formula further down is subtracted from your actual character ToHit%, this ToHit% is then applied to the targets which are affected by the sweep attack 2) Damage for sweep attack is 1/4th of your normal damage. However, to me it seems this isn't working.

The quarter damage ToHit penalty is 70 - 2*clvl, with a minimum ToHit%-penalty of 30% (so it is "neutralized" at clvl 20). That's still not much, and you will find you hit all three guys in most cases (unless there are only two). That check is applied to the two squares to the left and to the right of the square you attack (left and right from your Barbarian's point of view)."

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