It took over 50 hours to play, but MacroBioBoi (opens in a new tab) have finally done it: they’ve completed the “world’s first completely flawless single-player pacifist witch run from Hell” in Diablo 2: Resurrected.
In terms that will be more familiar to people who aren’t Diablo 2 speedrunners, Macro beat Diablo 2: Resurrected on the hardest difficulty without attacking anything, using only the items they found while running. (“Twinking,” in Diablo 2 parlance, means using the trading system to give items to a character.) Diablo 2 speedrunners had found theoretical ways to accomplish the race, but Macro was the first. to do it for real.
“The only people who ever got past Normal had staged a character with modified gear to see if it was possible,” they told PC Gamer.
The Diablo 2 speedrunning community has created a detailed set of rules that define what a pacifist run is. You can’t attack, of course, but there’s more to it. You also cannot force anything else to attack, set traps, or use damaging auras. For the most part, the damage you deal must be dealt as a direct result of a creature choosing to attack you. To do this, Macro loaded his Sorceress with “cast chance” items and abilities that sometimes cause a spell to be cast when her character is hit. In the end, they had an armor set that required them to cast the powerful area-of-effect Nova spell whenever an enemy hit them. They also added points to the Cold Armor passive skills, which increase defense (the witch doesn’t have a lot of hit points) and deal cold damage to enemies who hit them.
Macro, who holds the Pacifist Paladin speedrun record in Diablo 2: Lord of Destruction on Normal at 2h 25m 45, thought switching to Resurrected might make things easier for this Hell difficulty run. It didn’t work that way.
“I thought this race would be tough, but with the addition of Synergies to the Nova skill in Diablo 2: Risen [bonus damage for related skills], I thought it would actually be a lot easier than in Lord of Destruction,” Macro told PC Gamer. “It quickly fell apart after eight hours of trying to get a specific spawn pattern for the Seal Boss Lord De Seis in the Sanctuary of Chaos. . I couldn’t survive his minions long enough to kill him, and if you die and return to town, he’ll often cast a grant buff on himself that will cause him to regenerate faster than any amount of Nova procs from my gear could extinguish. “
To deal damage faster than Lord De Seis could regenerate health, Macro needed an item that gave his character a 5% chance to cast Blaze, a spell that creates a searing patch on the ground. If Lord De Seis stood in the fire, he would take damage every frame, preventing him from regenerating. (The full explanation involves even more complexity than that; it’s in the video (opens in a new tab) embedded above, starting at about 5:05.)
“I needed to force him into this fire, and he’s a very difficult monster to handle to get around,” Macro said. “We were lucky that on my last attempt he didn’t get tuned and after about 10 kills we got him.”
It’s a hell of a feat, but Macro, who’s been playing Diablo 2 since he was a kid, is already streaming another run attempt, this time with a paladin. Unlike the Sorceress, Macro says the Paladin has no skills that can kill Lord De Seis.
“I need to farm a very specific weapon from Mephisto in Nightmare to have a chance of doing that,” Macro said. “It’s called Boneslayer Blade, and it takes me about five minutes to kill Mephisto every time I do it. I started the challenge two days ago and I’m re-posting it for people to see me in pain .”
MacroBioBoi streams on Twitch and also covers Diablo 2: Resurrected for Maxroll. They are not Diablo 2 purists, however, and once they finish their current run, Diablo 4 will be on their minds.
“I come from a very heavy MMORPG background (EverQuest and WoW) and it looks like Diablo 4 will bring in a lot of social gameplay that I really miss playing most ARPGs these days,” Macro told PC Gamer. “I like the restriction on trading BIS gear [the best items], and its sheer aesthetic seems like a nice comeback after Diablo 3 and Diablo Immortal. Unlike most Diablo 2 players, I’m a fan of Diablo 3, but I missed the aesthetics. Add to that the Necromancer being a starter option for you, and they won my pre-order.”
Once the socialization is over, I wouldn’t be surprised if Macro also started creating characters under unreasonably restrictive rules in Diablo 4.
“I have a background in microbiology and science in general, so I’ve always been inclined to ask impossible questions,” they said, “and if there’s no answer, test something until ‘as I understand it.”