The Diablo 3 20th Anniversary event "The Darkening of Tristram" is in full swing. With just over two weeks to go before it ends, it's worth taking a visit for nostalgia's sake and to collect a pair of companion pets, a few achievements and some banner cosmetics. We've got all the info you need to make your time both profitable and fun so keep reading!
The Darkening of Tristram
First off the bat, this event is a whole lot more fun if you run it on a level one character. Sure, it can be run on your top end characters all the way up to the highest Torment level but in my opinion, it just seemed that much more fun and nostalgic with a first level character and you are rewarded with a companion pet (the Butcher) for doing so. Of course, your mileage may vary so do what feels best.
To ensure that you end up with the event enabled, be sure to set your game options to Adventure Mode and the difficulty level that you want to play one. Then head into the game where you'll be greeted by the original score from Diablo 1 which is really fun to hear. Then port to the event that you can see marked on the map below and, when arriving, head to the center of the ruined town and head through the Tristram portal. You'll be greeted by some hard-on-the-eyes pixelated graphics and a retro-looking interface. Characters will move in a limited number of directions as well.
On a side note here: As much as I chuckled on first entering, the graphic look and movement gets harder and harder to look at as you progress through the 16 levels of the dungeon. On a positive note, the musical soundtrack is just awesome to hear and it really evokes a much scarier feeling in the game than anything in D3 itself. The moans and screams of Diablo's victims and the random monster noises puts players on the edges of their seats.
Follow the pathway out of town and head to the Cathedral to enter the dungeon. Once there, it's a pretty straightforward 16-level dungeon run that mimics the original as much as possible in both look and in the bestiary. It's not quite there, but playing through it once was a fun and very nostalgic. The first Godly Plate of the Whale, King's Sword of Haste or ArchAngel's Staff of Apocalypse that dropped made me smile, though by the end of the event dungeon it was less interesting. Still, many items that drop throughout are nice nods back to D1, particularly for those of us who never 1) scored these items or 2) never duped to get them. The best I ever had was a Saintly Plate of the Stars, but I digress.
Three locations that will be familiar to D1 players will be found in the game, all of them leading to an achievement: The Dark Passage (Level 2), Chamber of Bone (Level 6) and Halls of the Blind (Level 7). In addition, you'll be able to take on the Butcher and Leoric and Archbishop Lazarus as well. The latter two were fine, but the Butcher will come off as a huge disappointment to fans of the original utterly terrifying (and totally a one-shot wonder) Butcher. But he drops the cleaver for transmog, so I guess that works. Diablo will drop the Red Soul Shard legendary gem that has some nice effects on it that you can see below.
Wirt's Leg Transmog Journey & the Royal Calf Pet
Wirt's Leg gets its own section as it is a multi-part series of activities to get what amounts to an old-fashioned strap on peg leg for a weapon transmog....kind of frighteningly cool. Once that portion is completed, you can also grab the Royal Calf pet. Here's what to do:
- On level 9, be sure to scour the area for the Black Mushroom to click and receive the Rotten Mushroom.
- Next time you're in the event Tristram (as you entered via portal when first starting), head out the gates and to the right when the patch splits. This will take you to Adria's cabin. Click on the cauldron inside that will spit out Witch's Brew.
- Go back to Tristram and find Farnham's body straight out from the portal behind a building. Click on it and it will cough up Drunkard's Debt.
- Take Drunkard's Debt to Ogden's corpse that is up and to the left of the portal. It will drop Garda's Letter.
- Take Garda's Letter to Pepin's corpse to the left of the portal. It will drop the Healer's Prescription.
- Take the Healer's Prescription to Griswold's corpse and he will drop the legendary plan for Wirt's Leg.
- Head back to the "real" New Tristram town and craft Wirt's Leg (Weapons --> Maces).
- Then deconstruct it to get the "Map of the Stars".
- Go back to Adria's Hut in the Tristram event area and go outside where you'll see three cow corpses. Click on them in this order: 2-1-3 or middle / left / right. This will open a portal to the Abandoned Farm.
- You'll see a bunch of cow ghosts running around but you can't interact with them and there is nothing else on the map but a chest in the very center.
- Open Wirt's Stash to get the Royal Calf pet. It'll be in inventory so be sure to right click on it to learn. It's a big one too!
Portrait Frames: Classic Demon / Classic Angel
For those who love portrait frames, there are a pair that can be earned. The Classic Demon Frame is earned by killing a list of demons throughout the anniversary event, forty in all. For those with an incredible amount of stamina and who can stand running the eye-bleeding graphic content multiple times, this will take about a half dozen times through to complete. There is one demon per level throughout the dungeon.
From Icy Veins:
- Level 2 — Shadowbite, Rotfeast the Hungry;
- Level 3 — Madeye the Dead, Brokenhead Bangshield;
- Level 4 — Gharbad the Weak, Snotspill, Blacklash the Burning;
- Level 5 — Bloodskin Darkbow, Foulwing, Shadowcrow;
- Level 6 — Deathshade Fleshmaul, Bilefroth the Pit Master, Bloodgutter;
- Level 7 — Blighthorn Steelmace, Gorestone, Nightwing the Cold;
- Level 8 — Firewound the Grim, Zhar the Mad, Baron Sludge;
- Level 9 — Breakspine, Brokenstorm, Oozedrool;
- Level 10 — The Flayer, Goldblight of the Flame, Blackstorm;
- Level 11 — Bluehorn, Fangspeir;
- Level 12 — Viperflame, Viletouch, Lionskull the Bent;
- Level 13 — Warlord of Blood, Rustweaver, Witchmoon;
- Level 14 — Steelskull the Hunter, Graywar the Slayer, Stareye the Witch;
- Level 15 — The Vizier;
- Unholy Altar — Red Vex, Blackjade;
- Level 16 — Sir Gorash
The Classic Angel frame is earned in the full D3 game by hunting up Temporal Priests in locations throughout the game. These priests can only spawn in one location in an Act and all seven need to be killed and Cultist's Pages need to be collected in order to attain the frame.
Again from Icy Veins:
- Act I: The Weeping Hollow, Festering Woods, Cathedral levels 1, 2 and 4, Halls of Agony levels 1, 2 and 3;
- Act II: Dahlgur Oasis, Desolate Sands;
- Act III: Keep Depths 1, 2 and 3, Stonefort, Rakkis Crossing, Arreat Crater 1, Tower of the Damned 1, The Core of Arreat;
- Act IV: Gardens of Hope 1, 2 and 3, Silver Spire 1 and 2, Hell Rift 1
- Act V: Westmarch Commons, Westmarch Heights, Paths of the Drowned, Battlefields of Eternity
Honestly, the first time I played this on PTR, I was unimpressed but, in retrospect, that was a bit harsh. I actually had quite a bit of nostalgic fun ONE TIME through. It satisfied my "itch" for days gone by and I scored some nice achievements, portrait frames, transmogs, banner additions and pets along the way. For fans of the series and of Diablo 1, it's worth the hour or two you'll spend in getting it all done (minus portrait frames, of course!).
The Diablo 20th Anniversary event ends on January 31st but will be back each January going forward.