It wasn't until after I killed Diablo and finished the game as my warrior that I realized there is a whole other way to play this game. I had been hoping to continue on as with warrior, but the upper difficulty levels are apparently only available when playing online, and I wasn't able to carry him over. I decided to try out a rogue online instead, and it dawned on me when I hit ESC but wasn't able to pause the game, that Diablo online (whether single or multi-player) is more about the persistent nature of the character than the transient world of the game.
That is, at any time I could take my now level 3 Rogue and restart the whole game anew, keeping my EXP and what items I had on me at the time. Not only that, but all the shortcuts into the deeper layers of dungeon are already available, given that your character is of a level to use them. The idea that the world itself is not to be the main focus of the player is exemplified by its defining characteristic--it is almost entirely randomized from the moment you step foot into it.
Diablo's main thrust, then, is the development of your character over time, in the loot you find, the skills you learn, and the power you obtain with each new level. Completely obvious, sure, but all the time I spent on the offline quest, I was locked into a static (if previously randomized) world. If I wanted be able to die and reload, or save my game and come back later, I could do that. Online, you're in a game world only until you either die or log off, since either occurrence will restart you in a fresh new game (unless you have others in your game who can resurrect you or keep the game alive, of course). The only thing that ever carries over is your character level and, unless you die, all your items. It's a fresh new way to approach the game as compared to what I'm used to, and makes it almost more of a rogue-like. Mind blown. How can Blizzard be so awesome?
In other awesome Blizzard-related news, I picked up a Diablo Battle Chest, so now I have D2 and the expansion on my mac, in glorious 800x600, complete with the no-CD patch. Glory! I love the fact that I can fire up the complete StarCraft or Diablo II at a moment's notice with no rooting around for discs. It's almost worth being nearly a decade late to the party with these games.
Quickly: I got a Mega Man Zero GBA cart for $9 at GameStop. Kickass! It's just what I was looking for in Mega Man Powered Up, but could not find. Zero, and the MMX universe, is much cooler than the classic MM universe anyway (I might have thought differently back in 1993, but I was only 12 then). Also, the Pixel Junk Eden is pretty fucking cool. I'm going to have to pick that up along with Geometry Wars 2 and Bionic Commando Re-armed soon. Assassin's Creed impressions coming up whenever I get a chance to throw it in.