This mod for Diablo 2 steals the best ideas from Path of Exile and makes it feel new again

Try to play Diablo 2 today and you'll probably realized how poorly some of its pieces have aged. Killing hordes of demons is still fun, but the cumbersome nightmare of managing inventory and lack of viable character builds means Diablo 2 isn't good for much more than a quick jaunt down memory lane. ARPGs have just become so much better since 2000. 

But what if you could take all the modern innovations of a game like Path of Exile and bring them to Diablo 2? Enter Path of Diablo, a server mod that makes Diablo 2 feel new again by fixing some of its most outdated designs and revamping the entire endgame—all while staying true to Diablo 2 in ways that total conversion mods like Median XL don't. "This Diablo 2 community server has one main goal: Increase build diversity and replayability with as little changes to the original experience as possible," reads the mod's website. 

Created by GreenDude, Path of Diablo is one of the most popular and active D2 custom servers. Right now there are 180 people logged in. The mod adds some awesome quality of life features to Diablo 2 like an expanded inventory and Path of Exile's loot filters. Using downloaded filters or by customizing your own, you can tailor exactly what loot appears on the ground and what doesn't. No more having to sift through a screen covered in trash loot looking for the precious rares or set items you need.

But the biggest improvements won't be felt until you level up and start building your character. Many Diablo 2 mods add new skills or even complete overhauls of the original classes, but Path of Diablo works to make existing skills much better, instead. Any long-time fan will tell you that Diablo 2 is littered with useless abilities, leaving you with few options for powerful character builds. Drawing inspiration from Path of Exiles' robust skill system, Path of Diablo introduces tons of tweaks to every class.

The community favorite is undoubtedly the Druid, who can now summon every type of minion at once. I'm not quite far enough on my Druid yet to be a bonafide zookeeper, but running around dungeons with an army of wolves and bears looks like a hell of a good time. Another really cool idea is melee splash jewels, which give any single-target melee attack a splash effect. This is a pretty esoteric feature from Path of Exile, but it does wonders for making melee builds as fun as their magic-using peers.

One other major addition is a complete reworking of Diablo 2's endgame to make it more varied like Path of Exile. Once players are level 80 and have beaten the game on Hell difficulty, they can find relics and use them at altars to enter new and incredibly difficult dungeons. "These dungeons offer an optional alternative end-game aimed for high level characters (90+) where they can farm difficult content for experience and loot," reads Path of Diablo's features list. Every relic has a tier and the higher it is the more dangerous and rewarding the dungeon. It's a cool system that should definitely ease the numbing pain of boss runs or cow farming.

I've been playing Path of Diablo all morning and having a blast. It's the perfect mix of classic Diablo 2 nostalgia with just the right injection of quality of life fixes and new features to feel interesting. Even better, the community is incredibly active. There's a subreddit, Discord, in-game global chat, and even a website for trading items with other players. New ladders happen every three to four months along with new patches that should keep things fresh.

If you're interested, you can watch the video below to learn how to get the mod up and running. It only took me about 10 minutes and it's a pretty effortless process—just remember to run the launcher as an administrator. If you're one of the many people don't care for Diablo 3—or even Path of Exile—and just want to relive the glory days, I can't think of a better option.

Steven Messner

With over 7 years of experience with in-depth feature reporting, Steven's mission is to chronicle the fascinating ways that games intersect our lives. Whether it's colossal in-game wars in an MMO, or long-haul truckers who turn to games to protect them from the loneliness of the open road, Steven tries to unearth PC gaming's greatest untold stories. His love of PC gaming started extremely early. Without money to spend, he spent an entire day watching the progress bar on a 25mb download of the Heroes of Might and Magic 2 demo that he then played for at least a hundred hours. It was a good demo.